Couple says they were left stranded in Mexico after being kicked off cruise ship

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WHIPPANY -

A Morris County couple says that they were left stranded in Mexico after they were kicked off a Royal Caribbean cruise ship due to illness.

Bertram and Carol Palk say that they were on the Allure of the Seas ship, which left from Miami.

“On the third day of the cruise, I noticed that I was bleeding internally,” says Carol.

Carol had an ulcer in her stomach and the ship’s doctor determined that the couple needed to leave the ship.

“We were going to be at sea the whole next day so they thought that I was either going to bleed out while at sea or have a heart attack. So they wanted us off the ship,” she says.

The couple says that they had no choice but to leave.

"They make it sound like it was an option. It was no option. They said, ‘We’re sending someone up to help you pack and you're getting off the ship,’” Bertram says.

Cruise officials dropped the couple off in Cancun and arranged a flight for them back to Miami via Mexico City. They say that it was a $600, 5-hour cab ride and that it was the most terrifying part.

“At any moment we thought we were going to be mugged,” says Carol.

The Palks decided to ditch the flight to Miami and bought their own flight back to Newark Liberty International Airport. They say that it was a 24-hour ordeal that cost them more than $3,000. They say that travel insurance only covered a fraction of the cost.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean says in a statement, “Our onboard medical team initially treated the guest in our medical facility, then determined that, for the guest's health and safety, additional medical attention was needed that could best be provided by a hospital in the area. The guest declined our professional medical recommendation to seek immediate local care and decided instead to return home."

Bertram says that when he wrote to Royal Caribbean, he and his wife received a minimal refund and discount on a future cruise. But he says that this is not the point.

"I never asked for anything but for somebody to call us or send us a letter and say ‘we really apologize and sorry for what happened,’” he says.

The couple now says that they are working with their credit card company and travel insurance to get their flights and cab fare refunded.

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