MELBOURNE, Australia -- A South Pacific cruise was interrupted by brawls apparently caused by a 23-member family who threw punches at other passengers, some of whom said they locked themselves in cabins to escape three days of violence.

The Carnival Legend 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. In video posted by 3AW purporting to show a portion of the brawl, one crew member appears to try to stop the cell phone holder from taking video.

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