June 22, 2024

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8 passengers set sail on an island in Africa


AfricaThe cruise crew leaves eight guests on the island

Six Americans and two Australians spent several days on the African island facing various challenges. The Norwegian Dan crew left them there.

Justin Arbor
  • After eight passengers failed to return in time from a private trip, the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn continued its African voyage without them.

  • The group was stranded on an African island and struggled for days with language barriers and currency problems.

  • They were finally able to get back on board on Tuesday — it's unclear if they actually did.

On March 20, the Norwegian cruise ship Norwegian Dawn embarked on a 21-day cruise along the coast of Africa from Cape Town. Six tourists from the US and two from Australia boarded. For her, the vacation turned out to be a nightmare.

Because a late return from a private tour on March 27 was the group's undoing. When they did not return on board by 3pm, it departed without them.

Boarding access denied

Jay and Jill Campbell of South Carolina were among the group of tourists and spoke to NBC News about their experience. “The tour operator informed the captain that there would be a delay in our return to the ship,” they said. The local coast guard tried to bring her back on board. But they were denied permission.

In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line

In a statement, Norwegian Cruise Line spoke of “a series of unfortunate events beyond our control”. Affected passengers will receive partial refunds.


As a result, the couple and the rest of the crew were stranded on an island off the coast of Nigeria – for days. Language, currency issues and complicated journeys to reach the ship brought additional challenges. According to the couple, the stranded group included several elderly people, a paraplegic person, a pregnant woman and another person who fell ill after not receiving heart medication for five days.

The second attempt also failed

“The people of Sao Tome were very friendly and hospitable. They went out of their way to help us find hotels,” Jay Campbell told NBC's “Today.” They then reached out to a travel agency to book flights for the next port of call.

The stranded expedition group actually wanted to re-embark on Monday in Banjul, Gambia. But according to the cruise line, the ship could not be safely docked there due to “adverse weather” and “tidal restrictions”. Later on Tuesday, arrangements were made for the tourists to board the ship again.

“Rules are strictly followed”

To reach the ship, they traveled through seven countries in less than two days, Jill Campbell says. “We are considering whether or not to board the ship. It is docked here in Senegal.

“We believe they breached a fundamental duty of care, and this concerns us.” They accuse Norwegian Dan of following too strict rules or guidelines.

“I think they forget that they work in the hospitality industry and that the safety and well-being of their customers should be their number one priority,” Campbell added.

That's what the shipping company says

Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that it is responsible for making travel arrangements for passengers to return to the ship.

“Despite a series of unfortunate events beyond our control, we will be reimbursing eight guests for their travel expenses from Banjore, The Gambia, to Dakar, Senegal,” a spokeswoman for the cruise line said.

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