Reasons behind the fights on cruise ships explained by a crew member – Navy Seal Gets Into Brawl With Security Guards

Apr 17, 2023

What's behind the increase in cruise ship violence? There are a few possible explanations.

More People Onboard

First, cruises are becoming increasingly popular vacation options, meaning more people are taking them. A cruise ship used to have only several hundred passengers, now has thousands of passengers. With more people on board, the posiibility for potential conflict also increases. Modern-day cruise ships can hold up to six thousand passengers. To many people in a relatively small, enclosed environment, chances are there could be some spark between the guests.

Too Much Alcohol

Second, alcohol often flows with many guests purchasing drink packages on cruises. This can lead to passengers behaving in ways they wouldn't normally behave. When people are drunk, they're more likely to get into fights.

Unfortunately, these incidents are not limited to a single cruise line. However, many have reported people being anxious and more stressed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. An example is the many recent incidents happening in airports and onboard planes. Just like the cruise ships, these too were once places associated as less violent. Let's hope this all becomes a bad memory, and we can return to safe and fun experiences onboard your next cruise.

If you break your cruise line's code of conduct — which is outlined in the cruise contract every passenger agrees to before they sail — you could find yourself behind proverbial bars during your voyage if the captain or a member of the ship's security team determines you're in violation.

Some slammer-worthy infractions include (but are not limited to) violence against crew members or other passengers, refusing to follow cruise ship safety rules, stealing from onboard shops, and possessing drugs or other illegal items. Being intoixicated isn't enough to get you thrown in the brig, though over-indulging could cause you to act irresponsibly and break rules that would cause the ship's security team to come and take you away.

Brawl at the Ship’s Disco –Security Confronting a Navy Seal

During my ten years on the cruise ship, I have witnessed many crazy fights between guests and guests confronting security officers. One of those fights happened when I was working on the ship in Sydney, Australia. At that time, I was working at the nightclub. Nothing was unusual. Formal night at sea was the busiest night in the nightclub. It was around 9 pm when I slowly started to open the bar and one group of guests entered the club. 

"Are you open, mate? Can we have a drink?" they asked me, friendly.

"Sure, guys, join me at the bar counter while I set up the bar. "I replied to them. 

They were pleased that I invited them to sit at the bar counter, even if it was just about to open. We chatted nicely; they seemed like a friendly group of people. There were 4 of them, three guys and one lady. One of them was just released from the Navy, and he was the only quiet while I was chatting with the rest of the group. His name was Michael. 

"Any drink for you, sir?"

"No, thank you, mate. I don't know how to behave when I have a few drinks; give me a can of coke," he replied.

They were all laughing and trying to influence Michael to have a drink with them, and finally, he changed his mind and ordered one double shot of "Patron Tequila with the Corona on the side. They seemed all normal, having fun, and everything seemed under control.

As the nightclub officially opened and the Dj started playing music, they left the bar counter and sat on one of the tables in the lounge.

It got really busy that night, and the bar counter was constantly packed with guests. Without even noticing it, the time went by really quickly. Suddenly, around 1 am, all the lights turned on (this happens only in case of fighting in the nightclub). The dance floor was where the fight started between the two groups. Michael and his group were involved in the big brawl; chairs and bottles flew everywhere. Quickly after, all security officers tried to separate the two groups. But even worse, Michael started to fight alone against all security officers.

Later that night, I learned that Michael was Navy Seal; he was in the special forces in the military. But also, I had found out from the security officer that Michael was released from the Army due to mental struggles and a lack of emotional stability. Michael was fighting alone against ten security officers, and finally, they found a way to control him. 

The dance floor was full of blood and broken bottles; other guests were screaming, which was total chaos. 

Michael was detained to ship jail. It was located on deck 0 forward, in a tiny place between the crew laundry and crew gym. I saw when they were bringing him down, it took the entire security team, all departments, to bring Michael to jail. The next day we arrived in Vanuatu. Michael was kept in jail for the remaining eight days of the cruise. When we arrived back in Sydney, police came on board and arrested Michael and his group. 

Complete disaster. Michael and his friends went on a cruise and spent a huge amount of money, only to spend the entire cruise in jail on the ship. But it was his choice to make a catastrophic mistake and ruin his cruise and probably his entire life. 

There were many more cases I witnessed the guest fighting, but this was by far the craziest ever. Three security officers also ended up in the Sydney Hospital due to their serious injuries while fighting with a guest.

What Happens if Crew Members Engage in a Fight?

In case of crew member fighting or any physical altercation, regardless of who started it first, both crew members will surely be terminated. There is zero tolerance when it comes to fighting between crew members, but the company does not care who started and who is right or wrong. That's why you control yourself no matter how mad you get at someone. You cannot control somebody else's behavior, but you can definitely control how you react. Stay calm, take a deep breath, and move on. If you still can not control it, just hit the gym, do the cardio, and discharge that negative energy, and you will feel much better.

Have a great contract, everybody.