The Truth About “Free” Cruises and Vacations

As some would say, there is no such thing as a free cruise. Here’s what to do about those mailers and phone calls.

Whether it’s by mail or phone call, chances are you’ve been the lucky recipient of a “free” vacation or holiday cruise. Third-party marketers rely on unsolicited phone calls and mailers awarding free cruises, the fine print being hidden service fees and add-on accommodations, sometimes forcing clients to attend timeshare sessions. This makes these “too good to be true” offers just that, and hardly free at all.

This business model relies on getting customers interested by offering a “free” product or service in order to upsell more product. Generally, there are port fees for the cruise or other fees associated with taking a “free” vacation.

Those unaware of how common this is may fall victim to the “free vacation” aspect of this offer, but consumers should be aware of the fine print and take the necessary steps to protect their bank accounts and identity when inquiring about these trips.


Take a few moments to research the travel agency or company who sent the offer. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints or scams associated with the offering company. Are these legitimate businesses trying to sell vacations or third-party scammers out to get your money?

Are they aggressively selling you something?

If you call the number on the mailer, is the person on the other end aggressively selling you something that wasn’t mentioned in the flier? An operator may refuse to answer your questions, or won’t offer any information about hidden fees and charges. Any legitimate travel agent would be transparent about what the trip entails and what is required.

Scrutinize the details.

Are luxury accommodations promised? Who is the cruise line? Where is the vacation destination in question and what’s included?

Don’t gloss over payment details.

“Free” cruises and vacations are generally not free. There are always ancillary charges, typically for booking fees, holding reservations, or services. You should not have to use a check, wire transfer or cash to cover these fees, nor should you give credit card information.

Check your statements, shred the mailers.

If you take advantage of what seems like a legit free vacation, check your statements closely for any hidden fees and costs. The smartest thing to do is to toss these mailers and book a vacation through a certified travel agent or through a resort yourself. Keep those vacation mailers for the shred pile and don’t toss them in the regular trash. Anyone can use this as an opportunity to take advantage of your identity.

Legal Shred can safely and securely shred mail solicitations so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Contact us today to discuss vacation identity protection, and regular and one-time cleanup services for your vacation mailers!

Vacation Identity Protection

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