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April 6, 2009

BJ’s $149 Cruise: Don’t Expect the Advertised Extras

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:57 am

bjscruiseThere are some unprecedented bargains being offered in the cruise industry these days.

Here is an offer from BJ’s Wholesale Club for a four-night cruise for an amazing $149 — just $37 a night.

Besides that, they are promising getting up to $500 of credit to spend on the ship and even, possibly, a BJ’s gift card of up to $200.  Sounds like they are going to pay you to take this trip.

When you begin to get the details of the trip, the promises change.



In one place, it indicates that the onboard spending is only “up to $100” and in another place the onboard spending is a $200 coupon booklet.  Neither of those is the up to $500 promised.  Worse, when you click the “see details” link, more bad news is delivered.



Looks like we do not qualify for any shipboard credit on two counts: (1) it only applies on trips of six days or longer; and (2) the advertised $37 rate is for an inside cabin, and only outside cabins qualify.

As one clicks further, hope is restored with this:


And hope is dashed by the fine print footnote:


Carnival onboard savings booklet offer is valid only for new individual bookings made between 3/3/09 and 4/1/09 for oceanview staterooms on all sailings of 5 nights or longer, departing after 5/1/09.

Finally, what about that BJ’s $200 gift card that was advertised?  Well, we lose on that score too because we don’t meet the minimum purchase requirement.



On checking with a reservation specialist at BJ’s Travel, one further learns that the $149 rate is an interior room with only bunk beds (ouch), and with taxes and fees comes to $201.73.  To upgrade to two lower beds is an additional $30 per person.

When asked whether the email advertisement was deceptive because the advertised price did not include the extras stated, she said that it was not misleading because the advertised rates have certain restrictions and criteria for getting those rates.

But there is good news, we do qualify for a reduced deposit. Thanks for nothing.

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  1. As a senior I love cruising and go every winter to escape Minnesota. My tips to enjoy a cruise: are book with a reputable travel agent, book early and don’t get the cheapest deal as you will get what you pay for. Be aware that a cruise is not really all-inclusive, we don’t gamble and limit ourselves to one cocktail per day and still rack up about 700 dollars of extras on a 7 day cruise. Also keep in mind that all cruise lines are very different so thouroughly research because if you pick the wrong cruise you are stuck on that boat for the entire cruise. Check out cruisecritic.com for independent reviews of ship lines and individual ships.

    Comment by mitaliano — April 6, 2009 @ 8:04 am
  2. Wow.. there is deceptive advertising.. then there is this! That is getting pretty close to illegal.

    Comment by ryan — April 7, 2009 @ 3:16 am
  3. Beware of another widely touted cruise that takes you in one direction only. Alaska cruises of 5 or 6 days are typical of this. They sail out of Seattle or British Columbia and end in Ketchikan (sp) or some other Alaskan port. The rationale for this is that many people take a dual vacation, 1/2 by rail into (or out of) Alaska and the other leg via cruising.

    The other type is more honest about what is happening, called a “repositioning cruise.” A ship is traveling from, the Mediterranean to Florida and it will not return to the Mediterranean area for 7 or 8 months.

    For all repositioning cruises you will be faced with one way air passage to two different destinations. Sometimes the one way air fare is more expensive than a round trip. Just things to keep in mind.

    Comment by Warren — April 17, 2009 @ 1:45 pm
  4. Kudos to you for getting through all that fine print. Usually I just give up after the first scroll-thru of
    “Terms & Conditions”. Thank you for doing this and empowering consumers.

    Comment by Lemonade — September 3, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

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