The rip-offs on cruises are not only from small sleazy companies; they are also from large S&P500 companies overcharging on cruises. The difference is they will deliver the legitimate cruise that you signed up for.
The companies are Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham, Holiday Inn, Disney, etc.
They all sell timeshare and owners can swap their timeshare condo for a cruise on an ocean liner. It will take 2 or 3 years of accumulated time to book a 7-day Caribbean inside cabin on a Carnival ship. Maintenance fees for any of these top timeshares are about $1000 per year. There is also a transaction fee for the swap, which could be from $100 to $300. And don't forget that does not include the port fees.
We all know we would not pay $2500 for a 7-day Caribbean inside cabin on Carnival that we can get all day for less than half that amount.
For the privilege of being able to take advantage of these great cruises, the timeshare owner had already paid from $10.000 to $40,000 when they bought their timeshare.
Most of the cruise acams that are out there right now start with a presentation to join a "travel club" - which is something like a timeshare offer in that you pay a down payment plus a yearly fee.
The companies are using a "complementary free cruise" postcard to get people to go to the presentation. You are supposed to get the cruise just for going.
So far we have not found a soul who has actually gotten the promised feee cruise, one guy even paid $300-400 in administrative fees and was still waiting for the information on how to book his free cruise.