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U.S. couple, other tourists stranded on African island after cruise ship leaves
U.S. couple, other tourists stranded on African island after cruise ship leaves
U.S. couple, other tourists stranded on African island after cruise ship leaves

Published on: 04/02/2024

Description

(WPDE) — An American couple's vacation took a turn for the worse after the cruise ship they were on left without them.

Jill and Jay Campbell, of South Carolina, boarded a Norwegian cruise on Wednesday, March 20.

The couple was stranded on the African island of São Tomé and Príncipe, a small island off of western Africa, when the tour they were on took longer than expected.

We have never had an experience like this before," said Jill Campbell.

The Campbells are with six other tourists who were also left behind.

"We were like, 'Our time is getting really short,' and they were like- ‘No problem, we can get you back within an hour,'" Jay Campbell told WPDE.

They said the tour operator contacted the captain to let them know that the eight passengers were going to be late and they were on their way.

When they arrived at the port, the ship was still anchored but the captain refused to let them on board.

The harbor master tried to call the ship, the captain refused the call.

The harbor master tried to call the ship, the captain refused the call. We sent emails to NCL, the NCL customer service emergency number, they said ‘Well, the only way for us to get in touch with the ship is to send them emails, they’re not responding to our emails, said Jay Campbell.

Eventually, the São Tomé and Príncipe Coast Guard loaded all eight passengers on a boat and took them to the anchored ship. They said the captain told the Coast Guard to take the passengers back to the island.

The captain could have made an easy decision to turn one of the tender boats back, pick us up, safely load us, and then go on the way," said Jay Campbell.

After numerous attempts of trying to get ahold of Norwegian, the group is now scrambling to figure out how to get back on the ship to get home.

The group consists of seven Americans and two Australians, four of whom are elderly, one has a heart condition and another is a paraplegic. There’s another married couple from Delaware and the wife is pregnant.

The number of stranded passengers rose from eight to nine after the group eventually met another 80-year-old woman, who they said was hospitalized on the island after she got a concussion and lost part of her vision following a cruise line tour.

The Campbells said she was left at the hospital without any money or her belongings, and her emergency contact was never notified by the cruise line.

"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,” Jay Campbell said.

None of the other passengers have their medications or credit cards that are accepted on the island.

The Campbells are the only ones with a Visa card and they’ve paid over $5,000 in food, toiletries and hotels for the group.

While they’re almost 6,000 miles away from home, Jay is just happy to have Jill by his side.

This woman has been a saint. I don’t know where the whole group would be without her strength, guidance and compassion for others," Jay said. "I’m honored and blessed that I have the smartest woman next to me.

They received help from the U.S. Embassy in Angola. On Sunday, the group is flying to Gambia, another African nation. However, they can only get on the ship if the cruise line approves their request.

The Campbells said they haven’t heard back at all.

The Campbells are grateful for the help that they have received from the people of São Tomé and Príncipe.

They ask for prayers as they travel to the Gambia on Sunday.

WPDE learned the couple are are frequent Norwegian Cruise Line passengers. In fact, they’ve already traveled with them three times this year.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line provided WPDE the following statement:

On the afternoon of March 27, 2024, while the ship was in Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation, 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 3 p.m. 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.
Guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call. 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. 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.

News Source : https://wfxl.com/news/nation-world/us-couple-6-other-tourists-stranded-on-african-island-after-cruise-ship-leaves-without-captain-allegedly-denies-reentry-so-tom-and-prncipe-coast-guard-garden-city-south-carolina-march-29-2024

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