MELBOURNE, Australia (CBS News) — Carnival Cruise Line has said “all aspects” of a series of incidents on a South Pacific cruise that was interrupted by brawls will be investigated, including the response of security personnel whom some passengers say made matters worse by using heavy-handed tactics. The violence was apparently caused by a 23-member family, members of which threw punches at other passengers.
Some of the passengers said they locked themselves in cabins to escape three days of violence on the Carnival Legend, which arrived in its home port of Melbourne on Saturday, a day after a family was offloaded in an unscheduled stop in Eden, New South Wales in Australia.
Police said they were investigating the incident and the operator apologized for the “disruptive behavior” by the group that was removed from the cruise liner. One passenger told 9 News Australia the brawl was a “bloodbath.”
The “big Italian family” spent days attacking Australians aboard the ship, with people “getting strangled and punched up,” passenger Lisa Bolitho told reporters.
“Very violent, they were full-on attacks,” she said.
She also questioned the ship’s management, quoting the captain as saying, “‘What do you want me to do about it — throw them overboard?'”
Cellphone video footage purportedly of the brawl on Friday shows security guards fighting and trying to separate passengers amid shouting and kicking.
The Reuters news agency reported Monday that Carnival had released a brief statement, saying “all aspects including the security response” would be investigated. The statement did not provide a timeline for the company’s investigation.
Videos posted online from inside the ship appear to show Carnival security personnel beating an individual on the ground and attempting to grab cell phones from other passengers as they recorded the events.
Bolitho’s son Jarrah said he was among those targeted and fled and locked himself in the cabin with his mother.
“I was watching the fight and one guy came up to me and said ‘Do you want to go too bro?'” he said, adding the offenders were in their late teens and early 20s. “My mum had to drag me away from it all. They were trying to pick on any Aussie they could find.”
Carnival Cruise Line said it was offering guests a 25 percent future cruise credit as a “goodwill gesture” but some passengers criticized the offer.
“I won’t be travelling Carnival ever again so a 25 percent off a future cruise in my eyes is unacceptable,” Mark Morrison said.
The cruise liner with more than 2,000 passengers was on a 10-day trip from Melbourne to New Caledonia, a French territory in the South Pacific.