Passengers reject 'unacceptable’ offer after cruise from hell
PASSENGERS on board a cruise that descended into three days of violence have rubbished the company's offer of compensation.
The Carnival Legend arrived in its home port in Melbourne on Saturday, a day after a 23-member family was offloaded in an unscheduled stop-off on the NSW South Coast.
"We just disembarked from Carnival Legend in Melbourne. It was the holiday from hell. I would never travel with Carnival again," Bec Dunn posted on the cruise line's Facebook page.
Yesterday witnesses said a large family had "picked on Aussies" and "strangled and punched" passengers for three days before Carnival Legend called police and offloaded the relatives.
A bloody clash at 1:30am on Friday forced Carnival to the "unprecedented" eviction of the 26-member family, after calling NSW Police and docking at Eden on the NSW South Coast.
Video footage taken by some passengers on the 10-day South Pacific cruise shows skirmishes on the pool deck in broad daylight in the days leading up to the final, bloody conflict. Video shows young adults fighting with ship's pursers and other staff on deck.
Women and men push and shove with the Carnival Legend officers dressed in white uniforms.
NSW Police said six men and three teenage boys were removed from the ship at Twofold Bay in Eden. A further 14 passengers, including women and children, then also voluntarily left the ship. No one has been charged following the incident.
As the family was offloaded on to police boats on Friday morning, passengers rained down a barrage of insults from above on deck, yelling "Get off" and "You're not heroes, you're deros".
One of the evicted members of the family held up a derisive finger in response.
The cruise company's executives later confirmed that one family had been involved in ongoing incidents.
'I WON'T BE TRAVELLING WITH THEM AGAIN'
In a statement today Carnival Cruise Line announced guests will be offered a 25 per cent Future Cruise Credit as "a goodwill gesture".
"We sincerely regret that the unruly conduct and actions of the passengers removed from the ship in Eden may have prevented other guests from fully enjoying their cruise on Carnival Legend," said Jennifer Vandekreeke Vice President Australia Carnival Cruise Line.
Carnival Cruise Line said it was conducting "a full investigation to ensure that a situation such as this never happens again".
But some passengers slammed the offer as "unacceptable", AAP reports.
"I won't be travelling Carnival ever again so a 25 per cent off a future cruise in my eyes is unacceptable," Mark Morrison said.
"To add insult to injury ... they charged us a $19.54 credit card convenience fee to settle accounts before disembarkation this morning."
Both Carnival and NSW Police are investigating the incident. In a statement, the cruise line said: "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."
FATHER SLAMS CARNIVAL COMMENTS
A distressed father, which had more than 20 members on-board, has broken his silence to slam Carnival Cruise Line.
David Barkho, who was not on the cruise, reacted angrily on Facebook to Carnival's handling of the situation.
Mr Barkho told news.com.au that he would be seeing his lawyer on Monday about the allegations. "It is in the hands of my lawyer," he said.
Mr Barkho refused to comment on allegations made by other passengers.
On Facebook, he posted comments about a Carnival Cruise executive's media conference, describing it as "lots of bulls**t".
Mr Barkho had earlier told Melbourne radio station 3AW he got a 1am call from his 20-year-old son, saying he had been injured and needed help.
"He said, 'Please, Dad, please, call the Federal Police'," Mr Barkho said.
"I could hear a lot of screaming, crying in the background."
Mr Barkho said George had seen "a lot of people bleeding, a lot of people down on the ground". A photo supplied to the radio station showed George being treated for an apparent cut on his head.
There is no suggestion George Barkho was violent or engaged in any fighting.
Mr Barkho also claimed security staff deleted images of the violence from George's phone.
PASSENGERS DESCRIBE CRUISE SHIP 'BLOODBATH'
Passenger Lisa Bolitho told AAP there has been "very violent ... full-on attacks" before the late night "bloodbath" which saw a group of passengers evicted off the ship on Friday morning.
Ms Bolitho said she and others had "all made several complaints saying kids were scared. "They saw people getting strangled and punched up," she said.
Ms Bolitho's son Jarrah was targeted by the family, and had to flee with his mother, the pair 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?'" Mr Bolitho said. "My mum had to drag me away from it all. They were trying to pick on any Aussie they could find."
Ms Bolitho was critical of how the ship's management handled the family, saying the captain told concerned passengers, "What do you want me to do about it - throw them overboard?"
"We were saying, 'We want them either locked up or taken off board'," Ms Bolitho said. "It never happened and there was another four occasions. We dropped them off at Eden yesterday, but that was after three days of violence," Ms Bolitho said on Saturday.
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," she said.
The days of fighting on board revealed in videos and passenger accounts, include guests saying they were "scared for their safety" in the eight days leading up to the family's eviction.
Passenger Naomi told the Herald Sun that said there had been a number of fights on board, including in a nightclub and in an elevator the next day.
"And a big fight on the lido deck, which went on for about 45 minutes," she said.
"They were loud, alcohol affected and things like that. Last night they attacked one of the security guards.
"Lots of yelling people being threatened. Being called dogs in the smoking area. A pool was full of children, people were pulling their children out of the pool because they were crying and scared.
Passenger Kellie Petersen, who was on the cruise with her husband and their three children, aged 11, 9 and 6, said trouble on board had been "brewing for days".
"They were looking for trouble from the minute they got on the ship," she told 3AW.
"My husband said to take it away, because there's kids here, and five of them surrounded my husband. They told us to watch our backs."
TROUBLE ON-BOARD BEGAN OVER A THONG
Authorities were told a "fight involving several men took place on board the ship after an argument" in the early hours of Friday morning.
"Security intervened and detained the men before notifying the Marine Area Command," NSW Police said.
After speaking to passengers and crew for several hours, police removed the extended family. Carnival Cruise Line Australia vice-president Jennifer Vandekreeke said the incident was a first for the company and they had contacted police to meet the ship.
"Disembarking a family from a cruise is an unprecedented incident - it is always our last resort," she said.
One member of the family known as Zac, told 3AW Radio he had been locked in his room overnight before being removed. He said the trouble started with another group over a thong and his family were being unfairly targeted.
"This is all over a thong, not a foot, a thong being stepped on and being instantly apologised for," he said.
The Herald Sun reported members of a family had been put under "house arrest" on the ship by security guards.
Passengers described how they locked themselves in their cabins as violence between two large groups broke out on several occasions. They said threats had been made to stab and throw people overboard during what was described as a "cruise from hell".
"We will not be leaving our cabins and are truly scared for our safety and what could happen in the next 24 hours."
In a statement to news.com.au, the Carnival Cruise Line said staff had taken action against a small number of "disruptive guests".
"Safety is the number one priority for Carnival Cruise Line, we take a zero tolerance approach to excessive behaviour that affects other guests and we have acted accordingly on Carnival Legend," a spokesman said.
"The ship's highly trained security staff have taken strong action in relation to a small group of disruptive guests who have been involved in altercations on board.
"The ship's security team is applying our zero tolerance policy in the interests of the safety and comfort of other guests.
"Carnival Legend is currently on a 10-day South Pacific cruise scheduled to be completed in Melbourne where the ship is currently homeported."