I wish I would have come to this site before buying into this scam because I now see that they have ripped off a whole lot more people than just me. I was sickened to read other peoples comments about this package because it was like I was reading my own story. I have to say first that my family is not rich or even close to comfortable, income-wise. My husband became disabled about seven years ago and was taken out of work. We waited for five years to get his social security and with the back pay - we paid off our mobile - paid off our truck and decided to take our kids on a vacation since they had never really been on one. I got a phone call at work several days after receiving the money that told me "I won a cruise to the Bahamas for two". All I had to pay was port taxes and gratuities. I still have not seen that "free cruise that I supposedly won" because I fully paid for all of us. The deal sounded great so I continued to listen - which I normally would have hung up in the first sentence, but since we were just talking about taking our kids on a vacation, it seemed like the answer I was looking for was sent right to me. So I asked how much it would be to take my family with me. He really seemed excited then, I should have known better. Anyway, he said they could certainly add my family for a minimal price (hahahaha) and continued to tell me about the package I had "won". He said that we would be staying two days in a "LUXURY RESORT" in Fort Lauderdale Florida, two days aboard the Bahamas Celebration cruise line to take us to the Bahamas, and upon return we would stay at another "LUXURY RESORT" in Orlando Florida. He certainly made the package sound like a real "steal". Now after taking this "not so luxurious vacation" I realize that they were the ones really getting the "steal". I bought two packages that covered my husband, myself and all three of my children and my sons new wife (of course keep in mind that somewhere in there I WON a trip for two). Lets just say this trip was the opposite of what I was promised in this phone conversation.
The rental car
I was told that I would be provided with a rental car for the entirety of our trip, or that I could take my own car and I would be reimbursed two hundred dollars in gasoline. A few weeks before the actual trip I called to see what company I would be going to in North Carolina to get my rental car that was offered with the package. Surprise surprise - I have to get to Florida from North Carolina BEFORE I can get the rental car, which of course was never mentioned in the beginning. So, I rented a car here in North Carolina on my own dime and made the best of it! (Trust me - this is not the last time we were forced to "make the best of things during this trip).
The Ramada Plaza Luxury Resort in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
First, I was very clear with the person that booked our vacation that my youngest daughter has a skin condition that limits how much she can go outside in the sunlight and stressed the importance of an indoor pool for her entertainment. I was clearly told that was NOT A PROBLEM and was told that I would be staying at the Ramada Plaza Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at the Maingate West in Orlando, Florida. I was even given the website to look at the hotel and the pictures which would show the indoor pools that she could use, so I did, and then I showed my kids the pictures of this really nice "resort" we would be staying in so as to get them all excited about these cool resorts we were going to. Of course - they never had any intention of putting my family in that Ramada in the first place. I checked in at that hotel - then they said that the hotel was full (even though I booked four months prior to the trip) and they sent me and my family to the worst motel I have ever been in AND HAD THE NERVE TO CALL IT A RESORT. It was called the Inverrary "resort" what a joke. There was no indoor pool as promised by the booking agent, I honestly considered finding a decent motel but I was travelling on low funds already and again my family saw me crying and said "lets just make the best of it here". Trying to make the best of it, I waited till the sun went down some and took my eleven year old daughter to the outdoor pool and there were a family of ducks living IN THE POOL . It was the most discusting pool I had ever seen, with mold all around the outsides. I could hardly believe my eyes. So, I tried to entertain my daughter with cartoons but the TVs were so old that they were pure static and only two channels worked - neither of them cartoon channels of course. I cried every single day of this trip for my kids - I had promised them luxury resort and I took them to the scums of Florida and put them in a mold and duck infested pool with horrible food and cockroaches in their rooms. They had three elevators but only one of them worked and it was well overworked so it was banging and screeching the whole time you were on it. It was terrifying so we used the stairs every time we had to go up or down - and again my husband is disabled so he had no choice but to get on the crowded elevator that took twenty minutes to get on. The "free food" could not have been worse if my eleven year old daughter made it herself. Absolutely nothing was edible. Their "food vouchers" were useless, and they actually expected us to pay taxes and gratuities for that slop. We ate out for every meal on our trip (which again - I could not afford so it was McDonalds and Burger King the whole time we were on vacation. It was the most horrible stay in what was called a "luxury resort" I could have imagined. I am still sick at my stomach every time I think of how I lied to my kids about this being a luxury vacation - after being lied to by this company. I have never felt so bad in my entire life. The disappointment was almost unbearable.
The Bahamas Celebration Cruiseline
First I as told during the initial purchase of the packages, that both of my packages included ocean view balconies. Later, during another conversation with the cruiseline, I was told that we did not even have a window in our rooms - that I would need to pay like three hundred dollars extra per package to have our rooms "upgraded". I ended up paying a hundred extra dollars per package to have our rooms upgraded to an ocean view room that just had a window - no balcony, which was just the beginning of my horror of hidden fees.
I wanted this experience to be perfect for my kids. The cruise was honestly the nicest part of the trip and that is not saying very much (keeping in mind this was my and families first cruise ever so we weren't really expecting very much). The most enjoyable part of the cruise ship was the room keeper who kept our room spotless. How sad is that? I can also say that the ship was very clean and the staff was very nice. The boat seemed thirty years old - it rocked absolutely horribly and only had one working elevator that everyone kept trying to jam into at one time so we ended up taking the stairs up and down every single time - we were all exhausted by the end of the cruise from running up and down stairs the whole time (again besides my husband who was tortured with waiting for the one elevator because of his disability). I was told that the ship would have a 24 hour place that served food and that there was a 24 hour icecream bar, and that all food except for alcohol and sodas were absolutely free - which again - I told my kids - and again - they were lied to just like I was. My daughter spotted chocolate covered strawberries the second we walked in - in a glass case that was at the "24 hr eatery" that stayed open until like 1:00am. When she asked for a strawberry, they tried to charge her $7.25 PER strawberry. What happened to all the food being free??? The "24 hour" icecream bar had about four kinds of icecream to choose from and it stayed open until like 4:00 in the afternoon and then closed down. My kids again were so disappointed. I told them that they could go at three oclock in the morning and get icecream if they wanted it because it was vacation. The cruise ship had one little kid slide that was too small for my youngest daughter and other than that not hardly what I would call any entertainment for her otherwise. The 10-12 age fun zone was closed every time we went to it. I never thought my daughter would become BORED on a cruiseship after all the wonderful stories I had heard about cruising, but she certainly did. Another disappointment to say the least.
The Main Gate West, Orlando Florida
Again - told I would be staying at the Maingate West - where there would be an inside pool for my daughter, and again we were told the hotel I was supposed to stay in was booked up and then sent us to another crappy dirty hotel called the Orlando Grand - in the center of the hood - with NO INSIDE POOL. I was so upset I called the booking agency crying and begged to be sent back to the hotel I was promised to be in. I explained that my daughter has not been able to swim because of her skin condition and because of the lies I had been told and that was the part she had looked most forward to. The lady on the phone was friendly and sympathetic - acted like this was not the first crying disappointed customer she had talked to, and told me there was nothing that she could do for me, and asked me to "try to make the best of it"for my kids sake. I can honestly say that I have never spent so much time saying "lets just make the best of it" as I did on our first vacation. We did not use one single food voucher in the Orlando Grand - the food was barely recognizable much less edible. The rooms were filthy, the sheets were stained, there were cigarette butts all over the balcony - it was terrible. I just dont think I have ever felt so bad for the horrible trip I had just taken my family on after I had boosted them up to have such a wonderful time.
The Topper of the Trip - TIME SHARES
I was never told that I would have to attend one time share much less two. I was informed of ONE of the time shares upon arrival. The first time share was in Fort Lauderdale - at 2:30 in the afternoon - while trying to relax on vacation - we had to leave the beach - load up everyone just to go look at a place that we should have been staying at in the first place. It was like a slap in my face to take my family to this beautiful resort to show them what they should have been staying in on this trip and then turn them around and drive them back to the junk hotel that we were stuck in. I cried inside all the way back to the hotel after the timeshare presentation. My kids knew what I was thinking - they were thinking it too - they wanted to go back and stay at the timeshare condos instead of going to the crap they had put us in but we couldnt. And I had to look at them and say "I am so so so so sorry that this trip has not been everything I promised it was going to be". Do you know how horrible it was to come back and hear my kids response when people asked them how the trip was, their response was "it wasnt that bad" just to keep from hurting my feelings. They should have come back screaming and yelling "that was the best trip EVER - THANK YOU MOM". I feel like throwing up just typing this . The second time share was at 8:00 in the morning - thirty minutes away from the crap hotel we were staying in. So again, while we are supposed to be relaxing, I had to wake up my family at 7:00 to get ready to go see another time share presentation at yet another place that we should have been staying at in the first place. I cant tell you how incredibly horrible it was to do this to my family.
The worst part of it all is that I cant make up for it - I cant afford to take my family on another trip to try to make it right. All I can do is warn everyone that I can not to book with this cruiseline - I hope that I can stop them from hurting another family the way they have hurt mine. I hope that the person/company that sold me this package is pleased, because they have ruined my one chance at a luxurious trip for my children and myself and my husband. They stole that from us. They DO NOT CARE THOUGH - I sent a complaint to their compliance dept but they have not responded and probably never even read my letter - just added it to the millions of other letters they have received I am sure. Oh and by the way - they never reimbursed me for my gas either - even after I saved and sent them all my receipts. THANKS FOR NOTHING CARIBBEAN CRUISELINES!!! I hope I can stop at least one person from going through what we went through.