Carnival Cruise Lines said it was “deeply concerned” after a brawl broke out on the Carnival Legend and police had to be called to take a family off the ship.
The line promised a full investigation into “this unprecedented incident”.
It was the second time in a month a Carnival Australia ship has had to call in police and disembark passengers over violent behaviour. The earlier incident concerned P&O’s Pacific Explorer.
“Safety and security of our guests and crew is our number one priority,” said Jennifer Vandekreeke,
Carnival Cruise Line Vice President and General Manager Australia in a statement.
“We apply a zero-tolerance approach to excessive behaviour that affects other guests. In line with this policy, we contacted the NSW Police to attend Carnival Legend at Eden today to remove a large family group from the ship that had been involved in disruptive and violent acts.
“The group has been disembarked from the vessel and we are cooperating fully with the authorities. Our Care team is currently onboard supporting those guests who were affected by their behaviour,” she said.
“We are confident that this strong action has addressed the disruption on Carnival Legend and enabled our remaining guests to properly enjoy the closing stages of their cruise holiday. These events are completely isolated to this family group and out of character with the onboard atmosphere for which Carnival Cruise Line is known.”
The Carnival Legend was forced to dock in Eden on the NSW South Coast, where police boarded the vessel.
According to reports on Fairfax Media, scared passengers reported people were “injured and bleeding” after violent outbursts on the Carnival Legend, which has been on a 10-day journey to the South Pacific.
Carnival Cruise Line issued a statement saying: “The ship’s highly trained security staff have engaged with a small group of disruptive guests and ensured that they are fully aware of and are compliant with our zero tolerance policy. This strong approach is in line with our commitment to safety as the number one priority.”
Earlier this month, police were called to P&O’s Pacific Explorer after a late night brawl when a passenger was “glassed”. A woman passenger is facing court over the incident.
A NSW Police spokeswoman said of the Carnival Legend incident: “About 7am today officers attached to Marine Area Command received reports of people fighting on board a cruise ship. A number of people are expected to be removed with assistance from the operational support group.”
David Barkho told a radio station his 20-year-old son phoned and begged him to call authorities after sustaining a head injury. His son said “a lot of people are bleeding, a lot of people down”.
“He rang me about 1am this morning and said, ‘Please dad, please dad, call the federal police,’ ” Mr Barkho told 3AW.
Melbourne mother Kellie Petersen is on board with her husband and three children aged 11, nine and six. She told radio station 3AW she and her husband had been threatened by the large and aggressive family group responsible for the chaos.
“We’re scared. We’ve been told to watch our backs by this group so we’re scared to go anywhere alone in the ship,” she said.
Ms Petersen said there had been many incidents of violence
Another passenger, Kellie, said a large “family” group were making threats towards other passengers and incidents had occurred in front of children in the pool.
“Fights have been going on for a few days now,” she told the radio station.