A very gracious reader made a comment on a previous post I made about the Carnival Vacation Club, which you can find here – http://skamarakas.com/anna/2008/08/05/carnival-vacation-club-the-little-engine-that-couldnt#comment-618 . It reminded me that I had not taken the opportunity to update the situation with the club, or the cruise we ended up taking using the Carnival Vacation Club points that my in-laws purchased.
Let’s just say that there won’t be much business from our family coming towards any incarnation of the Carnival Vacation Club. To begin with, salespeople wearing Carnival Cruise Line uniforms pitch this program to you, and every piece of documentation features the Carnival Logo. But this is NOT Carnival. If you try in any way to get satisfaction for the disaster that is the Carnival Vacation Club through the cruise line, they will not be able to offer you any assistance.
My in-laws used their points to book a trip for 7 of us on the Grand Princess. We jumped through hoops to get people to call us back, to address issues, to fix problems. We called the vacation club, we called the cruise line, we called Carnival, and left more messages in hopes of getting return phone calls than we could keep track of.
The free airline certificates that were promised to my in-laws never materialized, and the resort vacations were so limited in availability and location, that they were completely useless. The cruise ended up costing them all of their points, plus additional thousands of dollars, but the insult in the whole thing is the fact that the cruise could have been purchased for less money in cash than in what was paid for in points. Even the guy on the phone at the vacation club cautioned us not to buy more points to cover the additional passengers, warning us that it would be more money to buy the points than to pay for the cruise outright.
It’s nothing but a scam, and the fact that Carnival has accepted money to allow these people to use their name, their logo, and their uniform is an embarrassment to a reputable company. I don’t know what is being pitched now to unsuspecting, happy cruisers, looking for a bargain and a way to enjoy a discounted vacation in the future, but beware. Don’t sign anything until you’ve done your homework – and that should convince you that your signature is way too valuable to put on any Carnival Vacation Club documents.