Passengers aboard a cruise ship that booted off a large “violent” family have described three days of mayhem during what was supposed to be an ideal holiday through the South Pacific.
The Carnival Legend arrived at its homeport in Melbourne on Saturday, following an unscheduled stop to offload the 23-member family at Eden on the NSW south coast.
Days of fighting onboard preceded a major brawl at the ship’s nightclub during the early hours of Friday morning.
Passenger Lisa Bolitho said the “big Italian family” spent the past few days attacking “Aussies”.
“Very violent, they were full-on attacks,” she told reporters on Saturday.
“The captain said ‘What do you want me to do about it – throw them overboard?’.
“We’ve all made several complaints saying kids were scared. They saw people getting strangled and punched up.”
Ms Bolitho questioned management’s handling of the incident.
“We were saying ‘We want them either locked up or taken off board’. It never happened and there was another four occasions,” she said.
“We dropped them off at Eden yesterday, but that was after three days of violence.”
She said security staff ended up “jumping” the family, and had no choice but to do so.
“They deserved everything they got – they were the aggressors.”
Ms Bolitho’s son Jarrah was targeted by the family, with the pair fleeing and locking themselves in their cabin.
“I was watching the fight and one guy came up to me and said ‘Do you want to go too bro?” Jarrah said.
“My mum had to drag me away from it all. They were trying to pick on any Aussie they could find.”
Other passengers questioned the actions of security, claiming staff confiscated and deleted video footage passengers took on their mobile phones.
A NSW Police investigation is now underway into the brawl aboard the ship, which was well into its 10-day cruise.
Carnival general manager Jennifer Vandekreek says there were “limited and isolated events with the family in question” in the lead-up to the brawl.
“We sincerely apologise to our guests who were impacted by the disruptive behaviour of the group removed from the ship by the NSW Police in Eden yesterday. Our care team is supporting those guests who have been affected,” she said in a statement.
The group was taken ashore and then to Canberra where they made other travel arrangements, NSW Police said.
Carnival Cruise Line has also launched an internal investigation into the incident.