In a story that highlights just how important it is to adhere to cruise schedules, a teen left his parents in port to return to his cruise on time while his parents missed the ship’s departure and were left stranded.

The teen, who graduated from high school in December and received a cruise as a combined gift for his graduation and 18th birthday, recounted the incident in a Reddit post. This was the family’s first cruise, and the teen had emphasized the importance of sticking to the schedule during excursions.

The teen, identified as ProfessionalTax7753, wrote“Well, it was a week-long cruise, and they would not head back to the ship when I said it was time to go. They were busy shopping and bargaining with the locals. I finally said that I was heading back to the ship. My mom waved me off.”

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Despite repeated warnings from their child, the parents missed the ship’s departure by 45 minutes. They later contacted their child via WhatsApp, expressing frustration and blaming the teen for not ensuring the boat waited for them.

“I wanted to scream that they were not going to inconvenience 3,998 people because two could not understand what a schedule was,” the teen added.

Ultimately, the parents had to fly to the next port at considerable expense, leading to further animosity. The teen, who did not identify the ship or where they were sailing, expressed regret, saying, “I wish I had never asked for this. They are making me miserable because I left without them.”

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The Reddit post received numerous supportive comments, with users unanimously agreeing that the teen was not at fault. One usercommented, “What precisely do they think you could have done? Kidnapped the captain? Staged your own drowning. You didn’t abandon them, they abandoned you.”

Many users pointed out that the crew likely informed the parents multiple times about the schedule, emphasizing that they chose to ignore the guidelines.

The story of the teen’s parents missing their cruise isn’t unique. Similar incidents have made headlines, such as the eight passengers recently stranded on the African island of São Tomé and Príncipe after the Norwegian Dawn left without them. The group, consisting of six Americans and two Australians, were on a private tour and missed the ship’s departure by over an hour.

Despite efforts from the local Coast Guard to get them back on board, the ship’s captain did not allow them to rejoin. Norwegian Cruise Line stated that the passengers were responsible for ensuring they returned on time and that their passports were handed over to local port agents as per protocol. 

Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

The stranded passengers eventually traveled through multiple countries over several days to rejoin the ship in Senegal.

While cruise lines prefer not to leave anyone behind and may wait up to 15 minutes for late passengers, they cannot delay their departure for extended periods, such as the 45 minutes the parents were late returning to the ship. However, waiting for late passengers is at the discretion of the captain.

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Departure times are clearly communicated through daily newsletters, announcements, and posted schedules. Maintaining these schedules is crucial for adhering to port schedules, complying with legal and operational requirements, and minimizing the impact on other passengers.

Passengers who miss the ship are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the next port of call at their own expense, a policy outlined in the cruise contract that passengers agree to when booking their trip and boarding the ship.

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