Cruise NewsNorwegian Cruise LineMissed Cruise, Missed Meds: Elderly Couple Left Behind in Spain

Missed Cruise, Missed Meds: Elderly Couple Left Behind in Spain

After being on at least 30 cruises, an elderly couple from Utah were experienced in making sure they made it back to their ship on time.

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But in a recent incident while visiting Spain on a Mediterranean cruise, the couple was left behind without their medication and prescription glasses, among other necessities.

Norwegian viva cruise ship
Norwegian Viva

Ages 84 and 81, Richard and Claudene Gordon were on Norwegian Cruise Line ship, Norwegian Viva, when the vessel made a visit to Motril, Spain.

The couple had booked the cruise with family and friends to celebrate Richard’s 85th birthday.

According to news reports, the couple had booked an independent shore excursion in Granada.  This means the land-based activity was not booked through the cruise line itself.

A bad rainstorm on the way back to the ship delayed the bus by at least an hour.

The ship’s all aboard time was 5:30pm, and the ship ended up sailing away before the couple could get to the dock in time.

Richard Gordon told CNN that he was an experienced cruise traveler and had always been on time on the 30 or more cruises he had taken in his lifetime. 

“Never before have we ever missed catching a ship on time at a port. So we are not someone who abuses the system,” Gordon told the news outlet.

Read more: What happens when you miss your cruise ship?

Attempting to reach the port in time

The pair said that they ended up taking a taxi and arriving at the dock at 6:10pm, but the ship was already pulling away from the pier.

Knowing they would be late because of the bad storm, Gordon said he called a family member who was already back on the ship.  This relative apparently told the crew about the situation and that the couple would be delayed in their arrival.  

However, the cruise ship staff said that the vessel needed to depart the port.

Gordon disputed the captain’s seemingly stringent rules on punctuality, telling CNN:

“Our cruise began in Lisbon and we departed from Lisbon about one and a half hours after the scheduled departure at 4pm.  Then the next night or two, at least a half-hour late from the dock, so it is clear that they do not always leave on the exact moment scheduled.”

In addition to missing their ship, the couple was left without their medication, eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries and phone chargers.

Making other arrangements

After the Gordons were left stranded at the dock in Spain, they decided to book accommodations for the night at a local B&B.  The couple’s daughter then booked a flight for the pair to Palma de Mallorca so they could be reunited with Norwegian Viva and continue with their cruise.

On Tuesday night, the cruise line made contact with the couple and provided a taxi from their hotel in Palma de Mallorca to the cruise port.  A BMW limo was provided for the transportation and the couple said they received the “royal treatment” upon their return. 

“We simply told them that we were abandoned at the dock with no one to meet us or tell us where to go, and they said they have already complained about the harbor master who was supposed to take care of things for them. But of course, the ship had not contacted us directly for two days so that doesn’t speak so well for them,” Mr. Gordon told the news outlet.

Norwegian Cruise Line responds

According to a Norwegian Cruise Line statement to CNN, the couple was about an hour late. The cruise line stated that cruise ships have set departure and arrival times, and that they do allow a small window of time for late comers.  The Gordon’s had apparently arrived later than the window of time provided.

The cruise line also stated that they tried to reach out to the couple several times, including calls to emergency contacts.  But working with port officials arrangements were made to reunite the couple with the vessel.

Today the ship is docked in Barcelona, Spain.

Norwegian Viva is currently on a 10-day sailing from Lisbon to Rome.  The ship is expected to arrive at its final destination on May 6 after stopping at ports in Marseille, Nice, and Livorno.

If missing a cruise ship is a major concern for passengers on excursions, any activities at a cruise port should be booked through the cruise line itself. 

We recently wrote about this being the biggest reason people miss their ship.

Tips to avoid a similar situation

  • Double-Check Departure Times: Be aware of “all aboard” times and factor in potential delays like traffic or weather.
  • Always stay on ship time: Ship time often differs with the local time of the cruise port.
  • Maintain Communication: Inform a fellow passenger or crew member if you anticipate a late return.
  • Carry Contact Information: Have the ship’s contact number readily available in case of emergencies.
  • Take medications with you: Keep any necessary medications in a bag that you will take off the ship. 

Read more:  What happens when your cruise ship leaves without you

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise NewsNorwegian Cruise LineMissed Cruise, Missed Meds: Elderly Couple Left Behind in Spain

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