I purchased a 7 day package for 2 hotel stays and a 3 day cruise for $1100.00 with meals included and the upgrades. Stateroom with a window, hotel room facing the ocean, getting a larger stateroom, plus they threw in 2 weekend stays in Mexico and Las Vegas but the airfare made it too pricey for me to use these extras. That was 3 years ago but I became ill and couldn't go immediately so I paid $59.00 to extend the trip for a year and then a second time. I was about ready to forfeit the trip entirely when my daughter offered to accompany me and help me maneuver with my disability. I was thrilled to finally be able to go. Well, I want to report that we just got back and actually had a fantastic time in spite of the negatives.
We flew to Ft. Lauderdale where we stayed at a 4 star hotel and was given 3 excellent meals a day. Here's the catch. We had to attend a timeshare presentation which when I booked the trip, I was told would only last half an hour. I had no intention of buying a timeshare, but felt it was worth it to sit through a high pressure sales pitch because I am very good at saying "no" and the trip was so affordable for me. Taking a cruise was always on my bucket list.
The second day we drove to the presentation location in our free rental car which was a brand new red Nissan compact (which, by the way, the rental agent tried to talk us into upgrading to a larger size because this one would be way too small for our needs. We both drive Mazda compacts so that size was perfect for us and explained that to him, but he kept insisting the entire time that we were getting a bad car. It was very annoying, but I knew he was only doing his job so it was just a minor snag). We loved the car. It met all of our needs.
Back to Ft. Lauderdale and the "half an hour" presentation. We honestly thought we were going to be sitting in a room and watch a film about the facility and how great it was and then, somehow, be pressured into buying it and I would say "no". End of story.
Upon arrival, we were assigned to a personal real estate agent who took us out for a free breakfast at a very nice diner. We were given carte blanche to choose our meal. I didn't get too greedy but ordered a healthy breakfast which was delicious. We then went back to the facility to listen to her spiel.
She was a nice person and fun to talk to so we didn't realize time was going by until we looked at our watches and realized we had been there over 3 hours until finally she took us to see the apartment. It was lovely and new and in a nice building with a pool. There were 3 other parties there looking as well. The decorating was nice (not my taste) and they had a towel swan on the bed which was a cute touch since I had never seen one before. I was not really blown away with the apartment.
We went back and the real pitch began explaining costs and places we could use it and what a wonderful opportunity it would be to be able to have travel all over the world and save so much money on hotel costs. Yes, yes, yes, all true, but the answer was still going to be "no". We were done and tired and ready for lunch and tried leaving but she insisted we just stay a few minutes longer to talk to her manager who offered to give us a better deal. "No?" OK let me call on my manager so we could get a foreclosure for such a bargain price that it was hard for any person to refuse. But the answer was still "no" and could we leave now and get our cruise voucher validated. We were kind of stuck since we knew we would be refused the cruise if we didn't listen. Finally, they gave up and let us go to receive our voucher but a lady from "corporate" sat us down and gave us the final pitch and by then we almost walked out and didn't care if we were going on a cruise or not. But then we escaped with a firm "no" and we reached the exit door and there, a nice woman gave us all of our paperwork to board the ship and a meal voucher good for 3 free meals a day for 2 days. Whew, finally. OK, on to the hotel.
It was a 5 star luxury hotel and we were thrilled. We went to have lunch which was a delicious buffet. But first we had to stop at the Welcome Center to have our cruise voucher validated and told that we had to listen to a 90 minute presentation so we wouldn't have to wait on line to board the ship. The next day we listened to another presentation but this was to join a travel club which she kept repeating that they were a private company and not affiliated with the cruise company. At that point, my daughter offered to take over and get us the hell out of there. So she convinced the lady to speed things up because we weren't buying a thing and just wanted our VIP pass so we wouldn't have to wait on the line to board the ship. But she had to finish her spiel and had to call her boss over who was a very unpleasant person but we finally were able to leave. We were given our VIP pass and proud of ourselves since we survived the more than 6 hours of sales presentations and on to our cruise.
Surprisingly, when we boarded the ship, our VIP pass was meaningless because there was no line. Oh well, our bad. The ship was beautiful. Our room was small but very clean and modern with a nice decor. We had a window which I had upgraded to when I purchased the package. We spent 2 nights cruising, eating free food, and saw a show and my daughter went dancing. All in all, a very positive experience.
We landed on the Grand Bahama island and were driven to our 5 star resort hotel which was right on the ocean and I can't even explain to you how beautiful it was. We thought we died and went to heaven. My daughter did some swimming in the ocean. I rested. We were being charged for meals, which surprised me because I could have sworn I had been offered free meals in the hotel, but not on the island but the representative said I would have to talk to customer service when I got home. Fine, still tolerable for what we were experiencing at the moment. I knew there would be unforseen expenses once we got there. Some fun souvenir shopping, a bus tour (which was extra) and a fine gourmet meal at one of the restaurants on the island (extra, of course). 2 glorious days later and back to the ship for 1 night. We did some eating and buying souvenirs in the gift shop.
We arrived on dry land and picked up our car which was free except for gas and parking fees and then drove 3 hours to Orlando, the last leg of our trip and we had plans to go to Universal studios. When we arrived at the very nice Ramada, we were informed that there was yet another 90 minute presentation we had to sit through in order to get the free room and board. Now, both of us were furious because a "promised" half an hour presentation had added up to 10 hours of listening to all these people trying to make a sale. I felt sorry for them, but also felt sorry for us. Yes, we were duped, but we knew we would have to listen to a hard sell sales pitch as part of the package. But for only a 1/2 hour. I had purchased a dream trip was willing to endure a little sales pressure but 6 plus hours was not what I had been promised.
So when we sat down with the last lady, we became ruthless. We set a timer for 90 minutes, lectured her that we would never purchase a timeshare from this company for all the deception they presented to us for luring us into making a purchase. They had broken our trust and we thought the entire company was a bunch of scammers and why would we ever do business with this company ever again. Buzzer went off, "Time's up" and we shocked the lady that we were actually able to stop her in mid sentence and leave. She sent over her manager to no avail and we left feeling pretty proud of ourselves for handling the situation with dignity and respect for the poor woman who was only doing her job. Why didn't we think of this sooner?
Would we ever do it again? Never in a million years and I would advise people to book their trip with any other company than this one if they had no interest in buying a time share and even if they did. Their unscrupulous methods are not illegal but should be. For us, we had a memorable experience and I'd say it was pleasurable and we laughed at all of the aggravation we had to endure. But never again and I do not recommend this for anyone who is sane and intelligent enough to see through the fine print. I guess they still make millions of money in sales for it to be worth it to treat people as if they were stupid children and sucker them into purchasing a product they can't afford and eventually bankrupt them and go into foreclosure.
Very clean and modern decor.