Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cruise passengers stranded in Africa race to rejoin their ship



Eight cruise passengers left behind on the African island of Sao Tome and Principe have been struggling for days to catch up with their Norwegian cruise ship as it makes its way to the west coast of Africa.

Passengers were delayed returning to the ship on March 27, according to a statement from Danish Cruise Line.

The statement said: “Eight guests who were on the island alone or on a private tour missed the last attempt to return to the ship, and therefore did not adhere to the specified time to board the ship, which was three o’clock in the afternoon, local time.”

“While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the advertised time, which is widely communicated via the ship’s intercom system, in daily communication and is published just prior to exiting the ship.”

Norwegian Cruise Line said passengers' passports were handed over to local port agents for guests to collect. Guests are responsible for the cost of getting to the next available port of call to rejoin the ship, the cruise line said. The cruise line said it is working with local authorities and communicating with stranded passengers.

According to a couple stranded in South Carolina, Jill and Jay Campbell, who were in contact with them CNN affiliate WPDE About their situation, a group of eight stranded passengers spent 15 hours traveling through six countries to… Try to join their ship Sunday in Gambia.

But the ship was unable to anchor due to low tide and spent an extra day at sea. Campbell's family told WPDE that the group will then try to reach Senegal, where the ship is scheduled to arrive in port on Tuesday.

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Campbell's family told WPDE that several members of the group were elderly people, another paraplegic, and a pregnant woman. One group member went without heart medication for five days and fell ill, they said.

CNN contacted Norwegian Cruise Line for additional details but did not immediately receive a response.

The group's mad dash began after a long tour in Sao Tome and Principe on March 27.

“We said, 'Our time is getting really short,' and they were like, 'No problem, we can get you back in an hour,'” Jay Campbell said of the tour organizers. Campbell told WPDE that the tour operator called the captain to tell him the passengers were on their way but would be late. The ship was still in port when they returned, but Campbell said the captain would not let them on board.

“The harbor master attempted to contact the vessel, but the captain rejected the call,” Campbell told WPDE late last week. “We sent emails to NCL, NCL's customer service emergency number, and they said 'well, the only way for us to contact the ship is to send them emails, they're not responding to our emails.'

The Campbell family told WPDE that the group was left without their medications and that most of the passengers did not have credit cards accepted in Sao Tome and Principe, so the Campbells spent thousands of dollars on their Visa card for lodging and necessities for the group.

The Campbell family said an additional passenger, who was on a different tour, had a medical emergency and was taken to hospital in Sao Tome, leaving her stranded as well. Campbell's family said they were able to contact the passenger's daughter in California to help coordinate her return to North America.

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The couple boarded the ship on March 20 It shows that the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship arrived early Tuesday at the port of Dakar, Senegal.

CNN's Sarah Dewberry contributed to this report.