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6 American, 2 Australian cruise ship passengers stranded on African island after Norwegian Cruise refused to let them board



Eight Norwegian Cruise passengers, including a pregnant woman and an elderly man with a heart condition, claim they have been stranded on an African island without money and vital medications after the vessel left port without them.

Jill and Jay Campbell, from South Carolina, said they are stuck on the Central African island of São Tomé with four other American and two Australian passengers after the captain of the ship allegedly refused to let them reboard, according to WMBF.

But a spokesperson for the cruise line claimed the passengers were left on the island “on their own or with a private tour” and missed the “all-aboard time.”

A passenger being kept from boarding the ship. ABC News 4
One couple from Garden City is stranded 5,960 miles from their South Carolina home. Jill and Jay Campbell

“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,” the spokesperson said.

The Campbells acknowledged there was “an issue” on their tour of the island, and the guide “didn’t get us back” to the ship in time on Friday.

“We were like, our time is getting really short, and they were like ‘No problem, we can get you back within an hour,” Jay recounted telling the tour guide.

He said the tour operator then contacted the cruise ship captain to let them know they would be late.

One elderly passenger who was abandoned. Jill and Jay Campbell

When they reached the port, Campbell said the ship was still anchored, and the island’s Coast Guard took them on a boat to a ship in order to get back onboard.

The captain then allegedly refused to let them board.

Keep up with The Post’s coverage of the Norwegian Cruise debacle

Check out The Post’s tips on what to do if you’re left stranded like the Norwegian Cruise passengers

“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,” Campbell said.

“They had no port to call for the next day, they were simply going to be at sea.”

They and the others — including a married couple from Delaware, a paraplegic and an elderly man with a heart condition — were left stranded on the island without any of their belongings from the cabin, including money, medicine and necessary travel documents.

Some of the stranded passengers. Jill and Jay Campbell

The Campbells were the only ones who had a Visa card on their person, and had to pay more than $5,000 in food, toiletries and hotels for the group, they told WRAL.

In an updated statement on Saturday, a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines noted that “guests are responsible for any necessary travel costs to rejoin the ship at the next available port of call.”

Knowing this, the group had planned to fly to Gambia in West Africa to meet the cruise ship at the port on Sunday.

They then spent 15 hours traveling through six countries to reach the port on Easter, only to find out that the ship could not dock due to low tides, according to WPDE.

The passengers are now heading to a port in Senegal, where the cruise is set to dock on Tuesday.

But doing so is not going to be easy.

Eight cruise ship passengers were left stranded on an African island. AP

“What we looked at was some type of van transportation for eight people, the quadriplegic woman included, driving from here,” Jay told WPDE.

“We have to cross the ferry to get into Senegal,” he added. “We just learned from the gentleman that the ferry hadn’t been working, but he said, ‘No problem, if the ferry is not working, we will get another little boat and then pick up a car on the other side.

“And then once we get on the other side of Senegal, it’s another four hour drive.”

Still, Jay said the voyage is worth it.

“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,” he told WBMF.

In its updated statement on Saturday, a spokesperson for Norwegian said they are “in communication with the guests” and have 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.”

The Post has also reached out to Norwegian Cruise Lines for comment.

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