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Avoid The Knock on the Door

Date: 6/26/2006

By Don & Maureen Anderson, Owners of the Cruise Store

It was Wednesday; the cruise vacation was halfway along. I was in my stateroom when I heard a knock at the door. I opened and noticed a uniformed officer of the cruise line. He said, "Mr. Anderson, I am sorry, but the credit card you provided to cover your onboard expenses has been declined. Do you have another card or cash? Please let the Purser's office know." I was dumbfounded. The credit card was current and had more than enough to cover my ship charges. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, far from cell service, and where my ship stateroom phone cost would be almost $8.00 per minute to call the credit card company. I was certain I would hear minutes of

music on hold, while I waited for the right person. I provided the Purser's office with another card and made

sure I called the original card company the first opportunity I had. I came to find out that upon posting of charges from the cruise line and some Caribbean destinations, the anti-fraud unit became involved and promptly phoned my home to advise me. Of course, I was not at my home, so they suspended the card.

That event, many years ago, was a rookie traveler's mistake, which I have not done since. We now ALWAYS call the credit card company a few days before we leave

on vacation and make sure that we specify the cruise line/hotel we're using, each destination that will be

visited, including the destination airport. We also will get the credit card employee's name and assurances that (s)he notes our conversation in the history. We do this so if anyone should "flag" our

account, they will be aware that we are in the area.

Debit/ATM cards provide their own set of issues. Many people do not realize that a debit VISA or MasterCard has daily withdrawal limits and use restrictions established by the issuing bank. On our 2005 Mediterranean Cruise, a friend of ours was commenting on how many different countries and ATM

machines in Europe his card was rejected in. It became such a regular event, that we took a vacation shot of

him getting turned down at an ATM in Italy. Rest assured that when we do our Venice, Italy and Greek Isle cruise next June, he will be all set after speaking with his bank in advance of the trip.

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