Published On: Tue, Apr 2nd, 2024
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Tourists in cruise nightmare after being abandonned on island 190 miles from Africa | World | News


An American couple had to fork out a whopping $5,000 (£3,978) for hotel accommodation and food, after they and seven other tourists were abandoned by their cruise ship on an island off Africa.

Jay and Jill Campbell from Garden City in North Carolina were on a 21-day cruise from Cape Town in South Africa to Barcelona.

On the eighth day of their dream trip – March 27th – their cruise liner the Norwegian Dawn anchored off the island São Tomé, located about 190 miles (300km) west of mainland Africa.

The couple, along with six other people, went ashore for a tour organised by a third-party operator.

However, the excursion lasted longer than anticipated, prompting their tour operator to contact the ship’s captain to advise him of their late return.

When the group of tourists arrived back at the harbour, they could see that their cruise liner had still not departed. Mr Campbell told the news channel ABC15 that despite this, the captain refused a request by the harbour master to allow them to board the ship.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, the São Tomé and Príncipe Coast Guard then ferried the stranded passengers to the cruise ship, but the captain once again denied them entry.

Of the nine left stranded, four were elderly, one was a paraplegic and one woman was pregnant, according to Mr Campbell. He said the group had originally been eight people, but that they subsequently picked-up an 80-year-old woman.

She had been on a separate tour organised by the cruise line, during which she fell and was concussed. The elderly tourist was taken to a local hospital for treatment, where she had then been left on her own.

Mr Campbell said he and his wife were the only ones who had credit cards with them and had run up a bill of $5,000 on hotel rooms, food and toiletries for the abandoned group.

The couple, who regularly go on cruises, said they had never experienced anything like this before.

They were grateful to the people of São Tomé and Príncipe for their hospitality and said they had been receiving consular assistance from the US embassy in Angola.

Mr Campbell added: “I truly believe sometimes we’re put in certain places for a reason and I believe we were put in this place for the 80-year-old woman that was left alone.

“God forbid, what would have happened to that lady if we were not here.”

Despite their nightmare experience, the Campbells were planning to fly to Gambia on Sunday to try to rejoin the cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that it was the responsibility of the passengers to ensure that they returned to the ship on time.

They added they had handed over the group’s passports to port authorities and were providing assistance to the passengers to help them rejoin the cruise.

The statement read: “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.

“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.”



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