April 20, 2024

Nine passengers from a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship found out the hard way just what happens when you miss the departure time for your ship, after they were abandoned by the rest of their cruise. The group of stricken cruisers is now attempting to be reunited with the ship in a trans-African adventure.

Nine passengers were abandoned on the African island of São Tomé and Príncipe after their Norwegian Cruise Line ship set sail without them. The nine people left stranded included an American couple, elderly passengers, a pregnant woman and an 80-year-old who had been left behind after requiring hospital treatment, reports UK newspaper the Metro.

Jill and Jay Campbell were the American couple left ashore, and they’ve been speaking with ABC News about the ordeal. The site explains:

On Wednesday, the Campbells and six other people were on a tour in São Tomé and Príncipe, a small island off of western Africa; but the tour was longer than expected.

“We were like, ‘Our time is getting really short,’ and they were like- ‘No problem, we can get you back within an hour,’” said Jay Campbell, who’s also a volunteer football coach at St. James High School.

They said the tour operator contacted the captain to let them know that the eight passengers were going to be late and they were on their way.

However, the Metro reports that when the group arrived back at the port to see their ship, the Norwegian Dawn, still docked there, they were refused entry to the vessel after the captain argued they had missed their 3 p.m. return time.

A photo of the Norwegian Daawn cruise ship in New York.

The captain of Norwegian Dawn refused the passengers entry.
Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line (Getty Images)

After the ship set sail, the passengers were reportedly then ferried out to the vessel by the São Tomé and Príncipe Coast Guard, but as they neared the ship they were once again denied entry.

ABC News adds that several attempts were made to get the stranded passengers back on board with no luck. They then attempted to meet up with the ship at its next port of call, Gambia, only to encounter another problem. As ABC News adds:

However, when they arrived, they found out that the ship was unable to dock due to low tides. It instead spent another day at sea.

Now the Campbell’s and their party are scrambling to find a way to get to Senegal, which is where the ship should be in port on Tuesday.

In order to meet the Norwegian Dawn in Senegal later Tuesday, the group of stranded tourists will have to drive to a different port, take a ferry and then pick up another car and drive to the ship’s next destination. In a statement shared with ABC News, Norwegian Cruise Line said:

On the afternoon of March 27, 2024, while the ship was in Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation, eight guests who were on the island on their own or with a private tour missed the last tender back to the vessel, therefore not meeting the all aboard time of 3 p.m. local time. While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel.

Guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. When the guests did not return to the vessel at the all aboard time, their passports were delivered to the local port agents to retrieve when they returned to the port. Our team has been working closely with the local authorities to understand the requirements and necessary visas needed if the guests were to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. We are in communication with the guests and providing additional information as it becomes available.

Have we mentioned cruise ships are hell?

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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