Stranded cruise passengers in Africa race to rejoin their ship

Calista Alma
April 02, 2024

In São Tomé and Príncipe, a group of eight cruise passengers has faced a harrowing ordeal as they endeavor to catch up with their Norwegian Cruise Line vessel traversing the western coast of Africa.

These passengers found themselves stranded after failing to make it back to the ship on March 27, missing the designated all aboard time of 3 p.m. local time, as reported by Norwegian Cruise Line. The cruise line stated that the responsibility lies with passengers to return to the ship at the specified time, which is communicated through various channels onboard.

The cruise line confirmed that the passengers’ passports were handed over to local port agents for retrieval, emphasizing that passengers are accountable for arranging and covering the expenses to reach the next available port of call to rejoin the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line assured that it is collaborating with local authorities and maintaining communication with the stranded passengers.

According to Jill and Jay Campbell, a couple from South Carolina who have been in contact with CNN affiliate WPDE, the stranded passengers embarked on a challenging journey through six countries, spanning 15 hours, in an attempt to reunite with their ship in Gambia. However, due to low tides, the ship could not dock, resulting in an additional day at sea. The group’s next endeavor is to reach Senegal, where the ship is scheduled to dock on Tuesday.

The Campbells revealed that among the stranded passengers are elderly individuals, a paraplegic, and a pregnant woman. They highlighted the plight of one passenger who has been without essential heart medication for five days and has fallen ill.

Efforts to rejoin the ship began after a tour on São Tomé and Príncipe extended beyond the allotted time on March 27. Despite attempts by tour organizers to inform the ship’s captain of the delay, the passengers were denied boarding upon their return to port.

The Campbells recounted how they spent thousands of dollars on lodging and essentials for the group, as most passengers did not have credit cards accepted in São Tomé and Príncipe. Additionally, one passenger, who experienced a medical emergency during a separate tour, was hospitalized on the island, further complicating the situation.

The Norwegian Dawn, the cruise ship in question, is currently en route to Dakar, Senegal, according to Efforts to obtain further details from Norwegian Cruise Line are ongoing.

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