Travel News

Norwegian Cruise passengers stranded in Africa after failing to reboard ship

Simon Calder’s Travel

Eight passengers travelling with Norwegian Cruise Line claim they were left stranded on an African island when the ship departed without them, despite efforts to board the vessel.

The six American and two Australian passengers say they were abandoned in central Africa’s island nation of São Tomé and Principe on the eighth day of a 21-day cruise from South Africa on Wednesday (27 March).

After a private onshore tour overran, the group missed the last tender from the port back to the vessel and was allegedly denied boarding to the anchored ship by the captain even after intervention by the local coast guard.

Jill and Jay Campbell, a couple from South Carolina, told WMBF News: “We were waiting for the tender boats to come back and get us because our boat was anchored off the harbour, but they didn’t come back to get us so we’re stranded here.”

Jill and Jay Campbell have spent over $5,000 so far attempting to rejoin the ship


Among the passengers, a pregnant woman, a quadriplegic woman and a man with a heart condition, reportedly no longer have access to medication, money and belongings from their onboard cabins.

The US embassy’s attempts to transport the stranded passengers to the next port on the cruise itinerary in Gambia were prevented by low tides that stopped the ship from docking in the West African country on Sunday.

The couple added: “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.”

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines said in a statement on Saturday that although the situation was “unfortunate”, the passengers were “responsible” for returning to the vessel at the designated all-aboard time of 3pm as communicated “broadly” over the ship’s intercom before departure.

The group are now heading to Dakar, Senegal, to meet the Norwegian ship on Tuesday after forking out over $5,000 (£3,978) on temporary accommodation and meals while attempting to rejoin the ship.

“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,” the cruise line…

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