6 American passengers among others stranded on African Island, allege Norwegian Cruise refused to let them reboard - Hindustan Times
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6 American passengers among others stranded on African Island, allege Norwegian Cruise refused to let them reboard

BySumanti Sen
Apr 02, 2024 01:12 PM IST

The passengers, including a pregnant woman, have claimed that they are stranded without money and vital medicines

As many as eight Norwegian Cruise passengers have alleged that they have been stranded on an African island after the vessel left port without them. Among them is an elderly man with a heart condition, as well as a pregnant woman. They have all claimed that they are stranded without money and vital medicines.

6 American passengers are among others stranded on an African Island (Pixabay - representational image)
6 American passengers are among others stranded on an African Island (Pixabay - representational image)

South Carolina’s Jill and Jay Campbell have revealed that they, along with four other American and two Australian passengers, are stuck on the Central African island of São Tomé. According to WMBF, the ship’s captain allegedly refused to let them board the vessel again. However, according to a spokesperson for the cruise line, the passengers were stranded “on their own or with a private tour” and missed the “all-aboard time.”

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“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,” the spokesperson said.

Here’s what happened

The Campbells said that there was “an issue” related to their tour, and alleged that the tour guide “didn’t get us back” to the ship in time late last week. “We were like, our time is getting really short, and they were like ‘No problem, we can get you back within an hour’,” Campbell recounted telling the guide. The tour operator then got in touch with the captain of the ship and told him they would be late.

Campbell claimed that the ship was still anchored when they arrived at the port. The Coast Guard of the island reportedly took them on a boat so they could get back on the ship. They have alleged that the captain then refused to let them reboard.

“The captain could have made an easy decision to turn one of the tender boats back, pick us up, safely load us and then go on the way,” Campbell said. “They had no port to call for the next day, they were simply going to be at sea.”

Among those who are stranded, besides the Campbells, are a married couple from Delaware, and a paraplegic and an elderly man who has a heart condition. They do have their belongings from the cabin, including necessary travel documents, money and medicines.

Only the Campbells had a Visa card on their person. They told WRAL that they had to pay over $5,000 in food, toiletries and hotels for the group.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines later said in an updated statement that “guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call.” The group knew this, and had planned to fly to Gambia in West Africa to meet the cruise ship at the port.

WPDE reported that the passengers travelled through as many as six countries to reach the port on Easter, spending 15 hours in total. They are not heading to a port in Senegal. This is where the cruise is set to dock.

“What we looked at was some type of van transportation for eight people, the quadriplegic woman included, driving from here,” Campbell told WPDE.

“We have to cross the ferry to get into Senegal,” he continued. “We just learned from the gentleman that the ferry hadn’t been working, but he said, ‘No problem, if the ferry is not working, we will get another little boat and then pick up a car on the other side.

He added, “And then once we get on the other side of Senegal, it’s another four hour drive.”

Campbell said the trip is still worth it. “We paid a lot for this trip to Africa, so we hope to make it through the rest of this trip and end in Spain,” he said.

A spokesperson for Norwegian later said that they are “in communication with the guests” and have 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.”

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