Portion of Letter sent to Carnival Cruise Lines:
I traveled on Carnival Paradise May 12-17, 2018 with 18 family members and friends. On May 16th around 7:45 PM my family, friends and I were seated at the Elation dining room by a window. We sat down and opened the curtains so we could see the ocean. Within five minutes of sitting down, as we were looking at our menus, we were approached by an angry woman who demanded we close the curtains. My husband stated that we wanted to look at the ocean while we dined. She angrily replied, “You can look at the ocean anywhere else.” We then agreed to close the curtains after she continued to angrily complain. As she walked away she said, “Thanks for ruining my F... dinner, A...”. My husband responded, “we aren’t being a pain in the A..., you are”. She went back to her table and within one minute her husband came over and asked my husband if he called his wife a B.... My husband replied no, and immediately four other extremely large men from their group came over to our table. They were all bowed up and stood directly right behind my husband who was still seated at our table. These five large men began brutally beating on the men in our party (who were still seated at this time). These men were VERY large, and extremely brutal and violent. They were punching our family members in the head over and over again. It was awful. Two of our long tables were turned over, one table was broken, and all the wine and water glasses were shattered. A huge area in the Elation Dining Room was trashed. My 11-year-old sister and 9-month-old daughter were caught in the middle of this fight. My 11 year old sister had a panic attack; she decided to run to get help. When she got to a waiter and asked for help he just stood there staring at her. At this point, she was having a difficult time breathing, and her legs almost gave out. I also ran over to other waiters asking them to call security and they just stood there and stared. After not receiving any help from the waiters I ran over and tried pushing one of the large men away and begging him to please stop because my 9 month old was over there; he continued to walk, pushing me back and began fighting again. The fight was NOT stopped by security; it was only stopped when a man that was dining nearby decided to help. He diffused the situation. This unprovoked attack has left all of us traumatized; we do not feel safe cruising with Carnival. Several people in our party were injured. My husband’s head was swollen after having been repeatedly punched in the head. My sister’s boyfriend suffered a concussion as well as bruising and scratches on his back and buttocks. An innocent bystander, NAME REMOVED FOR POST, who saved my 9-month-old daughter from the middle of the fight messed up his ankle from the other party stomping it. He was taken to medical in a wheelchair. My husband’s aunt got cut badly on two fingers from the broken glass. Several members of our party had to go to the medical onboard. These were just a few of the injuries. The five men who attacked our family ran away before security arrived (it took way too long for security to respond; they need more training). Even if security would have arrived during the fight there is NO way they could have stopped these huge men. The security men and women on the Paradise were very small and were not equipped to handle such an incident as this. To say the least, we all felt completely helpless. A woman who was seated with her husband about 20 feet away told me that she had the video of the incident and had sent it to Carnival security. Another woman came up to me stating she had already sent the video to Carnival. The instigators were finally stopped by security on the same floor by the elevators after they ran. However, after this horrible attack they were let go to walk around freely on the ship. Before giving our written statements downstairs, we advised the Guest Services Manager, NAME REMOVED FOR POST, that the attackers were still walking around on the ship freely. She seemed surprised, and she stated that she would see if she could get security to detain the men. We had to literally beg Carnival security to detain the men because none of us felt safe on the ship. They were finally detained in their rooms with security guards outside their rooms until the boat arrived in Tampa the next morning. Also, when we were viewing their photos in the security office, we saw the stateroom/cabin numbers where they were staying. Both the floor and room numbers were handwritten on a piece of paper placed on the table in front of us and were easily visible. This should NOT have been available for any of us to see or vice versa. They are also banned from cruising Carnival again. After the incident, we told Carnival that we wanted to press charges and they took written statements. When the ship arrived in Tampa on May 17, 2018 we were taken to speak to the Tampa police who essentially told us that we could request to press charges but they would most likely be thrown out. The police discouraged us from even trying. They stated that it could take up to eight months and if the attackers were charged that they would only receive 30 days of probation. The Tampa police also stated that unless someone was either airlifted off the ship or dead nothing could be done as far as arresting them and this was just “simple battery”. They also said since the Tampa police was not present on the ship to witness the attack they could do nothing. The police officer called the Paradise the “Parasite” and said it was the Jerry Springer of cruises. He then advised us to not cruise Carnival again. NAME REMOVED FOR POST also stated that the attackers would be escorted off the ship and we would not have to see them again. However, this did NOT happen. They were in the Custom’s Line unescorted and were just behind several people in our party. I am very upset and disappointed that there is such a huge disconnect between Carnival and the police. No one takes responsibility for what happens at sea when you are on a ship. The cruise should be a safe haven for all of its guests. It certainly appears that one can literally viciously beat someone and injure them on a Carnival cruise and not be prosecuted. I feel that Carnival needs their security guards to be better trained so they can respond quicker and less people will be injured. I also feel that Carnival should take care of any victims that are attacked or hurt on their ships due to other guests. I have called Carnival and was told someone would call me back within 14 days. I am beyond disappointed with this whole experience.