Close call with a Caribbean cruise line scam

In the middle of working on a blog post about SMS phishing scams at my desk last night, I received a rather strange call.  The number displayed on the Caller ID was +1 (360) 474-3925.  I did not recognize the number, but since it was 7:10PM, I assumed it was a colleague trying to reach me at my desk from somewhere around the world.

Same Ship, Different Bot

To my amazement, it was the same scam survey call I had written about three weeks ago here at the ESET Threat Blog (Press One if by LAN, Two if by Sea…).  It was a little different, though, this time:

ROPAX ferry

The Prinsesse Ragnhild in 2005. In 2008, she changed owners and was renamed Bahamas Celebration (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Instead of Robo-John announcing that I had been selected to take a 30-second telephone survey and receive a free cruise to the Bahamas for my efforts, it was robo-Sally. This time, robo-Sally did not give the name of the organization “performing” the survey (more about this later), but instead began the process of performing the survey by telephone keypad. The scammer’s system seemed to have trouble recognizing my responses as I pressed the buttons on my phone, but eventually I was able to answer all five questions, at which point I was told I was being routed to a person for processing my free cruise.

Untangling the Caribbean Cruise Line Scam

The last three times this happened, I never got to speak to a human, but this time, I must have gotten lucky, because I was speaking to none other than “Melvin Jones” of Caribbean Cruise Line. I am putting “Melvin’s” name in quotation marks, since I do not know if that was his real name, or part of the script he was reading from. I introduced myself to “Melvin,” who confirmed that I had been forwarded to them by Political Opinions of America; something the automated survey no longer says.  I also told “Melvin” when introducing myself that I was a fraud researcher with ESET and that I had previously worked at a travel agency that specialized in leisure cruise travel; both true, and something that should have sent “Melvin” scurrying for the disconnect button on his headset.  “Melvin” seemed rather oblivious to this (or perhaps hopelessly naïve), and proceeded to pitch me on the cruise for the next twenty minutes or so, reading out loud large sections of Caribbean Cruise Line’s web site.  Here are some of the things I learned in my conversation with “Melvin:”

  • The ship in question is the MS Bahamas Celebration.
  • The cruise takes place out of the Port of Palm Beach, Florida.
  • The destination is the island of Grand Bahama, with a stay at a resort.
  • In order to guarantee my free cruise, I must pay a “government port tax” of $59.00 per person via American Express, MasterCard or VISA.  Both credit and debit cards are accepted.
  • “Melvin” is married and has never been to California but his favorite basketball team is the L.A. Lakers.

It is the fourth item on the list that is of greatest interest.  It is probably more accurate to state that the minimum cost is $118.00, as a minimum of two people are needed to book an inside stateroom (and a maximum of four).  Digging through information about Caribbean Cruise Line, it seems the government port tax is non-refundable, which is something “Melvin” did not mention to me in the twenty or so minutes we chatted.

After making his pitch, “Melvin” got down to closing, becoming increasingly adamant that I give him an American Express, MasterCard or VISA card in order to pay for my free cruise.  I tried to offer a Diners Club or a JCB card, instead, but was told these were not acceptable by “Melvin” who became increasingly eager to close the call.  I encouraged “Melvin” to visit the ESET Threat Blog web site so he could read what we had previously written about him, but he became evasive, saying he and his wife did not know how to do that from their home computer, and they could not go to non-work-related web sites while at work.

Scammer admits survey, cruise are from same company

As it finally dawned on “Melvin” that he had just spent twenty-three minutes not getting a sales commission, the last thing I told him was that I was sure I would be speaking to his company again soon, given the number of times I had received calls from Political Opinions of America.  “Melvin” replied that would not happen, since he was placing me on his company’s “do-not-call” list, basically admitting that the survey company and the cruise operator are the same company.

I did place a follow up call today to Caribbean Cruise Line at +1 (800) 586-6693 and asked to speak to “Melvin Jones” and while the receptionist was initially confused, she did eventually acknowledge him when I mentioned I had taken a politcal survey offered to take a message.  I got that telephone number from this Better Business Bureau report.  Although Caribbean Cruise Line is not accredited by the Bureau, they have a D+ rating (on a scale from a high of A+ to a low of F) with over 1,200 complaints lodged against them in the past three years

I am not sure if I will receive any further calls, but if I do, you can read about it here in the ESET Threat Blog.


Aryeh Goretsky, ZCSE, MVP
Distinguished Researcher

Have you received an automated call offering a free cruise in exchange for taking a quick political survey?  Let us know what happened by leaving a comment, below!


Author Aryeh Goretsky, ESET

  • Stephen Cobb

    Deftly narrated Aryeh. I love "Same Ship, Different Bot." And I see this post made the front page of "Cruises for Less Daily."

  • Telzey Amberdon

    Good lord, what do you have to do to get an "F" from the Better Business Bureau?  Off a customer because you always wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone??

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      Apparently they are not a member of the Better Business Bureau, so the rating should be considered advisory. Thanks for your feedback, always good to hear from a fan of James H. Schmitz.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • M. Richards

    I agree with Stephen Cobb, Aryeh.  I don't often see writing of your superb quality online.  I was only disappointed that your post was not longer and did not explain precisely what the scam is.  I just received exactly the same call, and did not give my credit card.  Had I given my card, would the scammers have put through a charge for as much as they could get from my account?  Would I not receive any cruise?  Is the cruise so terrible, I would be sorry I took it?  Do they not pay the port fees?  Other?

  • Aryeh Goretsky


    As mentioned in the first blog article, the scam is to get your credit card number and charge you for a `free` cruise that you are unlikely to take.  According to some of the reports on the BBB site and elsewhere, the few people who do manage to take the cruise are bombarded with high-pressure sales tactics to invest in a timeshare or other schemes.


    Aryeh Goretsky

  • mento

    I loved the story and your writing, it appears that in the end almost no free stuff, especially as gifts of equal value, such as rowing, whatever it always cost us something. In any case when a person we do not know wants a credit card over the phone should give up the gift "that he offers not to be seduced.


    I just got off the phone with this very same offer after completing a short political survey.  This is in Montreal (Quebec, Canada), so they're coming across the border.  They gave me ths same pitch & money as outlined above, and when I refused to give my credit card #, they were very understanding, said they would feel the same way, etc…  Then the supervisor came on the phone, explained the deal to me again and understood my hesitation. They said since the credit card # was being given over the phone, it would only go through once I gave my okay/authorization with the receipt that would be electronically sent.  They did a good job of sounding very authentic, and then after 23 minutes, they suddenly hung up on me after I said that I would not be interested in going through with the offer at this time, even though I thought they were going to have me register for future considerations. Thank goodness I was reading this blog while I was on-line as I wanted to check out right away if this was a scam I was dealing with.

    • deeds

      i just did the same thing and the lady told me to take my $59 and shove it!!! woww!!! thanks guys for this blog

  • Gary Berns

    I actually took this cruise deal in 1995.  For an hour at a timeshare pitch we had a great weekend.  Even won money at the casino in Freeport.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      I’m glad to hear you had a good experience seventeen years ago. Unfortunately, it appears that in the intervening years, their modus operandi has somewhat changed.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Jane Doe

    I just received this phone call. I am located in Montreal, Quebec. I was first asked to answer a quick 30 second survey on Canada Politics: One question about taxes, pension plan and oil. After pressing randomly pressing 3 numbers, I got transferred to redeem my 2 day cruise. My operator was Chloe with her employee number was AQ8517. I decided to have some fun and ask her useless questions. As she was explaining to me the cruise details I constantly asked her to pause so I can "write down the information" (instead I was searching the web about how popular this scam is) but she refused and kept talking. She tried changing the conversation asking for my credit card number. I asked if my flight is included (did not mention where I am located). She then transferred me to her "supervisor". He did not answer my inquiry about flight but instead repeated the same basic information as what "Chloe" did. I then kept asking for a call back number since I was "busy at the moment". He became unimpatient and hung up. 
    The number that appeared on my caller ID was 1-647-725-2914

    • Laura Beaudin

      That’s a Toronto area code. I live in southern Ontario, just outside Toronto, and I’ve received 3 calls in the last week from this company calling from 514-392-9121, which is a Montreal number. Looks like they target outside their local areas.

  • Stephen Cobb

    Congratulations Aryeh! This scam finally made the IC3 alerts:

  • duped

    So…I admit, I was retarded, so excited that I "won" a cruise and, yes, shamefully gave them my CC#.  THEN even worse, because you are told you have 18 months to book your cruise vacation, I waited 7 months before going online and reviewing the details and visiting their cheesy website.  After realizing this is an awful scam, I called them to try and get a refund.  After about 45 min on the phone with 3 people (2 reps, 1 supervisor), I was rudely told that I was bantering with them and I am not entitled to my $118.  Even if I don't travel within the 18 months, they will not refund the $118 because it's a port charge paid to the Bahama government.  Whether that's a lie or not, I'm not sure.  Since if no person actually goes on the cruise, why should they have to pay any government any tax fee?  So basically they feed off idiots like me and pocket the $118.  *Sigh*

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      I certainly don’t think you were dumb: These are scammers, and scammers prey on unsuspecting people.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Christine

    This just happened to me three times when I tried to make an outgoing call!! I was calling different places to check my accounts/pay bills–SHNBC, Kohls and Verizon and the phone would not let me call anyone without first being directed to this stuped “free cruise” bs line! I screamed at that woman so bad and told her I was going to have her arrested!!
    Then, I tried to call Verizon and got no answer–22 times!!!! This is bs–Im cancelling everything and shooting them all!!!

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Christine,

      Thanks for letting us know your experience—it sounds like their auto-dialler had some sort of problem and was caught in a loop calling your telephone over and over. Since using that type of technology for this type of call is illegal you should also file a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission about this abuse.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Jason

    I seem to get a call from these people every week (usually from a different number). I don't answer numbers I don't recognize, but when I look them up afterwards–yep, it's the cruise scam.
    The big question I have, given how long this has been going on, is why it hasn't been shut down yet. These are all U.S. numbers beings used. With hundreds or thousands of calls being made every week, can't the FBI, or whoever should be in charge of this, find them and shut them down?

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Jason,

      I believe the US agency responsible for investigating this is the Federal Trade Commission, not the FBI. The best thing you can do to fight this is to file a complaint with them using the form at


      Aryeh Goretsky

      • If it is done over the phone over state lines or though the mail over state lines it is wire and or mail fraud, and the FBI and the DoJ can be contacted, since it’s fraud over state lines.

    • PriyaVassi

      Canadian numbers are also being used. I wonder what is the appropriate entity to contact about this in Canada and if anyone has tried reporting it?

  • Alicia S

    Same quick survey, same promise, same follow up calls. As soon as I heard I would need to pay $120 for 2 people $59 per person) for "port fees", I asked if I could have them call me back/if I could call back after I checked on these "port fees" with my travel agent since it didn't make sense to me that, before you even BOOKED the actual cruise, you needed to pay something. A supervisor was brought on the line & tried to give me the spiel. He told me it was a one time offer, just as the Packers don't get a 2nd chance at Super Bowl (nice touch since I am in fact from Green Bay lol), I couldn't call back so I either needed to accept or decline immediately. I chose the "decline" option. Called my mom, who's been on cruises, and she said she didn't even know what a port fee was. Then saw this article. Yup-same ship as mentioned in article. Luckily for me, I'm immediately suspicious of things that sound too good to be true.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      Thanks for the feedback; I also checked with my travel agent as part of the research into this article as most of our travel as threat researchers is by airplane and not via cruise ship.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Annette

    I too was scammed today while trying to call Khol's to inquire why my order had not arrived. My phone temperarely highjacked.  I too was fast talked, bullied and lied to by Celebration Cruise Line/ Caribbean Cruise/ VCS Vacation.  I called back within an  hour when I found out I had been charged. The supervisor "Adam" actually told me I would not get a refund and this phone call is over.  He then hung up on me after claimming I was rude to him all the while I couldn't get a word in while he spoke to me in a way that leads to divorce in couples.  Actually I listened patiently to four individuals Carla, Shaquita, Mary and Latrice all of which did all the talking, none of them heard a word I tried to get in edgewise.  At this point cruise or not, I would not trust this company with my vacation plans. I work to hard for my money and Disney these bucket heads are not!  They have demonstrated  a  level of  complete and utter disregard for the consumer.  The "How Dare You" attitude of the employees is amazing.  Hopefully I will get my money back, I have filed fraud complaint with my bank, The  Florida Department of Consumer Affairs and The Florida BBB.  If you find and believe anything good about this company, and choose to spend your vacation with them,  cross your fingers and hope nothing goes wrong.  Simple put they don't care if your are happy.  Hallmark signs of a scam artist at work.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Annette. I hope that your bank is able to get your money back for you.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Sophia

    I just had a painful experience with them. After they spent hours with me on the phone, I decided to buy the package cuz they told me I could cancel it within one week with a full refund. However, when I tried to cancel it with them, they tried to argue with me on why I decided not to give it a try and what articles did I read from online. They insisted the articles were not telling the truth.  I called several times, and each time ended up with the similar rudeness that they hang up the phone with me. I am still in the process of working with my credit card company to get this resolved.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      Disputing the charge with your credit card company is probably the best thing to do in this situation.


      Aryeh Goretsky

    • Sophia, Please see my post above. I had a similar experience and was terrified of going through the refund process, however I received a very prompt refund when I sent in written notice. I hope this helps!!

  • Deanna Hardaway

    Thats why when I get these suspicious calls I check  make sure if its a scam or not. It saved me from making a couple mistakes. Don't give out your credit card info before doing your homework.

  • Taylor

    Not a single person on here has said how this is a scam. I actually worked at caribbean cruise line. They tell everybody that the port taxes are non-refundable in verification. So my question to all of you is, "What is the scam?" Do you know what the word "scam" means? If you paid your port taxes and decided you did not want the cruise 7 months later, how is that a scam? Do any of you know what port taxes are? Every cruise line has to charge port taxes. Those are taxes that go to the port authority for the shipping using a federal port. You all make me laugh. 

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Taylor/Morgan,

      Thank you for your comment. I thought it was pretty clear that this was a scam, as well as how it worked, but I can see how as an employee of the company operating it, you might feel otherwise. So, in a nutshell, a robodialler calls one at home, work, or wherever, with a fake political survey from a fake polling organization. Once completed, the victim is told that they have one a free cruise, only to be subject to paying “port taxes” (plus beverages on-board the ferry, etc.). So, in other words, it’s not really free, there are expenses involved. Also, government-imposed port fees (i.e., port taxes) have to be refunded when a port of call is canceled—which may either be a reimbursement or a credit for services on board the ship.

      Then, there’s the whole business of using high-pressure sales tactics to get vacationeers to sign up for timeshares, as has been reported numerous times.

      In the case where someone does not actually even board the ship, asking them to pay a “non-refundable port tax” seems a little shady to me, at the very least.

      Since you seem rather dogmatic that this scam is, indeed, an aboveboard legitimate business enterprises, I am not sure what I can say to convince you otherwise. Therefore, I’ll instead give you the following two resources to follow up on, should you so desire:

      Thank you for taking the time to write.


      Aryeh Goretsky

      • Michael

        Aryeh hello I was calling my AMX card around Christmas and got this company instead. up front the message I listened to said I won a free cruise … but as I listened it did say I would have to pay 59.00 pp for port tax so me being me I waited and ended up talking to a man named Randall S EN 6651 employee number I write everything down I talked with him for over 45 min he did answer all my question I had and my wife also went as far as to give me the Ramada Inn number where I would be staying while I was in Ft Laud, as i was still talking to him my wife called and they did confirm that they work with this company. I also did read the scam reports before I gave my credit card info as I used my AMX and am covered against any fraud charges. Well we just got back and yes it is a real ship and a real vacation I paid 935.00 and got everything I was told I would get.. Is it a scam yes and no yes because they do the robo calles no because they do give you what they say they will bty I dialed the wrong number on my AMX card that day

    • Sopheap Chea

      How do you pay for a port fee when you haven’t even gone on the trip yet? THAT makes me laugh. I have been on many cruises and never had to pay a port tax fee.

      • Michael

        Yes you were it is included in the coast of the cruise ie the cruise being free you have to pay port taxes

      • Bologna

        I agree, i’ve never had to pay a port tax fee either…

      • john

        This taylor guy is an big time — hole, he is making fool . go and make fool urself.

    • Mish

      U are part of this scam!!!!
      How one they don’t have an office and abruptly hang up !

  • SpeiCee

    I was just called by the number (360) 460-5964.  If this is the same scam, which having read these posts I can assume that it is a virtual certainty, then they are presenting the scam slightly differently.  The questionaire was about living situation: do I rent or own, does my residence have sewage or septic, and also have I earned a college degree.  After the questionaire I was immediately connected to an operator who did not request any financial information, only my name.  Before I was even willing to give that I asked some questions.  She diverted my questions related to the trip (where does the ship take off, is air-fair included, etc) by saying she doesnt work for them and that she doesnt want to try to give information she hasnt been specifically provided.  Other questions she was more comfortable with answering.  ie "will anyone in future phone calls ask me for financial information and payment" — she said no!  ITS FREE!…  She re-itterated to me much the same as the automated operator explained that this opportunity is afforded due to the attempt to fill each ship to capacity.  Due to the fact that many people who would make the quick decision to go ahead and put a small port fee on the line in hopes of going on a free cruise I have also believe that this is potentially legit.
    I say that with somewhat of lightness – a legit program is not necessarily reflective of an enjoyable vacation.  I suspect that they do make a sweet handful of cash on persons who end up paying the "port fee" but dont end up being able to go.  The falacy with this whole website is that no one says anything about not being given a free cruise if they have attempted to schedule it.  The only "scam" I am convinced has been revealed is the early payment of port fees.  This, however, is not necessarily a scam.  I suggest instead of hearing anymore stories exactly like the ones already posted that we hear about an instance that is a true scam.
    For example it would be a true scam if you had tried to schedule the trip within the time frame given and were rejected over a large span of potential launch dates.  For instance, this is not a scam -like statement "sorry that ship is full, you could go on this ship though."  But this would be scam-like, "sorry that ship is full, and so is every other ship for the remaining 17 months of your 18 month window for the free cruise.
    Don't get me wrong.  It goes without saying that the business plan of these individuals is sketchy.  I'd say it is likely that it is at least a lie that they do not make some to all of the money of "port fees" with canceled accounts.  I consider this bad business, as well as morally wrong.  However, if one has the ability to get to the ship, has an open schedule for being able to go on a trip, "when the trip is available for you," and will take action to get the trip planned and make it happen then I deduce that you can truly get a "free cruise" for the price of port fees.
    You need to realize though, a cruise is much like a high priced strip store with entertainment.  They throw a lot at you for free and put a lot of pressure on you to recipricate on the financial balance at your own discretion if not by the price tag.  That is you are given the opportunity to tip everyone on the ship, plus most products on the ship is "screw your wallet expensive" and of cheap make.  Also, assume that you will not have any mobile connection without paying 5$ – 10$ per minute.  But if you would at least be able to enjoy your time if you are lazily floating on a big boat and can ignore/divert the sell sell sell tactics, while having the relatively high quality free food… well then you can probably make the best of this.
    Tread lightly though, only do it if you WILL GET IT DONE.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      Thanks for updating us on the scammer’s latest polling scheme and your feedback, SpeiCee.


      Aryeh Goretsky


  • angie lopez

    After all the above comments I can add one more thing that happened to me.  I called back and I said can I give you a credit card that I can purchase for the $118.00 that would cover the port tax fee?  I was given the following response.
    " well since this is your second call to us we are limited one call per customer so you have to go to our website and log in we do not garantee that you will be able to get the same promotion that we offered you on the first phone call we made to you"

  • D Winslow

    We just got the same scam.  I was calling the number on the back of my Khol's credit card to activate the card, when the voice said, Congratulations, you just won a two night cruise to the Bahamas, press any button to speak with a Caribbean Cruise representative.  Spoke to a representative who gave me all sorts fo confirmation codes, emails, etc but being cautious did not give any credit card information.  Certainly sounded legit but have our doubts.  Still need to call coroporate Khol's to let them know what happened.  After hanging up, called the Khol's number again and was able to activate my credit card.  How in the world were they able to hijack that number?

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello D Winslow,

      Thanks for your feedback!

      This sounds like a problem with the bank of phone numbers used by Kohl’s. What was the number given on the Kohl’s credit card? Have you contacted their corporate office to ask them about this rather strange event?


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Don

    ALL numbers having a prefix of 360 and 206 that have called me are blocked on my phone. These recorded messages are phone spam. "Hello. This is your captain speaking." If everyone who received these calls reported them to the BBB, the BBB would be overwhelmed and stop recording.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      The 206 area code is for Seattle, Washington, and 360 for outside of Seattle, so you may be doing yourself a disservice by blocking those area codes.

      That said, I do not think it is a bad idea to file a complaint with the BBB and the FTC. The more people that complain, the more likely it is for them to do something about the scam.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • K. Askeland

    I’m surprised by the number of folks that fall for these scams. I have been receiving calls for weeks … no make that months. Most times I am on my antique rotory phone so I can’t respond to the Robo caller. When I use my push button phone I like to string them along … and in the end ask to be removed from their calling list. I still receive the calls so I give them A for persistance.

    Today I received mail advising me that i had won a FREE trip to the Bahamas along with a $1300 voucher. I was SOOOO excited. LOL

    I always remember what my mother told us … “If it sounds too good to be try … then it probably is.” NOTHING IS FREE!!!! Wake up folks!!

  • jv

    Just got a similar call, a woman saying “Congratulations you’ve been selected to receive a free cruise to the Bahamas” from 202-407-3261. Scammers.

  • britt jackson

    They are now running this scam in on radio air play with the phone number 18003684315.

  • James Maxx

    I received the same exact scam in the mail. Opened the envelope and there were 2 fake boarding passes and a $1300 fake check from Caribbean Cruise Line. I called the 1-800-586-6693 number and this cheerful Midwestern man gives me the whole friendly sales talk about the cruise. At the end of 15 minutes of talking he says I need to pay $59 for my wife and I via credit card. I played dumb and said to him I already have boarding passes which means I paid, and I don’t have any credit cards. He was suddenly pretty annoyed and hung up :-D

  • 1Chanel

    New phone number is 1-800-441-1524— When I called, as getting very frustrated by the calls on both my cells, my home land-line and my work land line—They hung up on me when I asked to talk to a manager– so then I decided to have some fun- I am phoning them at 1-800-441-1524– and screaming I won I won— then calling and letting them know this is a fun game they taught me– phone people repeatedly—- then hang up!

    I ‘think’ they may remove my number–

  • Shelby

    I just got one from a different number. Anyone seen one from 775-400-8245?

  • Lily

    I’m pretty sure they pulled my credit without permission. I have not been answering their calls after first talking with them and realizing it was a scam. I did not give them permission, and they somehow accessed a local number to call me so I would pick up and gave me the information that way. The guy then mentioned my credit report. What the hell? Isn’t that illegal? Can I sue?

  • Stephen Cobb

    Lily — That does sound pretty extreme. We do not provide legal advice here, but if I thought someone was looking at my credit report for marketing purposes I would contact an attorney and the FTC

  • Stephen Cobb

    James – We appreciate this update on their tactics. If you have time to file a complaint with the FTC that would help. The more complaints they get, the more likely they will take action (and the FTC does sue and fine companies, it is one of the better .gov agencies):

    • Mish

      Why not just call them back on +1 (800) 586-6693
      And threaten them that u are with some fraud bureau and ur act has been caught and the secret service is now on your case. U can run but you can’t hide. Muhahaha

  • Stephen Cobb

    That is indeed their number. Where are you hearing this on the radio?

  • Look at this well developed scam (Caribbean Cruise Line & the Berkley Group) at

    • Stephen Cobb

      Thank you for sharing.

  • john harper

    I work for them also. It’s not a scam. It’s a promotional call. We thouroughly go over all the details before transfering you to a verification department that goes over all the details again and make you an audio verbal receipt. Of course we try to upsale you a better room on the ship and get you to stay longer on the Island. We send people toMexio and Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando. It’s telephone sales. Sales is the art of persuasion. No one is forcing you to go on vacation. It might not be the best cruise line available in your opinion but they did travel over half a million people to the Bahamas last year.

    • bluega11

      Your post is excellent,and i feel to be factual, My wife and i cruise every other year or so. The moment you check into the hotel or set feet on the streets outside people would be promoting free Disney , or other theme parks tickets and free parking most was given to you after a Time Share presentation. The man promise us a free lunch a tour of a beautiful Time Share Resort,and oh yell about three hundred dollars worth of free amusement park tickets , Well we had a a very good lunch at the resort ,a tour of one beautiful family sweet,follow by a sale pitch presentations all of this took about an hour of our time.Companies who do these promotions out there are not all crooks and scammers ,most of the time it just a way to promote a product.The Time Share presentation that we set in on in Orlando had many time share buyers that day,because we talk to several before and after that presentation,no my wife and i didn’t buy a Time Share that day but we got everything the promotional guy promise.I don’t know why so many posters on this site would be so outrage about paying a 59.00 dollar tax feed and other appropriate taxes ,if you can’t afford the taxes and the fee services, why would be going on a cruise,free or not broke.

      • MKinSoCal

        I am in agreement for you. Why people so mad when offer so great. Please take call and receive wonder oportunity when travel. We are acceptating all credits card. Uh huh . . .

  • Rocky

    I called to cancel my phone and was on hold. I listened to a recorded message stating that I had won a “free cruise vacation for 2”. On further inquiry I was told they would charge $119 dollars for a cruise vacation for 2. Also they said that I was a “VIP” and offered me a $3000 package for $500 for hotel stay in miami and bahamas. I actually gave them my information and bought the package.

    Less than a minute later I realized how insane this was. I called up my credit card and the Banker was understandable baffled. She told me to dispute the charge and Call up VCS and cancel the charge.

    Here s where it got ugly. After being transferred, I was on the phone with a guy who was rude and possibly angry. After an uncomfortable conversation for about 30 mins, he transferred me to a “supervisor”.

    It was back to square 1 with this guys. Same Freaking Questions. ” why dont you want it anymore? but you just paid? Let me explain what you just bought …….” This went on for abt 20 mins

    I finally asked him “All you need to tell me is, can you cancel the charge? yes or no. If no then I will fight it as a fraud.”

    He asked me if I wanted to Buy some land instead of the vacation(or atleast thats what I thought he said.)

    He also tried to give me a “partial refunds”. I finally told him that I m leaving and need to hang up and I ill fight this charge as a fraud.

    He said he can refund the money in 7-10 days.

    If you are in my situation: Be calm even if they are rude. Be firm that you want to cancel the charge and make sure to let them know that you know your rights.

    Hope you guys learn from my incident.

    • QShay

      Did you ever get your money back? I called and they are sending me papers to sign.

      • david

        I just got the call and wouldn’t give my card number thank god I am an untrusting person. It was from 7542120270

        • Tam

          I just received a call from the exact same number as you this morning. I asked the lady if this was a scam, she said no. Thank god I didn’t give her any information.

    • Brian Maldonado

      I got the call but because of this site I didn’t get scammed. I let him run his shpeal until he got to the credit card part then I said I just found out that this is a scam and hung up.

  • Carol

    I just got a pseudo boarding pass saying if I call a number within 72 hrs I can get a 3 day cruise for 2. Has anyone else had this experience?

  • naheed

    I am in Calgary Canada. I got the 5 question opinion poll and told they would call me back to give me details on my free cruise. I was like, yah right! today, about 5 days later, I got a call from the cruise company and blah blah they read everything of the details. the “travel agent” would keep exclaiming at all the great things on board and I would be like “yah” waiting for the catch. then it comes 118.0 in port charges. I laughed and said you really think I am going to pay that. its a scam! he was affronted! he said let me take your e-mail address in three minutes I will send you our website and bonded number and trade number and then you can call us back and get the free cruise. ten minutes gone by….no mail!!!!

    • Stephen Cobb

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Dann

    New number again. 13139385288.
    This has been going on for almost a year now.
    People need to stop filing complaints and start demanding action from the authorities. These people should have been dealt with a long time ago.

  • Sopheap Chea

    I received a text from saying “Congratulations! Your Entry has won. Call now to claim your Trip to the Bahamas Call 855-679-0021 Now!!” I don’t remember entering a contest for a cruise but I do enter many contests so I wasn’t sure. I called and they said everything mentioned above about the $59 and what not. When I was about to give them my card # I had a bad feeling and asked them if they could put me on hold cause I wanted to speak to my boyfriend about it. They were hesitant about doing it and said they’d add him to the call. I was put on hold and I looked up if this was a scam and came across this page so I hung up. They tried to call me three more times but I didn’t not answer and they did not call my boyfriend either.

  • Attia

    I just received a phone call from an automated machine to participate in a survey for a free cruise as well. There were five questions after such I was prompted to press 1 to receive a phone call from a travel agency. After pressing 1, I received a busy signal and hung up. A lady called about 5 mins later in regards to the free cruise prize for 2 for answering her survey. I got bored and denied the whole thing stating she must have the wrong number. She apologized but before she hung up I heard her say “I have to leave somebody is hacking our system.”

  • Michelle

    I just got off the phone with a manager who was put on the line when I refused to pay in advance for port fees or to give any credit card info and was asked why I didn’t freely give that info to a stranger. They did not call me with a survey but sent a letter with the offer of a free cruise. Otherwise , it sounds like the same company referred to by previous posts. I made the call to them but waiting for the “catch” and when I heard the request for money and when I heard the inane question by the manager I politely said no thanks and hung up. So beware of letters as well as calls.

  • Chandice

    Just a few minutes ago a Cruise Line company called me and I spoke to a man named “Bob McHenry”. He also said I was extremely lucky to only have to pay a government tax fund of $59. He asked me about my first and last name and what state I am from. Eventually he discovered there was no adult around but practically pleaded and begged to speak with my mom. I said no, hung up, and now I am here trying to figure out if it was all just a scam.

  • Chandice

    “Bob” also kept telling me I had 18 months to get ready and that after my cruise I needed to tell everyone how great it was advertise for them. It sounded reasonable to me but now I am not so sure.

  • franceska saint-juste

    hi ! i’m franceska and they tried to scam me too! i’m from montreal canada. this are the numbers they used : 1-416-905-2175

  • Bernd Stromberg

    Just got a call from 1(281)382-6532
    It was showing Houston Texas on the display
    She wanted to offer me a free cruise as well.
    But i hung up after 30 seconds, i dont have patience for this.
    I just feel sorry for the people that are a victim to this scam.
    They have to spend precious time to try and get their money back.
    Life’s too short and those lowlifes should go to jail for a long time

  • Suzette Poirier

    Just received this same pitch, but the cruise company name was “Royal Bahama”. I bailed when they said they wanted to charge $59 dollars in “Port Taxes” in advance, and needed my credit card number to charge it to. Pffft!

  • adamd1

    Was there any result after this? I’ve been getting these calls repeatedly for nearly two full years now.

  • Tara

    Just received a call from a “lady robot” saying I’ve won a free cruise to Bahamas and all I have to do is answer some questions. As soon as I heard that I hung up, never getting to to the survey (too good to be true). I googled it right away only to learn that my instinct was right and it’s a scam.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have Caller ID on my cellular, so I don’t know what their number was. What I can tell you is that I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada–neighbours, beware!

  • Thimbles

    Just got an offered a cruise to the Bahamas on my Rogers cell in British Columbia. Same automated call script asking me to complete a 30 second survey.

    I pressed 9 and hung up.

    Phone number was from Ontario Canada. 416-613-5802

    Turns out a couple of people are getting this scam.

  • Weary

    Thanks for the info, I just received a robo-Sally from (416) 613-5802. It offered the Bahamas cruise for 2 for a quick survey. I was a telemarketer for a summer job who did survey’s for a vacuum company so I wasn’t up for my ‘free’ prize. I hung up, looked online and found your story and thought I’d thank you for the info.

  • Cheryl J

    I have got a robo-call contact about winning a cruise & I just have to do a survey several times in the last couple years. I just ignored them until the other day when I was bored and thought I would see what would happen. The survey had 5 Canadian styled questions about what was more important to me the economy, immigration or something else etc. They said again that I had won and I didn’t catch what I was supposed to do & the call ended. I thought I wonder what this scam is, especially since they didn’t transfer me to anyone. The next day a “travel agent” robo-call came with a female voice saying for me to call her back to set up the vacation. I never did but a couple days later a man called to try to close the deal. It was an actual person and he said they do this to promote there cruises & that I would be expected to provide word of mouth regarding my vacation. They asked I was over 18, told me I would need ID, passport since I was in Canada and credit card to pay for the tax. I was curious about how this worked so I went along for a bit. He wanted my credit card and I said I was not prepared to provide it right now. My husband heard me talking about not giving out my credit card and asked what the call was. I asked the man if he could hold for a second while I talk to my husband at which point he hung up on me. He has not called back yet (it was earlier today). I was a bit surprised since he didn’t try to hard to suck me in. Will see if he calls back. I went online to see if anyone else had info on the scam. Hi, guys. I had wanted to ask them to send me something in writing & I am interested in one of the comments below that said they did send out mail to him.


    My wife called FAMILY DOLLAR and was told by a robo message that she had won a 3 day, 2 night “free” cruise. Once connected, she was told that she would need to use her cc for two people at $59.00 each. She said no thank you because we had no way to get to FL. The lady said, “thank you” and hung up.

  • Dale CHadwick

    OMG. I don’t know what got into me. At a very weak moment, I booked the 3 day 2 night free cruise to the Bahamas on the “Bahama Celebration”. It took me over a half hour to decline the offers to “upgrade” my vacation. I stated explicitly that all I wanted was the 3 day 2 night cruise. The insisted that I take the extra stay at Miami or Orlando. WHy would I want to stay in Miami or Orlando when the cruise left from West Palm Beach???. Stupidly, and I mean stupidly, I paid the up front “port taxes”, $237. Within 24 hours I called to cancel, knowing it would be a challenge. It was. I will not go into detail, but PLEASE PLEASE warn as many people as you can that this is a total scam. The only reason that I was able to get my money back was because I did not take their ridiculous offer to stay in Orlando or Miami. If I had, my $237 would have NOT been a port tax at all, but would have constituted a pre-payment for the cruise which was not by law, refundable. Whom, oh whom, can I contact to put “Bahama Celebrations” out of business. I don’t know how this company (if that is what it is) can continue this scam.

  • curiousq

    Please can someone explain why this is a scam. Has anyone been on the free cruise ?

  • Grendeb

    How do we stop this?

    • Hello Grendeb,

      The best thing to do is to report the scam to your state attorney general’s office, the Better Business Bureau, the state of Florida’s attorney general’s office, and, of course, share information about the scam with your friends and family so they won’t be taken by it.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • PriyaVassi

    got this one in Montreal and have gotten it multiple times, so annoying

  • Jasmin

    My father bought the extended package along with the “free” cruise. He ended up going and took my little sister. They had a lot of fun. He had to buy his own plane tickets and they had to sit in a timeshare presentation. I know of a few people that did it… I actually just received a free cruise call and my friend told me it’s a scam? So I listened to the call and they do lie and hold some information back to get you to take the cruise. Overall I wouldn’t consider it a scam.. a little misleading..

  • Anonymous

    I just recently had this experience however I accidently called them. I was trying to call the SF Firemens Credit Union and instead of dialing 1-888-499-3473 I dialed 1-800-499-3473. These people lied to me when I asked them if it was the SF Firemens Credit Union and they told me “Oh there is backlog of calls and you are being diverted to us” which of course made me feel they were somehow associated with the SF Firemens Credit Union. I was suckered as well, for port fees of $118.00 and then they tried to sell me other things. I then told them no to everything. Here is how low down these people are, I even told them I was in default with credit card so they would not be able to run the charges and that is the reason I was trying to contact the SF Firemens Credit Union, their response “oh no problem we can work around that” After that I made the correct call to my Credit card company and explained all that to them and cleared my balance with credit card company and then had to cancel my credit card. I have never been so happy I was in trouble with my credit card in my life because sure enough even though I told these scammers no, they still tried to run the charge but it was declined by my credit card company saving me many months of grief.

  • Manny

    i was at work and called my tech line cause i was having computer issues, and a robo-voice came on, it said i have won a trip for two to the bahamas. I almost hug up cause the first thing that poped in my head was scam, but i did not. before i pressed the opt to connect to a live rep i double checked the number to make sure i called my tech support line and i was correct. So i chose to speak with a rep, after talking to him he basically said the same thing you guys are saying pay 59 for two yada yada yada. but he did say i have 60 days to call him back to book it and 18 months to use it. So what im woundering is this a scam or legit. I dont work for a small company either its a nation wide company. Autozone. so what should i do? call back and pay or call my employer and report this. I guess i could just call my employer and ask if its real. the guy did say that some companys get together with there so employes can win. Whats yalls take on the situation?

    • Hello,

      This remains a scam, and you should definitely notify your employer, Manny.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Rouge

    I dont understand how this is legal?…. How is this company sustaining itself and not being sued?

    The # that called me was 1-902-708-8306

    • Hello,

      My initial guess would be that the individual losses from this scam are not large enough to warrant prosecution, unless it was prosecuted under a racketeering statute so a pattern of criminal behavior (and true scope of the losses) could be examined. Then again, I am not a lawyer so cannot say for certain.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • darren

    I live in southern alberta and just got a call telling me i won a free cruise for two and all i had to do was complete a short survey it sounded too good to be true and was immediately suspicious.Afterwards i found this blog detailing it as a HIGH PRESSURE SALES SCAM if anyone is interested the number is19027088309

  • Mish

    Exact same thing happened to me. When I asked if this is a scam, what’s the catch, she laughed and said it’s just a promotional scheme.
    When I said I will not be paying anything over the phone, she transferred me to another lady who said this is a phone only offer and u can’t pay at our office. Then she abruptly ended the call with a laugh at her other colleague.

  • JOYce

    I am getting the same call every day on my house phone and when i’m at my bf’s house he get the same call from the same number. the number is 778 807-9600. The calls are getting very annoying an pissing me off.

  • VastSky

    When I receive a call of this sort I simply repeatedly push the “5” key on my phone which replays the message over from the beginning, over and again until I have keep this bot occupied for as long as I can stand it. I figure it might annoy the bots owner as much as receiving their bot call….

  • Stef

    What can I do to stop those harassing phone calls? I think I must have received those calls about ten times in the last three months.

    • Hello,

      You should definitely file a complaint with your phone company and the local Better Business Bureau, as well as a report with your local police department and perhaps even your district attorney’s office (if you are in the US). As these agencies receive more reports, they will be better able to take action against the fraudsters behind this scam.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • FlyHigh

    The free Bahama cruise has been offered several times to my phone answering system. Do not press 9. Isn’t that the selection that lands you with a huge phone bill?

  • André Guyon, Chelsea, QC, Can.

    Those scammers also call in Canada. The canadian laws prohibit this type of publicity. I unfortunately could not “press one” successfully to tell them. I wanted to hear them tell me who the company was, and then to file a complaint. I receive those annoying calls almost every second week, either at home or at work.

    But thanks for this Web page as it tells me what that is all about.

  • Luis Hernandez

    Please read my review on Yelp! ( ). I have provided links and numbers in U.S. And Canada where you can file complaints. They’re presently being investigated by the Florida State Attorney General’s Office. I completed and sent an affidavit that I mailed to Florida to stop the robocalls from these scammers.

    • Thanks for that, Luis. I’m sure people that side of the Atlantic will find those links very useful.

  • sophie

    I called them three or four times but the number isn’t working.

    • Hello,

      Scammers frequently change phone numbers as the ones they use become increasingly blocked. You may have to find a new working phone number to use if you need to call them. One possible source might be the local Better Business Bureau office.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • QShay

    I’m dumb. I called then gave them my grandparents’ debit card # and then told my grandparents’ about it after I hung up with them…so my Gram called back and told them I used an unauthorized card. HOPEFULLY I get a refund back! They said they was going to charge me for fraud but my Gram told them I’m a minor so they are sending some papers in the mail for me to sign. I really f—ed the pooch with this one…ughh. I just hope everyone who falls for this like I did, gets their money back.

    • Hello,

      I strongly suggest that you have your grandparents contact their bank to dispute the charge.


      Aryeh Goretsky

      • YU Chai

        I just got the called today and I payed total is almost 300 dollars. After I payed, I felt it was a cheated call. So I went to my bank immediately. My bank said they would capture my money and the money have not been transacted. But I was wondering if there is a chance I cannot get my money back?

  • Andi

    my parents called their credit card company and got a call rerouted somehow to a very VERY similar cruise line scam saying they won a free cruise but they had to pay etc amount for the taxes… Also there was noise in the background sounded like people arguing etc.

  • Rich

    My “free” cruise from Royal Bahama is not entirely a scam but there is enough deceptive wording and hidden charges that it verges on that. It is a cheap cruise but certainly not free.We declined the cheap hotel ($49 for two nights, some very bad reviews). Plus hotel requires time share ordeal.

    Here is my info.

    Royal Bahama Cruise Line

    3 days – 2 nights, stopping 12 hours (or 6 – 8 hours depending on who you are talking to) in Grand Bahama.

    30 – 60 days advance booking. Requested dates were guaranteed to me (except Christmas to New Years) and that was no problem (plenty of empty cabins I guess).

    $118 port fees for 2 passengers. We have an “inside cabin” (they tried to upsell me to outside).

    $99 to add a child

    Other charges (some disclosed only after paying 118):

    $12 gratuity/person/night = $72

    Parking 15 x 2 days = 30

    Fuel charge $12/day/person = $108 (“if oil is over 40 a barrel at the time of the cruise” but it appears that it is currently $99 a barrel, hasn’t been under $40 since 2003, so unless oil prices drop to less than half, this will be another additional charge but they make it sound like a maybe.)

    Drinks are another charge (except coffee or tea). I’m thinking BYOB.

    Grand Total of free cuise for 3: $427 plus drinks — cheap but not free.

    We will be sailing on the Bahama Celebration. Leaving from Palm Beach. But we have to go to Ft. Lauderdale to register/check in before cruise, 45 mins away:

    Welcome Center, Ramada Inn

    5100 North State Rd 7

    Ft. Lauderdale 33319

    Then go the pier:

    Palm Beach

    1 East 11 St.

    Riviera Beach, 33404

    Room for 4 people in cabin.

    First time I called I was on hold for 30 mins. A week later, I called the “corporate offices” number and hung up after 5 min wait. Called 1-800 number later and it was only a few mins.

    • Hello Rich,

      The scammers behind this scam seem to make changes to their “offering” based on how much publicity (news reports, BBB rating, etc.) they are receiving to something that sounds more realistic and respectable. After the heat dies down, they return to their scammy ways.

      Thanks for the update.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Josh

    I received a Scam text saying this message here “You just earned a new warm journey on all of us telephone to get now [954=239=2302.” I knew right along that it was a Scam message because it was from a Fake email address from a fake website called Cruise Today Alerts. I researched online trying to see if others had gotten Fake text messages about being selected for a Free Cruise. The message didn’t specify where the cruise is going to, where it’s originating from, how many can come on the cruise, the price of the cruise, and the date & time of the cruise. I muted the text and deleted it.

  • Autum

    I have a question for you, Aryeh. What if you get some mail informing me I’ve been identified to recieve a FREE 2 night Cruise for 2 adults in the Grand Lucayan Bahamas resort, I believe. It’s telling me to call this phone number:1-800-586-6693 and has given me a confirmation#. It also has what looks like a copy of a Boarding Pass cruise redemption voucher and says it’s issued by Holiday Cruise Line. Date issued: 05/02/14 Please give me some kind of advice. Should I just throw this away? If not and it’s real…I love to give it to my parents as a mother’s day present. But if not I’ll throw it away.

    • Hello Autum,

      A general rule-of-thumb about scams and cons is that they offer something which sounds “too good to be true.”

      Cruise lines have to pay for fuel and salaries for their employees and port fees and all sorts of other expenses, so it seems unlikely they would give away travel for free without even attempting to cover those costs, let alone make a little profit.

      Keep in mind, that just because an email or a web page (or even a piece of postal mail) looks “real” with the right logos, fonts and colors, doesn’t mean that it is legitimate. For example, it take a criminal only a few minute’s worth of effort to save the home page and login page of a bank’s web site and then edit it in order to make a phishing site.

      If you have replied to the mail, or given them a credit card number, I would recommend contacting you bank and disputing the charges. If you have not replied, well, might I suggest flowers for Mother’s Day?

      Thanks for your question!


      Aryeh Goretsky

      • Autum

        Thank you for that info, Aryeh. It’s really helpful.

        • approach

          David Harley
          Small Blue-Green World ESET Senior Research Fellow

  • Choice

    OK I just got a voucher in the mail about the cruise before I called the number my app called call I’d identified the number and this website popped up. After reading I call led the number it was a lady I gave her my name before she could say anything else I told her that please stop sending me junk mail and that I worked for the FBI this is a scam and told her that her company is not even accredited. She proceeded to argue on the phone with me. I said even if you wasn’t a scam artist you sure as hell didn’t learn shit from school or the splendid job you have about customer service. Regardless if its a recorded line why argue with customers silly hoe!!!

  • Alena

    I just got a call from this number with the same scam information (I live in Ottawa, ON)! Thank you for posting this information so that I can avoid con artists, and my heart goes out to all those who have been taken advantage of. It’s a scary world out there and as much as we all wish to believe the best of those we talk to, in this day and age it’s a gamble every time.

  • Chantal

    I know this is an old article, but it looks like the best place to mention this. I looked on the BMO website this morning for the customer care number for my mastercard, and the number listed took me to a recorded message saying I’d won a 2-day free cruise to the Bahamas and a $600+ voucher to put towards a vacation package, both anytime within the next 18 months. I called another BMO number to find out what was going on and was told that their actual number (1-800-263-2263) was one digit different from the one I found on their website (1-800-236-2263). I know pure human error could have been the cause, but I find it suspicious that that particular wrong number led to a scam.

  • techraan

    I just got that same call. It’s automated but it’s got a little AI going where it can even tell you it’s a live agent when you ask. I’m an old tech, so I asked it a simple Math questions. What is 4 X 2? It hung up.

  • Amber

    I got a call offering a free 2 night cruise to the Bahamas if I took a short survey. I took the survey, though, the automated system had trouble getting my answers. First red flag. It said I would get a call from a liscenced travel agent within 48 hours. Not even 2 minutes later I get the call. Second red flag. I answer and this woman started in on if i’m ready she will start explaining everything. However, the loud music in the backround was rather distracting. Third red flag. She asked me what state I was from and I thought that was odd because she called from the same area code that I obtain. Fourth red flag. I then came right out and asked if it was a scam. She nervously chuckled and said “you think this is a scam because I don’t know what state you are from” I replied “exactly” she then told me to have a great day and hung up the phone. I think I’ll be put on their do not call list. Beware, things like this are almost guaranteed a scam.

  • Susan

    I just received a phone call from “robo Sally” LOL. It was a 408 number and she was excited to tell me that I had just won a free cruise to the Bahamas… soon as I answered questions on the short survey, that is. I was given the option to press1 for the survey or press9 to be disconnected and my number would be removed from the call list. I selected the later and was disconnected.

  • Jim

    Just received this call from an East Texas number: 903-751-5195. They’ve called me before but from a diffferent number.

  • Adria

    Just received a call from (347) 213-0595 and they told me, “CONGRATULATIONS ! You won a free cruise for two to the Bahamas ! Just take a survey …” And I stupidly took it. I was asked between 5-7 questions regarding politics, health care, legalization of marijuana , etc. Automated voice said an agent would call me to book my trip. I realized this is BS. No agent has called.

    I’m nervous that this was a ploy to use my phone number to like crack into my phone or something ?! Is that possible?! Bc my banking info is on my phone (via apps)… I wish I didn’t take that survey ;(

    • Hello Adria,

      I have not heard of any smartphone hacking via this scam, which seems largely based on tricking you into giving them your credit card details. If a scammer asks you to install an app or visit a web site from your phone, I would not recommend doing so.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Krista Heart

    I just received a call from (832)630-9748. It was an automatic message saying that if I finish the survey I could get 2 free tickets for a cruise. The survey questions included if I approved of marijuana use for medical purposes and if I signed up for health insurance following Obama’s Healthcare Act among several other questions. When I finished the questions, the automatic message said that a travel
    representative would call me within 24 hours to book my cruise. Not 5 minutes
    passed when I received a call from (303)351-0587. It was “Jenny” (employee # UF073), from Royal Bahamas Cruise Line. She went on to tell me about the free trip that I’m getting and the amazing amenities the cruise ship (Bahama Festival) had. Just like in Aryen Goretsky mentioned in his post, the travel agent kept trying to sell me on the trip, the cruise leaves from Palm Beach, FL and that all I have to pay for is port fees, which are $59 each. I could pay by Visa or MasterCard. Moreover, I would have to pay for the port fees right then, I couldn’t hang up and call back tomorrow. While she was talking away, I was doing some research, found this post, and realized it was all a scam.

    Although it was an impressive scam. After I said that I thought it was a scam she offered to emailed me the specifics of my free trip (see below). Here is the email she sent me, so if you get a phone call about a free trip and any of this sounds familiar, run! via 8:46 PM (45 minutes ago)
    to me

    Welcome to Royal Bahama Cruise Line, The Exclusive Cruise Line of the Port of Palm Beach, and an Official Cruise Line of Grand Bahama Island.

    Your cruise experience is certain to be special aboard our fun-filled Bahamas
    Celebration, which was selected as the “Best Bahamas Getaway Cruise for three years in a row” by Porthole Magazine, one of the world’s leading cruise travel magazines. You qualify for our cruise by being one of the first 500 people today to take advantage of our national promotion.


    Your significantly discounted “Cruise and Resort Stay” vacation package features
    the perfect balance of extraordinary destinations, outstanding service and genuine
    hospitality! By combining a two night Royal Bahama Cruise, fabulous destinations in
    sun-kissed Florida and the tropical Bahamas, and featuring some of the most trusted
    names in travel – we have created your “one call does it all” Dream Vacation for


    2 Night Cruise for two aboard the Bahamas Celebration to Grand Bahama Island, with all your meals, entertainment and activities included onboard.
    $50.00 in Casino Match Play valid aboard ship in the Wynmore Casino.

    Your total package cost is only $59 ( including port tax )
    per person for the 1st and 2nd passengers, based on double occupancy.

    About our Cruise Line:
    Royal Bahama Cruise Line is proud to announce our flagship the Bahamas Celebration, and it’s selection by the Chief Editor of the prestigious Porthole Magazine as the “Best Bahamas Getaway Cruise in 2013”!

    Royal Bahama Cruise Lines, Bahama Celebration is the Exclusive Cruise ship of the Port of Palm Beach; and has been called the Port’s “Crown Jewel” by the Port’s Executive Director Manny Almira.

    Our flagship, the Bahamas Celebration, conveniently departs from the Port of Palm Beach in South Florida at 5:30 P.M. (EST), and travels round trip to Grand Bahama Island – widely regarded as “The Jewel of the Bahamas.” This tropical island paradise is known for its unspoiled powder-white beaches, crystal clear blue waters and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s also home to our luxurious resort destinations.

    Our luxury mid-size cruise ship boasts 500 well-appointed cabins, allowing us to
    travel up to 1,500 passengers comfortably. Cabin décor is modern and comfortable.
    With 24-hour room service available, and an emphasis on service throughout the ship, the Bahamas Celebration offers our travelers a memorable onboard cruise experience.

    Everyone knows cruising and dining are synonymous, and with the Bahamas
    Celebration, it’s no different. Multiple dining venues offer our passengers the choice of four distinct restaurants with mouth-watering cuisine sure to satisfy whatever their appetite is in the mood for. For starters, Rio’s is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style steakhouse and buffet, where gaucho carvers slice and serve up delicious meats. Trattoria Di Gerry is a casual Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, and salads until 3 am for quick bites and passengers with a late-night appetite. The Crystal Dining Room serves classic American fare from a broad menu, and the romantic Cove Restaurant is perfect for upscale dining. Of course, there’s also a delectable Buffet area on the upper deck pool along with relaxed pub and snack areas.

    There are also lots of amenities to enjoy onboard; including the extraordinary Fountain of Youth Spa to relax in, an invigorating Gym to work off some calories, a convenient full Beauty Salon, the Treasure Chest Gift Shop for that special present, the spacious Wynmore Casino with all the games of chance, our chic multi-story night club The View for dancing and entertainment, our delightful British-style Pub 437 for darts and a pint, the Ocean Breeze Lounge for viewing their favorite sporting event, an Internet Café to catch up with friends and family back home, a refreshing
    swimming pool on deck, and many fun kids’ areas for families with children of all ages. The options and fun are endless!

    For more information visit us at

    Shawn Engler
    President of Promotions
    Royal Bahama Cruise Line
    3208 E. Colonial Dr. STE 207
    Orlando,FL 32803
    Customer Care: Toll Free 1-800-291-1933,

    Monday – Friday 9 AM till 10 PM,
    and for your convenience Saturday 10 AM till 4 PM

    Passports on the ship are not required, but are useful and make getting on
    and off the cruise easier. For cruise only passengers that do not have a passport,
    a driver’s license and raised-seal birth certificate are required.

    For our customers that are staying on Grand Bahama Island with one of our stay and play packages, a passport is absolutely necessary.

    Get your Passport from U.S. Department of State
    If you want to get your Passport faster go here .

    Royal Bahama Cruise Line is registered, licensed and bonded with the State of Florida.
    S.O.T. Registration No. ST-38753.

  • Joanne Biggs

    I didn’t get a call, rather, I got a text telling me I had won a cruise to the Bahamas and a number to call to claim it. Annoying.

    • Appove

      • tchen

        Almost paid, almost believed them, because I had never been on a cruise, so I was kinda of believing it is my luck maybe, until I asked them i have to think about it then pay later, they seem to rush me to pay now, i start to feel skeptical, i let them to send me email and let the girl keep talking while i am checking this blog, knowing it is a scam. Thank you saving my money today. Noted, Everything you earn has to be the product of your own effort!!

  • Chris

    I think they’ve bought the NES “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” 1 (800) 232-3324 number, that was passed over to the seedy phone sex company. I called it to experiment, and heard Robo-John’s voice recording. Didn’t buy into it so after pressing 2 twice to see if I’d still reach the phone sex line, they hung up on me.

  • RAD

    I am the financial POA for my disabled sister. I monitor her financial accounts. I just found a pending transaction on her checking account from her bank acct credit card for $118 from VCS* Bahamas Cruise Tours. After reading your information above, I called my sister. She confirmed that she received a similar phone call and admits they were persistent. It is Sunday so I left a message for my sister’s personal banker asking her to either stop the transaction from processing if possible, otherwise to consider it a formal complaint/challenge of the transaction. My main question is whether the scammer is only after the $118 or will they proceed in fraudulently using her credit card? (i.e. Do we have to cancel her card & have it reissued?) Does anybody know this??!

    • Hello,

      It is hard to know for certain, and although I haven’t heard of further fraudulent activity, it probably would be a good idea to get the credit card reissued by the bank.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Embarrassingly enough, I also was tricked by this. I was uneasy the whole time and decided to Google it when I got off the phone. When I saw this and other articles I immediately called them back and told them I wanted to cancel because my girlfriend has an immunity issue that keeps her from being able to go on cruises like this (gotta fight bullshit with bullshit).

    The guy briefly tried to convince me to maybe take someone else instead, but I just said I was gonna surprise her with it and would feel bad taking someone else in her place. This was enough and he said he would cancel my order and I’d have the money refunded within the next 3-5 days!

  • Berrni Simon

    I called Rogers tel, to ask them about my new account, and I got the ‘congrats, you just won….” when I wouldn’t give out my credit card, she wouldn’t stay on line and talk to me about the my account, she admitted that I was transferred to the cruise LINE.

  • Berrni Simon

    PS, thanks for this site, as I was speaking to this woman on the phone, I was also reading the above information. Therefore I was able to avoid the scam, and all during the (so called promotion), I too was feeling very uneasy.

  • Guest51

    Just got one from mnran2294@takeafreevacation asking me to call 470-809-9118. Not answering it and will block number.

  • Christina Tokay

    Hello, I just got this same call just today and I stupidly gave them my credit card information… So is this a total scam??? They supposedly are charging my card for $255… Do I just file with my card saying it is a fraudulent charge??

    • Hello,

      That is probably a good idea, Christina.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • tori

    I just posted a YouTube video dealing with this exact scam:
    (video has the audio of the actual call – total bait & switch SCAM). My situation is identical to everyone elses; I was harassed with “YOU HAVE WON” calls for WEEKS. Sometimes even two to three calls per day.
    After the non stop harassment I decided to try to figure out what exactly this scam is. I still can’t figure out what the “phone survey” has to do with the “free cruise”, but you can tell from the audio that this is absolutely a violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

    So to respond to the commenter, “Taylor” who stated:
    “What is the scam?” Do you know what the word “scam” means? If you paid
    your port taxes and decided you did not want the cruise 7 months later,
    how is that a scam? Do any of you know what port taxes are? Every cruise
    line has to charge port taxes…”

    – The definition of “scam” is “a dishonest scheme; a fraud”.
    The definition of “fraud” is “wrongful deception intended to result in financial or personal gain” – and this is EXACTLY what this company is doing; – To explain what the “scam” is in regard to the “free cruise”; it is contacting someone to state they
    have “won” a “free” cruise (the definition of “Free” is “without cost or payment”.) Then when the winner attempts to collect their
    “free cruise” they are informed they HAVE NOT WON and MUST PAY to “be
    eligable” to “:win”; (AKA “pay to increase your chances of winning” – because without paying you have no chance of “winning” and cannot have the “free cruise”, as you will hear
    in the audio).

    Not only is this totally misleading and is the exact defintion of Fraud,
    but it is a violation of the Federal Trade Commission in terms of
    “prizes” (direct link to the Federal Trade Commission website in
    regard to “prize scams”

    The point being made is; if a company would like to offer a “discounted” cruise, then represent it as such.

    • X

      Same scam, same MO…Thank you for posting this, my lucky charmer today was 5613644140 Mike Rooney ext 2207. So it’s an ongoing scam in the U.S.A

  • Alexandra

    I answered three questions for a “free trip for two to the Bahamas”. Questions were about Obama care – did I have insurance?, marijuana legislation, was I in favor of medical marijuana, and one so banal I can’t remember it. Then it suggested if I press “1” on keypad they’d phone me in the next 24 to 48 hours for sorting out the details. Then I looked for it as a scam and found this. I did also get another call a few minutes later. West Palm Beach Fl 561-225-2168 was identified on my Call Log for its source, but there was no one on the line. 11-213-407-6426 was the number it identified for the original call. I’m obviously giving them no information, except they have my phone number.

  • Joel

    704-626-6262 called me yesterday eve with same pitch…

  • Hawiiantreat

    I’m embarrassed to say I feel for the scam. After giving my card information, I thought to look at their reviews and I found this website. I immediately asked to remove my information from their system and to not charge me for anything because I was not interested anymore. They had me talking to three different people claiming to be managers and the supervisor manager! They were not satisfied with my response and kept pressuring me into staying on the phone and waiting for a reservation number. I called my bank and told them that I have not authorized any transaction for $118.00 if it is withdrawn. THANK YOU FOR YOUR REVIEWS!!! You saved a college kid from being stupid and believing that trips and giveaways are truthful and real. PLEASE DONT BE LIKE ME AND REALIZE ITS A FAKE AFTER GIVING THEM YOUR CARD INFORMATION!

  • True north strong and free

    How can I get myself off the mail list for all these so called FREE Bahamas Cruise for Two scams. I am fed up with their mail coming to my box – how did they get my name anyway…..

  • Single Momma

    I was just called and asked my political views and stated that I won a free cruise for taking the survey. As the guy was talking, I googled scam for surveys and found article above. I started telling the guy things before he could say it, like $59.00 port After listening to his speech, I decided that I had enough and told him I have to go, but I did ask him how did you get my number, he stated the government can access anything. Too Funny.

  • Betty Camilo

    I got this call this week. Being the skeptic that I am, I had them email me any and all info they had about the “free” cruise that was going to cost me $120 (Clue #1). The lady on the phone was so much like a robot, reading from a script always scares me (Clue #2). I finally sat down today and went through the email: Everything sounds awesome! Still not convinced. Went to their site, it looks so cheap that even I could build it (Clue #3). Then I decide to research the company on Google and voila! Tons of pages full of info on how they are indeed a scam. My advice: Never purchase before researching!

  • suzanne

    Some creeps just tried to defraud me. I had been trying to reach my credit card company, MBNA for days, and finally got through, but was asked if I wanted to take a brief survey, where I would then win a free trip to the Bahamas. I said yes to the survey, thinking it was connected to MBNA, since it was THEIR number I was calling…well, after these scammers got my credit card info and booked me for a cruise, I called my credit card company, still not fully suspecting anything was amiss…I innocently said something like ‘hey, great idea giving free cruises’…..his response at MBNA customer service was “WHAT!!?” I told him what happened, how these creeps are using MBNAs one phone line, a number I have used for years with no problem. He then said it was a fraud and he was ‘escalating me to the fraud dept’. I had moved so quickly on this, lucky for me, that these jerks were not able to charge anything on my card and my cards are cancelled. So neener, jerks, you aced a big fat zero. The number the ‘cruise line’ gave me for ‘customer support’ was 800-221-8200, which when I tried to call it (it is Saturday) said they are only open M-F…yet they called on a Saturday. So, bottom line…if it is too good to be true, it is a fraud. What got me was that these jerks somehow had tapped into MBNAs phone line so I thought I was talking to MBNA reps. I will be doubly careful about giving out my credit card info, even to my own credit card company. Just thought I’d pass this on in case anyone out there has MBNA. Make sure you are speaking to a REAL MBNA customer service rep and if the message suddenly starts talking about taking a survey and winning a trip to the Bahamas, hang up because you aren’t talking to MBNA anymore. I was trying to reach MBNA all week..they are going through a transition and are hard to get but this is the first time (and last I hope) that this happened. Heads up!!

  • Jeff

    I moved to Oregon a little over 3 years ago, but I didn’t change my (505) area code number. I received a call from robo-Sally too offering a free cruise to the Bahamas. I know these things are scams. I suppose to entice me to pick up an unknown number they did so quite easily by calling me from +1 (505) 219-5756 Clovis, NM. I thought an old friend was trying to get a hold of me to chat about the good old days. Well there you go. I got this call at 12:00 PM (1:00 PM) New Mexico time on 10/23/2014.

  • Urusigh

    Just got this call, this time claiming I was the winning caller for the “power hour” on “Power 101 Web radio” (obvious fraud since I’ve never heard of it, much less called in). Robo-John gave the pitch with an occasional “press 1 to hear more”. After the third time it transferred me to a live operator who gave his name as “Brandon Webb”. He asked for my name, I gave him one, them he hung up. The call showed up in caller ID as 801 823 3446.

  • joejoe327

    Hi, I am contacting you in concerns of a business scam. I was contacted via text /E-mail by a They had left a text saying, “You’ve taken 1st in our monthly contest! Dial 9546065302” In which I did. After a few rings a woman answered and explained to me that my number had been chosen and I had won free accommodations with Bahama Celebrations cruise line. I was then quickly switched over to a man explaining to me about the deals to which I would not have to pay anything except for a port fee so that I may leave the docks of palm beach. I asked him to send me a conformation E-mail, which he did. ( was his address. I then Googled some pages he gave me to go to. After assuring me it was a legit business, I gave him my credit card info. It was declined (I knew it would be) he then said I was still registered and gave me a number (18002218200) and said when I have the money to call that number and choose a day I would like my cruise to be on. So I ask you, is this a legit business that will give me a cruise or is it a scam?

  • Michelle

    I just got this call–figured from the start it was a scam and started scam baiting, figuring at worst I’d waste time and at best get a low-price cruise. When she finally got through the description of the cruise, she asked for my credit card number. I refused. She told me that their company has stock in Visa and Mastercard or something and they wouldn’t want to jeopardize that, so of course they were being honest. I still refused and said I needed to look them up on a third party, so I got transferred to someone else. I told her the same thing, and asked why I’d have to pay a government port tax before I even book the date of the trip, which she could not explain to my satisfaction, and she told me, effectively, that I just didn’t understand because I’d never gone on a cruise before. She told me to give her my e-mail address and she’d send me all the confirmation stuff and walk me through it. So as long as I was allowed to use my computer, I asked her if I could look it up and see if it was legitimate. She said that I could. When I expressed doubts because I ran into a website saying it was questionable, she said she didn’t know what I was reading and that she just wanted to send me the information and walk me through it. I told her anything she sent me was suspect, and I needed confirmation from a third party. I think that was when she hung up on me… glad I never gave me my e-mail.

  • Hrich05

    They won’t leave me alone! Calling me from 405-896-9433 all the time. I finally played along and went all the way through to an actual person. She dove right into her speech about congratulating me blah blah blah. I stopped her mid sentence to tell her that I wanted nothing to do with it and not to call me again. She hung up on me. This really pissed me off so I called them back. I went though the whole automated machine again just to get to another person. He answered and began his speech, only this time I simpley yelled, “Take me off your fucking call list now!” He was so shocked he stuttered a little while and then just hung up.

  • Eric

    I’m Canadian,

    Today at 11:43 am I received a call from 1 226 996 9828. I answered the phone to a Black male by the name of Angel with an Employee number #7136. He told me he worked for a Disney Travel Agency that was endorsed through advertising and affiliated by CIBC.

    After hearing what was offered (similar to the bullets in the article above), I was required to make a $297.00 USD payment for registration purposes. I was being offered a a vacation with a $3000 offer.

    I was forwarded to Robot Sally.

    When it came time to ‘Verify’ credit card information I was asked by Robot Automated Voice-Sally to confirm the first 4 numbers of my credit card. I said 4508 to which she said exclaimed that doesn’t match our records. So then I said 4503 which did match the records.

    I kept the conversation with Robo-Sally going and I heard voices talking in the background, laughing almost, because I deliberately asked if this was a scam. She seemed to be able to answer my test questions quite well as if she was human but parts of her voice were definitely automated. She also said she was paid by the hour. She repeated to ask me the full 16 digits of my VISA credit card so I could redeem my exclusive offers and have them sent in the mail. I wouldn’t give her this information because I realized it was a scam when she couldn’t give me the name of her website she worked with.

    She told me she’d have to pass on her offer to someone else.

    For those who do not know,

    You can search on Google the first four digits of any Credit Card and eventually find Name, Address, Email Address, Date of Birth and CVC (Card Verification Code) information as I was told by a CIBC representative. ANGEL KNEW THIS ALREADY! However, if you did not give the predator your full 16 digit card number you should be safe.

    I’m worried about a brute force attack though. If someone has this information can’t they simply add my number information into a Luhn’s Algorithm program and figure out the rest? If I get charged I’ll fight the transaction as fraud.

    Hope my story helps,


    • sharron2222

      I just received the same call and the girl was rude. She is paid by the hr so keep wasting more time lol I told her your not listening to me I’m sorry I am not interested. She said how could I when you keep talking over me. I cant believe the rudeness I recieved the call from 226-996-9823. I hung up but she did have my mailing address and email….how can this be? also my bank card digits?

      • Eric

        It’s definitely the same organization. When you make a bank account your email address and mailing address is shared over the internet. Only the first four digits of your credit/debit card are shared. This allows other organizations to prevent ongoing fraud when shopping online. If you get billed for nothing, call your bank and they’ll help you sort it out.

  • Jan

    I just received a call on my cell with a computer lady voice saying I won a Bahamas cruise. I just hung up after that but the funny thing is when I went into my recent calls it showed my picture that I have for my number and the number was all zeroes. I don’t usually answer my cell if I don’t recognize the number but husband said just answer your cell. I don’t fall for these scams!

  • rodonisle

    LOL I did just exactly what you described. I got the survey cold call on my cell phone, just pushed #1 each prompt without even listening and sure enough, 20 min. later got my “reward”. My salesman was “Charlie” and he did the whole song and dance and sent me to the web site. At the end I told him I would pay the port fees at and to the port officials. He got another person on the line after putting me on hold when I said I would not give him a credit card number over the phone. The new person said hello a few times and pretended a line problem then hung up. Gawd I hate these people.

  • JT

    They are back! Survey for Obama-care and legalized marijuana will earn you an opportunity to lose $118 (price hasn’t changed) for booking a “free” trip with Grand Bahama Cruises on Bahama’s Celebration. I heard the whole thing mentioned from this article, from top to bottom, with black-out dates and all. I was at work and didn’t have my c’card (thankfully). “Justine,” number US2054 with the company (954) 237-8081, was frustrated that I couldn’t commit with an AmEx, MC, or Visa. I simply didn’t have it. She was to call me back at 9:30 PM (which she didn’t…). I went to investigate and thankfully did just that!

    Be careful! There are numerous ways they will trap you. Getting them to call back turns out to be one of the best methods of checking out their legitimacy.

    All in all: keep your head on straight. “Winning” something doesn’t mean you have to buy anything immediately. Check the net for companies and their BB ratings! I’m happy I did.

  • xokarajo

    My BF and I just received a call offering the exact same deal. We were skeptical and he sent a promotional confirmation. We quickly did a search for Caribbean cruise scams and found your page. Thank goodness! Once we started to decline the offer he backed off right away and said have a good day and quickly hung up. This call came from a local number and why we answered right away. BEWARE!! Thanks for posting this!

  • nat

    scam scam scam…. i was online looking to call a company while making this call it automatically sent me to a survey, i proceeded to take this survey and i apparently won a “free” 2 night 3 day cruise!! the guy was making his pitch and told me that i would have to pay $119 for two people. i thought to myself, if this was “free” why would i pay for anything? the guy i spoke too knew i wasn’t convinced, so he sent me to someone else and he began his pitch of a upgraded package! the phone call got disconnected! at that point i thought this is way to fishy and did some research online, which led me to this website. I get a phone call back from the scammers!! he said im not sure what happened, which i answered this is a scam and he said how so? and i said i did my homework..2 seconds later he hung up! f u scammers!

  • Taylor

    I called a wrong number and called a web radio station that I am listening to but there is a government departure fee. If 59.00 and total is 118.00 through holiday cruise line as their sponsor. The thing is I called them.

  • Oliver

    ok i just got the call. anwered the robots questions, basically “do you have a credit card in your name” and then BAM, i won a 2 day cruise to the Bahamas on th e great holiday cruise line, and was transferred. after the big pitch… i was told i needed to pay a 118 (59 ea) port fee. i told them i do not give out any personal info on any incoming call i do not know and asked to call them back; just give me a number and promo code (simple request right?) [FYI always do this w/ any incoming call, even your bank or cc company] he transferred me. after another sweet pitch, i told the next person the same thing and was put on hold. i hung up. ok i know it’s a total scam, BUT just curious… what Is the final scam? i’ve read though most comments and article… do you not get the cruise? do they use your card for other things? do they keep the 118? can’t u just charge back it back? and if a port fee is non refundable then who the heck is benefiting? what?


    PS 2 day cruises are cheap anyway, especially inside “state” aka boiler rooms. prob not much more then 118…

    • Hello,

      Reports vary, but being charged for additional amenities and services seems to be a recurring theme, as well as being subject to high-pressure sales tactics for things like rental properties during the cruise.

      Personally, I would not recommend signing up just to find out. :)


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Robin

    Just got offered a free cruise by Holiday Cruise Line. The robot asked the same leading questions, wanted to know if I had a credit card, whether I was over 18 and made sure I acknowledged the port tax. Then I was handed off to a real person who wanted my name and address to start things off. I said I don’t give out that info but would be looking up info on the cruise line. I hung up and went online… here I am. I’m guessing the next step would have been him asking for my credit card for the port tax, but it didn’t get that far. The number that popped up on my cell was from Minnesota, of all places… though he said he was in FLA

    • Randi

      I just got an offer from Holiday Cruise Line as well. I had the robot who asked those questions, then I was transferred to an actual person. I listened to him and answered his questions (while using google to read about scams and such) and then stayed on the line up until the $59 port tax part where he asked me for my CC info. The number that called said it was from my state, TN, so that’s why I initially answered it.

  • Barb

    I am in this mess live! I can’t get my money back because its been over 30 days, and when I go to book, I am told that the “promises” of upgrades and “free” trip perks actually cost dollars upon dollars. I specifically asked about whether or not we had to listen to a time share – and was told “no”. Liars! And now they have $1151 of my money. I am embarrassed and angry!

  • Jm

    These scumbags are at it again. They have left no less than 30 voicemails on my work line in the last few hours, but I’m not at work to answer and press 9 – I see the voicemails through our voicemail webpage. Why doesn’t our damn government DO something about crap like this?

  • krystal

    this literally just happend to me ,so i came on line to look up the cruise n hoilday cruise line ,n all that person really really needed was my credit card info ,i said sorry no ,she said she needs it before this call ends so she can sign me up to win this trip for 2,,,i knew it was a scam n how i got the i was callin my bank so weird,but glad i didnt give them my info

  • Julie Fisher

    Hi, at beginning of this month, I called my credit card company to make phone payment, when I was diverted to winning cruise for 2, but would need to pay $118 port fees. By the time he was done, had worked that amount up to $820 & had promised the vacation of the century! Could only have one chance at this great deal & would have to give him partial payment on the spot, he did tell me I could change my mind but didnt give me any time frame. Gave my credit card info, he gave me reservation number. Days later, had buyers remorse, so tried to contact him &/or company # he gave me, but was unable to reach him after 5 attempts over many days. Finally called my credit card company & told them the story, said I needed to file dispute, which I did. Today, called Holiday Cruise Line # again & after long wait, spoke to rep from same co. who told me my reservation cancelled & I will be having account credited in 5-6 business days. Will follow up on this with credit card company, you can bet on that!!! Grateful to have read your article!

  • Phyllis

    I was trying to pay my Gas bill and my call was routed to the Holiday Cruise line where after a 30 second survey i won the cruise. After the survey I was routed to a person, Tony Corporate ID 7665, I asked how i got to them when i am just calling National Grid to pay a gas bill and he told me that the wait time must be long to pay my bill. ( I use the automated system to pay so how there is a wait time, I dont know.) Anyway he started telling me all about the cruise I won. It is Holiday Cruise Line on the ship the Grand Celebration. All I would have to pay him was the $59.00 per person and I could take the cruise anytime within the 18 month window. While he was talking I started looking on-line for this cruise line. I also started questioning him about why I have never heard of them and in the meantime not coming up with any significant advertising at all. Yes they have a page or 2 with NO telephone numbers of address of the company or anyway to contact them at all. I told them that I was uncomfortable and then he put a supervisor on the phone “Nick” who kept up with the high pressure. I told them I didnt believe them and that there was no such cruise line. they even helped me find their page on line. so I eventually told them no thank you and to get rid of all the information I gave them which was my name and phone number. I then called the National Grid and told them what happened and they said that they will investigate it.

  • Phyllis

    It just happened to me. I was calling National Grid to pay my Gas bill and after i used the voice recognition to say pay my bill, I was routed to take a survey. After the survey ws done, I was routed to the Holiday Cruise Line where “Tony Corp Id # 7665” explained the free cruise I won. I asked him how did I get to him when I was just trying to pay my gas bill. He said that the gas company must have a long wait time so I was routed to them. While he was talking I started looking on the internet for this “HOLIDAY CRUISE LINE” None exist. then he helped me find a page for them. No address, No phone number, No way to book a cruise online. I started to question Tony. He seemed a little upset but still talking and wanted me to pay the port fees today for me and the person I would take with me. $118.00 and I could take the cruise and had 18 months to take the cruise. I kept asking questions and why I couldn’t call them back when I had decided if I wanted to do this and he said because there are only 3 cruises left. Then after he was done listening to my doubts, he sent me to a “Supervisor, Nick” and I told Nick that I didnt believe him at all and to destroy any information about me. I had given my name and phone number. This is a total scam. Dont even talk to these people. Dont even take the survey when offered to you.

    • Hi, Phyllis. I amended this in line with your later comment. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Phyllis

    I meant 3 cruises left.

  • joe

    i typed in random numbers on my phone (not the one above, but a different one) and it said i was the 15th caller.

    • Missy

      I went to call my mortgage company and dialed (313) instead of (616) area code and it said I have reached Power Hits 101 and was the 15th caller of their power hour for which I won a 2 day Caribean Cruise on the Grand Celebration. The would text me the information or I could go to to claim my prize at will call. The recording gave me the same information about being $59.00 per person for port charges but never said anything about a min number. I get text all the time saying I won a cruise this is the first I was told I won one by dialing a wrong number.
      Went to the radio website and it is out there but what throws me is that it has music playing in the backgroung most radio station website I have ever been on you have to click on a listen here button in order to listen to the radio station. When I research further I found a scam rating site showing that this site orginated out of Czech and the phone number is not even the same as the one I dialed.
      If it sounds to good to be true more than likely it’s a scam.

      • Joe

        3/08/15, i got the same one! i got the automated thing saying same stuff about trip and $59 for port fee’s, gov. departure tax’s! I looked on my cell the machine called me back (310)-448-1522. I called 411 and this # is CA/Los Angeles! i was trying to contact my sons cell phone
        and was hi-jacked to automated spiel! But i was smart and looked up
        music site because it said for will call type ticket retreaval and $59×2 at time of retreaval of tickets. Thank you for your opinon now i know it was a scam. 2 nights is to short anyways! it takes at least a good week for a great vacation.

  • Lisa

    I called the suppose to be Irs number at 1800-777-4788 and a recording came on for me to take a survey for a cruise line. When I took the survey I was transferred to a representative name Maria from Holiday Cruise line. She told me that I won a trip for two to the Bahamas and was my companion next to me who will be traveling with me and I said no but I heard her say yeah right so I hung up on her.

  • SL

    I’m not sure if I’m getting calls at work from the same people, but it sounds like it. It’s an automated voice that says “Hi, I’m Sally from Holiday Cruise Line.Can you hear me OK?” and as soon as I said “Yes” I realized it was a computer. No idea what number they’re calling from but I would sure like to get removed from their list. I get about 3 calls a day since last week.

  • Corrine

    Hello I just experienced a similar, but slightly tweaked scam. I received a phone call from a robot saying that Holiday Cruise (the company name) is giving away their unused cabins in hopes of getting positive word of mouth advertising. I simply had to state that I was over 18 and had a credit card or debit card then was transferred to a smooth talking salesmen. I know the tricks of sales having been a salesperson myself. They used every trick in the book to get you to agree. He tells you all the great free things you get them mentions you only need to pay the $59 fee for port and departure taxes, which of course , everyone has to pay. ***Red flag #1 . If a legitimate company wanted to give out comp tickets for advertising purposes they would be completely complimentary.

    Finally after fast talking about all the great benefits he says how do you wanna pay credit or debit? I say I don’t want to pay over the phone give me your website. He says that’s the only way and transfers me to his supervisor.

    The supervisor is the “bad cop” if you will. The one who acts like they haven’t got all day to convince you to take this “obviously” good offer. There is always a bad cop. The first guy I spoke with is the good cop buddy who asks you personal questions and shares information to be your friend. This supervisor is the one who gets short with you and says if you don’t want the offer we got plenty of other people (who are suckers and give their credit card out to anyone).

    Now she tried to convince me it wasn’t a scam by agreeing to send me an e-mail that has their company logo. But really anyone can make a professional looking e-mail.

    I told her I need to look over the information and what’s a number I can call her back on. She said this is a live promotion and if you don’t take it now we move on to the next person. ***Red flag #2 No one who is a legitimate business turns down an interested customer because they simply won’t pay right this second. You should always have time to make a decision.

    I told her well I’m going to have to pass, and she IMMEDIATELY without another word, not an “ok” , nothing. Hung up! How rude. Basically they just want money, and they don’t waste time with informed customers, they only want suckers.

    Verdict: they may really give you a cruise at the end , who knows, but they are clearly L-I-A-R-S . They are not using good business practices, but rather using slick and scammy type practices. They just want your money, not your word-of-mouth or your survey answers. At Best you get a cruise, but they have hidden fees, try to upsale you while on the trip and force you to attend some 90 minute timeshare presentation. At worse: they are
    A total scam and just steal your $118.

    Best not to risk it.

    P.S. For your protection here is all ye exact details they gave me

    Company name: Holiday Cruise Line
    Salesperson: Peter Cecere
    Corporate ID # FT8441
    Trip from Port Palm Beach
    To Bahamas
    Aboard ship: Grand Celebration

    3 days , 2 nights , meals and entertainment and room service included
    You have 18 months to reserve your guranteed date
    (wait, I thought they needed me to fill unsold rooms? They can predict the future ? Amazing!)

  • Colleen

    First off, I live in Canada. I picked up my phone today to call FedEx for a pickup, as my call was received, it was a survey. I thought “OK” what the heck, seems funny that FedEx would have this but anyway, after the survey my call was transferred to someone that sounded like they were in a call centre, reading verbatim and trying to build a rapport with me. My time spent with this person was very much as the above article states…but I don’t do cc#’s and tha t was the only way to hold my state room. The cc was for the $59 us each which was $118.
    My question is, can my phone been somehow hacked to be directed to the scammer, or did I dial a wrong number? After I hung up from almost living the dream on a cruise, I phoned the number back and got the proper place.

  • Louise

    Awhile ago, I did a tour with a timeshare place and they offered a free cruise type option. I went through with the tour and aggressive marketing spiel, but since all of the reviews online were negative (paying port taxes, very difficult to book, lots of continued aggressive marketing) I decided not to redeem mine. Recently, I got one survey call and hung up, then yesterday I got another. I’m pretty sure it’s the same spammy company, I’m pretty sure their name is Wyndham. Anyway, I went through the survey, which was questions like “Do you think you’ll need a loan in the next six months?” and other questions that were essentially the sort of thing a spammy email would ask to see how they could get at you. Once the survey was done, the woman on the line (Michelle) was genuinely nice. She said they were giving away the cruise to booster word of mouth advertising, make money off of gambling/alcohol purchases, and fill empty cabins. Once again with the port taxes, but the only blackout date is in late December/early January. I tried searching for information online, but I guess I wasn’t using the right terms because I didn’t get this information until later. She referred me to to get more information. I admit that I went with it, even though I shouldn’t have. I turned down every nonsense offer they came up with after that, I know I can find better deals on my own. They’re getting savvy to the fact that people back out, and made sure to get a recorded response from me confirming the $118 charge and no-refund policy. They said that I would not have to sit through any marketing spiel, and that my information is safe. I’m pretty sure getting the money back is a lost cause, so I’m going to try and just take the cruise. I’m reporting my card stolen though, so that they only get the $118 and nothing else. So far they haven’t tried any other funny business. I’m pretty sure they got my number from the time share company, if they call me again I’m going to demand that they put me on their “Do Not Call” list. All companies must comply (the ones that are lawful, anyway) when you ask to be put on the do not all list. Anyway, whenever I redeem it I’ll try to remember to post more information.

    • jonali

      Hello all, first, I am very happy I did some research. I made a call to a local bus line inquiring about prices of an upcoming event. Some how my call was redirected and a Robot was congratulating me saying I was caller number 15 on KISS101fm radio station and I won a two night cruise leaving Florida to the Bahamas. All I needed to do was provide my cellphone number as a way to verify my winnings with the radio station. They then sent me a text message telling me got to the station website provided- I went to the website and entered my number to claim my prize. All of a sudden I needed to pay the “port fees” right then and there. It seemed fishy so I looked up cruise scams and came across this page. While I was reading the previous comments I received a call from “thekiss101 radio station manager” the “manager” was clearly a robot telling me I need to make my claim soon or another caller would be selected. This phone number is 312-836-4344 So, thank you for posting about this scam.

  • New Mexican

    I just got off the phone with a “Rick” who read a long script am d took breaks to ask me questions that needed to be answered with yes in order to continue. I was prompted several times to pay the $59.00 port fee to be able to book sometime within the next 18 months. When I asked if I could call back later when I had more time and more money I was told that this was an offer that I needed to take advantage of during that call. I looked up the company he claimed to be with at the website he gave me: There is a well-put-together website but there are no contact numbers, products, services offered, etc. on this series of pages. The number on my caller ID was 5755783720. I let Rick know that I did not have the money for this at the time. He quickly got off the phone.

  • gaabib

    I received a recorded robocall from a telephone number which said “no caller ID” on my cell phone. It was a survey on “recent programs for home improvement” and in no way identified who was doing the “survey”. I clicked through the survey to find out what the company was and at the end it told me I was eligible for two vouchers for a cruise to the Bahamas and someone would call me back. A few minutes later, I received a call from (503) 765-1546. The caller was an adult male and there was a lot of noise in the background, as though it were a telemarketing boiler room. I asked him the name of the company that called and he said “Questions of America” and that his company was “Grand Bahamas Cruises.” He refused to answer whether his company owned or had hired “Questions of America.” He shrilly said that I could have hung up anytime and I told him I was reporting this call to the FTC. Neither company name came up on google search.

  • Unapologetic

    I sat on the line and let “Desiree Daniel,” who sounded like she was drunk, explain the promotion to me while I read the reviews online. After she finished, I told her I didn’t have the funds to pay the port fees today, and she asked when I would have it! Smh…needless to say, there was no need for us to continue our conversation. On to your next victim.

  • Brandon

    It was an automated friendly Boise with same info as above but when I pressed 1 to talk to someone they asked for a mobile number which they would text the info to

  • A

    I was dialing my pre-paid phone card’s line and was surprised to find out from this recording that I was the lucky caller/winner from ‘Power 101’ to receive a free Caribbean crusise for 2, all I have to pay is 59X2… I hanged up. It was couple weeks ago.

  • Lisa

    I just tried calling my Long Term health insurance company and was intercepted by this quick survey. I tried to skip the survey by hitting zero or not responding at all and each time I was disconnected. After responding to the about 3 question survey, I was transferred to a lady named “Simone Irving”. She said I won a two-night cruise on the new MS Grand Celebration ship, which is part of the Holiday Cruise Line. I told her I was trying to call my health insurance company, and I asked if this sounded “right.” She said yes, and that they were experiencing some phone issues but that they are working on it. She asked that I let her give her spiel then ask questions later since she would likely be addressing all of my questions. She spoke for about 5 minutes straight then we were disconnected (the call mysteriously ended) after which point I found this website. This has scam written all over it and you all confirmed this for me.

  • Eva

    Beware – These guys are getting good!
    Just went through the survey and was transferred to an agent, who then referred me to a web site: “Grand Bahama” for the 2nt cruise I just won. I was up front about not giving a credit card # because I did not generate the call and stated that I was skeptical. The agent played right along, keeping me on the phone for about 20 minutes with the sales pitch; even sent me an email that looked legit. (“Corporate Endorsed Certified Letter of Guarantee for our UAL package’). So at the end of it all – time to pay up, he transferred me to a supervisor who asked me what I was reluctant about? I stated that my policy was “If I didn’t generate this call, you don’t get my credit card number” – he abruptly hung-up!

  • Patrick Mottola

    An HVAC company in Murietta CA is giving away “free cruises with a sale of an HVAC system. Same scam The We Care is the name of the company

  • Sotiris

    I seemed to have received an identical call only mine came 202-740-8907 and my three questions where about medical marijuana, obamacare and something else. Since I’m on the do not call registry shouldn’t that have stopped them?

    • Hello Sotiris,

      Of course, the whole purpose of asking the survey questions is to pretend that they are a legitimate entity.

      Since the scammers behind this are, well, scammers, it does not seem like they are going to be bothered by some as pesky as the US Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call List in order to stop their illicit behavior.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Janeybop

    I dialled 1-800-ROGERS1 which is the number for Rogers, my cell phone provider. The call was answered by an automated voice saying that if I answer 3 questions that I could win a free 3 day cruise. So I answered the questions although I was very confused. After the short survey, I spoke with “Mike Davis” who told me that I was one of 50 people who win the free cruise from Holiday Cruise Line. I told him I was trying to call Rogers and he said that there was a tv commercial airing at the moment offering this free cruises to the first 50 callers and that he wanted to congratulate me. He said I would just have to pay the port fee of around $60-70 per person. It sounded very fishy so I asked him to send me an email. He said he was having issues with his computer and couldn’t send the email.. Eventually I told him I didn’t want to take the “offer” and he said he would email me the info as soon as he was able to. Still awaiting that email…
    What I really don’t understand is how the call was redirected… The

  • Jennifer

    Much like everyone, I was offered this scam as well.(Call came from my own area code, so I answered.) I will admit, I was curious and went along with her valiant effort to make friends and find out all my interests. i talked with her and answered “yes” to all her questions that said “doesn’t this sound fun?!?” I was skeptical so asked my boyfriend and thankfully he said, just say no. THAT SAD PART IS: I told her I couldn’t accept the offer, she asked why and I told her “finances.” She said “you can’t afford $118 for a port fee?” I said “not at the moment” and she said “HOW SAD!” I said, “well I just had major surgery and am not working,were living on one income paycheck to paycheck, until I get better. We can’t afford this right now.” She again said “Awww, how sad.” She did tell me she hoped i felt better then hung up.I’ll admit, I wanted to take the offer. My question is: HAS ANYONE ACCEPTED THE OFFER AND ACTUALLY GONE ON THE CRUISE? This is a legitimate scam? How sad :/ Too bad it’s “SO SAD” that I can’t throw away $118, like many Americans, I’m barely makng ends meet! Just had my bladder removed, kinda a big surgery!!!!!! Thanks nasty woman for making me feel like crap that I am out of work and suffering with health issues. Why do they have to be so rude???

  • AmericanHeretic

    I just got this same call. I asked myself how big the sample size must be in this survey to result in a valid confidence level. Then I tried to estimate what the cost of a single observation must be. I determined that this kind of sampling cannot be economically viable, i.e. is too good to be true. So, I hit “9” to have my phone number removed.

  • No Dummy

    I just got the same call from Tony Williams and Robo Amy. Just wish I had pulled up your blog while I was talking to him. I would have loved to have read some of this to him when he got to the $118 part. I knew it was too good to be true, but listened anyway. I told Tony, since this is not really free, we are done. He replied with “What’s not Free? We don’t own the Port, so we can pay your Port Taxes. and $118 is pretty good for a an entire cruise.” I hung up.

  • Alyssa

    I called a wrong number, and was told through an automated voice that I had been the “15th caller” and had won a two night cruise to the Bahamas via KISS 101 radio station. Same trip as the above mentioned. They directed me to this website, asking for the same ‘taxes and fees’. Watch out!

  • YoKAPM

    the newest number is 323***4741 in Los Angeles, CA.. I mean they almost had me but me never trusting anyone had a gut instinct that this this guy was lying.

  • CorCor

    This promotion was starting to seem more and more believable… until they got to the money from a credit card NOW part. I told them that I didn’t have the money at the moment, they transferred be to someone who thought I had questions. I repeated that I didn’t have the money right now, and they said this offer is “first come first serve” and they’re sorry. Then I found this site and was really glad that I stopped at “credit card.”

  • Angie Lothamer Osborn

    This just happened to me. Thank you for posting this. I figured it was a scam. Wish I knew how they got my number. Numbers they called me from: 323-491-4263 & 484-725-6164

  • Jessica

    I did! From this number (702) 786-4810
    NV, USA then they routed me to a travel agent to help me set it up and pay the government fee. This after I competed the survey with my key pad. Unfortunately, we got disconnected before I got to the bottom of it.

  • Martha Valencia Moreno

    I just received a txt message to my new phone that no one has the number too yet. Saying “You took first!” 772-934-4541..

  • chris 7777

    Yes I got the call and did the five questions. Then after that I just hung up. I didn’t wait for them to come on the line but they called me and said they were from the cruise line. He gave me his spiel and at the end I said no I don’t give my credit card number out to unknown callers nor do I pay for something that was supposed to be free. He said he totally understood but if I would just do it he would email info about the company and I would see it was legit. I didn’t do it.

  • robertdetrano

    I live in Orange County California. This morning, I called the 888 number on the sticker on the back of a just received replacement debit card from Bank of America. I was careful to dial the correct number on my home phone.
    To my surprise, I did not get Bank of America but instead an automated system that asked me survey questions like the ones you describe in your blog entry. One of the questions was about my age (younger or older than 65 years). I answered truthfully “older”. After answering the questions, the automated voice told me I had been selected as a winner of a cruise and directed me to someone like the “Melvin” in your story. Melvin described the cruise almost exactly like he did to you. Same cruise line, same ship and told me they would throw in a trip to Disney Land in Orlando because I am a “VIP”.

    The story was amazingly similar to yours. Finally, Melvin started asking for personal information. He asked where I live. I told him truthfully “Orange County, CA”. He then asked for my phone number. At this point, I was only 30 % sure that I was being scammed but that was enough to tell Melvin that I had to ask my wife before I could decide and I needed his contact information so I could call back after speaking with her. Melvin made excuses why I had to make a quick decision and could not call him back. I told him I though he was scamming me and hung up.

    The unique thing about this was that it was not the scammer that called me but that they had somehow tapped into my call to Bank of America. I informed B of A of this and also called 911 and told them but neither the police or the bank seemed to be confident that much would be done to catch the scammers.

  • Tara Johnston

    Don’t buy it!!!!!!!

    Hi all, I just got the call too! I’ll tell you exactly what happened. Friday May 22 5:40pm.

    I was trying to call my cable company. I thought the survey was part of the call. The recorded message said while I wait, I was selected to take part in a survey. I won a free cruise after completing the survey!

    I was connected to a telemarketer and I said that I was confused to the “Rick Gilmore” phone attendant as to why I had been re-routed to a cruise winner sweepstakes? I was trying to call Time Warner. He said he had no idea and I should feel lucky for winning. He asked the same things, do I feel good, excited that I was the selected winner?

    He said, what’s the matter? You don’t sound very excited and we only want excited people to join the cruise. All they ask is that we spread the word to our family and friends. Are you one of those excited people?

    I asked him what I would need to give him and he ignored that question and talked for five minutes about ports, cruises, casinos, food, lodging all being free. He asked for my phone number and I gave it to him. Ughgh! He got me there because at this point I thought it might be real.

    In the end he stated the government tax was not included. For two people it would be $119. I must take another person or up to four people. Was I getting excited yet? He asked?

    I told him I was uncomfortable giving card information. He said they were backed by major credit card holders and it was completely safe.

    I stopped the conversation as my boyfriend was saying, it must be fake, hang up!

    I told Rick I was uncomfortable about five more times and told him I was being polite to him and had listened to his story. He said thank for that and he said, hold on the line please…and he hung up!

    The number I had accidentally dialed was one number off time warner’s. Not a coincidence. I got through to Time Warner and told them about the scam and they said their security was aware and trying to stop them. Wow! What a trip!

  • Amy Washington

    I just had this happen today. Survey first. 5 questions about my joints and medical insurance then someone saying they would have an agent call me to confirm . in 24-48 hours. Call back came within the hour. Went through WHOLE speil and asked for credit card for $118 Pp in port fees (there ARE port fees on a cruise, but you can’t pay them until you have DATES). I was like “ohhhh, I was wondering when you’d get around to that”. He got belligerent and angry that I let him talk so long before saying something. I hung up.

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