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.