Free Cruise

Free Cruise Automated Phone Call: How The Scam Work

Today we look at one of the most common phone scams out there: a fake free cruise that crooks offer via a call. Let’s dive in.

Free vacation from some of the most popular travel agencies is always nice to have but watch out for this scam. Imagine this: you get a call from a travel agency informing you that, because of a promotion or a radio station contest, you are eligible to receive a free cruise. That’s a vacation that you don’t have to pay for.

The only condition for you to fully qualify is that you answer correctly three quiz questions, or sometimes not even that. To make sure you can receive the free cruise, a full conversation is being established.

But how does the scam work? Watch the video below to see in action the Free Cruise scam caught on tape:

Free Cruise Survey Scam Video

One variation of the scam comes through a phone call from a fake radio station, promising you a free cruise to the Bahamas. All you have to do is to answer three questions and – if you do it correctly – you qualify!

Of course, you answer right. Then you are invited to call the ‘radio station’. During the conversation, they tell you that you have to pay only $59.99 for “international waters fees” but you get your free cruise! Needless to say, you give your credit card number which will be maxed out immediately.

However, here is some good news about these sneaky robocalls: if you got a spam call about a free cruise you may be owed $900 in restitution, according to a new class-action lawsuit. See if your phone number is listed on the settlement here.

Free Cruise? Only ‘Minor’ Taxes And Booking Charges

In the second variation of the Free Cruise scam, you get the call you’ve been waiting for to break you out of your mundane, day-to-day existence. A nice person on the other line tells you you’ve just won a free Florida or Bahamas cruise! She begins telling you about the white, sandy beaches and how the cruise ship has a casino.

She almost seems more excited than you are!

After building the trip up for almost three minutes the caller offhandedly mentions that you only have to pay some minor taxes and booking charges, to the tune of about $200. You figure that still sounds like a great deal, so you pay.

cheap cruises

It’s a real deal and you receive the plane ticket confirmation the next day. The trick is, the ticket is a companion ticket, meaning you can’t take the flight unless your guest pays the full fare. You decide this still sounds advantageous since you both fly for the price of one and you’ve already sunk some money in; so you and your partner again accept.

Attend A Timeshare Presentation, Prison-Style

You fly to Florida and they meet you at the airport. They take you to a beautiful hotel and everything seems to be going to plan. They tell you about the departure of the cruise, which happens tomorrow.

After they set you up at the hotel, they mention you have to attend a one-hour timeshare presentation tomorrow morning. You tell them that wasn’t part of the original deal, and they tell you that you won’t have your return flight taken care of unless you go.

At the presentation, which is the main part of the scam, the company is very pushy and aggressive and they do things that are borderline illegal to get you to sign up to buy a timeshare. This is really intense, almost threatening. Also, it ends up being a lot longer (seven hours instead of one) so they can suck a few more people into buying. After the presentation, you finally get to go on the ship.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the majestic wonder you were told it would be; most likely, it’s more than 25 years old and smaller than a usual cruise vessel. It’s also a gambling ship that features nothing other than casino tables and machines. It’s just another way to suck money out of your pockets. Beware of these shady timeshare presentation resale companies!

There are a couple of ways this can shake out. Some people will have to fly to the departure city on their own dime. Others will just take your credit card number and run.

How To Avoid The Free Cruise Scam:

If you win something, you win it. You will never have to pay to claim that prize and if someone is telling you otherwise, they’re taking you for a ride. Feel free to contribute below in the Comments section with names of questionable people or businesses approaching you.

On the other hand, if you like to travel make a habit of reading blogs from top travel influencers. They typically report these kinds of traps and share many tips when it comes to travel.

How To Report The Free Cruise Callers:

Make your family and friends aware of the Free Cruise scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

Related Articles And Pages:

Travel Scams:

Fake Travel Agency

Travel Club Scam

Cruise Worker Application

Timeshare Scams


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Mike Day

Just approached today by "holiday cruise lines" for a trip of 2-4 people for $59. Each to the Bahamas. When I asked for Any sort of verification there was none to give. It was also suspicious that the would Only take debit or credit card #s

Katrina Gingerich

I made a phone call to what I thought was a private number, and was supposed to have my call answered by a radio station, Edge 97, saying that I was caller 9 and had won a free cruise. They connected me to a "DJ" who got my name, email, etc asked who I was gonna take, asked if I wanted to give any shoutouts or request a song or anything and gave me instructions to claim my prize. He said I would be responsible for taxes of $59/person. I went to the station website as he instructed to give… Read more »


yes i was one of them . you a one in a million.. she said .. just pay admin fee. and you to will be sailing from fort lauderdal to the isles of bahamas . just one extra tiny thing , can i have your credit card info..when i paused to think about it. i was told because i was in scotland , i would be given an onboard credit of 100$usd…. they say a fool and his money soon depart, but it is nice to see that i am not the only one!

Barney Wilson

Remember, you can only win a competition that you actually entered !


Total scam! Company involved in a lot of shady deals.

This will help guide you towards a refund.

Jaime DArcy-Garcia

Folks, please remember that you can only win a prize (s) for which you actually entered to win.

Edward W. Jackson

If you want to stay for a few nights on the Island. The total cost will be a grand, or so… LOL!


This is what i got: "Congratulations! Our promotional department has authorized us to offer you a Norwegian 7 night and 8 day cruise for 2 . . . . ".

Alec Aslett

Received sudden notification of $3000 Orlando/ Cruise holiday prize!?!(Should have stopped there and then!) Phoned a UK London number to claim (thinking Scam at the same time) Nice friendly Auntie style US lady on the other end of the phone – Prize made to sound very plausible and genuine (No such thing as a free lunch so alarm bells kept ringing)They only wanted £500 Ha! Asked for confirmation of everything stated in writing by email before paying up which appeared to do the trick as nothing arrived – Meanwhile was checking Internet re ICS and saw TIMESHARE 🙁 That was… Read more »


They have tried 3 times in the last 3 weeks.

If something sounds too good to be true it normally is.

An age old truism. Just take the trouble to check online. It is really that simple.

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