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South Carolina couple stranded in Africa after cruise ship leaves without them

Tuesday, 02/04/2024, 13:15 (GMT+7)

After their cruise ship departs without them, South Carolina couple finds themselves stranded in Africa and called for the help from US embassy.

A couple of South Carolina left Behind in São Tomé

A South Carolina couple, Jill and Jay Campbell, are facing a travel nightmare after their cruise ship.

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A South Carolina couple and other Americans were left stranded in Africa after missing their cruise ship. Image Credits: Jill Campbell

The incident occurred during a private tour excursion from the Norwegian Dawn, which departed without them from São Tomé, an island off the coast of Africa

Jill and Jay Campbell boarded the Norwegian Dawn in Cape Town, South Africa, to begin their cruise around the continent. Last Wednesday, they embarked on a private tour of São Tome and Principe, a small island off western Africa.

Tour delay leads to missed re-boarding

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The couple embarked on a private tour in São Tome and Principe, but the ship departed without them. Image Credits: Jill Campbell

The Campbells, including Jil and Jay Campbell along with seven other passengers (five Americans and two Australians), were on a private tour when their tour guide encountered delays.

Despite the tour operator notifying the ship's captain, the group was denied re-boarding upon returning to the port. The ship had already set sail.

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The stranded passengers, including elderly individuals and a pregnant woman, faced dire circumstances. Image Credits: Jill Campbell

They were stranded and faced challenges, even lack of response from the Cruise Line

The stranded group includes an elderly woman with health concerns and a pregnant passenger. The Campbells, the only ones with access to a debit card, have been forced to spend over $5,000 on essentials like food, toiletries, and hotel rooms for the group, as they are the only ones with a debit card.

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Despite efforts to contact the cruise line, the group received no response and relied on their own resources. Image Credits: Jill Campbell

'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,' Jay Campbell said. 'God forbid what would have happened to that lady if we were not here.'

'I don't know where the whole group would be without her strength, guidance and compassion for others,' he said. 'I'm honored and blessed that I have the smartest woman in the world next to me.'

The  stranded passenger called for help from US embassy 

With help from the U.S. Embassy in Angola, the group is scheduled for a flight to Gambia on Sunday. However, rejoining the cruise hinges on Norwegian Cruise Line's approval. The Campbells haven't received any response despite their attempts to reach the company.

After the incident, the Cruise Line cites missed re-boarding time as the reason.

Norwegian Cruise Line maintains that the Campbells and the other passengers missed the designated "all aboard" time and are responsible for ensuring their timely return.

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With assistance from the U.S. Embassy, the group is awaiting approval to re-board the cruise. Image Credits: Jill Campbell

The company emphasizes communication of departure times through various channels and highlights the responsibility of guests to cover any costs incurred while rejoining the ship at a later port.

In a statement to media outlets, a spokesperson from Norwegian Cruise Line said: '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.'

'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,' the statement continued.

'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.'