Cruises are a lot of fun and a good way to visit many places without having to worry about transportation, hotels and food. They are becoming very popular partly because they are also becoming less expensive. Here are five tips to prevent getting scammed on a cruise deal.
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any deal offered. Once the fare is quoted, ask what it includes and also what it does not include. Ask specifically if there are any expenses not included in the total price. Also ask about port fees, cancellation fees and insurance. If there is any feeling of doubt, discomfort or uncertainty about a cruise package or deal, it is better to walk away, at least for the time being. There is always the chance to reconsider, but there is no chance once payment is given.
  2. Read the Terms of Service (TOS) carefully. Cruises usually take a large portion from anyone’s holiday budget for tourism and entertainment. It is important to get a good deal for the price. Any promised reductions in price, discounts on the ship or extra benefits should be given in writing. If the travel agent is not willing to do this, find another one who will.
  3. Do research to ascertain the prices offered in more than one place for the desired cruise. For example, many companies cruise the Caribbean and many different travel agents offer deals on the cruises. This will give an idea of how much the cruise will cost, given the same duration and island stops. If a travel agent or website offers something extremely cheap, it may be a scam or have hidden fees that are only revealed after the client has paid the discount price. The conventional wisdom is that if it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Often free offers are paid for by hidden fees.
  4. Research the company of the cruise desired as well as the travel agent or website that is offering the low prices. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) will be able to give information about any doubts concerning the legitimacy of a particular company. A state’s Attorney General’s office will know if there are any registered complaints against the cruise company.
  5. It is good to pay with a credit card once a cruise has been selected. If any problem arises, the charge can be cancelled if time permits. The charges can also be disputed later, if promised benefits or free services are charged for later. For paying online, make sure the site is authentic before giving credit card information. Some sites use scam ware to fool people into entering their credit card details.