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Free cruise phone calls…
I’m not sure how I ended up on the call-list for the “free-cruise” promotion, but I’ve received the call more than one time! Finally, when I was actually in the market for a cruise, I went through with the phone call, and it actually landed me a great deal. Here’s how it went:
First, they use their sales pitch to convince you you would like to commit to the cruise, they get your travelers information, and explain that there are some costs involved, which they are not allowed to give away for free. These were fees associated with the ship, seas, or taxes, and they weren’t cheap.
The “free” cruise is real.
After getting signed up for the voucher that lasts 24-36 months, pay the mandatory fees, I’m told that I can sign-in online to search for dates on this particular cruise, simply call or fill out the online form to lock-in my reservations. Okay, this all checked out. Everyone pays the taxes and fees, the website actually works, the cruise is real. It’s a short cruise with limited available staterooms left. The basic dining package, and they can’t give you the port fees and taxes for free, so it’s not free.
They try to see what you can afford.
Something that happened in the phone call, was the option of course, to upgrade to a better room, add the drink package, upgrade to fine dining, among other things. In this case, I did not do any upgrades over the phone because I was of the mindset that I would keep it as cheap as possible.
There was an option to stay on Grand Bahama Island at their “all-inclusive” resort, where you would receive free meals, free use of the onsite amenities, and I believe there was a beach or shuttle to one included. 3-7 night stays were offered in the middle of the couple night cruise. I presume we’d have watched a presentation to make that place a part of our regular vacation plans.
After telling the sales person that I was satisfied with the transaction as it sat, my total was something like $150 for three people plus some money around $300 for the three of us at the time of booking. It was a two night cruise, one-day stop in Grand Bahama Island.
There are booking restrictions.
Fast forward to the booking, I called in, tried to get the date I wanted, and it wasn’t available. Make sure you check the limitations on booking- and remember them even after the initial sales phone call. I couldn’t get the cruise deal I paid for because it was less than 45 days until the cruise.
Instead, they offered me a couple nights’ stay at the resort in Grand Bahama Island, a night stay at select hotels in any city before or after the cruise, and complimentary meals for various portions of the trip. I’m not convinced this isn’t all part of the pitch.
Get the meal vouchers!
The complimentary meals part was a good deal. I’d sign up for that again. The hotel we stayed at who participated in this had a couple fast-food or sit-down options onsite, and almost anything was covered with the meal vouchers. We even were able to use it at other local restaurants inside participating hotels. We found one nearby by digging a little, and took advantage of it, get the meal vouchers if they offer them!
Resort stays were offered.
I ended up taking advantage of an offer they gave me for around $200. It was a 7 night stay at a local inland resort before or after my cruise dates. This was the best deal I found, by listening to the sales pitch I was greeted with when I couldn’t get the cruise date I wanted. I had the option to look online for the resort, see available dates, and book using my code from the original call.
The resort I picked was in Orlando, and I later found that it was a timeshare resort, where some people own a week of time there. I didn’t end up buying into this place, but I did enjoy my stay and I would stay there again at the price I had that year, for sure! I placed calls into the potential resorts before I made my decision, that paid off.
For tips on negotiating good perks on the phone with the sales person, subscribe here, it’s coming soon.
Get a babysitter during the presentation.
When I went in to get the vouchers, the free gifts, etc. I was met with the requirement to watch their “presentation.” We all know this was a sales pitch, and it was not a quick one. Don’t bring the kids to the presentation.
I got what they promised.
I did receive the $100 visa gift card they promised, the complimentary meal, the free meal vouchers, and the option to save more money on local attractions. The presentation could be shortened by using these simple tricks. We had a short window of time between the start of the presentation and when we had to be across the state to get on the cruise, so they had a short window of time to entice us.
Overall, I look back on that vacation and I loved the value that was offered. We saved a lot of money by taking the bate from the cruise phone call sales people, and saying no to a lot of upgrades and additional options.
Don’t buy a timeshare.
I ended up buying a timeshare, and I have a ton of ways to save money, now. I don’t recommend everyone buys a timeshare. I recommend taking advantage of someone like me, someone who has excess value in their timeshare; it is meant to be shared!
I use my timeshare points to accomplish the room, the flights, and rentals at a discount. You can, too, without all the hassle of buying your own. Whether you find a family friend or ask to be my guest.
Interested in knowing how I actually have lower prices, how you can be my guest and have legitimate reservations verifiable by phone directly to the resort or cruise line, and of course why shouldn’t everyone do it? Read this.