October 6, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Ship's Company
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 6 days
Firstly thank you so much for all of the continued feedback about the recent Blogs; it’s always great to read your comments and questions. I know many of you are interested in seeing other areas of our new Queen including the guest staterooms, so I’ll have some for you in a special post tomorrow.
There is tremendous excitement in Southampton about the arrival of Queen Elizabeth on Friday morning. Cunard’s new Queen will be docking at around 9.00am at the new Ocean Terminal. For full details you can click on this link for more of the timings of our arrival:
And again to view the Queen Elizabeth webcam click on this link:
The ship will remain at her berth in Southampton until her Maiden Voyage on 12 October when she will leave at approximately 5.00pm.
One of the great things about the Cunard family is the amount of support and good wishes we are receiving from our sister ships, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria as well as our shore side offices in Southampton. I also received a wonderful message from our Flagship to pay tribute to Captain Bates, pictured here on the bridge of Queen Mary 2.
There was a fantastic response to the President’s Blog last week, so I thought I would add this special Guest Blog, which comes from Dragana Prodanovic, who is one of our Voyage Sales Specialists.
Voyage Sales Specialist
Queen Mary 2
Captain Nick Bates recently retired after 44 years at sea with Cunard Line. But where did all these years go? Captain Bates was born and raised in Northern Ireland and inherited love for the sea from his father and grandfather. He is pictured here with his family; he is the one to the right with his chin up, looking regal.
At the age of eleven he bought his first boat that had oars and all, and here he is on one of his earlier craft.
He later on went to navy schools and moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he has been residing ever since.
Captain Bates served on number of Cunard ships throughout his career and after obtaining his “Master’s Ticket” in 1975 he was offered a position on board the luxury liner, QE2. He joined Queen Mary 2 in 2008, where he spent his last days before retiring on Aug 28th, 2010.
Captain Bates will be missed by thousands, including guests and crew members. He has left a lasting impression on everyone who came in to contact with him with his unique charm, friendliness, and great sense of humour.
Captain Bates was a great ambassador for Cunard and is well known the world over, for his alter ego, Patrick O’Shaughnessy, and Patrick’s whimsical sayings. Captain Bates loves collecting old sea stories and sayings and even published a book called “With a Pinch of Salt”, which he would share with guests daily.
Captain Bates is a great sailor, Captain and Master, but best of all, he is caring, considerate, friendly, and to sum it up, a great man.
President and Managing Director of Cunard Line, Peter Shanks, came on board during Captain Bates’ last voyage to wish him farewell, and to thank him for many years of service with Cunard. As you may have seen in the President’s blog last week, the presentation took place during the Cunard World Club Party, where all Diamond, Platinum and Gold members were present, as well as the ship’s Officers.
Hundreds of crew members also presented Captain Bates with gifts at the Crew Mess on his last day. He was so moved that he let his emotions take over, and was speechless and teary eyed for few minutes.
The last evening before departing, Queen Mary 2’s Officers arranged a farewell party for Captain Bates and the Food & Beverage team arranged some beautifully presented and tasty hors d’oeuvres.
The Captain was presented with many gifts along with speeches from officers such as Entertainment Director Paul O’Loughlin.
Throughout the evening Captain Bates’ beautiful wife Kefah was at his side. They were married last year, and one of the reasons for retiring is to be at home with his wife and their 2 children, as they call them, their dog Woody and cat Twiggy.
There were a number of guests who had sailed with Captain Bates for many years, who were also invited, including the designer of Queen Mary 2, Mr Stephen Payne, who gave a speech and presented the Captain with a gift.
Captain also received beautiful handmade gifts including ones from the Carpenters from the Technical Department.
He was also presented with gifts from the deck department
Deputy Captain Robert Camby delivered best wishes from Commodore Bernard Warner, Captain Paul Wright, Captain Chris Wells, Captain Christopher Rynd and Commodore Warwick.
Here Captain Bates is joined by his secretary Christel Hansen and Chief Officer James Griffiths. They both have worked under Captain Bates’ command for a number of years with James having worked on QE2 and Caronia, and Christel on Caronia.
Later in the evening, Christel presented the Captain with a gift on behalf of all the officers;
As part of the celebrations the Royal Cunard Singers performed a special Irish song………
Captain and his wife Kefah became quite teary eyed listening to the performance.
Back at home Captain Bates is signed up for art classes, so I enjoyed presenting him with an easle, water colours, brushes, sketch pad, and a French beret. Picasso, watch out, a new Master is coming!
On August the 28th, Commodore Warner, Chief Engineer Brian Watling, Deputy Captain Robert Camby, Security Officer Grant Williams, and the Entertainment Director Ray Rouse were on the gangway as Captain and Mrs Bates left the ship.
Commodore Warner, Deputy Captain Robert Camby, and Captain’s Secretary Christel Hansen were the last to bid them farewell.
Captain Bates, thank you for your services to Cunard Line, thank you for making guests welcome and appreciated, and thank you for your humour and Patrick O’Shaughnessy. Thank you for your support to the crew, your leadership, your friendship, and for your incredible energy and your smile. You will be missed as you are missed already.
As mentioned in the story in your book about Toasts at Sea: “Toasts originated in Nelson’s day; to toast to someone or something every day of the week”, so Captain Bates, every Sunday we will toast to an Absent Friend!
We wish you all the best in your future endeavours and in your life at home with your family from the ship’s company of Queen Mary 2 and Cunard Line
Thank you Dragana for such a fabulous tribute to Captain Bates; it’s clear how highly he is thought of from this Blog, the President’s Blog and comments our readers have posted and that he will be very much missed.
That’s it for the moment but I’ll be back tomorrow, with some of the latest pictures from Queen Elizabeth, a new Vlog and news of her Inaugural stay in Southampton – see you there. Cheers for now, Alastair