Is inCruises a Pyramid Scheme? In-Depth Exploration

cruise industry

Embarking on a journey with a multi-level marketing (MLM) venture like inCruises offers an enticing prospect for many aspiring to penetrate the lucrative cruise industry. Established with the vision of democratizing the cruise experience, inCruises extends an intriguing model blending tourism, travel, and the allure of cruises. Yet, amid its offerings, swirling questions and allegations have surfaced: “Is inCruises a pyramid scheme?” This comprehensive review delves into inCruises, scrutinizing its business model, product suite, compensation framework, and the veracity of the pyramid scheme allegations.

Understanding inCruises: A Voyage Beyond the Ordinary

InCruises was introduced to the world in 2011, marking its entry as a distinctive player in the multi-level marketing (MLM) landscape with a focus on the cruise industry. Founded on the principles of making cruising more accessible and affordable to the masses, inCruises set out to revolutionize the way people approach cruise vacations, combining the appeal of travel with the opportunities presented by MLM.

Founders and Visionary Leadership

The genesis of inCruises is attributed to the vision of its founders, including the noteworthy figure Michael Hutchison. Hutchison brought to the table not just an entrepreneurial spirit but also a wealth of experience in direct sales, leadership development, and a passion for creating opportunities for others to succeed. His background, characterized by leadership roles in various companies, equipped him with the insights necessary to navigate the complexities of the MLM industry and the competitive travel market.

Strategic Focus and Expansion

Since its inception, inCruises has been strategic in its expansion, aiming to capture a significant share of the global cruise market. The company leveraged the MLM model to create a network of Independent Brand Ambassadors (IBAs) who not only sell cruise memberships but also embody the brand’s mission to make cruising more financially viable for a broader audience.

Under Hutchison’s guidance, inCruises expanded its operations beyond the United States, establishing a presence in Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. This international expansion was driven by the company’s aim to democratize the cruise experience globally, making it an option for vacationers worldwide, irrespective of their economic backgrounds.

Product Innovation and Membership Growth

Central to inCruises’ strategy has been its innovative approach to product offerings. The company introduced a membership model that allows members to accumulate cruise dollars, which can be applied towards discounted cruises, upgrades, and other travel benefits. This model was designed to not only provide value to members but also to encourage the growth of the IBA network through attractive compensation plans and incentives.

Legacy and Future Directions

As inCruises continues to navigate the waters of the cruise industry and MLM, its legacy is shaped by its commitment to making cruise vacations accessible to more people through innovative marketing and a robust business model. Under the leadership of Michael Hutchison and his team, inCruises remains focused on growth, member experience, and maintaining its reputation as a legitimate and valuable player in the MLM and travel industries.

The future for inCruises seems geared towards further expansion, product diversification, and enhancing the value proposition for its members and IBAs. As it moves forward, the company aims to solidify its position in the market, adapt to changing travel trends, and continue to offer a compelling opportunity for individuals seeking both travel experiences and entrepreneurial ventures.

The Core Offerings: Unpacking inCruises’ Product Line

InCruises has distinguished itself in the travel and MLM industries with a suite of core offerings designed to make cruising more accessible, affordable, and rewarding for its members. These offerings are crafted to cater to a wide range of preferences and needs, ensuring that members can enjoy the benefits of cruise vacations with added value. Below is a detailed exploration of inCruises’ core offerings.

Membership Model and Cruise Dollars: One of the hallmark features of inCruises is its unique membership model. Members pay a monthly subscription fee, which is then converted into “Cruise Dollars.” These Cruise Dollars accrue over time and can be used to book cruises at a significantly reduced cost. This innovative approach allows members to essentially save for their vacations over time, making cruise travel more financially manageable.

Cruise Discounts: InCruises offers substantial discounts on cruises, sometimes up to 75% off the retail price. These discounts are available exclusively to members and apply to a variety of cruise lines and destinations worldwide. This enables members to explore new destinations and enjoy luxury cruise experiences at a fraction of the cost.

Cabin Upgrades: Members also have the opportunity to receive cabin upgrades, either complimentary or at a discounted rate. This benefit allows travelers to enhance their cruising experience, enjoying superior amenities and accommodations without the hefty price tag typically associated with such upgrades.

Onboard Credits: In addition to discounts and upgrades, inCruises provides members with onboard credits that can be used for various expenses during the cruise, such as shore excursions, spa treatments, dining experiences, and more. These credits further enrich the cruising experience, allowing members to indulge in extras that would otherwise add to the cost of their vacation.

Exclusive Deals and Travel Perks: The travel club membership within inCruises grants access to exclusive deals not just on cruises but also on other travel-related services. These perks include special rates on hotels, flights, and travel insurance, among others, making the overall travel experience more enjoyable and cost-effective.

Diverse Destinations: inCruises offers a wide range of cruising destinations, including the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and more. This diversity ensures that members have the freedom to explore the world’s waters, experiencing different cultures, landscapes, and attractions.

Referral and Compensation Plan: While not a direct consumer offering, the referral and compensation plan is a core component of inCruises’ business model. Members who choose to become Independent Brand Ambassadors (IBAs) can earn Cruise Dollars and cash commissions by referring new members or selling memberships. This MLM aspect of inCruises not only provides a way for members to enjoy cruises but also offers an entrepreneurial opportunity to build a business by promoting inCruises memberships.

Educational and Support Resources: inCruises invests in providing its members and IBAs with educational resources and support to maximize their membership benefits and business opportunities. This includes training materials, webinars, and access to a community of like-minded individuals, all designed to enhance the inCruises experience.

InCruises Operational Dynamics: The MLM Model at Play

InCruises operates through a multifaceted approach that combines elements of direct sales, multi-level marketing (MLM), and the travel industry’s traditional service offerings. This operational structure is designed to leverage the growing popularity of cruise vacations while providing individuals with an opportunity to earn income through its MLM model. Here, we delve into the operational dynamics of inCruises, highlighting how it functions, engages with members, and sustains its business model.

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Framework

At its core, inCruises is structured around an MLM framework. This business model relies on Independent Brand Ambassadors (IBAs) to promote and sell memberships, as well as the cruise deals that come with these memberships. IBAs earn commissions not only from their direct sales but also from the sales made by the individuals they recruit into the business, known as their downline. This hierarchical structure creates multiple levels of income opportunities, which is characteristic of MLM businesses.

Membership and Cruise Dollars

A distinctive feature of inCruises is its membership model, where members pay a monthly fee that is converted into Cruise Dollars. These Cruise Dollars accumulate over time and can be used to book cruises at discounted rates. This system encourages continuous engagement from members, as their monthly fees translate directly into savings for future cruise vacations. It also provides a clear value proposition to potential members, differentiating inCruises from traditional travel agencies and cruise booking platforms.

Independent Brand Ambassador (IBA) Recruitment and Training

IBAs are the backbone of inCruises’ sales and marketing efforts. Individuals interested in becoming IBAs must purchase a starter kit and undergo training to understand the inCruises offerings, the MLM structure, and sales strategies. This initial investment and training ensure that IBAs are well-equipped to promote inCruises memberships and adhere to the company’s standards and values.

What is the inCruises compensation plan?

The inCruises compensation plan offers a variety of different ways for Independent Brand Ambassadors to earn commissions. Independent Brand Ambassadors can earn commissions on the sales of inCruises products and services, as well as on the sales of other Independent Brand Ambassadors that they recruit.


Independent Brand Ambassadors can also earn overrides on the sales of Independent Brand Ambassadors that they recruit. Overrides are paid out as a percentage of the commissions earned by the Independent Brand Ambassador who was recruited. In order to qualify for overrides, Independent Brand Ambassadors must maintain a certain number of personally recruited active Independent Brand Ambassadors.

The Pyramid Scheme Query: Evaluating inCruises’ Legitimacy

The question of whether inCruises constitutes a pyramid scheme is a critical one, given the nuances of MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) business models and the strict legal definitions that distinguish legitimate MLM practices from pyramid schemes. Here’s a detailed exploration of this question, taking into account the specific characteristics of inCruises’ business model.

Definition of a Pyramid Scheme

First, it’s essential to understand what a pyramid scheme is. A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes impossible at some level, and the schemes collapse for lack of further participants. The hallmark of a pyramid scheme is that it prioritizes recruitment over the sale of actual products or services to end consumers.

Analysis Based on Pyramid Scheme Characteristics

  1. Product and Service Offerings: inCruises offers legitimate products and services (cruise discounts, cabin upgrades, onboard credits, etc.), which members can purchase or use. This focus on real, tangible goods and services is a key factor that differentiates it from a pyramid scheme.
  2. Revenue Generation: A legitimate MLM generates revenue through the sale of products or services. inCruises earns revenue not just from member subscriptions but also from the sale of cruise packages. This indicates that the company’s revenue is not solely dependent on recruitment.
  3. Recruitment vs. Sales: While inCruises does reward members for recruiting new members, it also compensates them for sales to end consumers (non-members). The compensation plan is designed to benefit members who sell cruise packages, not just those who recruit new members. This balance between recruitment and sales is crucial in distinguishing it from a pyramid scheme.
  4. Regulatory Scrutiny and Compliance: The legal and regulatory environment surrounding MLMs is stringent. While inCruises, like many MLMs, has faced scrutiny, it’s important to consider the outcomes of any regulatory investigations or legal challenges. Absence of definitive legal action classifying inCruises as a pyramid scheme is a point worth noting.

Based on the characteristics of its business model, inCruises does not fit the classic definition of a pyramid scheme, primarily because it offers genuine products and services and generates revenue from these sales, not merely from the recruitment of new members. However, the MLM industry is often subject to debate and regulatory scrutiny, making it essential for potential members or investors to conduct thorough research and due diligence.

Navigating Challenges and Criticism

Throughout its journey, inCruises has faced its share of challenges and criticism, particularly regarding its MLM structure, which has been scrutinized for resemblances to pyramid schemes. The company has steadfastly refuted such claims, emphasizing its commitment to legal compliance and ethical business practices. It has also encountered legal actions and complaints, which it has addressed with a focus on transparency and member satisfaction. Allegations have ranged from pyramid scheme operations to disputes over membership promises. Each case, pending or concluded, contributes to a complex tapestry of perceptions, underscoring the importance of diligent research and due diligence for prospective members.

How Do People Feel About inCruises and Its Business Model?

The general consensus among people who use inCruises’ services and those who join as ambassadors (Independent Brand Ambassadors, or IBAs) can vary widely, reflecting a range of experiences, perspectives, and outcomes. As with many MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) companies, responses to inCruises can be polarized, with some individuals expressing satisfaction and others sharing criticism. Here’s a breakdown of the types of feedback typically observed from both users of inCruises’ services and its ambassadors:

Positive Feedback
  1. Value on Cruise Deals: Members often appreciate the access to discounted cruise vacations, seeing it as a cost-effective way to enjoy cruising. The ability to accumulate Cruise Dollars and apply them towards cruises is frequently highlighted as a beneficial feature.
  2. Travel Opportunities: Users who love to travel might find inCruises an attractive option for exploring new destinations at a perceived lower cost, especially if they are frequent cruisers.
  3. Community Aspect: Some ambassadors and members value the sense of community and support they find within inCruises, citing positive experiences with team-building and networking opportunities.
  4. Entrepreneurial Opportunity: Individuals with a strong network and sales skills may see success as IBAs, appreciating the entrepreneurial aspect of building their own inCruises business and earning commissions.
Negative Feedback
  1. Challenges in Earning Commissions: Critics often point out difficulties in making significant earnings as an ambassador. The MLM model requires building a large downline to achieve substantial income, which can be challenging for many.
  2. Misaligned Expectations: Some members and ambassadors may enter inCruises with high expectations for easy earnings or deeply discounted cruises, only to find that achieving these benefits requires more effort and investment than anticipated.
  3. Market Saturation: In certain areas, market saturation can make it difficult for new ambassadors to find untapped prospects, leading to frustration and competition among members for the same pool of potential customers.
  4. Public Perception of MLM: The MLM business model itself often faces skepticism and negative perceptions, which can impact an ambassador’s ability to recruit new members or sell services.
Mixed Reviews
  1. Customer Service: Experiences with inCruises’ customer service can vary, with some members reporting positive interactions and swift problem resolution, while others cite delays and unsatisfactory responses.
  2. Cruise Selection and Availability: While some members are pleased with the range and quality of cruises available through inCruises, others may find limitations in availability or the applicability of discounts to their desired destinations or cruise lines.

Exploring Alternatives: Beyond inCruises

Exploring alternatives to inCruises involves looking into other companies and platforms that offer travel-related opportunities, whether through direct selling, multi-level marketing (MLM), or more traditional business models. These alternatives can provide different avenues for individuals interested in the travel industry, either to find discounted travel opportunities or to engage in business ventures. Here’s an overview of some notable alternatives across various categories:

MLM and Direct Selling Companies in Travel
  1. WorldVentures: Known for its “DreamTrips” membership, WorldVentures offers access to curated travel experiences at discounted rates. Members can earn rewards for referring others, but the company has faced its own set of legal challenges and scrutiny over its business practices.
  2. InteleTravel: Unlike traditional MLM models, InteleTravel operates as a host travel agency that allows individuals to earn commissions by selling travel services without the requirement to recruit other agents. It’s a popular choice for those interested in becoming home-based travel agents.
  3. Traveling Vineyard: For those interested in combining travel with wine, Traveling Vineyard offers a unique opportunity. While not focused on travel bookings, its model involves hosting wine tastings and selling wine, with trips and rewards as part of its incentive structure.
Travel Booking and Discount Platforms
  1. and Expedia: These platforms provide extensive listings for hotels, flights, car rentals, and more, offering competitive rates without the need for a membership or MLM involvement. They are suitable for individuals looking for straightforward travel booking without business opportunities.
  2. Airbnb Experiences: For those interested in unique travel experiences, Airbnb Experiences offers locals and travelers alike the opportunity to host or book activities around the world. Hosts can earn money by sharing their expertise and passions with travelers.
Travel Clubs and Membership Programs
  1. Scott’s Cheap Flights and Jack’s Flight Club: These subscription services offer members access to deeply discounted flight alerts. They are ideal for travelers looking to save on airfare without engaging in direct sales or recruitment.
  2. Costco Travel: Available to Costco members, this program offers discounts on cruises, hotels, and vacation packages. It’s a straightforward membership model that provides value through bulk purchasing agreements.

Considerations for Choosing an Alternative

  • Business Model: Understand whether you’re looking for a business opportunity (like MLM) or simply discounted travel. MLM models involve recruiting and sales, while other platforms focus on providing travel deals.
  • Travel Preferences: Consider what type of travel you’re most interested in. Some platforms specialize in cruises, while others offer a wider range of travel services.

Commitment Level: MLM opportunities often require an upfront investment and ongoing sales efforts, whereas discount travel platforms and clubs may offer savings with less commitment.

Our Verdict: Navigating the Waters with inCruises


In conclusion, inCruises stands as a legitimate MLM entity within the cruise industry, albeit not without its controversies and challenges. The allegations of being a pyramid scheme stem largely from misunderstandings of its business model rather than evidence of fraudulent practice. Potential members and partners should embark on this voyage with eyes wide open, equipped with research, to leverage inCruises' offerings effectively.

Essential Guidance for MLM Aspirants

When considering any MLM opportunity, emphasis should be on:

  • Low entry and maintenance costs.
  • A diverse and valuable product or service range.
  • A straightforward and transparent compensation structure.
  • The potential for sustainable earnings through sales and network growth.

InCruises, amidst the debate and scrutiny, offers a nuanced opportunity within the MLM landscape. As with any venture, success hinges on understanding, effort, and strategic navigation of the opportunities and challenges presented.

An important source of information on multi-level marketing companies and other money-making online programs and courses, is I Buy I Review. We provide unbiased reviews of these programs to help you in your decision-making process

Frequently Asked Questions About inCruises

Can You Make Money with inCruises?

Yes, it is possible to make money with inCruises by becoming an Independent Brand Ambassador (IBA). IBAs earn commissions through the sale of cruise memberships and travel packages, as well as bonuses for recruiting new members into the business. However, the amount of money you can make depends on various factors, including your sales skills, network, and effort put into the business. Like any MLM model, success varies widely among participants.

How Do You Tell if a Company is a Pyramid Scheme?

To determine if a company operates as a pyramid scheme, look for these red flags:

  • Lack of Real Product/Service: If the company offers no tangible product or service of value and focuses solely on recruiting new members.

  • Earnings Primarily from Recruitment: If the compensation plan indicates that the majority of earnings come from recruiting new members rather than selling products or services to end consumers.

  • Promises of High Returns with Little Effort: Pyramid schemes often lure people with the promise of quick, high returns with minimal effort, which is not sustainable long-term.

What is the Most Famous Pyramid Scheme?

One of the most infamous pyramid schemes was operated by Bernie Madoff, known as the Madoff Investment Scandal. It was a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors, with losses estimated at around $65 billion. Madoff’s scheme is considered one of the largest and most devastating financial crimes in history.

How Does inCruises Work?

inCruises works by offering memberships that allow access to discounted cruise vacations. Members pay a monthly fee that is converted into “Cruise Dollars,” which can be used towards booking cruises at lower prices. Additionally, individuals can join as Independent Brand Ambassadors (IBAs) to sell memberships and earn commissions. The business model combines elements of direct selling with the benefits of a travel club, providing opportunities both for saving on travel and for earning through membership sales and recruitment.

Is inCruises a Legitimate Company?

Yes, inCruises is a legitimate company that operates within the multi-level marketing (MLM) model, offering real products and services related to travel and cruises. It provides members with the opportunity to purchase cruise vacations at discounted rates and offers an entrepreneurial opportunity for those who choose to become IBAs.

What Are the Benefits of Joining inCruises?

The benefits of joining inCruises include access to discounted cruise deals, the ability to earn Cruise Dollars towards future travel, and the potential to generate income by selling memberships and recruiting new IBAs. Members can enjoy savings on travel while IBAs have the opportunity to build a business within the travel industry.

How Can I Succeed as an inCruises Independent Brand Ambassador?

Success as an inCruises IBA requires a combination of effective sales strategies, network building, and commitment. Key strategies include:

  • Leveraging social media and online platforms to market cruise memberships.

  • Hosting informational sessions or travel parties to introduce the concept to potential members.

  • Providing excellent customer service to maintain and grow your customer base.

  • Continuously learning about the travel industry and inCruises’ offerings to better serve clients and recruits.

Are There Any Risks Involved with inCruises?

As with any business opportunity, there are risks involved with joining inCruises, especially as an IBA. These risks include the potential for not recovering your initial investment if you’re unable to sell memberships or recruit new members effectively. It’s important to thoroughly research and understand the business model and compensation plan before joining.