On Saturday (2/17/11), I received a letter in the mail from Caribbean Cruise Line stating I won a free cruise. I was so excited that I called right away to claim it. I also find out that I also won a week stay in Florida, Las Vegas, and Mexico. All food is included as well as a $50 gambling card. I was very happy until they requested my credit card to pay the $900.00 cost! I told them no, I'm a student and cannot afford this, so they reduced it down to $800, which I declined and then again to $415. Along the decrease they shaved off some accommodations along they way. I agreed to pay $415 for a 2day cruise, a week in Las Vegas, and a week in Florida.
After them taking down my information and receiving a reservation number, I went online to do a little research. I went to google and typed in Caribbean Cruise Line and google auto corrected me to include Scam in the name. I knew right then I made a mistake. Every hit was informing everyone to save their money and to not go on this cruise. It's a big scam and should be avoided at all costs. Seeing this, I called up Visa and canceled my credit card right away. However, it was too late, a pending charge of $415 was already present. I said that I wanted this charge removed and they advised me to call the cruise-line to cancel and request a refund.
So the fun begins. I called that Monday to cancel my trip. Since the charge was still pending, they said they couldn't do anything about it. Therefore, I had to wait until today (Thurs 2/17) to talk to a person from customer service. When I finally got on the phone and asked for a refund, they prompted me with all this information about my trip and how much of a great deal I have and shouldn't let it go. They were trying to convince me not to cancel. After arguing for a few minutes, she put me on the phone with her supervisor who came on the phone and gave me the same information. I told him that all I wanted was a refund, I'm not going on the trip and it is very unfair that they are keeping my money. He told me that the best he could do was to refund me $208 (1/2 of the original $415), and to keep my file open to book at a later date. I said no, I want a full refund and I want my file terminated but this was no use. He said the only way I could get the other $208, was to transfer my cruise to a friend or family member and have them physically pay me $208. That was ridiculous.
After arguing for another 10 minutes, I told him I will take what I can get and to refund me the $208. I called Visa and explained my situation. Since the cruise never told me the cancellation terms upfront, I deserve a full refund which they are prepared to fight for. This has been a big mess and I hope that other people read this and aren't fooled by the words free because everything comes with a price.