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Cruise passengers who were left behind sparks huge debate

A fiery debate has erupted after a cruise refused to allow eight passengers to board the ship after they failed to meet the 3 p.m. deadline.

The Norwegian Dawn ship left tourists on an African island, some without their belongings after a private tour they were taking was delayed.

The group has now traveled by plane, ferry and car to Senegal, more than 2,000 miles from São Tomé and Príncipe, where the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) ship departed without them last Wednesday.

American couple Jill and Jay Campbell, who were among the eight abandoned cruisers, spent more than $7,000 on travel expenses to get to the port in Senegal.

“We honestly believe that even though there is a set of rules or policies that the ship follows, they are following those rules too rigidly,” Ms. Campbell told NBC’s Today Show on Tuesday.

Married couple Jill and Jay Campbell were among eight passengers who were abandoned on a cruise after taking a private tour to an African island. Jill and Jay Campbell

“They really forgot that they are in the hospitality industry and the safety and well-being of their guests should be the first priority and that should be placed first.

“It was a fundamental duty of care that they forgot. This concerns us.

Consumer Champion’s Adam Glezer told news.com.au it was “ridiculous” that passengers, including a pregnant woman and someone with a heart condition, were not allowed back on board – even though The Norwegian Dawn was still at anchor and a São Tomé Coast Guard took the group in a tender to the ship.

The group has now traveled by plane, ferry and car to Senegal, from where the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) ship departed without them last Wednesday.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

“Each situation must be handled on an individual basis, especially the passenger without medications,” he said.

He said that despite the rules, “you need flexibility in situations like this.”

Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer, also denounced the cruise liner, accusing it of “making its point by abandoning guests” because they booked a tour that was not part of the cruise .

“The reality is that cruise lines aggressively promote cruise-sponsored shore excursions as a fundamental part of their business model, earning tens of millions of dollars in revenue annually,” he said. told news.com.au.

“To promote cruise-sponsored excursions where they receive up to 50 to 60 percent of the profits, cruise lines state that if their guests paid for a cruise-sponsored excursion, as opposed to an independent excursion, the line will ensure that if the Extrusion is late returning to the cruise ship, it will wait so that guests are not abandoned on shore.

“In this particular case, it appears that NCL was keen to abandon these guests simply because they were on an independent excursion.”

Mr Walker said NCL’s conduct was not only “callous and indifferent”, but he believes their action was “mean-spirited and vindictive in nature”.

The debacle caused a huge divide online, with some siding with the passengers, while others defended the cruise’s decision to leave the passengers in São Tomé.

“Strange that the captain wouldn’t let them board if he was still in port?” » wrote one person on Facebook.

“Don’t feel sorry for them, they know the rules. It costs ships a fortune if they don’t leave on time. We have already seen people left behind in Asia. Our last trip to New Zealand was also a very close event,” wrote another.

Other cruise lines said being on time was a “simple” rule passengers had to follow, adding that it was why they only book tours through the ship.

The couple, including six other passengers, were refused access to the ship after failing to respect the 3 p.m. deadline. Jill and Jay Campbell

“That’s why you take a risk if you don’t go on a tour, you cross the ship. The rules also have to be followed,” a third person wrote, while another added: “That’s why I would never go on a cruise or package tour. ever again, no more freedom to do what you want, when you want.

A TikToker and cruiser Candi Thomas lashed out at passengers saying it was the passengers’ responsibility to get back to the ship on time.

“For those of you who don’t cruise, let me tell you. Before getting off the ship, there are many announcements. You have it in your daily planning letter, there are signs…you have to be on board 60 to 90 minutes before the ship departs,” she said.

The Campbells, from South Carolina, were the only ones who had their credit cards and more than a few dollars on them after being blocked. ABC News 4

According to The Points Guy, if you don’t arrive at port before the boarding window ends, a cruise ship will “most likely leave without you.”

“Even if you’re standing on the platform, waving frantically. Indeed, the departure time of a cruise ship is carefully planned and the issue is not limited to your vacation.

“Just like planes, cruise ships have tight schedules – much tighter than you think. »

Norwegian Cruise Line responds

In a statement provided to news.com.au, US-based Norwegian Cruise Lines said that while the ship was in São Tomé and Príncipe, an African island nation, eight guests who were on the island as part of a private tour “not organized through us”. missed the last bid to return to the ship, “and therefore failed to meet the onboard time of 3 p.m. local time.”

“While this is a very unfortunate situation, guests have the responsibility to ensure that they return to the ship at the published time, which is widely communicated via the ship’s intercom, in communication printed daily and posted just before leaving the ship.”

The spokesperson said that when guests did not return to the ship by boarding time, their passports were handed over to local port agents for collection upon their return to port, as per usual protocol.

The tourists had made arrangements to meet the ship in Banjul, Gambia, on April 1, but the ship was unable to dock safely at the destination “due to adverse weather conditions.”

The spokesperson told news.com.au they contacted passengers about the itinerary adjustment and provided them with permission to join the ship in Dakar, Senegal, on April 2.

“Despite the series of unfortunate events beyond our control, we will reimburse these eight guests for their travel expenses from Banjur, Gambia to Dakar, Senegal. We remain in communication with guests and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

A TikToker and cruiser Candi Thomas lashed out at passengers saying it was the passengers’ responsibility to get back to the ship on time. @iamshopgirl / TikTok

The Campbells, from South Carolina, were the only ones with their credit cards and more than a few dollars on them. They said they spent $7,500 on lodging and food for their fellow castaways.

They explained that they were late for the cruise because there was a problem during their private tour.

“They (on tour) would say, ‘No problem, we can pick you up in an hour,'” said Mr. Campbell, who is a school teacher.

“For those of you who don’t cruise, let me tell you. Before getting off the ship, there are many announcements. You have it in your daily planning letter, there are signs…you have to be on board 60 to 90 minutes before the ship departs,” she said. @iamshopgirl / TikTok

The guide contacted the captain to tell him that the group was going to be late. When they returned to port, the ship was still anchored just offshore. But the staff did not allow the passengers to board.

“The harbor master tried to call the ship, the captain refused the call,” Mr Campbell told ABC 4 News South Carolina.

“We sent emails to NCL, the NCL customer service emergency number, they said, ‘Well, the only way we can get in touch with the ship is to send them emails , they don’t respond to our emails.'”

Mr Campbell said it had been a difficult experience, describing it as a “very, very difficult process”. TODAY

Mr Campbell said the country’s coast guard then put all the passengers on a boat and took them to the cruise ship, but they were still refused permission to board.

He told the US channel NBC Today Show on Tuesday that people in São Tomé and Príncipe had been “very kind, very hospitable” and had directed them to hotels and travel agencies.

Still, he said, it was a difficult experience, describing it as a “very, very difficult process.”

News.com.au understands all eight guests have now joined the cruise in Dakar, Senegal.

New York Post

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