The captain of a Norwegian Cruise refused to let eight passengers who were late boarding a ship

<span>The Norwegian Jewel, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, in June 2005.</span>Photo: Joerg Sarbach/AP</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/” data-src=” “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=The Norwegian Jewel, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, in June 2005. Photo: Joerg Sarbach/AP

Eight cruise passengers had to walk to rejoin their cruise ship after being left behind in São Tomé and Príncipe.

The passengers, including a pregnant woman and a paraplegic traveller, missed their scheduled departure time from the island of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea, about 250km off the coast of Gabon, after they boarded the Norwegian Dawn for a trip do local.

Another passenger in her late 80s was reportedly on the ship as she was receiving emergency medical treatment on the island.

The vessel, operated by Norwegian Cruise Lines, arrived in Sao Tome on Wednesday morning after departing from Cape Town for the three-week cruise to Barcelona on March 20.

The group’s private day trips to the island were running overtime and, despite the efforts of the local coast guard, who had escorted the group to the ship before it set sail that evening, the captain would not allow the late guests to board.

Jill and Jay Campbell, from Garden City in South Carolina, described trying to board the vessel after arriving late.

“We’ve never had an experience like this before,” Jill Campbell told ABC4 News.

“The harbor master tried to call the ship, the captain refused the call. We sent emails to NCL, the NCL customer service emergency number. They said, ‘Well, the only way for us to contact the ship is to send them emails, they’re not responding to our emails,’” Jay Campbell added.

“The captain could have easily made the decision to turn one of the tender boats back, pick us up, load us safely, and then be on our way.”

The travelers’ passports were returned to them through port authorities. The group, which includes two Australians, had to leave their medication, bank cards and other belongings on board. The Campbells said they were the only members of the group with a Visa card and paid more than $5,000 for their efforts to get on the ship.

They had intended to board the Norwegian Dawn in Gambia the following Sunday but low tide prevented the ship from making the scheduled stop. The group reportedly traveled through six countries and finally met the ship in Dakar, Senegal, the last west African port of call for its trip, according to the cruise line.

“What we looked at was some type of van transport for eight people, including the woman in the quad,” Jay Campbell told ABC15. He described having to take a ferry to enter Senegal, then drive four hours.

Australians Doug and Violeta Sanders were among the stranded passengers.

“It was the worst experience of our lives to be abandoned like that in a strange country, not being able to speak the language,” Violeta Sanders told Seven’s Sunrise programme.

“We have no money, our credit cards are not accepted.”

The 21-day cruise is scheduled to end in Barcelona on April 10.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines said it was a “very unfortunate situation” and that it was the passenger’s responsibility to be back on board the ship no later than one hour before the ship’s scheduled departure time.

Sydney travel lawyer Anthony Cordato said passengers needed to pay attention to tight ship schedules.

“Terms and conditions would make a timely return to the ship necessary,” he said.

“From the consumer’s point of view, it’s tough but from the ship’s point of view, are you going to hold up the cruise for an hour or two because they were slow to board? Will you inconvenience 1,000 passengers for the sake of four?”

The cruise company said all eight guests had returned to the ship.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “On the evening of March 27, 2024, while the ship was in São Tomé and Príncipe, an island nation in Africa, eight guests who were on the island on a private trip not organized by me lost the trip. the last offer back to the vessel, therefore not attending all boarding time 3pm local time. Although this is an unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring that they return to the ship at the published time, which is generally communicated over the ship’s intercom, in the daily print communication and posted immediately before departure from the vessel.

“When the guests did not return to the vessel at the time on board, their passports were delivered to the local port agents for retrieval when they returned to the port, as per regular protocol. Our team is working closely with the local authorities to understand the requirements and necessary visas required for the guests to re-enter the ship at the next available port. As these guests were on a private tour and did not return to the ship at the full onboard time indicated, they are responsible for any travel arrangements necessary to return to the ship at the next port of call available, according to our protocol.

“Although the eight guests made arrangements to reboard the ship in Banjul, The Gambia on April 1, 2024, unfortunately the ship was unable to dock safely at the destination due to adverse weather conditions, as well as tidal restrictions that require a specific time for safe passage. . While our guests share our disappointment, this modification was made with their safety and the safety of our crew in mind, which is our top priority. We have contacted these eight guests regarding this travel adjustment and authorized them to reboard the ship at Dakar, Senegal on April 2, 2024.

“Despite the unfortunate series of events beyond our control, we will be reimbursing these eight guests for their travel expenses from Kanju, Gambia to Dakar, Senegal. This morning, all eight guests have returned to the ship.”

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