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Teen Called Out For ‘Abandoning’ Parents In Caribbean To Make It Back To Cruise Ship On Time

older couple standing on deck of cruise ship
David Sacks/Getty Images

I’ve never been on a cruise.

Before the pandemic it was on my bucket list, but now… Well, quarantines at foreign ports of call and stories of people stuck on cruise ships running out of food, water, and clean laundry have tempered my enthusiasm.

But even someone like me with no firsthand experience knows cruise ships have schedules and they stick to them. If you’re late, you get left behind.


If you don’t believe me…

Many of us have seen these “pier runner” videos of passengers showing up just as their cruise ship is pulling away from the dock. They’re fairly popular online.

Despite all the videos and warnings from cruise lines and ships’ crews, and current and former passengers, some people still think those rules don’t apply to them.

A teen whose parents had issues with their cruise time management turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

ProfessionalTax7753 asked:

“AITA for abandoning my parents at an island in the Caribbean so I could get back to our cruise in time?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I graduated from high school back in December. As a gift, my parents gave me a cruise ticket. It was also for my 18th birthday.”

“It was also a family vacation. We usually stay at all-inclusive resorts, but I have always wanted to go on a cruise.”

“I told my parents it was different and that if we went on excursions, we had to follow the schedule no matter what.”

“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.”

“They missed the departure. By a lot. Like 45 minutes.”

“They got ahold of me through WhatsApp. They wanted to know why I didn’t get the boat to wait for them.”

“I wanted to scream that they would not inconvenience 3,998 people because two could not understand what a schedule was.”

“They ended up having to fly to the next port from there, and it was expensive. They are pissed at me for leaving them behind.”

“I don’t know what I was supposed to do. They literally told me that they knew what they were doing.”

“I wish I had never asked for this. They are making me miserable because I left without them.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“My parents thought a cruise ship would wait for them. I knew it wouldn’t, so I went back and made our departure time. My parents did not.”

“I might be the a**hole for not staying back with my parents and costing them more in flights to the next port. Or for not dragging them back when it was time.”

“I don’t know what they expect from me.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your parents are acting entitled. Tell them you saved them the expense of a third ticket to the next port.” ~ ParsimoniousSalad

“Your parents are in the wrong.”

“I don’t do cruises, but I have some experience with them because I travel to a place where cruise ships are common. I also thought passengers were warned that the ship leaves no matter who is on board.”

“You would never have been able to prevent the cruise ship from leaving. They have a schedule and they keep to it. The ship waits for no one.”

“This is ALL on your parents… They didn’t respect the ship schedule. NTA.” ~ Aggravating-Pain9249

“You should make a compilation playlist of all the videos of people being left behind by cruise ships and play it for your parents during your next family gathering.”

“It’ll let everyone know cruise ships don’t delay departure for anyone, ever, even if they’re at the dock as the ship is leaving port—which your extremely late parents were not.”

“There was nothing you could do. NTA.”

“Then thank your parents publicly for refusing to follow the ship’s rules, ignoring your multiple warnings, then turning your dream trip, your graduation gift, and your 18th birthday present into a miserable experience by lashing out at you for their own irresponsible choices.” ~ LakotaGrl

“There is no excuse for missing the departure except for lack of planning or a major emergency. NTA.” ~ Chrisetmike

“NTA—they seriously think the ship will delay for 45 minutes? Yeah, no. The docks and ship have a schedule to keep.”

“They are adults and need to be responsible for getting back on time, which you have figured out in less than six months of being an adult.”

“At least you don’t have to go on more vacations with them after this.” ~ OwlPal9182

“NTA. I’ve been on a cruise. They make it crystal clear that the ship waits for no one. Parents f*cked around & found out.” ~ Changoleo

“This is the bit that baffles me—even if OP had tried/asked, the staff would never have even considered delaying departure.”

“Did OP’s parents expect them to kick down the door to the bridge and commandeer the ship until they finished shopping? NTA.” ~ TD003

“And if OP gave up and stayed behind with them that would have been an extra plane ticket, so even more money down the drain. They should be relieved that their kid has a good head on their shoulders, but no, they’d rather blame them. 😒 ~ Mental-Woodpecker300

“What precisely do they think you could have done? Kidnapped the captain? Staged your own drowning?”

“You didn’t abandon them; they abandoned you. Don’t let them twist this into being your fault in any way, shape, or form!”

“I’m really sorry your parents have ruined this for you. It’s pretty pathetic of them to blame you for their extremely easy-to-avoid a deliberate bad decision.”

“They owe you at least two apologies, one for ignoring your sage advice in the first place, the second for behaving like spoiled 4 year-olds.”

“NTA, and I really hope you make your parents read this thread.” ~ The_Coaltrain

“NTA. Your parents showed a lack of planning and then a lack of understanding of the consequences. They’re acting like entitled children who cannot accept that they f*cked around and found out.”

“It never gets better, by the way. They don’t somehow learn to plan better or listen to you no matter how many times this happens.”

“Your best course of action is to set your boundaries clearly and to make sure they know that you are going places separately. That you will NOT be keeping track of where they are and if they’re late.”

“I’ve been married twice, 18 years apart, and my parents were late to both of my weddings. Both venues were within a 10-minute drive of their place. You’d think they’d learn in 18 years but no.”

“They were also recently 1.5 hours late to a 2-hour event for their grandson’s birthday.” ~ Infernalsummer

“They’re just pissed that their child is smarter than they are. It’s not about not being able to make the ship wait, it’s that their child had enough foresight to return to the ship as scheduled and they did not. NTA.” ~ The_Stoic_One

“NTA. In addition to you explaining that the ship will not wait for them, I am sure they were made aware of this by the cruise workers many times. They chose to ignore the guidelines and as a result had to face the consequences of their actions.”

“That’s what being an adult is, and they seem immature and narcissistic for trying to shift the blame onto you for their poor decisionmaking skills.” ~ chocolaux

“NTA. Not only is it on your itinerary, the little daily info paper, announced when docked overhead (like 5 times), but they tell you as you swipe your card to disembark on the island. This was 100% on them.” ~ vav70

“Look at it this way, you saved them having to pay out for a third airline ticket. They were warned, thought they knew better, and now are facing the consequences.”

“Ask them sincerely what else you were supposed to do in reality when they’ve signed contracts as part of being on the cruise? I guarantee the cruise line has it in writing that passengers are responsible for getting themselves back to the ship on time. NTA.” ~ I_wanna_be_anemone

“NTA. Cruise ships have a schedule to keep, and there was no way they would wait for just two passengers without knowing where they were.”

“They MIGHT wait if there’s a whole bunch of passengers being delayed on an excursion that was organized by the cruise ship company, but even that’s iffy.” ~ WesternBlueRanger

“I’ve been on a half-dozen cruises in my life. On every single one, the information about returning to the ship on time was listed on the tickets, announced in welcome/safety announcements, on a placard in the room, and prominently posted when you disembarked the ship.”

“Your parents are adults. There is absolutely no excuse for them to claim that they were unaware of this extremely basic rule of cruising. On top of that, you even warned them when you were off the ship, and they chose to disregard you.”

“And now they have the nerve to blame you for not magically having the authority to override all of the ship’s policies? NTA.” ~ DinaFelice

These parents need someone to give them a reality check.

The Earth does revolve, but not around them.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.