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SuzyCruise 09-16-2007 02:00 AM

I returned Sept.10, 2007, from a 4-day cruise on the Holiday. We put up a credit card for the Sail&Sign deposit. Upon returning home, I checked the credit card balance and discovered it was over the limit by $24. What? Upon combing through my charge receipts, and going online to examine the account activity, I still couldn't figure out where "I" made a mistake.

Finally I called the credit card company. They told me there were pending charges. The $433.53 Sail&Sign was processed on Sept.10, but there was a long list of pending charges for the Sail&Sign dated from Sept.6 - 9. It turns out that Carnival puts holds throughout the cruise on the credit card for the amounts charged on Sail&Sign, then charges the whole amount on the final day. That seems fair, but normally, the pending charges would drop off once the final transaction is completed. Not so with Carnival.

The holds have not dropped off. Although Carnival Guest Relations advised me that the charges should have dropped off after 72 hours (3 days), it has clearly been well beyond 72 hours. It has been 9 days since the first hold began, and 5 days since the final payment was charged. When I add that up on my toes and fingers, I get a figure well over the 72 hours they claim. Carnival aknowledges the problem and issued a reference number for me to report to my credit card company to hopefully set my credit back into good standing, but it will take time for the paperwork to go through accounting to authorize a release for these holds.

It has been a bit of a headache. Now all I have to do is wait for the extra 433.53 to drop off the credit card account. I was thinking that when I cruise this October, I will put up a cash deposit instead. I did not pitch a fit with Carnival about this. They took responsibility for the problem. But it is still unfortunate that this happened. I'll be careful next time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

jack2007 09-16-2007 02:46 AM

SuzyCruise, sorry to hear about your problems with this....I must admit on all my cruises so far we have never used a credit / debit card and just used the cash option.
regards jack

Dwayne 09-16-2007 05:29 AM

Actually, it is not anything out of the ordinary at all. They place blocks of holds on cards all the time. I would say if the pending charges put it over the limit to contact the Credit Card Company. That would be between you and them concerning your personal credit limit. I have learned the hard way to have some space in between. We reserved a rental car once on the same card we were using for our Sail & Sign. Needless to say there was a block or reserved amount on that one for pending charges.


macmom111 09-16-2007 07:31 AM

We always put up cash for our sign and sail. We put 100 each for a 5 day cruise. that leaves 50 to spend. If i plan on spending more all I do is go down and add it to the card and it is instantly credited to my sign and sail card. That is the easiest way for me to monitor my spending.

loucna2 09-16-2007 08:45 AM

I too have always put cash on our Sign & Sail card, no surprises later on the credit card.

vacationbound 09-16-2007 11:22 AM

We are using cash for our cruise, but a friend of mine just got back from the Miracle had a wonderful vacation. BUT Carnival double charged her debit card so it put her bank account in the hole. They are taking care of it now. She isn't mad just a big headache.

LHP 09-16-2007 02:01 PM

We always use a Credit Card for our Sail and Sign. We have never had a problem. The Credit Cards are always paid in full at the end of the month, so any "holds" that Carnival has put on our account has not affected us.

jack2007 09-16-2007 02:10 PM

could someone please explain making it simple & easy to understand exactly what a hold on your credit card is and how this affects you.
The way I use my credit card is ....see entire money owing on credit card at end of the month.
I'm not sure exactly how a hold ( whatever that is )affects you.
Thanks jack

SuzyCruise 09-16-2007 03:22 PM

Jack2007 -- Anytime you use a credit card, there is an authorization/hold on the amount until the vendor's merchant account provider closes out the transaction, usually 2-3 days. I used to process credit card payments on a computer for a company I worked for. It's a normal procedure, and I am well aware of it. However, it is very unusual for a hold to remain on the charge for over 10 days as happened to me.

I intentionally used a credit card that did not have a large sum available, because I didn't want the wrong person to get my credit card number and go on a shopping spree, and I did it to control myself on how much I would spend. I would not want to trust them with a card that has several thousand dollars available, but in this case, it looks like that's what I should have done.

First, I thought that on my next cruise I will use a credit card with a larger amount available. But, after much thought, cash would be a safer option. Like others here, I also pay my credit card in full when due, but I did not want to have to pay $867.06 in Carnival charges when the total amount I charged on Sail&Sign was only 433.53.

Island Cruz --
Your quote: "Actually, it is not anything out of the ordinary at all. They place blocks of holds on cards all the time. I would say if the pending charges put it over the limit to contact the Credit Card Company. That would be between you and them concerning your personal credit limit."

Response: Shall I say "No (kidding), Sherlock!" I did call my credit card company, you must not have thoroughly read my initial post. But then again, most people don't thoroughly read my posts. I am fully aware that it is my problem. I am not complaining about Carnival, I'm letting people know how long the holds are.

I just thought it would be nice to give an alert to people, who are not familiar with the Sail&Sign procedure, that the usual and customery hold period of 72 hours will actually be held over a week after cruise and after the entire amount has already been charged on the last day of cruise. Thus, the double-dipping. I think that is what this website is all about: Helping people to know the ropes before they go. For those of you who know all about this, this is not for you. It is for the new cruisers who want to prevent unfortunate surprises.

Dave 09-16-2007 03:27 PM

I use my American Express card since there is no pre-set limit, and I've never had an problem with it....other than having to pay off the whole balance the next month!

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