Mom Claims Family's $15,000 Carnival Cruise Was Canceled Due to Huge Social Media Mistake

A Kentucky woman was set to go on her family vacation until she became “a victim of identity theft.”

aerial view of cruise ship
Updated June 14, 2024
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Be careful of what you post online — or someone may use your information to derail your plans to step up your travel game. At least, that’s what happened to Tiffany Banks of Kentucky, who spent nearly $15,000 on a cabin and two excursions for her family on Carnival Cruise Line’s Celebration.

Banks booked her trip with Carnival a year in advance, so it was a huge shock when she received an email alert about her canceled reservation just 48 hours before she was supposed to depart.

In a series of TikToks, Banks revealed that she thinks a scammer targeted her. She suspects they saw her booking information on her own Facebook post, which they then used to cancel her reservation.

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She was “a victim of identity theft”

Nancy Pauwels/Adobe carnival cruise line celebration ship

In one TikTok, Banks broke down the situation. "We'd been planning this vacation for a year,” she said. “We booked on the Presidential Excel Suite," which she explains is the biggest room on the ship. The room alone cost her $12,000 to $13,000, and she explains that she spent another few thousand dollars on excursions and flights for a total of $15,000.

When she received the email that notified her of her canceled reservation, Banks said she experienced "full-blown panic." When she called the company to investigate the cause of the cancellation, she said a “lead” at the company told her the "online system had been logged into and it had been canceled.” Someone allegedly took the information posted online, made a fake account under her name, and canceled her reservation.

So, she took it up with customer service

Solarisys/Adobe the carnival cruise ship

Banks was unhappy about how Carnival’s Customer Service team handled the situation. In the TikTok, she reveals that after being on the phone for more than two hours, and was ultimately offered two interior rooms onboard the ship, instead of the Presidential Suite. “I just can’t even fathom how they think that that’s right,” she said.

On the day the ship was set to sail, Banks and her family showed up at the port, but since the reservation was still canceled, she was turned away and told to call customer service.

In an update posted later, Banks said that Carnival offered her $10,000 in onboard credit, but she declined and said she wouldn’t be booking with the company again.

Carnival didn’t officially comment Banks’s situation, but the company did tell Business Insider that “most cyber and consumer experts consistently advise that it is never a good idea to post personal information about your travel plans, including a confirmation number for a booking, which could allow a bad actor or identify thief to use that information in inappropriate or even illegal ways."

Social media had mixed reactions

Mariakray/Adobe aerial view of a cruise ship Carnival Inspiration pool area

Most commenters agreed that Banks should have received better customer service and that the company should’ve given her her money back. “I’d be glad to take the 2 interior rooms AND a full refund for sure!” one person wrote.

Several people thought something fishy happened behind the scenes of the cancellation. “My first thought: they canceled you to book a special guest with a huge tip for the accommodation,” one person speculated.

And others weren’t too interested in the drama but were just surprised at the cost of the trip. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around $15,000 for a cruise,” someone wrote.

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Bottom line

icholakov/Adobe retired couple enjoying cruise vacation

This situation shows that online scammers will go as far as canceling your family vacation, so be cautious about what you post online.

As for Banks, she and her family still went on vacation, although it wasn’t with the cruise. She booked some new accommodations through Airbnb, which she seemed very happy to be in, from the looks of her latest TikToks.

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Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams is a writer for FinanceBuzz. Her goal is to help consumers make smart shopping decisions, and she loves discovering products from emerging brands.