I am a Travel Agent, and it does happen all the time. The Cruise Lines have contracts with the airlines. The airlines SHOULD have gotten your friend to the next port *if* and only *if* your firend was traveling with a passport. The regulations changed on January 23, 2007. You now need a passport to FLY outside the US and return by AIR to the US. Meaning, if you are on a cruise, with no passport and you get injured *near death* you cannot be air vac'd back to the US. The cruise line should have helped your friend.