My husband and I are currently on our honeymoon (yes, literally at this moment). There is much I'd rather be doing on my honeymoon than share my troubles, however my husband and I have reached a point where we are prisoners of a vacation package based on lies. It all started with an envelope I received in the mail from Ramada Plaza Resorts. We called the number and were interested in the details of a Florida vacation with a cruise. During the hour-long conversation on the phone, my husband (fiancé at the time) was thorough in his evaluation of details regarding our stay. He repeatedly asked what the catch of the whole deal was, and was repeatedly assured that Ramada Plaza Resorts offers "thousands of travelers" vacations each month, keeping their hotels full, and negotiates substantial savings with the cruise lines and rental car agencies. "By substantially reducing costs" through "volume" it allowed them to pass the savings on to us. This is practically word for word out of the Ramada Plaza Resorts reservation form booklet we have in front of us at this moment. Also during this conversation, my husband was assured that the vacation package included all meals at Ramada's "first class" resorts. So we booked our first ticket and guaranteed an extension on the timeframe for purchasing the second ticket due to our long engagement. As the time arrived where the non-extended time frame was to elapse, we were harassed to buy our second ticket. Many calls later, our earlier agreement (for the time extension) was reestablished. Soon after, we also were given warning from a Ramada Plaza Resorts salesman that people who booked the cruise included in our same package were disappointed, and advised us to upgrade. This turned out to be a mixed blessing.
Now for the reality…..After a late arrival to Fort Lauderdale, we checked into our hotel after the Ramada Welcome Center hours. That night we found out that the hotel hadn’t booked us for our second night, another mixed blessing. Entering our hotel room, we were first disappointed by the reality that, contrary to what we were told, the room was far from first-class. Next surprise was our 8:00 a.m. phone call from the Welcome Center informing us we were scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. timeshare tour at a resort 30 minutes away in order to receive the cruise we thought we were entitled to from our booking expenditures. We quickly got ready for our day and made our way to the Welcome Center, where we expressed our surprise to this requirement. My husband expressed that the mandatory timeshare tour was left out of his lengthy conversation with Ramada sales representatives. In response, the Welcome Center employee flips to page 22 of our reservation form booklet to point out the line “Ramada Plaza Resorts promotes discounted vacation packages for the purpose of introducing the benefits of vacation ownership. Attendance at a presentation on the benefits of vacation ownership is required.” Such attendance was never expressed in the thorough conversation my husband had on the phone, nor in the video outlining the vacation which Ramada sent us. Finding ourselves in a jam, we complied with this requirement. After a rude experience with the timeshare tour, we then continued with our vacation. Following the timeshare tour, we received our cruise voucher and picked up meal vouchers from the Fort Lauderdale Ramada welcome center. While in the dining room of Fort Lauderdale Ramada, we encountered other vacationers who were as thoroughly misled as we. In fact, there were eight couples in all who we talked to in our short time in the dining hall. Within their experiences, they too were lied to by Ramada Plaza Resort salespeople. One man, Tom, from New York, explicitly expressed his concerns to the salespeople that he didn’t want to have any part in timeshare hoaxes, and he was assured that no timeshare tours were required. His reality was much different when he found himself in the same jam we were; he grudgingly complied with the requirement. Tom didn’t receive the same warning that we received about the short, disappointing cruise, and so he was quite disappointed in the description he was given over the phone describing his cruise that turned out to be sub par.
Our second night was fortunately booked with a different resort that was far superior to the Ramada Resort, a blessing in disguise that resulted from Ramada’s mismanagement of our vacation. We went on from there to our cruise through Carnival, which was everything that our honeymoon should have been. Today was our disembarkation from the cruise. Tonight we find ourselves in Orlando without the meal vouchers that we were promised over the phone, and without budget for eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next three days. Overall, our concerns have been met with very little assistance from the Welcome Centers, either in Fort Lauderdale or here in Orlando. We feel victimized on our own honeymoon, with little leverage over the liars who pinned us in this predicament.
Ryan and Danielle Wozniak
P.S. We just found this website with people who have fell victim to Ramada Plaza Resorts scam. We found it too late, but hope we can make shed some light on this for future vacationers.