Elderly Cruise Passengers Left Behind in Spain After Returning Late

Two elderly passengers missed their cruise ship’s all-aboard time, leaving them stranded in Spain. Again, highlighting the importance of returning to the cruise ship by the posted time.

A large Norwegian ship departing from a coastal city in Spain with colorful buildings and clear blue skies.
(Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Richard Gordon, aged 84, and his wife Claudine, aged 81, were left behind by Norwegian Viva last Monday. After the Prima-class ship docked in Motril, the couple embarked on an independently organized tour of Granada; however, heavy rain delayed their return. 

Instead of arriving at 5:30 p.m., the couple said they made it to the dock at 6:10 p.m., and the vessel had already left. Before 6, Richard called ahead to ask a relative onboard to coordinate their late arrival with the crew. Norwegian Cruise Line told their family member they couldn’t be accommodated because the ship was following a schedule. 

“A cruise ship follows a set itinerary with designated arrival and departure times. Itineraries are carefully coordinated and planned out well in advance of each voyage to ensure that all of our guests have the experience they are expecting,” a representative later told CNN.

The cruise line also contradicted the couple’s arrival time, saying they were an hour late, not just delayed by 40 minutes.

Stranded in Spain without Personal Items

The Salt Lake City residents found themselves without important personal items like medication, phone chargers, eyeglasses, and extra hearing aid batteries. 

Daughter Marilee Barker helped her parents from Utah, coordinating their accommodations and flights, including the plane that would take them to Norwegian Viva’s next port of call, Palma de Mallorca. They traveled to the island city over 600 kilometers away in time for the vessel’s 8 a.m. arrival on Wednesday.

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship in a harbor.
Norwegian Viva (Photo Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

The day before, Norwegian Cruise Line also contacted the Gordons and offered them a taxi from their hotel to ensure they could rejoin their ship.

During an interview with a news outlet, Gordon added that he is an avid cruise traveler and their late arrival was an isolated incident.

“I am a very experienced traveler and have probably been on as many as 30 cruises during my lifetime. Never before have we ever missed catching a ship on time at a port. So we are not someone who abuses the system,” he explained.

In March, eight passengers were left behind by another Norwegian Cruise Line ship. They journeyed from São Tomé and Principe to Dakar, Senegal, taking almost a week before they caught up with Norwegian Dawn.

Norwegian Cruise Line announces the time to be back onboard upon arrival over the ship’s PA system, along with signage posted at the gangway. Return times are also published in the Freestyle Daily.

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