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Cruise Line Mishap Leaves Elderly Couple Stranded in Spain

Cruise Line Mishap Leaves Elderly Couple Stranded in Spain

Cruise Line Mishap Leaves Elderly Couple Stranded in Spain

Just a month after eight passengers were left behind in Africa by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), another incident occurred, this time involving a senior couple from the United States. Richard and Claudene Gordon, both in their eighties, found themselves separated from their cruise in Spain after a tour bus delay.

The Gordons, residents of Salt Lake City, Utah, were celebrating Richard’s upcoming 85th birthday with family and friends on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Viva. While docked in Motril, Spain, the couple decided to explore the historic city of Granada on their own, opting out of a cruise-organized excursion.

Unfortunately, their return trip didn’t go as planned. A heavy rain shower caused a one-hour delay for their bus, throwing their schedule into disarray. Despite being seasoned travellers with extensive cruise experience, this was the first time they’d ever missed a port departure.

Richard Gordon, emphasizing their punctuality, explained to CNN that they weren’t known for abusing the system. He contacted a relative onboard when it became clear they were running late (around 5:45 pm), but NCL staff remained inflexible. The ship had a designated “all aboard” time of 5:30 pm with a departure around 6 pm, and adhering to the schedule took precedence over the stranded passengers.

By the time the Gordons reached the dock in a taxi at 6:10 pm, the Norwegian Viva had already sailed away. This added insult to injury, as essential items like Claudene’s medication, Richard’s eyeglasses, spare hearing aid batteries, and phone chargers were all left behind on the ship.

The couple’s situation was further complicated by NCL’s lack of assistance. According to Richard, their attempts to get help, both onboard and onshore, proved futile. “They looked around and they looked around and no one was there,” recounted their daughter, Marilee Barker, describing the scene at the port. With the ship not returning until the following Tuesday in Ibiza, the resourceful couple took a bus back to Granada and found a budget-friendly bed and breakfast to stay in.

Meanwhile, Marilee and her husband sprang into action. Working through the night, they managed to book flights and a hotel for the couple, reuniting them with the cruise in Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday morning.

The ordeal finally came to an end when NCL, after two days of silence, finally contacted the Gordons. While the cruise line arranged a taxi to bring them from their Palma hotel to rejoin the ship, the apology rang hollow for the couple. Richard shared their frustration with CNN, highlighting the lack of communication and assistance during the critical hours they were stranded.

The incident raises questions about cruise line protocol and passenger well-being. While adhering to a schedule is important, situations like unexpected delays can leave passengers vulnerable. Improved communication and contingency plans for such situations could prevent similar incidents in the future. The Gordons’ story serves as a reminder for both cruise lines and passengers: flexibility and clear communication are essential for a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience.

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