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Free cruise??? To good to be true??


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I got a players club "casino offer" mailing from HAL  for a complimentary ocean-view stateroom and $100 Free casino money on designated sailings.  I tried to read between the lines, but I must be missing something.  Has anyone else gotten this?  

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I'm booked on a 10 day in February 2021. Upgraded to the balcony, didn't want to be stuck inside in case something happened - so no longer free, but still very reasonable. Had to put down the nonrefundable deposit but that is returned as OBC. I was concerned about losing the deposit so took out cancel for any reason insurance which covers 90%. I'm scheduled for another cruise on another line the week prior coming back on Saturday, leaving on this on Sunday. Figured as long as I was already in Florida, why not. I very much doubt either cruise will go at this point. More likely 3 and 4 day cruises at that point.

 

Now I wish I had scheduled further out. If this gets canceled - or I cancel - I lose this "free" cruise and there were other dates further into 2021. I was surprised by the offer. Have been to the casino on ships, but my gambling budget is limited.

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5 hours ago, Cruzmama said:

I got a players club "casino offer" mailing from HAL  for a complimentary ocean-view stateroom and $100 Free casino money on designated sailings.  I tried to read between the lines, but I must be missing something.  Has anyone else gotten this?  

Lot of people have gotten this offer recently.  We booked one for March, but paid to upgrade to a Neptune for a very reasonable price.  Only downside is that  you zget a guarantee cabin in your category, so might not be a very good location (you cannot select your cabin).

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I had already re-booked from my cancelled April cruise on Zaandam.  I already have cruises booked (on other lines) for March and April and had a January cruise on Carnival cancelled, so I picked the 1/9 NA sailing for the itinerary.

 

For whatever reason, I never get emails for the casino offers (although they have the correct email address and I've opted in), so by the time the mailers reach me, the free cabins are gone.  I did take a deeply-discounted ($199/pp for a large IS on Zuiderdam for 11 nights).

 

Anyway, I got this mailing and saw FREE and it included the date I'd already booked.  And the following week!  Told my TA, but this was this past Saturday when website and phone lines were down.

 

She finally got through on Monday afternoon and cancelled my original booking and re-booked me for the B2B.  Yes, full payment when booked, non-refundable.  But if HAL cancels because sailing is still not feasible, I imagine we'll get a refund or FCC offer. And my FCC from Zaandam is back in my account.

 

My concern is that when I see my GP in December that she'll tell me that I should NOT sail.  I'm in pretty good health but I'll be 68 by then and have some minor heart issue.  Not holding out much hope that there will be a vaccine by then, but who knows?  No point in worrying about it.  If I have to cancel and lose my payment, oh well.  I don't like it but I'm guessing if I do sail, I'll spend that casino credit, plus my OBC, plus considerably more in the casino anyway.  So will I really be out-of-pocket if I cancel? 😜

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DH got the snail-mail casino offer last week and it's only the 2nd one we've ever received (and he doesn't gamble, go figure). First time around was several years ago, and we jumped on the Highlands and Fjords out of Copenhagen. Not completely "free" with port taxes and fees .......and we upgraded to a veranda, too, but I am NOT complaining! Of course, we spent a fortune, LOL, with add on flights, pre-hotel, tours, etc., but OMG, we had a BLAST and I don't regret a single penny we spent.

 

I've been hoping for another offer ever since then and kinda figured it had been a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Fast forward to last week, and the cruises being offered for this special are for spring '21 only, Mexican Riviera or Caribbean.....and we wonder "will they sail?" Who knows. But we decided it was worth the gamble for us. We booked the furthest out that we could (March 22), didn't upgrade (got an OV mid-ship-ish), and we're not making any excursion plans at this point. Bought our flights to/from FLL on points, which would be redeposited in our flyer accounts if we had to cancel (or decide to drive there), and we'll look for a pre-cruise hotel that's refundable. We also bought their CPP insurance ($99 ea), so we hope to have a 90% refund if they or we cancel. I've got my fingers crossed but I'm really not holding my breath.

 

Best wishes and good luck with your choice and opportunity!

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21 hours ago, vswan said:

I'm booked on a 10 day in February 2021. Upgraded to the balcony, didn't want to be stuck inside in case something happened - so no longer free, but still very reasonable. Had to put down the nonrefundable deposit but that is returned as OBC. I was concerned about losing the deposit so took out cancel for any reason insurance which covers 90%. I'm scheduled for another cruise on another line the week prior coming back on Saturday, leaving on this on Sunday. Figured as long as I was already in Florida, why not. I very much doubt either cruise will go at this point. More likely 3 and 4 day cruises at that point.

 

Now I wish I had scheduled further out. If this gets canceled - or I cancel - I lose this "free" cruise and there were other dates further into 2021. I was surprised by the offer. Have been to the casino on ships, but my gambling budget is limited.

I booked for Dec 5th and that was cancelled so they rebooked me on the next available feb 27th so you may not lose it if they cancel.  They offered the 125% which gave me $125 (I paid $100 for port fees) but charged me $19 additional port fees for that date so I have additional $7.00 obc.  Lol. 

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I'm actually a big fan of inside cabins.  I love it totally dark when I sleep, so not thrilled with an OV since I'll wake at the crack of dawn. 

 

I thought about buying the insurance but, again, the insurance was half the cabin price, so I decided against it.

 

I have SW credits from a couple of trips I didn't get to take this year, so I can use those for the flights.

 

Last several cruises (from both Ft Lauderdale and Miami), I've taken a 7 am non-stop flight.  Arrive in FLL about 9:20, get my bags, grab a bagel and coffee and even waiting for a shared shuttle to Miami, I've been at the ports and on board before noon.  Stresses me out a bit, flying in the morning of, but I've probably done that the past 6 or 7 cruises with no problem.  Of course, it only take one mechanical/weather delay, right?!?  And I don't typically sail in January, so there is weather to think about. 

 

But the cost of a hotel in FL in January is also considerably more than I usually pay.  So, not sure what I'll do. 

 

Look, I had already booked a cruise for a week that was going to cost me about what I just paid for the B2B and I wasn't obsessing over the travel costs.  Geez, I'm so cheap! 😁

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14 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

But the cost of a hotel in FL in January is also considerably more than I usually pay.  So, not sure what I'll do. 

 

Look, I had already booked a cruise for a week that was going to cost me about what I just paid for the B2B and I wasn't obsessing over the travel costs.  Geez, I'm so cheap! 😁

I normally use credit card or hotel points to book my Florida rooms during the season.  The points required are the same year round, so no big seasonal jumps.  Often if you open a new card the signup bonus will get you a couple of free nights.  Plus, most times you do not have to pay taxes or resort fees using points.  Check it out.

 

Edited by DaveOKC
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Yesterday, for the first time e-v-e-r, we received a snail mail from HAL for a free ocean view cabin with a number of sailings.  I contacted our TA who told me the date we initially wanted was booked, but that she would try again today for another sailing. 

 

Last night DH and I had an in-depth conversation about the possible cruise in February or March, and realized - at this time, we can't even get additional travel/ health insurance due to the pandemic.  That sealed the deal for us - I've emailed our TA and told her not to bother checking on the other dates, because if anything happens to us health-wise, we're out of pocket.  It isn't worth it to us.  Hopefully now that they know our address (we've only been sailing with them since 2003), they'll send more later.

 

Smooth Sailing!  🙂🙂🙂

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7 minutes ago, ger_77 said:

at this time, we can't even get additional travel/ health insurance due to the pandemic.

Why can't you purchase medical insurance? I see all the major travel/medical insurance companies still offer insurance for both Canadian and US citizens. It may have Covid exclusions, but I suspect that clause is here to stay. 

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I hate to be the negative Nelly here but it is unlikely anyone will be cruising in 2021 an therefore an y cruise line can offer great  cruise deals because they will not be sailing!Given that not all crew have been repatriated even now from what I  have heard- and even if that is not the case,

1.How many potential and past crew members wush to risk getting COVID-19, especially given th etiny cabins they are given and with a roommate they don't know or live with shoreside

2. No guarantee there will be a vaccine in 2021 an even if there is the  first ones will be going to the first responders, then the most vulnerable (who are not likely to risk cruising, even with a vaccination as it will not be 100% effective from what the health officials warn

3.People are not keen on flying anytime soon for the same reason-re wanting a safe, proven vaccine

4.The experience itself is going to be different and no guarantee there won't be another outbreak until a vaccine is available to cruise travelers(way down the list of  people to receive the vaccine early on unless over 65 and many of us are under 60... 

's board

5. The amount of time needed to restart operations an getting crew to return to the ship , if they choose to do so at all-which is a distinct possibility  and even with the greatly reduced passenger count allowed for the indefinite future, might mean finding, hiring, and possibly training new people as many will not just transfer from another cruise line(?)

6.  When will the countries with low or at least controlled rates of  covid -19 even going to allow people from hot spots to enter their waters,at this time is very unpredictable as  there are still so many places where COVID-189 i s still out of control, with no end in sight for even  leveling or much  less decreasing the number of new cases Nor close to  what will be an acceptable level(whatever that will mean in 2021)of new cases (read the risk of catching  the disease low enough risk to be tolerated by the CDC to open up cruising again

7. Solvency of the cruise lines

8.*What about  the need to  be able to get cruise insurance to cover cruise cancellations due to the  current pandemic and in the future..and many other   reasons 

Time will tell , as they say,but it is time for people to learn  about delayed gratification, and find other things to do until this wretched virus gets under control 

Edited by wearesiamese
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Pretty sure we're all aware that sailing in early 2021 is not terribly likely.  I booked the cruises anyway IN CASE they're a go.

 

And, if HAL has to cancel them, then I'm accumulating FCC/OBC for when I finally DO get to cruise.

 

Am I out-of-pocket (for now) for something that may never happen?  Yes.  If I can't afford to let HAL keep my funds for a few months, then I probably shouldn't be cruising.

 

But most hotels/airlines have very lenient refund/cancellation/rescheduling policies in place for now.  What travel insurance will and will not cover is discussed in detail on the travel insurance board.  If I decide to cancel because I'm concerned about the virus, that's a personal decision and trip insurance isn't going to cover it.  Maybe if I purchase a cancel-for-any-reason, but I typically don't do that.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/499-cruisetravel-insurance/

 

DaveOKC, I don't have enough points with any hotels to get a free night, but I may have enough to get a discount using $ + points.  I've been known to purchase some points when they're having a "sale" on them to get me to a level I need.  I'll look into that.

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I would love to have gotten one  of those offers!! LOL But now because of FCC's those of us who do not have those, are not finding any bargains out there. And given the companies needs for cash flow, it will be  along time until there are any..  But I have won/earned cruise by playing MyVegas on Facebook, so I will continue acccruing points  there, to earn another "free" cruise(jport taxes and aa small admin fee excluded)

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On 8/20/2020 at 4:17 PM, Cruzmama said:

I got a players club "casino offer" mailing from HAL  for a complimentary ocean-view stateroom and $100 Free casino money on designated sailings.  I tried to read between the lines, but I must be missing something.  Has anyone else gotten this?  

Since I don't gamble I get no such offers.

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2 hours ago, wearesiamese said:

That explains ,maybe, why I didn't hear of or see the offers🙂

 

 

I think people that get these offers because of their fidelity to gambling and the cruise line will get the fare back and then some in the Casino.

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My husband and I visit the casino most every night of a cruise, but we are by no means what you would call "gamblers".  I play penny slots, dh plays blackjack until we either win or lose just a little.  This is the first casino offer I've ever gotten.  I figure I got it after the high rollers didn't take the bait due to covid.  I hate not to take advantage of it, but it is tempting.

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12 hours ago, Himself said:

 

 

I think people that get these offers because of their fidelity to gambling and the cruise line will get the fare back and then some in the Casino.

All casinos use a point system to determine the "value" of specific players.  It is not based on won/lost, but rather on "play or coin-in".   They know that if you play long enough, they will make x amount of money on that player.

 

Their system is not perfect however, and sometimes a player can make out and get more back than they lose.  It depends on the game/machine they play for the most part.  Of course, luck comes into it.  On the HAL ships we have gotten more back in casino fare discounts than we ever lost, but mostly this is based on booking higher priced cabins (we get a % off).  If you book an inside cabin for example, the discount in dollars is lower, so harder to make it work out.

 

Anyway, for now it works out for us - when it no longer does, we will change our approach.

 

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On 8/20/2020 at 4:17 PM, Cruzmama said:

I got a players club "casino offer" mailing from HAL  for a complimentary ocean-view stateroom and $100 Free casino money on designated sailings.  I tried to read between the lines, but I must be missing something.  Has anyone else gotten this?  

I get these from time to time.  I took advantage of an offer for a 17 day trip to Hawaii out of Seattle. I upgraded to an ocean view. I was able to use another promotion with Amex at the time along with airline miles for airfare. My cost for the stateroom, taxes, insurance and air fare was about $1000 for 2 of us. ($500 per person). 

 

It was a great trip and I would do another if I can fit it in my schedule and I feel safe to cruise.

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We have used the casino rates in the past but this is the first "free" offer we've received. By the time we decided, the cabins for the sailing I was interested in were already booked.

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47 minutes ago, Sea42 said:

We have used the casino rates in the past but this is the first "free" offer we've received. By the time we decided, the cabins for the sailing I was interested in were already booked.

The free cabins do go quickly - did you try booking a slightly higher ranked cabin?

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I have >30 Carnival cruises and while I get casino offers, they're not that impressive.  I've sailed HAL 3 times and get much better offers from them.  I decided that since I almost always have at least one Carnival cruise booked (I currently have 4), they know I'm going to sail so why offer me incentives to book?  And they know I'm going to play slots and Roulette in the casino but I'm not a high roller.

 

HAL, OTOH, seems to want me to return, so they give me much better casino offers.  Yes, they know I'll not only use the $250 casino credits that came with my offer, but I'll spend more.  Of course it ends up not being free!  But I'd already booked the 1/9 sailing and would've spent time in the casino, so although I don't get the Have-It-All perks, I do get perks.  And, like I said, I now have my FCC/OBC available for the future.

 

I really don't believe the casinos base the offers strictly on past play.  I know there have been people who got much better casino offers than me and claim they spend very little.  I spend much more time in the casino now that I play Roulette.  But, if anything, my offers are not as good as they were when I only played slots.

 

Let's put it this way - I almost never play enough to earn the Drinks on Us card.  I think I got it twice.  Once on the last night about 30 minutes before I needed to cash out.  The second was about halfway through a 14-night Transatlantic.  So if I'm playing that little, why send me an offer for a free cruise?

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On 8/24/2020 at 10:42 AM, DaveOKC said:

The free cabins do go quickly - did you try booking a slightly higher ranked cabin?

Yes, they did have a higher cabin available but it was over $1900 pp. Quite a jump! We're not big fans of Caribbean cruises so it wasn't worth it to us.

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