Carnival takes a gamble on happy cruisers

Temptation: Carnival Sunshine

Temptation: Carnival Sunshine

Carnival Cruise Line has taken a gamble on winning back passengers with a generous more-than-money-back guarantee.

Yes, all you have to do is moan about your voyage within the first 24 hours and you’ll be flown home from the next port, handed your money back with a ten per cent bonus and given $100 shipboard credit for a future cruise. They’ll even throw in a hotel if you need it.

Why? Well, it may be to finally eradicate memories of that infamous ‘poop cruise’ on Carnival Triumph, when the engines and toilets stopped working. Or it may be a neat promotion to tie in with the forthcoming National Cruise Week.

The opportunity for abuse is rife, of course. Book a couple and kids on to an eight-day cruise costing, say, $800, enjoy the food, fun and entertainment for a day then roll up at guest services, complain and – if you time it right – you might have a day or two more on board before you’re put up in a nice hotel and flown home with an extra $80 in your pocket.

Let’s see how it goes. There are some terms and conditions, of course. The ‘Great Vacation Guarantee’ is valid on all three- to eight-day voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Canada and New England departing up to April 30, 2015. Oh, and sorry, British freeloaders – the deal only applies to US and Canadian residents. Guests must also have a valid passport – something many Americans on US cruises don’t bother with.

For Carnival’s sake, I hope it encourages lots of happy passengers on board. But, if I were on guest services, I’d be very wary of those families boarding eight-day voyages with only an overnight bag…

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