“Is the captain there, please?” Two late passengers were heard shouting to the crew of a cruise ship after failing to embark the vessel in time in Bari, Italy. Photo / TikTok; DataJungle, Unsplash
“Captain, wait for us, please!”
Footage of two distraught cruise passengers left on the dockside has gone viral long after their ship had sailed.
The two passengers were filmed calling to the crew as it dawned on them they might have missed their boat.
The guests of the MSC Splendida were due to depart on a nine-day cruise around the Mediterranean on August 15.
However, the ship, which has the capacity for 3274 passengers, was two guests light upon its departure from Bari Vecchia in Italy, after a couple turned up after the gangplank was lifted.
Their plight was recorded by guests on the top deck, unable to do anything to help.
“Is the captain there, please?” they can be heard calling to the boat in the tragic TikTok clip. “Captain, wait for us, please! You can do it if you want to!”
Passengers who were on board the Splendida told the Daily Mail there was a chilly indifference to the late guests who, after the gangplank was lifted, were treated as if they didn’t exist, even though the whole ship could hear them.
“The cruise didn’t leave even a minute over time. We felt there was little to no effort to find those people, whether they were there or not,” said one passenger.
The president of Bari’s Port Authority, Ugo Patroni Griffi, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica he was aware of the couple’s plight. They tried to get the port to “ask the ship to turn back”, he said.
“Obviously, this is impossible for cruise ships that have time constraints and that are very expensive operations.”
MSC did not comment on this specific incident. The cruise line’s website advises guests to be on board with plenty of time to spare and warns “check-in closes two hours before the ship is due to depart in all embarkation ports”.
What to do if you’ve missed your cruise
Ship itineraries are often planned up to two years in advance, and when they’re under way, cruises wait for no man.
Often, ships can incur penalty fees from ports for late departures.
Passengers are warned to get back at least half an hour before sailing time, but even then, there are always a few who miss the boat.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong, particularly with passengers taking shore excursions.
It can pay, in theory, to take part in cruise-run shore expeditions and trips which will make sure you get back in time. Though many spendthrift tourists feel constrained or even short-changed by the cruise line.
For example, the cost of a walking tour in Rome with Princess Cruises is between $200 and $250, whereas the cost of a return train ticket from the Civitavecchia Port of Rome is around $25.
You might see the extra cost as insurance to get back on time.
Some passengers fail to keep track of time when in holiday mode, or forget to change their watches to their new time zone.
So, you’ve missed the boat and been left high and dry. What are your options?
It’s not the end of the world, or your cruise
But depending on where you’ve been left, missing your ship can be more than a hassle.
For most passengers, this involves making their own arrangements to meet the boat at its next port.
In Europe, this can involve expensive hotels and last-minute flights, but in the rest of the world, a flight transfer might not be possible.
If your ship has departed for the South Pacific, things can look fairly dire.
There might be days of endless bureaucracy before you can rejoin the cruise.
Cruise lines will often have port agents that can assist passengers who have been left behind. It will be expensive, but you won’t be the first or last passenger they help catch up with a cruise.
Some passengers take matters into their own hands.
In 2016, a British pensioner had to be rescued from the waters of Fuchnal in Madeira.
Susan Brown, 65, from Dorset, swam 500 metres after the departing vessel, the Marco Polo, on its way back to Bristol before being rescued by fishermen.