Free Carnival Cruise and stay in FL Radisson?! What's the catch?

I just received one of those vouchers in the mail: free three night stay in a south Florida Radisson, stay in Orlando, and free Carnival Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas. And if I call within the next 48 hours, I’ll also net stays in Las Vegas and Puerto Vallarta. Huzzah for me! However, there’s a note on the back of the voucher:

“This is an opportunity to sell travel.”

Riiiiight. That’s the catch - I’ll have to sit through at least one time-share spiel. Apparently, I was chosen because a) I have good credit and b) they think I and my husband make enough to afford one of these things, much less want one. And there’s no indication of how many I’ll have to sit through. And I’ll have to fill out a “questionnaire” when I return on how I liked the facilities.

Here’s the rub: I don’t want a timeshare. I don’t want to sit through your spiel. On the other hand, due to recent stress, I could really use a vacation, and I’ve been looking at cruises lately. Free is good. I’d sit through one spiel, if that was all. On the other hand, is this gonna be like that South Park episode? On the other hand, the extra free vacations could be nice too, if there’s no more spiels. On the other hand…

You see the problem. I’m fishing for your feedback here - is this bunk (like I think)? Or should I take a chance? Have you ever been on one of these things? Should I run away very fast?


Never tried it myself, but I’d wager it’s legit – the government would get on their case if it was a scam.

On the other hand, given that it is a time-sell sales effort, be prepared for a lot of hard-hittin’ heavy-pressure selling. I imagine it might be something like loading you up with free food and drink, and then they won’t let you go to the bathroom until you buy something expensive.

Me, I’d rather buy my own vacation (or stay home in bed) than go through this.

The only experience I can share is slightly different. My husband took a phone call and was told he won a cruise. I’m more cynical and asked some questions. By the time we would have paid the taxes, port fees, and something else (can’t remember exactly now) it was quite far from free.

My advice would be to get something in writing stating exactly what these freebies will cost you, in terms of time and money. You may decide that a 2 hour sales pitch more than covers the vacation they offer. Good luck.

You may be required to buy your air tickets through the company to claim the hotel/cruise package. The fares won’t be at the 14-day-advance-internet-special rate.

My SIL’s sister got one of these about three years ago. She made all of the arrangements, but at the last minute couldn’t go so she gave it to my wife and me. It was five days with three of them as the cruise. Although I can’t remember the details it turned out to be far from free, it ended up costing her about $1200.00. We had to sit through a very high pressure, very sleazy 6 hr pitch for a timeshare, but the rest of the trip was a delight. We had a brand new Grand Cherokee to drive in Fla. and stayed at a great suite hotel. The cruise was a lot of fun with great food and service. If you look into what a package deal like this cost it is about $1900.00 so you save about $700.00 by listening to their spiel. The 6hr spiel is grueling though and you WILL be tempted to buy. DON’T.

Huh - pretty much what I thought. I didn’t know about the really not free part - good to know.

Mr. Snicks said this when I told him what we’d gotten in the mail: “You never get ripped off when you pay for your own vacations.” Seems like pretty sage advice.


Check out the hotel online. An ex-girlfriend and I did a similar deal, at a Radisson in Orlando, and the hotel sucked. Our room was dirty, the hotel was generally filthy, understaffed, bad food that was way overpriced. It was pretty clear that they knew people were there as a package deal and weren’t going to come back anyway.

The time-share speil was 5 hours. The price dropped by 66%. On the next vacation and thereafter, I booked the hotels and we saved money in other ways.