Eight Tourists Stranded In Africa After Missing Cruise Boarding Time

Taking a cruise is often an unforgettable experience, visiting new places and being able to relax. One of the biggest fears for cruise goers is being left behind in a foreign country. This is what happened to eight tourists stranded in Africa after their cruise ship left without them on March 27.

The passengers, six Americans and two Australians were denied entry back to their Norwegian Cruise Lines ship after missing the all-aboard time. Those left stranded included a married couple from South Carolina, a pregnant woman, a paraplegic and an elderly man with a heart condition. Another elderly passenger suffered a concussion while on tour.

The eight passengers left the ship after docking in Sao Tome and Principe, a small island country in Africa to explore the area on a private tour. Unfortunately, there were holdups on the tours, causing the passengers to miss their departure time and the ship was forced to leave them behind.

“We were waiting for the tender boats to come back and get us because our boat was anchored off the harbor, but they didn’t come back to get us, so we’re stranded here,” said Jay Cambell of Garden City, South Carolina.

“We were on a tour of the island, but we had an issue on the tour, and they didn’t get us back in time.”

Campbell and his wife, Jill, told WMBF that they had spared no expense for the cruise and were not happy about the situation.

While Norwegian Cruise Lines has remained in communication with its stranded passengers, it released a statement saying the passengers were left on the island “on their own or with a private tour.”

“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,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“When they missed the all-aboard time of 3 p.m. by more than an hour, their passports were left with the local port agent for retrieval when they returned to the port from their private tour (not organized by us), per the protocol,” the spokesperson said.

ABC 15 News reported that the group attempted to board the ship on Easter after spending 15 hours traveling through six countries to reach a port in Gambia, but could not due to low tides.

Out of the travelers, the Campbells were the only ones with a credit card. They paid over $5,000 for the group’s food, toiletries and hotels, according to WRAL.

According to the New York Post, all eight passengers were able to rejoin the cruise Tuesday morning in Dakar, Senegal. They will not be reimbursed for expenses used to reboard the ship.

Those who have experienced cruises have stated that the ships are known for their strict rules and guidelines regarding arrival and departure times and the importance of being back by the exact time or risk of being left behind.