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Cruise Ship Scams and How to Avoid Them


Scams involving cruise ships have made many otherwise happy people looking for an enjoyable getaway very unhappy. Some of these scams have been around for a long time while others exploit newer issues using technology. Since it’s always more preferable to enjoy a cruise than file a lawsuit, we’ll discuss some of the most popular cruise ship scams and how to avoid them.

The Free Cruise Scam 

The free cruise scam involves just that, a free cruise. You’re sent a mail or message stating that you have been “selected for” or “won” a free cruise. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, which is more than you bargained for. You will pay fees and taxes, some of which are paid directly to the cruise line (IE: not free). Then, you have to deal with the accommodations, which are subpar. The ships are obsolete and may not have air conditioning. The cabins are dingy as well as the land accommodations. To cap it off, you may be under constant pressure to “upgrade” your accommodations which, of course, costs more money. In other words, they make you miserable and then force you to pay your way out of it.

Scams at Port 

Cruise line passengers have reported “fake taxi” drivers who take their money and then hold their baggage until they can call another taxi driver—a real one. In other cases, the taxi drivers take them on a circuitous route around the city charging them far more than they would have paid from an honest driver.

Additionally, locals may attempt to offer counterfeit currency in exchange for real U.S. dollars. Merchants sometimes steal credit card information (be wary of this). And there are always, of course, pickpockets who know the area is good for lucre.

Bad Sightseeing Tours 

Everyone likes to see the sights. What they don’t like is a sightseeing tour that doubles as a kickback funnel for poorly stocked souvenir shops. They also tend not to like purchasing “street art” by “local artists” furnished with low-quality paint-by-numbers paintings.

Identity Theft Scams 

The internet has brought in an era of online identity theft schemes. How do people fall prey? Generally, they have something they want dangled in front of them (like a free cruise) or more information on their upcoming cruise. In cases where the cruise line’s database has been hacked, they can find certain information, especially your email address. They then send out emails in an attempt to phish your data. Generally, they will ask you to verify something about your information. The email itself may contain malware or the information you enter is used to nab your financials.

Talk to a Cruise Line Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured or taken advantage of by a cruise line, Miami admiralty & maritime attorney Michael F. Guilford can help you recover damages. This includes injuries sustained during the cruise itself or unscrupulous business practices. Talk to us today to set up a free consultation.




  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice

It's Your Time To Win

Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998