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Feds Investigating Tampa Travel Agency for Fraudulent BOGO Cruise Deal



Oftentimes, cruises companies have great deals for their customers, but some hopeful cruisers that booked through a Florida travel agency on Norwegian Cruise Line appear to have fallen victim to the “too good to be true” syndrome.

Federal authorities are investigating the Hopkins Travel Services agency in Tampa for selling bogus “buy one, get one free” cruises on NCL.

Thousands of passengers could be affected as NCL has canceled any bookings made through the agency.

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“This matter is currently under investigation by the federal authorities,” NCL said in a statement to WFLA. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment. However, please know that we are actively working with those guests affected.”

The trip was sold as a buy-one-get-one-free, seven-day cruise out of Venice, Italy to the Greek Isles. At $2,700 per couple, it was a deal too good to pass up.

But, just like the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true…

“It was a two-for-one deal, it came with an unlimited drink package and airfare,” said customer Austin Thomas.

Another customer, Robert Dorbit, says a Norwegian spokesperson told him his cruise alone should have cost $5,300 for him and his wife—not $2,700. Worse, Dorbit’s card was charged and NCL received money, but it was to pay for someone else’s trip.

“It was actually paying for someone to leave for Hawaii on Oct. 6,” Dorbit said a Norwegian spokesman told him. “So I had paid for somebody else’s trip to leave Oct. 6. So he had to call that person and tell them, ‘Sorry, you can’t go on your trip. I have to give Mr. Dorbit back his money.’”

Travel agency owner Diane Hopkins notified customers on Facebook this week saying their trips were canceled due to circumstances out of her control.

Hopkins could not be reached for comment.

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Windstar President John Delaney to Step Down, Prelog Elevated to COO



John Delaney, president of Windstar Cruises since July 2016, will step down March 4 “to focus on personal priorities,” the company announced Feb. 28.

Andrew Todd, president and CEO of parent company Xanterra Leisure Holding, will continue as CEO of the small-ship cruise line. Delaney will provide advice to the brand during the transition through March.

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Christopher Prelog, vice president of fleet operations at Windstar and former vice president at Seabourn Cruise Line, will assume the role as chief operating officer of Windstar Cruises.

In addition, Betsy O’Rourke, chief marketing officer for Xanterra and the former senior vice president of marketing at Royal Caribbean, will lend her expertise to the Windstar brand.

This is a time of growth and expansion for the small-ship line. Its $250 Million Star Plus Initiative will lengthen three of Windstar’s yacht-like motor ships so new suites, dining venues and public spaces can be added. The first of the stretched ships, Star Breeze, is slated to return to service in May 2020.

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