Spit in the ocean

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If you've ever eaten a bad oyster you know that the last thing you want to be offered is a dozen more on the house. But that scenario pretty much sums up the recent round of settlement offers cruise lines are dangling before passengers involved in a class-action lawsuit against them.

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises -- two of the 12 lines sued over allegedly inflating port charges -- have notified affected passengers that they are entitled to vouchers that can be used against the price of a future cruise. By doing so, the two lines are following the lead established earlier in the game by Holland America Line and Princess Cruises.

The vouchers range in value from $5 to $50. But while it might be nice to get a nice crisp fifty in the mail one day, putting the same sum into a future cruise reduces the value of 50 bucks to spit-in-the-ocean status. What am I going to get at sea for $50? A seat at the captain's table? And why on earth would I want to throw even five cents back into a cruise line that I believe ripped me off in the first place?

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people just forget the whole thing. Gee, I wonder if the cruise lines thought of that when they put this deal together.

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