'Prison ship': Furious dad slams volcano tragedy cruise line


A passenger has slammed Royal Caribbean, saying the cruise line handled the tragedy and welfare of its customers "terribly".

The dad, tearing up, clutched an A4 piece of paper with generic mental health advice, which he said was the extent of the company's duty of care.

He said son had made friends on board with two of the victims, and was frustrated with the lack of information and mental health support.

"They try and offer you mental health … support on the last night when you're about to get off," he said.

"I have a 17-year-old boy and this is what I got."

While some passengers have praised the captain, the father, who didn't want to be named, was highly critical.

"The worst thing is the way Royal Caribbean handled this. It was terrible," he said.

"The captain didn't even tell us what was happening. We had to watch the news. It was a prison ship in the end, you weren't allowed to know anything."

The man said his son was not coping well. "He's not (okay)," he said. "He was in the medical centre last night at 2am, it was terrible."

And other passengers have hit out.

Kim Lee Eng was travelling with his wife and mother on the Ovation of the Seas. He said he was "very disappointed" with how the company handled the incident.

"This is a big company, 50 years old, so they should have had a contingency teams to deal with this They were holding us on board - taking advantage of us," he said.

Mr Kim said the atmosphere on board was "very different after the incident" and "a lot of the communication from management was very bad".

He had considered taking the doomed tour of the White Island volcano. But only circumstance had prevented his family from potentially being caught up in the disaster.

"We always wanted to see something like that and we know the risks," he said. "But we have my 86-year-old mum with us and a friend on crutches. So we went to Hobbiton instead."

The Ovation of the Seas  returned to Sydney earlier this morning nearly a week after the deadly White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand,

It comes after two deaths on the weekend brings the official death toll to 16 - including 10 Australians.

Forty-seven people, including 24 Australian citizens and four permanent residents, were on the island when the volcano erupted last monday.

A minute's silence will be observed for the victims today at 12.11pm Sydney time - 2.11pm in New Zealand, exactly one week since the eruption.

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