To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Eight passengers left stranded on African island following ‘very unfortunate’ cruise mix-up

Eight passengers left stranded on African island following ‘very unfortunate’ cruise mix-up

Talk about missing the boat

Being abandoned on an African island isn't ideal at the best of times, but being stranded with only the underwear you're wearing while just one third of your way through a cruise will really grind your gears.

This couple were livid after being left in the lurch and forced to fend for themselves after their cruise ship hightailed it out of the island of São Tomé without them last week.

Jill and Jay Campbell, from South Carolina, have claimed that staff on the Norwegian Cruise Line vessel refused to let them and several other passengers back on board the ship, despite the coast guard even intervening.

Take a look at this:

The pair explained they were enjoying the eighth day of their 21-day cruise which began in South Africa when they climbed off the vessel to go on an excursion on 27 March.

Jay said they ran into 'an issue' while on a Norwegian Cruise Lines-sponsored tour of São Tomé, which meant their journey back to the port was delayed.

"They didn’t get us back in time," he told WMBF News.

Jill and Jay claimed that a pensioner suffered a concussion, amnesia and was injured during the tour of São Tomé.

The hold-up meant that the couple and numerous other holidaymakers missed the boat, leaving them stranded on the island without money, medicine, clothing, travel documents and vaccination certificates required by immigration.

Although the group - reportedly consisting of six Americans and two Australians - claim they were assisted by the São Tomé coast guard, they say that the cruise ship refused to allow them back on board.

Jay explained: "We were waiting for the tender boats to come back and get us because our boat was anchored off the harbour, but they didn’t come back to get us so we’re stranded here."

Jill and Jay Campbell/WMBF News

According to the deserted travellers, there were numerous elderly passengers, a person with a heart condition, a paraplegic and a pregnant woman among those who had been left behind.

The travel firm described the mix-up as a 'very unfortunate situation' in a statement shared with LADbible, saying that the group had gone 'on their own or with a private tour' and had missed the all-aboard time.

It said: "Eight guests who were on the island on their own or with a private tour missed the last tender back to the vessel, therefore not meeting the all aboard time of 3pm local time.

"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."

Jill and Jay are now desperately trying to meet the ship at another African port to continue their cruise trip, although it's not exactly the easiest thing to organise.

"We’re trying to get written permission from the cruise line to re-board if we do make it to Gambia," Jill said. "We’ve got our flights booked to Gambia however we don’t know if we’ll be able to get into the country and get back on the ship."

Jay added: "We paid a lot for this trip to Africa, so we hope to make it through the rest of this trip and end in Spain."

The travel firm described the mix-up as a 'very unfortunate situation'.
Jill and Jay Campbell/WPDE ABC15

Despite reaching out to the cruising company, the passengers claim they have not received any help about how they could re-board the ship.

In the statement, Norwegian Cruise Line warned that guests are 'responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call'.

It continued: "When the guests did not return to the vessel at the all aboard time, their passports were delivered to the local port agents to retrieve when they returned to the port, as per the regular protocol.

"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.

"We are in communication with the guests and providing additional information as it becomes available.”

The firm said today (2 April) that the eight stranded guests had made arrangements to get back on the ship in Banjul, Gambia, but it was 'unable to safely dock in the destination due to adverse weather conditions, as well as tidal restrictions that require specific timing for safe passage'.

It continued: "While we share in our guests’ disappointment, this modification was made with great consideration for their safety and that of our crew, which is our top priority. We contacted these eight guests regarding this itinerary adjustment and provided them with authorization to rejoin the ship at Dakar, Senegal on 2 April, 2024.

"Despite the series of unfortunate events outside of our control, we will be reimbursing these eight guests for their travel costs from Banjur, Gambia to Dakar, Senegal. We remain in communication with the guests and are providing additional information as it becomes available."

Featured Image Credit: Jill and Jay Campbell

Topics: Holiday, News, Travel, World News, Cruise Ship