“Going on a cruise is on my bucket list,” Hubby said, so I was primed when I answered the call for white sand beaches, off shore breezes and salty surf tickling my toes. Nine glorious days including a cruise to and from Freeport in the Bahamas, four nights on the island, and what the heck, let’s toss in a couple of nights in Orlando. That hook was set, I didn’t even flinch when they said at the very end they would like to show us around one of their vacation properties. This was marketing at its finest.
We got our itinerary and there it was, right in the middle of our first full day in Ft. Lauderdale. I had a fantasy of going on our short tour and spending the rest of the day on a tour of the Everglades. We’d already stopped at the Alligator Farm, on our way to begin our all-inclusive vacation package. One short tour, promised to be about 2 hours, and we would be on our way to full-time fun.
We got to our tour site at noon, as requested, and waited our turn. We were assigned to a nice young man. Then the multi level press began. Why do we go on vacation, don’t we want to have a lifetime of memories with our children and grandchildren, where would our dreams take us if we could go anywhere in the world and stay in five-star accommodations in complete luxury, and don’t we owe it to our families and our well-being to make these vacations a priority in our lives?
The family suite was wonderful, with enough room and privacy for all. The pool and grounds were luxuriant. The location was in the heart of one of the most popular travel destinations on the globe, second only to Orlando, the home of Disneyworld. And we could swap our little piece of vacation heaven with others making the entire world our vacation heaven.
When we rejected their offer, a better deal was brought out, and yet an even better offer, and again an even better offer. We went from $32,000 for the purchase of our one week share of paradise, to under $9000, and up to 4 weeks of vacation time, (but not at our prime location), and of course there was a very reasonable and continuing maintenance fee required from us or our descendants as long as we “owned” our vacation. We would have a fee simple title to our vacation, just like every other owner of vacations at that location, entitling us to one week at that location, if we ever decided to use it. (Or 1/52 for our suite and use of community pool, workout room, and laundry and parking.)
Some people thought this was a good idea, and some didn’t. I did not! We never take those types of vacations. I knew this tour would be a time share offer and I asked around. My friends like their time shares. But I want to boondoggle it in the wilderness with my camper. How many ways did we have to say “No” to this unbelievable offer? I wish I had kept count for my blog readers, like a true reporter, but I was on vacation! It was 6 p.m. before we were free to do anything else. The Everglades would have to wait for another trip, and I was extremely disappointed, but now we could pick up our boarding passes for the cruise. Or…we could get an additional $50 and pre-board if we would listen to one more offer. Getting on the boat early seemed like a good idea, so what the heck.
I let them know I was not at all happy with yesterday’s experience, they promised 90 minutes tops. This offer was a vacation club, and hubby was ready to write a check, but I was not convinced. I wanted to go on the internet and research these vacation clubs. Sitting there with my phone I had already found one complaint. Not conclusive, I would agree, but certainly reason to do more research, and not rush to a decision. Hubby put the checkbook away.
Once on the island people kept trying to sign us up for yet another presentation, we refused, repeatedly, even with the offer of a free motor scooter rental to drive around the island. Instead we walked away without the one scooter we were going to rent and ride on together around the island.
Once we were back in Orlando, we were denied our room assignment until we signed up for yet another presentation, and this deal was sweetened with a half price ticket to the Universal theme park. I was snappish to put it delicately. We declined and asked to speak to the manager and got our room assignment.
The rest of our trip was full of white sand beaches, lazy hours at the pool, eating too much, drinking too much, and enjoying the sun and surf.