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  #121 (permalink)  
Old May 25th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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Default New "spin" - Leisure Getaways

Company claims to be a Round Rock Texas based "travel destination" company, yet is an "RCI Points Conversion" company, and when you get the confirmation, it is from "Vacation Tours USA" which has a long list of cruise scams.

Here is the confirmation note I received from VTU after speaking to "Leisure Getaways" (of course I am not attending...but just thought I'd share with the class to get this "Leisure Getaways" name circulating. It was hard to find any scam info on them, they seemed somewhat legit, although the website was lame. The director appears to be a local guy named Cavit Handley
associated with Bay Branch Condominium Association of Spring Texas. So I thought - maybe they really are legit (the spiel was that they promote their travel packages as advertising...word of mouth...) ok - yes - obviously I was born yesterday

But there is a long track record of VTU and affiliates , so my first instinct was right

================================================== ========


From: reception@vacationtoursusa.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:06 PM
To: <XXX@xxx.com>
Subject: APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION

VTU
Toll Free 1-877-313-3326

INVITATION CONFIRMATION No. AUxxxx
Appointment Time: 6:00PM Day: Weds. Date: 5/30/12

Dear Mr. and Mrs. <XXXXX>

Congratulations! It is our pleasure to confirm your scheduled appointment!

This is your invitation to the Open House Presentation. While visiting the showroom, you will learn inside information from the travel industry on how to save while traveling. During the entertaining and informative 90 minute presentation you will be amazed at the savings you can receive on your travel needs. This is not a timeshare or real estate offer.

This is strictly a promotional offer. There is no obligation to purchase anything to receive the gifts listed on your mail piece. All you have to do is keep your scheduled appointment.

This valuable promotional offer is by invitation only. Seating is extremely limited, so we ask that you do not bring children. We know you will enjoy the presentation.

Please arrive 15 minutes early for your scheduled presentation.

VTU’s Customer Service number is 1-877-313-3326.

CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS APPLY

Leisure Getaway is located at 11301 Domain Dr. Austin, TX in The Weston Austin at the Domain.

From Downtown Austin: Follow Interstate 35 North to U.S. Highway 183/Research Boulevard North. Proceed 5.5 miles to Loop 1/MoPac Expressway North. Take the Burnet/Duval Exit and immediately enter the hotel via the Domain Boulevard access road.
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  #122 (permalink)  
Old July 26th, 2012, 04:32 AM
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Default Is this legit?

I would not for 1 second ever believe this postcard was legit and it would go straight from mailbox to trash faster than I could delete a pre-recorded "congratulations you won a ..." phone call.

That being said, my friend and I were at the fair the other day and she was stopped by a lady at a booth offering a free 4day Carnival cruise in exchange for attending a timeshare presentation. She was persistent but not pushy. Both of us being avid travelers, my friend (who can be more than a little gullible) immediately got sucked in then reluctantly sucked me into filling out the form agreeing to come to the presentation. I told the lady I had no intention on buying a timeshare, she said just come for the free trip. I told her I didn't believe the cruise was free, she said it was and a company as large as them wouldn't risk the backlash from scamming folks on TS presentations. I told her I didn't even have a job let alone meet the $75k required annual salary, she said just check yes and don't tell them when I get there and bring a major credit card We're to go next week.

After we filled out the form she asked us for $20 good faith money which was refundable when we showed up. I told her to go to hell, she waived it She and the literature she showed us (which included the specific destinations and ports we could choose from, about 5 total), clearly stated Carnival cruise line and that we had to pay nothing but port fees and taxes. We confirmed this with her several times. She said we have 18months to travel. The timeshare is for the Worldmark Wyndham which is a very nice and reputable timeshare/hotel chain, I know someone who's an owner and have been on a couple vacations at the property in different cities. That's the only reason I'm holding hope this is for real. If it was some no name never heard of fly by night company I wouldn't even bother. I just don't want to waste my time. Even if it's only 90 minutes, it's on a Sunday, I have no interest in buying a TS, and it's 40 minutes away. I don't want them to require a "deposit" at the end for me to get the trip or pass me onto some never heard of "travel agency" to book that requires "service charges" and made up fees. I'm not in the financial position to pay $100's of dollars for a cruise right now even if it IS highly discounted. I just took a cruise in May. Oh well I'll show up with my now defunct Amex card and see. At least they're serving lunch...supposedly.

Oh yeah, I'm soooo using The Showmans script lololol. It's hilarious. I love messing with high pressure sales people.
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  #123 (permalink)  
Old August 7th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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By the way - one of the tricks these companies use is that they get the suckers to give them the names of friends they can also contact.

For every name you give them, they drop the costs or add to the incentive. They then contact those people and say "your friends _____ bought this package and recommended that we contact you."

Or sometimes they promise to keep it quiet - but if you are wondering where they got your contact info - very often it is people who know you from someplace.
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  #124 (permalink)  
Old September 8th, 2012, 12:51 PM
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Default Blog about my experiences with this company

I dislike the shady practices of this company so much, I have made a blog about it. Is Smart Travel and Incentives a scam?

Two weeks ago, I have requested a refund for the cruise, and am beginning to think I will never get it back.

Do the math: How can a company offer a cruise to the thousands of people that attend these vacation/time share events and stay in business? It can't happen.

What they do, is make a ton of money off of a gullible public. Myself included. Live and learn.
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  #125 (permalink)  
Old September 21st, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Default Smart Travel & Incentives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I like it, Showman. I actually dinner last night with a guy with a job (kind of) like that. He could not discuss it t all, and it was not a gov't job, just a gov't contract job.

Like you said - they said "no obligation to buy - now give me my prize."

There is one wrinkle though - you can't get "the przie" without paying some fees. You can say "but you said no cost before" and they will say "we don't chanrge any cost, these are GOVERNMENT fees." It's kind of like they beat you to it.

Sorry, but thank anyway.

Scam scam scam

I'm so frustrated, it was nothing short of a nightmare to finally get an offer of a cruise in the Sept - Dec time that wouldn't cost any upgrade. Finally get the e-mail with departure date, time, ship... Then they say you owe $1096.96. This is a complete scam, they'll tell you it's taxes & port fee's bull#@%$. I looked up same exact cruise and it was about $90 difference if I just booked the cruise myself without it being free. It's not only NOT FREE, it's not even a bargain. You have to go on the crappiest ship they pick (usually Carnival) and you have to go the dates & places they give you. Book it yourself and you can pick the dates, places & cruise line (Royal Carrib) much nicer. You end up paying the same amount of money. My dad always said "nothings free" he's right. They took more than 90 minutes (because that's all bull too) wasted our time listening to their stupid "it's NOT a time share" seminar (it is a time share). Wasted more time plus money sending in the travel vouchers. To end up with a bill over a thousand dollars!!! For a FREE cruise!!!!
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  #126 (permalink)  
Old September 22nd, 2012, 08:22 AM
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A new twist (for me) got a cold call on my work phone that I had won some sort of drawing for free cruise. In that I would never have entered my work number in some sort of contest I knew it was a scam.
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  #127 (permalink)  
Old October 1st, 2012, 11:42 AM
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My very first cruise was a free cruise. I cruised on the Carnival Ecstacy out of Ft. Lauderdale, in 1999! Won it as a prize and it was legit!
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  #128 (permalink)  
Old October 4th, 2012, 10:29 PM
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Default Scam Plainview long island NY

Hello --

Ran across this site and thread after receiving a card in the mail for free tickets to anywhere in the continental US -- plus three nights hotel and a 100 priceline card for viewing a 75 minute presentation about travel deals.

My radar popped up indicating "scam", but my wife insisted on going to check it out, so I called the number to make a reservation.

Speaking with the rep, he assured me this presentation was not a TS or anything like that, and he reaffirmed the perks for just attending the seminar. AS with other posters to this thread, he told me that no other company info was available for him to give out and that he could not provide me with a company website.

Today we went to the seminar. The details of the scam has changed a little from what other posters are reporting, but the basic story is the same. Today's company was called "Sea Breeze Travel" based out of San Diego with offices throughout the Southwest. Sea Breeze claims to send you and your family, on one week vacations four per year for the rest of your life at steep discounts to rack rates -- eg five star 2 bedroom suite hotel room for seven days including airfare to Hawaii for 1700 (for two! -- rack rate over eight grand!). Asked how they do it for so cheap, the presenter told us that they make it up on volume and eliminating the middleman. --- yeah ok ... the more you sell the more you lose.

Anyway, the presenter finished his pitch about the price of this travel discount - $11900, but if you agree to sign up right now they give you the "Platinum Package" for $9000 , and immediately my salesman Butch came to my wife and I with paperwork in hand.

"You ready to sign," Butch asked excitedly?

"Um ... no - how about some company information
...."

I asked him for some company info as any sane person would do before forking over a check for nine grand --- needless to say we were shuffled out the door with our, now as I know, bogus airfare and hotel vouchers.

Be on your toes if you plan on going to Plainview, Long Island NY tonight or this weekend for the "Travel seminar".
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  #129 (permalink)  
Old October 4th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Interesting - now if it had been a cruise voucher I would have said "yes, bogus" but sometimes a timeshare offer is real. The airfare is probably a scam.

But yeah, the main thing is their hope to sign you up for the travel club.

I have news for you, $1700 for a week in Hawaii is not that outrageously cheap.

This is a week at the Hyatt in Waikiki with air from JFK. $1500 per person:

Clarify Search
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  #130 (permalink)  
Old October 5th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Thanks Jani,
You were correct, just another scam, they can change the name the the "deal" is still the same. Thanks for the reminder, they are still out there operating...
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  #131 (permalink)  
Old October 20th, 2012, 08:17 PM
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Angry Free cruse scam

I received postcard and went to the presentation where they gave me certificate for free cruse. I had to send 2 times $99 cashir check before anything else. After that I got stuf in the mail that I needed to fill out and send back. I needed to pick 3 dates and first date needed to be in the future no sooner than 90 days and no latter than 120 days. 3 dates needed to have 30 days in beetween. because my 3 dates were not 30 days apart they send me letter to cancel my cruse and they will keep my $99. x 2.
I am very upset because I did not see it coming. They made me jump thru the hups and they scam me of my money on the end.
I do not want to go to their cruse anymore....I would like to get my money back. Is it way that I can get my money back. I will report them to the better business biro ... I guess...but is it anything else I can do.
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  #132 (permalink)  
Old October 20th, 2012, 08:18 PM
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I received postcard and went to the presentation where they gave me certificate for free cruse. I had to send 2 times $99 cashir check before anything else. After that I got stuf in the mail that I needed to fill out and send back. I needed to pick 3 dates and first date needed to be in the future no sooner than 90 days and no latter than 120 days. 3 dates needed to have 30 days in beetween. because my 3 dates were not 30 days apart they send me letter to cancel my cruse and they will keep my $99. x 2.
I am very upset because I did not see it coming. They made me jump thru the hups and they scam me of my money on the end.
I do not want to go to their cruse anymore....I would like to get my money back. Is it way that I can get my money back. I will report them to the better business biro ... I guess...but is it anything else I can do.
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  #133 (permalink)  
Old November 25th, 2012, 06:20 PM
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Question 2 day cruise to the bahamas free

I just won a "free" carnival 2 day cruise to the bahamas from carnival cruise line not thru a travel agency. I have to pay port taxes and gratuity which comes to $166 for both me and husband (not each) yes its an inner cabin, but this is still a good deal isnt it? Hoping I didnt fall for a scam. They also talked me into an extended stay package which includes a 3 day 2 night stay in Ft Lauderdale before the cruise and a 3 day 2 night stay in Orlando after the cruise with an 8 day car rental unlimited miles. All hotel and food included for $567.

Hoping I didnt get scammed cuz thats my luck!
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  #134 (permalink)  
Old November 25th, 2012, 06:57 PM
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I would check and make sure that cruise is a Carnival cruise....I don't see any 2 day cruises and it looks like you paid a fairly high price for the pre and post cruise....Just make sure you know what all your are getting for the moneys.....
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  #135 (permalink)  
Old November 25th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalla74 View Post
I just won a "free" carnival 2 day cruise to the bahamas from carnival cruise line not thru a travel agency. I have to pay port taxes and gratuity which comes to $166 for both me and husband (not each) yes its an inner cabin, but this is still a good deal isnt it? Hoping I didnt fall for a scam. They also talked me into an extended stay package which includes a 3 day 2 night stay in Ft Lauderdale before the cruise and a 3 day 2 night stay in Orlando after the cruise with an 8 day car rental unlimited miles. All hotel and food included for $567.

Hoping I didnt get scammed cuz thats my luck!
Let us know what happens. Good Luck.
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  #136 (permalink)  
Old February 11th, 2013, 02:42 PM
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I also won not one but two differant cruises! One was at Branson and the other was at a Auto Dealership. I proceeded to book them (thinking surely one might be worth something). I ended up booking the cruise AND paying for it. By the time all of their hidden costs were applied and we went where and when they told us, (in an inside cabin) it was less expensive to pay myself! I booked my cruise and threw the "Free" cruises in the trash! You've heard ... "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is"?
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  #137 (permalink)  
Old February 11th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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Thanks Honeybear - it's good to know that someone can confirm what we have always suspected.
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  #138 (permalink)  
Old February 26th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Andiflower ---

It is a scam, do not even bother with it. We have never seen anybody get a free cruise from a postcard.
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  #139 (permalink)  
Old April 13th, 2013, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janicebrennan View Post
EDITOR'S NOTE: We have now written an article about this scam - you can find it here:

Free Cruise Scams Return



We received a post card for a free cruise from a travel company. They want us to attend a 90 min lecture and we are suppose to receive a free Carnival Cruise and air fare. We will be required to pay port charges and fees. My question is: Has anyone taken or know anyone who has actually take one of these?
Thanks
My DD and I were planning on a cruise, we had two different "Free Cruise Certificates" each was for two people. I got online and checked on them, we end up paying for our cruise. It was less expensive and chaotic to just book our own! You stay where they want you to (inside cabin, lower deck), when they want you to, (hurricane season), and it will end up costing you in the long run. Do not only toss it away, burn it so no one else will get it. This is just my opinion.
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  #140 (permalink)  
Old May 21st, 2013, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmjintexas View Post
Company claims to be a Round Rock Texas based "travel destination" company, yet is an "RCI Points Conversion" company, and when you get the confirmation, it is from "Vacation Tours USA" which has a long list of cruise scams.

Here is the confirmation note I received from VTU after speaking to "Leisure Getaways" (of course I am not attending...but just thought I'd share with the class to get this "Leisure Getaways" name circulating. It was hard to find any scam info on them, they seemed somewhat legit, although the website was lame. The director appears to be a local guy named Cavit Handley
associated with Bay Branch Condominium Association of Spring Texas. So I thought - maybe they really are legit (the spiel was that they promote their travel packages as advertising...word of mouth...) ok - yes - obviously I was born yesterday

But there is a long track record of VTU and affiliates , so my first instinct was right

================================================== ========


From: reception@vacationtoursusa.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:06 PM
To: <XXX@xxx.com>
Subject: APPOINTMENT CONFIRMATION

VTU
Toll Free 1-877-313-3326

INVITATION CONFIRMATION No. AUxxxx
Appointment Time: 6:00PM Day: Weds. Date: 5/30/12

Dear Mr. and Mrs. <XXXXX>

Congratulations! It is our pleasure to confirm your scheduled appointment!

This is your invitation to the Open House Presentation. While visiting the showroom, you will learn inside information from the travel industry on how to save while traveling. During the entertaining and informative 90 minute presentation you will be amazed at the savings you can receive on your travel needs. This is not a timeshare or real estate offer.

This is strictly a promotional offer. There is no obligation to purchase anything to receive the gifts listed on your mail piece. All you have to do is keep your scheduled appointment.

This valuable promotional offer is by invitation only. Seating is extremely limited, so we ask that you do not bring children. We know you will enjoy the presentation.

Please arrive 15 minutes early for your scheduled presentation.

VTU’s Customer Service number is 1-877-313-3326.

CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS APPLY

Leisure Getaway is located at 11301 Domain Dr. Austin, TX in The Weston Austin at the Domain.

From Downtown Austin: Follow Interstate 35 North to U.S. Highway 183/Research Boulevard North. Proceed 5.5 miles to Loop 1/MoPac Expressway North. Take the Burnet/Duval Exit and immediately enter the hotel via the Domain Boulevard access road.
I am truly sorry that you are not completely satisfied in your dealings with our company. I do care, and I am going to do what I can to make this right. We help thousands of owners with their vacation ownership needs every year, ensuring we have handled things to the best of our capabilities each and every time is of utmost importance. Don't hesitate to contact me at 800-896-9308, I would love the opportunity to find a mutual and agreeable solution.
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  #141 (permalink)  
Old May 21st, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campcarnival View Post
I would not for 1 second ever believe this postcard was legit and it would go straight from mailbox to trash faster than I could delete a pre-recorded "congratulations you won a ..." phone call.

That being said, my friend and I were at the fair the other day and she was stopped by a lady at a booth offering a free 4day Carnival cruise in exchange for attending a timeshare presentation. She was persistent but not pushy. Both of us being avid travelers, my friend (who can be more than a little gullible) immediately got sucked in then reluctantly sucked me into filling out the form agreeing to come to the presentation. I told the lady I had no intention on buying a timeshare, she said just come for the free trip. I told her I didn't believe the cruise was free, she said it was and a company as large as them wouldn't risk the backlash from scamming folks on TS presentations. I told her I didn't even have a job let alone meet the $75k required annual salary, she said just check yes and don't tell them when I get there and bring a major credit card We're to go next week.

After we filled out the form she asked us for $20 good faith money which was refundable when we showed up. I told her to go to hell, she waived it She and the literature she showed us (which included the specific destinations and ports we could choose from, about 5 total), clearly stated Carnival cruise line and that we had to pay nothing but port fees and taxes. We confirmed this with her several times. She said we have 18months to travel. The timeshare is for the Worldmark Wyndham which is a very nice and reputable timeshare/hotel chain, I know someone who's an owner and have been on a couple vacations at the property in different cities. That's the only reason I'm holding hope this is for real. If it was some no name never heard of fly by night company I wouldn't even bother. I just don't want to waste my time. Even if it's only 90 minutes, it's on a Sunday, I have no interest in buying a TS, and it's 40 minutes away. I don't want them to require a "deposit" at the end for me to get the trip or pass me onto some never heard of "travel agency" to book that requires "service charges" and made up fees. I'm not in the financial position to pay $100's of dollars for a cruise right now even if it IS highly discounted. I just took a cruise in May. Oh well I'll show up with my now defunct Amex card and see. At least they're serving lunch...supposedly.

Oh yeah, I'm soooo using The Showmans script lololol. It's hilarious. I love messing with high pressure sales people.
I am truly sorry that you are not completely satisfied in your dealings with our company. I do care, and I am going to do what I can to make this right. We help thousands of owners with their vacation ownership needs every year, ensuring we have handled things to the best of our capabilities each and every time is of utmost importance. Don't hesitate to contact me at 800-896-9308, I would love the opportunity to find a mutual and agreeable solution.
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  #142 (permalink)  
Old December 8th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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Default I use to market and "convince" you all to go on these time-share tours for prizes!

It is actually a phenomenal deal... If and only if, you know what to expect. The $20 up front charge for booking your tour is not bull crap. I have asked for $100 before to make sure the tour-ee is serious. It is very time consuming and costly to pay a salesman to pitch you the time-share. So when you don't show up, they loose money. The $20-$100 deposit is 100% refundable by Wyndham, make sure the informational receipt had that Deposit on it, because when you show up to the tour, they refund you and take that $ out of the marketing assistants paycheck. If you're not willing to pay $20 refundable, you're probably not going to the tour. Which wastes the company and the marketing assistance time. I had a 50% show rate, and get a cut from every tour, even if the tour-ee didn't buy. There are qualifications for world mark timeshares, if you meet them, go on the tour, deal with the BS, and get you cruise.. The cruise is 100% free, but food is not! Also, you must buy a plane ticket to the port... I actually ran into people while scheduling these tours at Seattle Mariners games who thought their Bahama cruise would be all inclusive and port from Seattle. Lol. It is only a ticket on the boat!! The marketing behind it all is 1/10 tour-ees become members. Which is $2000-per tour average. Free cruise works out because the cruise lines are at 60% occupancy usually. Carnival scratches world marks back, they scratch theirs. World mark pays $50/ cruise. So basically after the salesmanship wage of commission only, the marketer and the cruise, each tour costs world mark $300 max. That's $1700 in their pocket and the % will increase the more the free cruise-ees tell their friends. They're getting rich based on their salesmen's skills, and you get a free cruise. They're playing the odds. I'm not proof reading this, I'm driving in my car and typing on my iPhone. Cheers
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  #143 (permalink)  
Old December 9th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Okay - you lost me here:

"Free cruise works out because the cruise lines are at 60% occupancy usually."

That is completely wrong - the average reported occupancy on all major cruise lines is over 100% "berth capacity" - which means all of the regular beds in double occupancy cabins. They go over 100% when they include third and fourth passengers in cabins in temporary beds.

Say what you want - if you are willing to put up with the boring presentation, AND all of the red tape you go through to actually get booked on the "free cruise" then I guess you have far more time on your hands than I have.

I have gone on "free" timeshare vacations before. I always felt like a freeloader and never enjoyed the property. But if that works for you - okie-dokie.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 08:31 PM
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I have received a free cruise; well almost a free cruise. I had to pay two days per diem for a 25 day cruise from Sydney to Beijing on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. My travel agent has an annual drawing for a free Regent cruise; we won a few years back. We were originally booked on the Voyager in the Med. The "free cruise" is limited to 12 days; so we had to pay for two days plus our own airfare to Athens. However, the cruise was cancelled so they offered us the 25 day cruise in Asia as a substitute (of course, they paid back our air to Athens, our pre cruise cost, and all incidentals even though we stayed onboard four days in Athens). They transferred over the two days we paid and that was it. Twenty five days all inclusive including shore excursions. As close to a free cruise as I will ever get. We have qualified for the final drawing a couple more times since then but have yet to win a second free cruise.

Marc
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Old December 10th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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We took a "free" cruise on credit card points.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Haven't yet done this free cruise but would look forward to have one!







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Old December 11th, 2013, 05:34 PM
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That is very cool, Marc.

I have had the privilege of giving away a free cruise back in our early days here, when cruise lines were more flush and the Internet was growing.

A couple of winners didn't believe they had actually won one. AND they were right to be skeptical. These 'free cruise scams" have been around for a long time. I remember "wining a contest" back in 1993, in fact I won it twice. What a coincidence?

In fact, it was one of those state fair things where you fill out a form for a chance to win a cruise. I got a phone call saying I had won the contest, and I believed them for about 5 minutes until they started asking me for my credit card just to "hold" the prize.

I hung up on them. Then two weeks later I got a call from a different person who told me I had just been picked as the winner of their cruise contest.

I said, "really, you just now picked me?" .... yup

"That's amazing," I says "what are the chances I would win two free cruises within two weeks?"
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Old March 9th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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my mother just got a post card in the mail that says a free 8 day 7 night cruise and two way airfair from anywhere she wanted, it has like a check with a check number, it says call 855 from 9am-9pm and give them the number on your check included in the post card, I been reading the fine print, and I saw nothing that says anything about a presentation or any extra fees or anything like that, she told me she click like on the carnival facebook page all the time, she said she clicked like on one of the things that says like this and you may win a free cruise with us, should I just toss it?
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Old March 9th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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I would recommend tossing it. If she won something from Carnival it would be very clear.
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Old March 9th, 2014, 07:21 PM
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I agree, I would toss it...Still have not heard from one person, that with winning a "free" cruise where it was actually free...
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