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Cruise Ship Passengers Stranded in Gambia

These passengers booked an independent tour, and were left behind when they returned past reboarding time.

I can’t imagine that experience of being stranded at a foreign port, watching the ship sail away. After an excursion, you’re almost always tired and sweaty and hungry. It sounds awful to have to find a place to stay and coordinate your passage onward.

Yet I do remember the strict rules imposed on cruise ship passengers out of necessity. Still, it’s a rough situation for these passengers.

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by Anonymousreply 40April 3, 2024 5:53 AM

[quote]“The captain could have made an easy decision to turn one of the tender boats back, pick us up, safely load us, and then go on the way.”

And you could have made an easy decision to follow the rules.

by Anonymousreply 1April 2, 2024 5:42 PM

The very definition of FAAFO.

by Anonymousreply 2April 2, 2024 5:43 PM

I could understand if they were nowhere to be seen, but this part of the article makes it sound like they were right by the cruise ship when the Captain refused to let them board:

"...despite the efforts of the local coast guard, which motored the group to the ship before it set sail that afternoon, the captain would not allow the late guests to board."

That said, they should have planned better. You couldn't pay me to go on a cruise. Spending days on the same vessel sounds boring as hell.

by Anonymousreply 3April 2, 2024 5:56 PM


Ass In Seats.

by Anonymousreply 4April 2, 2024 5:59 PM

It happens all the time to people who think the rules don’t apply to them.

by Anonymousreply 5April 2, 2024 6:01 PM

Cruise ships have to impose a certain order to avoid one or a few passengers detracting from the experience of others. They are super rigid about timing and guest protocols because passengers actively look for delays or missing items on menus, late activities or unprepared lecturers, and they tend to go right after the cruise director seeking vouchers for upgraded meals or some other form of “compensation”.

It’s a really tightly choreographed model that anticipates a lot of negative guest feedback. Cruise directors have likely seen it all. Once a guest lecturer forgot to appear in the small theater to give a talk about the port of call. They paged her, called her stateroom, called the other lecturer and asked him to quickly appear and cover for her.

They instructed the guest lecturer to disembark at the next port, yet she was traveling with a very elderly companion and feared for his health if they were left behind on a small Mediterranean island. So they compromised. They made the lecturer stand on the dock with a sign saying “Ask me about [port of call]”. I saw her stand for several hours in the sun, and many of the guests who went to her lecture asked her why she didn’t deliver the previous day.

I felt bad for her, but cruise directors are super stringent with rules of engagement because the brand’s integrity is fragile. People (“cruise critics”) post online really explicit descriptions of their experiences, and they name names, places, and post photos. It’s a hard service model to operate and protect.

by Anonymousreply 6April 2, 2024 6:04 PM

You often see panicky guests rushing down the pier at most ports of call as the window of time to embark closes. This is why.

by Anonymousreply 7April 2, 2024 6:07 PM

Booking these independent tours is a great way to save a few dollars over those more expensive ship sold local tours . Yes it’s true that by booking these independent tours the ship will leave you if you are not back in time but you knew that going in.

Did I mention you can save money by not booking the ships sponsored tours ?

by Anonymousreply 8April 2, 2024 6:13 PM

The reasons ships have to be so strict about boarding times are easily identified. First, ships usually pay high docking and anchorage fees (sometimes by the hour, or even by the minute). A delayed departure costs a lot of money. Also, a delayed departure means either a late arrival at the next port (pissing off the passengers) or having to expend extra fuel in order to make up for lost time. While the cruise industry is a huge business, not every cruise turns a profit. Every department (food, bars, spa, shore excursions, casino, shops, etc.) is under pressure to make a profit every sailing. If a ship has lots of empty cabins, or people aren't drinking/gambling enough the ship could actually lose money. No captain wants to risk his/her job by piling up additional fees for port time or fuel.

In the cruise we're talking about here, the ship was at a tender port. That means using lifeboats or other small vessels to ferry passengers to and from the ship. Once the last tender has returned, the ship has to raise the boats, stow the loading platforms, etc. They also have to verify that everyone is aboard. Several PA announcements are made to try to locate people. Arrangements are made to send passports for missing passengers ashore (if possible). Yes, the missing people could show up alongside the ship, but at that point there would still be an hour or two of additional delay to get them aboard (insurance would require them to re-set the loading platform -they can't just climb rope ladders). Not to mention getting passports back. Realistically, if you're all aboard time is 3:00, the ship isn't actually going to pull up anchor and sail away until 5:00. If you show up at that point it's certainly not the cruise line's fault.

by Anonymousreply 9April 2, 2024 6:17 PM

There must be a certain amount of flexibility built into the schedule to allow for slightly late arrivals, though. A bit like how advertised flight times are always overestimated so that if there are small delays, the plane can still land "on time".

I think the Captain probably just wanted to be a cunt that day and I can't really blame him.

by Anonymousreply 10April 2, 2024 6:25 PM

It’s called THE GAMBIA

by Anonymousreply 11April 2, 2024 6:27 PM

I've done 40+ cruises, and in my experience ships almost always leave a little later than scheduled. And if a ship-sponsored excursion is late the ship waits. People on non-ship excursions benefit from that too. I don't think it's fair to call the captain a cunt because some inconsiderate/thoughtless/entitled passengers didn't make it back in time.

by Anonymousreply 12April 2, 2024 6:30 PM

“Not to mention getting passports back.”

That’s true. I think it said in the article that the passengers’ passports were left with the local authorities. So if they were allowed to Board, the ship could not continue on without these documents. It’s possible that the time required to send an agent back to shore to retrieve the passports could lead to an expensive delay and disruption. Also, in the region, that passport control office may not offer 24 hour access.

I am actually surprised that the cruise line is willing to reimburse the expenses incurred by these passengers on their way from Gambia to Senegal. That seems unusual.

by Anonymousreply 13April 2, 2024 6:32 PM

[quote]There must be a certain amount of flexibility built into the schedule to allow for slightly late arrivals, though.

I was on a 75 day segment of a world cruise last year and at least one person that I know of didn't get back in time and had to fly to the next port. There were at least two times where the ship waited for passengers but I think is was only about 30-45 minutes.

by Anonymousreply 14April 2, 2024 6:40 PM

The passengers originally missed the ship in Sao Tome. They traveled to The Gambia in order to rejoin the ship, but the ship was unable to dock there due to weather/tidal conditions -so everyone had to proceed to Senegal, the next port. While it wasn't the ship's fault that they were unable to dock, the cruise line paid for the passengers' travel to the next port as a courtesy. While it won't stop disgruntled people from filing lawsuits, it does show that the line made a good-faith effort to get the passengers back on board.

by Anonymousreply 15April 2, 2024 6:41 PM

Because they realize, R13, that it’s not unheard of for tours to be late and if the passengers are on a tour organized by the cruise line the ship will wait. And that the resultant bad PR here would cost them more than the transport costs for the passengers who perhaps through no fault of their own were late.

by Anonymousreply 16April 2, 2024 6:43 PM

This made news? I would've thought this happens quite often. Unless those stranded have been captured by some cannibals, I hardly think this is newsworthy.

by Anonymousreply 17April 2, 2024 6:54 PM

In some ports, if you depart literally a minute late, the Port reserves the right to whack you another 24-hour fee, which (for a large ship) could be well into the tens of thousands of dollars.

by Anonymousreply 18April 2, 2024 7:00 PM

I hope those poor people are rescued before they all get eaten by the local cannibal savages!

by Anonymousreply 19April 2, 2024 7:10 PM

I am a rule follower. If out go outside the line, I get hit with a fine/fee or whatever.

I'm fine with this as it is a good reminder that if you break a rule, there are consequences.

by Anonymousreply 20April 2, 2024 7:55 PM

The passengers should sue the independent tour company that didn’t get them back on time. Although it’s probably a broke company that screwed them.

by Anonymousreply 21April 2, 2024 8:15 PM

Do they speak Gambian yet?

by Anonymousreply 22April 2, 2024 8:17 PM

[quote]I felt bad for her, but cruise directors are super stringent with rules of engagement because the brand’s integrity is fragile.

Except when your cruise director is Julie McCoy coming off of a coke binge.

by Anonymousreply 23April 2, 2024 11:28 PM

I remember when this happened to Bert Convy, Ellen Travolta, and Ja’Net DuBois on a very special two-part episode of "The Love Boat"!

by Anonymousreply 24April 3, 2024 12:30 AM

I read this article in the Daily Mail. The comments were VERY unforgiving.

by Anonymousreply 25April 3, 2024 12:36 AM

A cruise to Gambia. Hm.

by Anonymousreply 26April 3, 2024 12:40 AM

"The Gang Goes on a Cruise to Gambia"

by Anonymousreply 27April 3, 2024 12:45 AM

BTW, Variety Cruises does a very interesting 7-night Roundtrip out of Dakar to the Gambia River. They use their 44 passenger vessel Harmony G.

by Anonymousreply 28April 3, 2024 1:06 AM

R9 is Julie the cruise director. Everyone thinks she's a know-it-all b*tch!

by Anonymousreply 29April 3, 2024 1:25 AM

If I were to take a ship to a country that I've never been to before and don't know the language and customs and I depended on that ship to leave then I'd damn sure I'd be there at the appointed time.

by Anonymousreply 30April 3, 2024 1:28 AM

As I said in the cruise ship thread, this is peak Fuck Around, Find Out.

by Anonymousreply 31April 3, 2024 2:07 AM

But, VOTN! In 2024 rules are for OTHER people, not us! They have to let us slide because, you know, stuff!

by Anonymousreply 32April 3, 2024 2:54 AM

R20, they didn't intentionally break the rules, though. The tour company was late in getting them back

by Anonymousreply 33April 3, 2024 2:59 AM

More a case of gambling and losing then, R33. They decided to take a chance, and it didn't work out. It doesn't make them bad people -but it also doesn't make the cruise ship staff bad people. Shit happens, and shit like this happens all the time. As someone upthread pointed out, it's not really news.

by Anonymousreply 34April 3, 2024 3:03 AM

YouTube's not working right now (?), but there is a hilarious video on there of someone aboard a departing cruise ship filming as late passengers run screaming after the ship.

by Anonymousreply 35April 3, 2024 3:05 AM

R11, you’re one of my people.

Another reason cruise ships are on a tight schedule is that they have to meet the local harbor pilots who, at least in American and Caribbean ports, are the ones who actually bring the ship into the harbor and dock it.

by Anonymousreply 36April 3, 2024 3:26 AM

Here's that video. Ship waits HALF AN HOUR for the late frau, who is the only passenger not on board. Finally it leaves as frau, laden with shopping bags, comes running up the pier, falls to her knees, and starts screaming that her CHILLLLLDREN are on the ship without her.

The commenters are 100% Team Captain.

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by Anonymousreply 37April 3, 2024 3:37 AM

I'm glad they were left behind. Dumbasses. Don't take a paraplegic off the ship in fucking Africa anyway. Dopes.

by Anonymousreply 38April 3, 2024 4:18 AM

"Stranded: Black Cock Adventures 2."

by Anonymousreply 39April 3, 2024 5:34 AM

Yeah I don't feel bad for them at all. If the paraplegic was well enough to go on the excursion then they're fine to fly or drive down to wherever the next Port is because they didn't bother to be where they should have been on time.

by Anonymousreply 40April 3, 2024 5:53 AM
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