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Norwegian Cruise Passengers Stranded on African Island After Private Tour Ran Late, Ship Departs Without Them According to the eight stranded passengers, they had to pay for their travel and accommodations to return to the mainland. Norwegian says it will reimburse their extra expenses.

By Emily Rella

entrepreneur daily

An idyllic vacation at sea turned into a full-fledged travel nightmare for eight passengers who were stranded on an African island after failing to return to their cruise ship on time — and it left without them.

Six Americans and two Australians were left on São Tomé and Príncipe on March 27 after their cruise ship, the Norwegian Dawn, left the dock when the passengers missed the 3 p.m. cutoff time to reboard the ship. The ship continued its cruise up the coast of Africa.

According to the stranded passengers, they were on a private tour that returned too late — though the tour operator reportedly notified the ship they were behind schedule. The Coast Guard even tried to assist with getting the late passengers on board, but they were denied entry as their passports had been turned over to local port agents once they missed the deadline, which is protocol.

Related: Carnival Cruise Ship Rescues Stranded Men in Ocean

"The lovely people of São Tomé were very gracious, very hospitable. They had reached out as much as they could to help us find hotels," Jay Campbell, a South Carolina resident stranded on the island told Today on Tuesday morning, noting the difficulty in arranging transportation with a language barrier and currency issues. "We were able to get to a tour agency there to arrange flights to the next port of call ... It's one of those 'You can't get there from here.'"

By Tuesday, Campbell, his wife Jill, and the rest of the stranded passengers were able to get to the next port of call in Dakar, Senegal after being unable to board at the prior port of call in Banjul, Gambia on Monday due to adverse weather conditions.

The passengers were reportedly required to arrange and pay for their travel accommodations to rejoin the ship's route.

"We are considering whether or not we are going to board the ship. It is in dock here in Senegal," Jill Campbell told Today. "After what we witnessed, we truly believe that although there's a set of rules or policies that the ship may have followed, they followed those rules too rigidly. I believe that they really forgot that they are people working in the hospitality industry and really the safety and wellbeing of the customers should be their first priority."

Norwegian told NBC News that it would be reimbursing passengers for their costs.

"We remain in communication with the guests and are providing additional information as it becomes available," a spokesperson for the cruise line told the outlet.

Norweigan additionally confirmed to CNN that the guests had missed the "all aboard time" and that it was their responsibility to have ensured that they were back at the ship at the designated time.

"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," the cruise line told the outlet.

Related: Couple Left at Cruise Dock Beg Captain to Wait, Go Viral

The cruise is expected to end in Barcelona on April 10 after a 21-day-long trip. It originally departed from Cape Town, South Africa, on March 20.

Norwegian Cruise Lines did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur's request for comment.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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