This is for LHP: I have been reading your posts and would like to thank you for your insight. I should have read this forum two years ago before we bought into this program but now I realize it is too late for us.
We bought a Bronze Membership aboard the Pride in May 2005, thinking it would be this great deal. Nowhere in the contract does it say that we would be charged or points would be deducted for services or "access" benefits. We cruised on the Legend just this past March and were over-charged on points (of course!), not leaving us with enough points for a second cruise. In order not to lose the balance of our points we had to book the second cruise and we had to pay a little over $100 extra for it. In total, we have lost almost $1,100. CVC now is saying that we bought a "package" that includes the "benefits" that we can get for free, as well as administrative costs. It's so ridiculous it's laughable!
I contacted the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix and they sent me a report where it states that in the last three years (the time span of their reporting), ICE has had 72 complaints brought against them, of which 36 were closed. Of those closed, not all were acceptable to the consumers.
I went through the contract with a fine tooth comb. I then sent a letter to ICE, to Solutions at Sea and to CVC (all to the same address, mind you, I think they must all "live" in the same office), with a copy to Bob Dickinson, expressing our discontent at their business practices and dissecting their contract bit by bit on the points pertaining to usage of points. I used the phrase "Nowhere in the contract does it say that we would be charged or points would be deducted for services or "access" benefits" a lot throughout the letter. As for their claim that we bought a "package", the contract and its accompanying pages, states that we bought a "membership"; there is no mention of having purchased a "package" anywhere. Also, the use of "cruise points" is mentioned, not "package points". They twist everything around to suit them after the fact.
We requested that the money we have lost be returned to us in 30 days from the receipt of the letter, as stated in their contract, or we would contact the BBB in Phoenix, the office of the Attorney General in Arizona, and the US Attorney General.
I know their response might be a big flat NO!, so we'll keep pressing on. They are liars and cheats and they cannot keep doing this to people and think they can get away with it.
Again, I thank you for taking time to post all your comments. You gave me the "push" I needed to go after them.
1. Since CVC closed the offices on the ships, you can now buy extra points at 17 cents per point instead of the highway robbery 31 cents they were charging.
So it will be cheaper to fill in the extra points you need. Since CVC controls the "number of points" needed to book a cruise, I have no way of knowing if they will inflate the points needed...so look out for that.
2. You do still get the perks on all cruises for 3 - 5 years (I have heard both) whether you use points or pay cash and you do not have to book through CVC. You just call them with your booking number so that they can have the perks assigned to your cruise.
3. You bought the smallest package. You could have lost a lot more money! (small silver lining)
I am also very disappointed in Carnival's venture with ICE and have told "the powers that be" that very thing. At least anything done in the future will not have Carnival's name in it.
I hope this will not dampen your love of cruising!
PS: We have also found contacting the State Attorney General's office very effective and it is free...just your time and postage. They have more "teeth" than the BBB. Generally by the time people contact the BBB to check on ICE, their 3 day cancellation window is over...so all the bad reports do not do them any good.
I guarantee you, this has not dampened our love of cruising. The next cruise (our second and last booked with CVC) will be our 10th cruise overall, the 7th with CCL. The remainder have been with Costa and with HAL, so we have never left Carnival Corporation!
What bothers us, just like I have been reading in this forum, is that we fell for this, and we feel like fools. I just got a message from Diane Watson at ICE, that they got our letter, and that this Barbara Stanfield will call me next week, to talk about our "concerns". We will not accept anything less than the balance owed us, or we go to the State Attorney General.
I'm so gald Bob Dickinson got out of this mess. I just wonder wjat took him so long. Perhaps it was a contractual matter.
By the way, I'm new at this forum thing, and I would like the people out there who praise this CVC program to hear my story. I would like my post to you (the previous one) to get on the CVC thread.