Stranded Passengers in Africa Rejoin Cruise Ship After Nearly a Week

After a group of passengers refused to board and were left behind in Africa, the cruise line assured the public that Norwegian Dawn had picked up the abandoned guests. They are now back to enjoying their 21-night sailing.

An aerial view of a large cruise ship in the ocean during Venice Port Calls.
Norwegian Dawn (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Eight passengers, including several elderly people, a pregnant woman, and a paraplegic, were finally able to reboard their Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vessel on April 2.

Because they missed their all-aboard call on March 27, they traveled from São Tomé and Principe to Dakar, Senegal. This meant that they had to fend for themselves for nearly a week.

They spent 48 hours in transit and traveled through seven countries with limited cash and without essential items like medication. Only two passengers had valid credit cards and spent over $5,000 on the group’s necessities and travel expenses.

On the day they planned to catch the ship in Dakar, the cruise line announced, “As of this morning, all eight guests have rejoined the ship.”

Though NCL initially emphasized that the passengers would have to pay for their own travel expenses, it has since softened its stance.

“Despite the series of unfortunate events outside of our control, we will be reimbursing these eight guests for their travel costs from Banjul, Gambia, to Dakar, Senegal,” said a company spokesperson.

Could they have Prevented being Stranded?

Dakar Senegal Africa
Dakar, Senegal, Africa (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

The group was late because of a tour provider that wasn’t affiliated with the cruise line. When their shore excursion was extended, the tour operator tried to call the cruise vessel and even had the guests escorted back to the ship by the Coast Guard. 

However, some reports claim that the group was late by hours, not just a few minutes. Accommodating them at that point would have been unsafe and caused delays for the entire ship.

Such inconvenience might have been avoided by opting for a shore excursion offered by the cruise line. Though these tours are more expensive, the operators are usually more aware of ships’ schedules and the importance of returning passengers on time.

norwegian dawn
(Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

This option also gives the cruise a record of their guests’ activities. If they are late, the ship’s crew can contact the provider and make a more informed decision.

Should the ship leave without you, travel insurance can cover the expenses of traveling to the next port of call. If there is a valid reason for not joining a cruise, insurance can even compensate you for the time onboard you missed.

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