'One of the guest relations staff informed us that we would be put off the ship in Pusan, Korea,' Mr Coates said.
'Further, she told us that it was our responsibility to get ourselves home. We couldn’t believe it.'
The reason? A simple booking error.
Mr Coates and his wife had forgotten to apply for visas to enter China - and the penalty was immediate deportation.
The couple claim they were never instructed to apply for Chinese visas and pleaded to stay on the cruise ship, but border control did not accept their excuses.
Holland America removed them from the ship in Pusan and the couple were left stranded.
'They left us, literally on the dock,' Coates added. 'It was up to us to find our way to the airport and then pay $2,400 for additional airfare to get home.'
Mr Coates referred to the ordeal as 'embarrassing and difficult' and claim they have lost $US9000.
Holland America responded to the incident, pointing out the cruise itinerary clearly states a travel visa is required for U.S citizens to enter China.
The company refunded the couple their unused return airfare and reminded customers to carefully read over their travel documents before setting off.