Cruise Passengers Left Stranded in Africa

( – Six Americans and two Australians say they’re marooned on an island in Africa after they missed the boarding time to return to their Norwegian Cruise ship.

South Carolina residents Jill and Jay Campbell claim they’re stuck on São Tomé, an island in central Africa, along with six other passengers. They say the ship’s captain refused to let them re-board the ship because they were late to return from the port of call due to a tour that ran past the intended time.

Media reports claim that some of the passengers are elderly and have medical conditions that require medication that was left behind on the ship.

The American couple the Campbells admit they were late, but they say their landside tour guide did not get them back on time. But the guide contacted the ship’s captain to let him know they’d be returning late, they said, and the local Coast Guard took them in a small boat to the still-anchored ship. However, the captain refused to let them board, they said.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise said the passengers had taken a private tour off-ship on their own time, and didn’t show up for the “all-aboard time.” All cruise passengers are responsible for returning from landside excursions on their own, said the company, and public announcements are made frequently on the ship about those times.

The Campbells say they’re not certain they really want to continue their cruise now after Norwegian Cruise neglected what they call the “basic duty of care.”

Two Australian passengers, Doug and Violeta Sanders, are also stuck on the island, and they called it the “worst experience of our lives.” Another passenger, 80-year-old Julie Lenkoff, says she suffered a stroke when off-ship and was abandoned and left to reach out to family to help her figure out how to return to the U.S.

Tight schedules for cruising times and excursions can make time-keeping extremely tricky for passengers. The eight who are stranded apparently traversed seven countries in just two days to meet the ship when it docked in Senegal. Of course, they did not make it, but the passengers say the ship crew adhered “too rigidly” to their timeline, as the ship was still anchored and safe to board.

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