Carnival Vacation Club – The Little Engine That Couldn’t

My in-laws are avid cruisers, and have cruised all over the world – from the Bahamas to the Mediterranean.  They have been on a wide variety of cruise lines, from Carnival to Costa and many in between.  When they were approached about the Carnival Vacation Club during a cruise they took, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Basically, you purchase a set number of points from Carnival Vacation Club, and you redeem those points toward cruises.  In their pitch, they make it seem like by using points, it works out that your cruise is discounted from what you would pay if you bought your cruise in cash instead of vacation points.

There is only one good thing I can say about the club.  It is no longer available to buy into.  Thank goodness that other unsuspecting vacationers won’t get sucked into this nightmare.

I did learn in my research for this blog that Carnival Vacation Club is not owned and operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, however their association with each other seems to be a blurry area to me.  They were obviously allowed to sell this stuff on Carnival Cruises, and the Carnival logo appears on some of the club documentation.  Hmmm….

The sad part is that so many people – my in-laws among them – were on a vacation, enjoying the luxury of a cruise, resistance lowered by the sounds of the sea hypnotizing them into things they otherwise might not do – and they were lured into this mistake of a vacation club.

Carnival Vacation Club is putting together a new incarnation of itself.  Run, folks.  Avoid it at all cost.

9 Replies to “Carnival Vacation Club – The Little Engine That Couldn’t”

  1. Sadly, we bought into this sham back in July 2004. We were on a first time cruise with our kids. The sales people promised us 30 to 50% savings on future cruises, which NEVER materialized. Every time we tried to book the cruise through the “vacation club” the points we would use equaled to or exceeded in cost the price of a cruise if we would have paid for it outright on the Carnival website. We complained and complained to no avail. We just finally decided to use our points instead of lose them, so we booked a cruise -only to find out they have more hidden fees now for using your points. VERY SAD indeed. If there is another one of these things being ready to be released on unsuspecting cruisers – I pray that more people read these complaints and let them know they should run folks, RUN….

  2. I’m sorry you’ve had an experience similar to the one my in-laws had. They also learned during the course of our cruise that they were not entitled to the benefits of their cruise line status because they used points to pay for the cruise (for example, they are gold members with one cruise line that would not allow them the priority debarkation because they were there on points).

    A Carnival Cruise Club rep has made repeated phone calls to my in-laws to try and get them to purchase into the new plan. I don’t know how the new plan works, but you have to pay $50 up front, and I convinced them not to get involved. I hope other people find this blog and realize that even though on the face of it, it seems like a reputable company offering you a great price for their product. It’s a scam, it’s not worth the money you pay into it, and the hassles to use it are aggravating at best.

  3. Sorry to say my husband and I were also victims of Vacation Carnival Club. Only we did not receive our contract upon disembarkment as promised. Fought this company for two years for a copy of contract-we were unable to use are points by the expiration date of our package so we decided to take advantage of their wonderful offer to extend our “membership”. Sadly enough this company denied our extension because our contract”supposedly”(this is the contract we never received as promised) read we must request this extention 30 days prior to expiration date and my request was only 19 days prior. We were not looking to cruise anytime soon but asking for the extention and chance to cruise another time within the next two years as the extention request allows. Gearing up to fight this company along with Carnival Cruiselines. We lost 12,000 points on this scam. Does anyone have any suggestions or have had any luck resolving these types of issue with this company??? Please feel free to contact me. daysgoneby2@verizon.net

  4. I have one word for this VACATION CLUB…..SCAM! I bought into it in ’06 and it appeared to be the thing to do. I travel with my minor daughters and we have always felt safe on Carnival. Sooooo why not join the CLUB. I have pts that I can not use(oh 17 cents on the dollar if upgrade pts) and 3 certificates that are useless. Each time I wanted to redeem a certificate it was always at a condo NOT a RESORT and it was always a one bedroom for my family of three or four. I had to always talk to a rep who wanted me to EXTEND the misery for a large amt of money! Very disappointed with the whole VACATION CLUB. Best thing about it is it no longer exist! Hmmmm….wonder why?

    Very Disappointed

  5. I have never posted anything before, and don’t even know if I am doing it right, but I was looking to see if anyone had amicably resolved their issues with the Carnival Vacation Club. I have 2617 points and when I tried to use them, I was told that I could purchase more in order to use it for 2 people but it wouldn’t be at the $.176 they quoted when I purchased it but at $.33 a point so my cruise would cost over $900 in addition to using the points. Oddly enough, the cruise would cost me around $900 on another site NOT using my points. I was then transferred to a person who gave me a spiel about “giving” me 80,000 points for my unused points and unused travel certificates and with a mere $1,500 up front fee- I would be entitled to get their best price on cruises for 8 years, saving between $600-1000 a cruise! I told him I would never throw good money after bad for their new scam- a membership club that they get upfront money for what???? The idea it will be around for 8 years, and the verbal assurance that booking 8 cruises from them would save the upfront fee? It boggles the mind how they can attempt to sell such stuff! Is there any Class Action Lawsuit regarding the fact that they misrepresented their pre-paid cruises and then discontinued it?

  6. Did you have any luck? The same exact thing happened to me yesterday. I lost 11,000 points and all of my certificates. My package expired May 9th according to them. Help! I am devastated. I called Carnival and was treated very rudely and told there was nothing they could do, they were not affiliated with this company (although I purchased this from Carnival while on a Carnival Cruise and all of my paperwork says Carnival.) I am soooooo mad!!!!

  7. We fell for this scam aboard the Carnival Pride in 2005. We are out $1,100 (based on points), and have not been able to resolve the issue with CVC, after many phone calls and letters. We have finally decided to cut our losses and forget it. It amazes me that over 4 years later I am still seeing letters from people like us who fell for this. Their arguments of us being able to use these points for their measly resorts and “golf” packages is pitiful. These resort trips are another lure to try and sell more time share vacations (as seen in many other posts on this subject). These people are professionals at what they do, and are trained to get the sale at any cost. We learned the hard way. We need to pass the word about them and alert anyone who is even thinking about purchasing their “vacation packages”. By the way, regarding a class action suit, pursuing this is useless. The contract specifically protects them against this. They are smart! They are out of the Carnival ships, but they are still doing business. As of today, July 31, 2009, they are still contacting us, even though we do not answer their calls. They are obviously scamming away!

  8. I’m sorry to admit that I am one of the scammed people too. I signed up back in 2005. My package was scheduled to end this november. I recently called to try and use my points only to find out I didn’t have enough. I probed and found that they decided to not refund some points from a cancelled vacation even after they already had refunded them. They took them back apparently. Then I found out about their “new” vacation club. In addition to this, the points I had were taken, as well as my resort stays. The only way for me to use them was to sign up for the new plan and pay the $1500 up front, or just use the remaining amount of my points by October 23 (thought my plan was over in November???). I call today to use those points, only to find out that they took those as well because they decided to sign me up for the 1 year trial and forfeit my existing points. NONE of this was done to my knowledge. Is there ANY WAY to fight this?

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