Budget Travel's Blog

The latest travel news, vacation tips & advice, travel apps, and more

feb 19 2010

Win a free cruise! One little catch: The cruise line is out of business

Scam alert: If you get a phone call saying that you'll get a free Caribbean cruise just for taking part in a brief survey, it's probably best to hang up.

David Lazarus, a columnist for the LA Times, reports how he just recently received such a phone call. The survey began with some odd questions, such as "Do you speak Spanish?" and "Do you have a septic system or a sewer system?"

After being steered to a website, Lazarus eventually finds his name (misspelled), and a notice congratulating him for the free cruise aboard the Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines' Regal Empress.

Here's the complication:

A little more digging revealed that Imperial Majesty Cruise Lines went bust last year.

The Regal Empress, built in 1953, was subsequently sold for scrap, according to Maritime Matters, a cruise-industry news site. Its steel carcass is now rusting on some beach in India.

So what, exactly, is the scam, besides wasting your time with a pointless survey? Apparently, that would come later, when a "cruise coordinator" would have called up Lazarus had he continued with the hustle:

Other people who have taken the survey say online that I'll be asked at some point for a credit card number to confirm the booking.

Or I'll be told that a free cabin isn't available on the dates I want to travel, but I can upgrade to an available room for a modest fee.

Or I'll have to send in a refundable check for a few hundred dollars to secure my booking.

You get the idea.

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Video


Loading Comments...

Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Check Prices