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Cruise.com / Bait and Switch

1 Long Beach, CA, United States Review updated:

I recently booked a cruise with Cruise.com on Carnival for Christmas. They were running a promotion of up to $500 on-board credit depending on the room price. After spending an hour on the phone booking the cruise, the operator stated that we did not qualify for the credit since we didn't use a mastercard to pay for the cruise. They had already rung the transaction through on another credit card. After booking the cruise I went back to their website. There is nothing on the website that says anything about needing a mastercard. I called Cruise.com back and asked to speak with a manager. Mr. Joel Santiago identified himself as the supervisor on duty. I asked him about the promotion and he said that at the time of booking, I did not qualify for any promotions. I explained that the promotion was still running on their website to which he replied that this was a new promotion. I then informed Mr. Santiago that I had printouts from their website on the date of my booking that showed this same promotion. Mr. Santiago then became agitated and said that if I had proof, then maybe something could be done. I then questioned Mr. Santiago's initial statement that there was no promotion and that this was new. He had no response. I asked Mr. Santiago who the regulatory agency was that oversees their business and he said that I could only file a formal complaint with their company because he was not allowed to tell me who the regulatory agency was. I asked if his company actually told him that he could not tell anyone who the regulatory agency was for his industry and he said yes, that is what they told me. At this point I thanked him for his time and have been trying to get a straight answer from someone at Cruise.com ever since. They are flagrantly using a "Bait and Switch" tactic to lure people into booking with them on promotions that they never intend to honor. There is nothing on their site that says you must use a mastercard and there is nothing on their site that says there are any restrictions other than it being a new booking to qualify. I would be very cautious of this company and their tactics.

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Comments

  • Sm
      23rd of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    Cruise.com offerred a MC gifcard on their site that was not combinable with other discounts. You have the choice of taking the MC offer or the discount. Either way you always get something. Both items are of the same value. Its a question of preference.
    The problem is that people tend not to read and assume they can get all of the different offers combined together. Its like going to the grocery store with 2 coupons for one product...It does not work that way.

  • Sh
      21st of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    I recently called cruise.com to inquire about cabin availability on a particular cruise. The agent verified availability. I asked if the cabin could be held until I could make airline arrangements. He stated that he needed my credit card. I gave him my credit card info and he put me on hold. When he came back on the line, he stated that we were all set and that the cruise was booked. I told him that I only wanted to put it on hold. He stated that he already put through the charge and there was nothing he could do until accounting came in the next morning.

    When I called to find out if it was resolved, I was informed that I was going to be charged a cancellation fee of about $1500. Countless calls to cruise.com yielded no satisfaction. When I finally spoke to a "supervisor" named Alex (Alexandra), she was no help at all, in fact she was the nastiest person I have ever dealt with... she eventually just told me too bad and hung up on me.

    Bottom line is that I never authorized them to charge my credit card and they still refuse to help in any way.

    BEWARE

  • Su
      26th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    As a travel agent who works in a real travel agency I am angered by these companies. I take calls from our AAA members who use these types of companies and then when problems arrive they expect us to bail them out.

    These types of companies sell a franchise to anyone who will pay the fee. They teach them how to use their system but nothing about being a travel agent. They lure these people in by telling them they will get all this free travel, which they hardly ever do because these companies do not qualify to receive the IATAN cards which you need for travel perks.

    I have been a real travel agent for 9 years now and I spend hours learning my craft in my off hours. I attend seminars, take classes, read, and my travel company reps come by often to teach us about new products. I know a number of people who own these on-line franchises and none of them ever take the time to learn what they need to know to be an agent.

    I would suggest to anyone who is looking to book a vacation to go to a real travel agency and not someone who simply ponied up enough money to buy a franchise.

  • Mn
      5th of Mar, 2009
    0 Votes

    Here is our experience...Read our email to their managing director:

    Mr. Hamawy:

    My name is XXXX XXXXX, a second-time customer of Cruise.com whose aggregate bookings exceed $7000 dollars thus far (within one year). My wife and I booked our one-year wedding anniversary cruise with your company; scheduled for April of this year.

    Unfortunately, it’s become necessary to escalate a certain issue we’ve attempted to resolve with your Customer Service department but have been unsuccessful at achieving to this point. It’s our hope that raising our concern to your visibility can help resolve and bring closure so we may end the loop here.

    In short, our issue is as follows:

    By way of back-story, in December of 2008 my wife and I negotiated a favorable discount of $300 with Danielle Barron at Cruise.com (as shown in our invoice herein). What ultimately won our business among competing choices was the combination of "rate" and the "Onboard Credit" promotion, together. During this dialogue with Danielle at time of booking, she was unequivocal in bringing to conscious that our negotiated price could adjust our onboard credit to a lower tier if we reduced any further – meaning the difference between a $250 dollar onboard credit and a $100 dollar onboard credit was within a thin range of the price we settled at. When we finished our booking that evening it was to our coherent understanding we arrived at two conclusions; a favorable cruise price equilibrium and a $250 dollar onboard credit (despite the language which we learned of today around the offer not being valid in certain ways, including discounts).

    In the past week my wife happened to remind me that we had not yet received information related to our "onboard credit" as expected, and so we put an inquiry into your service department to investigate. Note here that we were explained by Danielle that the nature of the onboard credit would come from Carnival, in addition to any related correspondences – claiming in detail it would be realized in the form of a credit to our onboard Carnival account. After an hour of time spent with a Cruise.com’s CSR who contacted Carnival’s customer service department for resolution, in addition to their promotions department, it turned out Carnival was not conducting such a promotion at all, but instead was a Cruise.com promo campaign.

    Now at present we have been told (today) that the $300 discount is the "onboard credit" so-to-say – that Cruise.com was generous in giving us a credit which exceeded $250 dollars. Please know with certainty this is simply NOT the case. The fact is we negotiated a rate with Danielle in addition to expecting an onboard credit of $250 dollars; the very fact that solidified our purchase decision! We spent more than an hour negotiating with Danielle in total time, which included several phone call re-connects that evening. We would never have negotiated if the onboard credit was a reality given our cruise price justified same – obviously.

    My dialogue with Danielle around this topic at that time was exchanged via phone, and I was saddened to learn today that our conversation was not recorded, or documented in notes, and thus can not be recalled for review. However, I would be happy to sign a sworn affidavit of my testimony here via my attorney, Adorno & Yoss in Fort Laduerdale, should it be required to do so.

    As a valued customer of Cruise.com, and to retain our business going forward (which I estimate a 'cruise spend' close to $10, 000 dollars annually), we expect to receive the $250 dollar onboard credit as indicated at time of sale (form of this credit does not matter at this point).

    Your acknowledgement is greatly appreciated.

  • Lh
      16th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have had a similar complaint with CRUISES-N-MORE. They promised on board credit if I paid with my Amerian Express. The package also listed a soda card in addition to the OBC. I called the agency prior to booking to verify the offer. I was told it was correct. After the cruise was booked, I was told that I did not qualify for any of the offers. It is a classic bait and switch scam. I would not suggest booking with that company. After repeated requests for a call from a supervisor, I have yet to get a response. DO NOT USE THEM!

    Offer: Pity The Procrastinator Sale -$125-$225 OBC +Free Soda Package + Lower Prices

  • Do
      5th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    We booked a criuse for our family on cruise.com, because they offered $50 off per room and had pre-paid gratutities. After we paid our deposit, they called back the following day to say they made a mistake and couldn't offer the pre-paid gratuities because of the $50 off deal. When we pointed out that they were two different offers from different companies, they kept on saying that the agents (there were two or more that stated the same deal) had made a mistake. A supervisor named Santiago was finaaly contacted, to no avail. Cruise.com was basically a bogus deal, saved us no money and is not pleasant to deal with.

  • Da
      25th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    Cruise dot com isn't a card mill, as one person (allegedly a travel agent) stated. I'm a travel agent and while they are a competitor of mine, I'm familiar with the company and have had friends who worked for them. They employ CTCs and MCCs. Please check the facts before you disparage a business.

  • Tu
      11th of Nov, 2011
    -1 Votes

    Cruise.com is one of the best cruise outfits out there. I am surprised by some of the bad reviews. In my experience Cruise.com is the BEST travel agency on the internet to book a cruise. I have always received excellent prices and I have checked around so I know what I am talking about. I have also been extremely impressed with their service. I will continue to use them.

  • Ro
      13th of Aug, 2012
    0 Votes

    Cruise.com promised me $175 in room credits on a Princess cruise in May, 2012 - plus two bottles of wine. Unfortunately they did not deliver on either - nothwithstanding that the room credits were in writing on the cruise.com invoice. I also wrote a letter to Mr. Hamawy and he had one of his underlinglings call me to try and convince me that they never promised the room credits (guess their invoice showing the credits means nothing to them). In the end I decided not to use them anymore and I go out of my way to tell my fellow cruisers the story above. I have also recently cancelled a Celebrity cruise scheduled for this October that I booked through cruise.com and am rebooking a similar cruise with a competitor.

  • Di
      19th of Oct, 2012
    0 Votes

    Verifying the facts would be an awesome idea especially with the 175 obc a certain person says he did not get when in fact he did. He wanted double the 175 obc because he misread and misinterpreted what was advised. Unfortunately, most complaints are from shear comprehension mistakes. And yes, the agents at Cruise.com are true Travel Agents they are not card mill employees. No one is hired without having a minimum amount of years of experience. Just because they are online does not make them less of a Travel Agency. Oh and by the way AAA has an online travel agency as well.

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