It's like a scene from every parent's worst nightmare: a distraught mother watches helplessly as a cruise ship sails away with her young children on board.
The dramatic footage, recorded by passengers on the Norwegian Breakaway at the port of Nassau, Bahamas, shows the mother and father racing to catch the ship as it sets off on its three-day journey back to its home port in New York.
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According to reports, the mother had not arrived back to the cruise ship at the scheduled time of departure, and the father had disembarked to try to find her.
The cruise ship then set sail, leaving both parents on the quayside.
The father can be seen jumping off a racing buggy and waving his arms frantically, while his wife drops her bags, falls to her knees and clasps her hands in front of her chest as she begs the crew to stop.
According to the Mail, spokesman for Norwegian Cruise Line, Archie Pottinger, confirmed that the mother had been late for the cruise ship's departure.
"The onboard team located her husband and children on board but the family was not able to reach her, nor did they know when she would be returning," he said.
"Due to the circumstances, the ship went beyond normal protocol and waited an additional half an hour for the guest."
"When she had still not returned, and, following consultation with the family, it was decided that the husband would disembark with their travel documents to wait for his wife while the children would stay with their uncle and his family on the ship for the remainder of the voyage."
"The company offered travel and lodging assistance to the couple and arrangements were made for them to reunite with the ship upon her return to New York on April 24."
The cruise line confirmed that the children were not unaccompanied on their journey, because their uncle was with them.
While many passengers had sympathy for the family and shouted for the ship to turn back, some were not so sympathetic, pointing out that it's a strict cruise rule to be back in time for departure.
Travel expert Mark Murphy agrees:"It's the woman's fault for not getting back on time. It's not the ship's fault, it's not the captain's fault, it's not the cruise line's fault.
"Everybody knows the posted time to get back, and that ship was on a schedule and it's going to go."
The unfortunate couple are believed to have had two children - a boy aged around nine and a girl aged around 12 - on board when the 4000-passenger ship left.
It is not known why the mother arrived late.
The Norwegian Breakaway was on a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas after departing from New York with thousands of tourists, mostly from the US.
It sailed to Port Canaveral, Florida, and Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas before heading up the Atlantic coast to New York.
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