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Couple says cruise ship abandoned them in Mexico during medical emergency

Abandoned in Mexico during medical emergency?
Couple says cruise ship abandoned them in Mexico during medical emergency 02:22

A New Jersey couple accuses a cruise line of abandoning them in Mexico during a medical emergency. Carol and Bertram Palk claim they were told to get off Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas because the medical staff couldn't treat Carol's internal bleeding. They paid thousands of dollars to return to the U.S. on their own.

The couple has been on more than a dozen cruises – but none quite like this, reports CBS News' DeMarco Morgan. Carol and her husband Bertram were in the middle of their January cruise from Miami when she became ill. The 79-year-old went to the ship's medical staff and after two days and several tests was told she was bleeding internally. The couple was taken off in Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico. 

"He told me I could have a heart attack or I could bleed out ... and I need a blood transfusion and they had no facilities to do a blood transfusion so he wanted me to get to a hospital," Carol said. "The doctor said 'we're kicking you off the ship' and those were his words." 

The couple was taken off in Costa Maya, Mexico. They said the cruise line arranged transportation – but they had to pay for it. First, they took a five-hour cab ride to Cancun and then flew to Mexico City. From there the Palk's bought their own plane tickets home to New Jersey.  

The Palk's said they shelled out nearly $4,000 for the 24-hour ordeal to get home. Carol was treated at the hospital for the bleeding caused by ulcers.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean denied kicking the couple off the ship, writing, "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."

As for reimbursement, the Palk's said they were given $157 each and 20 percent off toward a future cruise. All they say they really want is an apology.

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