A “loyal” Norwegian Cruise Line passenger was shocked when a captain ordered him off the boat, and there was nothing he could do to dispute his decision, according to his passenger ticket which counted as a contract.
Robert and Esther Gaines have spent many vacations on NCL’s ships, including their honeymoon 40 years ago. Esther told NBC Miami that they have never had a bad experience.
“We’re loyal NCL customers and that’s what the biggest thing is, it’s the shock that this happened to us,” Robert told the station.
In May, Robert and his wife booked a seven-night cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway. They were set to sail from the United States to the British Virgin Islands and then to the Bahamas. However, Robert didn’t make it that far. According to Esther, her husband was ejected “at the begging of our cruise.”
Robert said that his ejection from the ship was the result of an interaction with a crew member. His family had allegedly booked a show on the boat in advance, but he was informed he was not listed.
“I said, ‘Listen you idiot, I’m telling you right now that my family is in the show. Why are you keeping me out of the show?’ Robert said. “They started calling security and I may have made a comment that said you better get more than a couple because I’m a big guy. They were really scaring me.”
Robert claims the incident did not get physical and that he complied with security and gave them a statement.
However, more than 24 hours after the incident, security officers knocked on the couple’s cabin door.
“She said because of the incident the captain has reviewed everything and he’s decided Robert has to disembark in Tortola,” Esther said. Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. “I gasped, I couldn’t believe they were saying that.”
Robert added, “I was like public enemy number one.”
He claims he spent hundreds of dollars to get back home after being left at Tortola, and that he was never able to dispute what happened. However, it appears the cruise line and the captain were not in the wrong in their decision.
“If something happens and they want to kick you off the ship, they are not only the police,” Brett Rivkind, a maritime lawyer, told the station, “they are the judge and the jury.”
A passenger ticket is essentially a contract, according to Rivkind. Robert, however, admits that, while he has been on many cruises, he has never read the agreement. Now, he’s hopeful his story will encourage others to be more mindful.
A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson provided the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle: "We are in the business of providing incredibly positive and memorable experiences for all our guests. We also care deeply about our team members and work very hard to ensure they are happy and treated with the utmost respect. Therefore, we do not take kindly to anyone who behaves badly by disparaging others or creating an environment which erodes the experience we are providing for our guests and crew.
"As such, we have a zero-tolerance policy aboard our fleet when it comes to inappropriate or discourteous behavior. Guests are advised of this in our Guest Conduct Policy, which is agreed to by all guests upon payment of the cruise fare.”
The statement continues: “Any guest that violates these policies is subject to removal from the ship by order of the captain and is responsible for all travel arrangement expenses incurred. All travel companions of a removed guest remain in good standing and receive the exceptional service for which our crew members are recognized.
It concludes: “Please know that we do not take the removal of guests from ships lightly."
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