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Paul and Ringo …

June 22, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Ship's Company, Updates

Last Friday on the Bridge of Queen Mary 2, we witnessed the retirement of Captain Paul Wright from Cunard Line.  Paul has had a magnificent career at sea and 31 years with Cunard Line.  During that time he worked on a number of our ships and I have personally known him for the last 9 years.  Paul was Master of QE2, Master of Queen Victoria and Master of our flagship Queen Mary 2.  Throughout his career Paul has developed a fine reputation with the crew of every ship on which he has worked.  He has always had a very special way with his people and has shown tremendous leadership style and compassion for all of our valued crew members. 

I got to know Paul well during the build and launch of Queen Victoria.  Bringing a ship through the shipyard and into service is a very daunting task.  It requires a great deal of leadership and importantly a great deal of teamwork, both on board the ship and with all the shipyard workers.  We often talk of “We Are Cunard” – in fact that is the name of this blog.  We Are Cunard was born under Paul’s leadership during the building phase of Queen Victoria.  It was a spontaneous phrase that came from some of the ships’ company and culminated in that famous first “We Are Cunard” video fronted by Captain Paul Wright.  You can find it on our YouTube channel and not only was it a very emotional video, but it led to the “We are Cunard” mantra that we all have great pride in sharing today.

Paul was always intending to retire when he reached a certain age.  And I was sorry that he reached that certain age and we are all sorry to see him leave Cunard Line.  However, I was able to thank him on the Bridge last Friday on behalf of all of us at Cunard and of course those of our valued guests who will know Captain Paul Wright very well.  As you can see in the picture below I was able to present him with a specially signed limited edition print by Gordon Bauwens showing three of the fine ships that he led.  In the words at the top of the picture where he describes “a proud career – Captain Paul Wright”.

So Paul – all the best for a long, healthy and happy retirement and we hope to see you on board our Cunarders in the future. 

Now on to some questions – we have had quite a few recently, so I thought I would give some answers to those of you who have kindly raised them:

Judith Sayers:
Will the Queen Mary2 be using Brooklyn terminal, or does it vary? Looking forward to sailing in and out of New York in September 2012

Judith – Queen Mary 2 now uses the Brooklyn Terminal on a regular basis. I was there just last week and had a good look around the facilities. There is no doubt that sailing right up the river to Manhattan is somewhat more ‘romantic’ and reminiscent of the old days. On the other hand , boarding Queen Mary 2 in Brooklyn on a sunny day, going up on deck and seeing Manhattan and The Statue of Liberty as part of your panoramic view is awesome. It is also true to say that feedback on the terminal experience comes in favour of Brooklyn. There were some challenges early on where some yellow cab drivers would ask ‘Where is that?’ – but a few years on that is not a problem – and it’s a faster route to and from the airport. When Queen Elizabeth makes her call into New York for a couple of days in September – that will be as a visit rather than an embarkation call and so she will be close to the action of Manhattan. I hope that answers your question. Kind Regards. Peter

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Bill Bradbury:
Peter most interesting. New York is on our “radar” after 2 brief calls last year on our QM2 Quebec trip. Now tell us what were the results of the “feedback” and what you should be doing better plus the “interesting ideas” that came up.

Bill – Some of the ideas I heard as follows. Could we increase the number of Transatlantics and offer more opportunities for our North American guests to travel to and from Europe. Could we increase the capacity of our kennels on Queen Mary 2 – they sell out quickly. One hot topic at the moment is the high cost of air fares to Europe from North America – and could we see if we could help with more ‘air-inclusive’ offers. Could we increase the number of Canada/New England Voyages in the Fall (to which I said we would if somebody could get the  beautiful Fall leaves to stay on the trees a bit longer).
Feedback on the whole was very positive – notably as to how well Queen Victoria is doing. There is still a ‘buzz’ in New York as to Queen Elizabeth – and most of the agents present at the meeting had watched the Royal Wedding. It was a very useful event – our guests give their feedback to their agents and it is good to find ways of our agents passing that feedback on to ourselves. They enjoyed the tea and scones we gave them as well. Best Regards. Peter.

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Roger Waterfall:
Does anyone know of any Cunard connections to Baltic history? we will visit on Queen Elizabeth in August.

Roger – I can find out and let you know – I am sure there will be some Baltic History for Cunard. Back with an answer shortly. Best Regards. Peter

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Tony Mac:
Can i get some copys of the photos and the story in NewYork of the Carpathia arriving with the 705 survivors that fateful day,i only use the info to show the public the events of 1912, i have a R.M.S. Titanic exhibition which will be at Carnforth Station 18July 30 Aug free entry to all.

Tony – The photos I showed on the blog I took with my Blackberry – we could email those to you and will find out if you are able to source the pictures elsewhere.. I hear that our good friend and maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham (whom I had the pleasure of meeting on the Queen Mary 2 Bridge last week) is about to publish a book on Titanic and that will be worth a read.  Best Regards. Peter

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So I started the blog with Paul – what about Ringo?  Well also last Friday I was fortunate to attend a wonderful concert at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.  We go every year to see a range of different artists and it is a fantastic historic menu and a great setting for concerts.  We went to see Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.  This is nothing to do with Cunard or our blog, but I just thought I would tell you how much I enjoyed it.  It is rather special to see a real live Beatle and he did not disappoint. He had a wonderful band of talented musicians.  He had a chap called Rick Derringer – he sang his hit “Hang on Snoopy”.  He also had a rather crazy rock and roll star called Edgar Winter from the famous Edgar Winter Band.  He was amazing and played the saxophone, drums, keyboards and a rather energetic synthesizer.  But the star of the All Starr band was Ringo himself.  He is still full of energy and sang as well as playing the drums in his inimitable style.  Yes, he performed “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine”, along with some of his other hits.  It was interesting that he did not mention “The Beatles” once – instead he would say “You might recognise this song, I used to play it in my other band”.  I have always thought it sad that The Beatles did not get a chance to reunite like many other famous bands have, but nevertheless it was really rather special to see Ringo Starr in such fine form after all these years – this is how it looked:

So that is how I managed to start the blog with Paul and finish with Ringo…..

Best regards,
Peter Shanks.

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  1. Camilla says:

    Sooo sorry to read, that Paul Wright has left the QM2. We hoped so much to have him as “our” Captain in Sept./Oct. on the Southampton/NY/Quebec/NY/Southampton – cruise…
    :-(
    Anyhow, we really enjoyed cruising with him twice on the QV in 2008 and 2009.
    We really wish him all the very best and hope he can enjoy his retirement for a veeeery long time.

    All teh best regards from Germany (on the Swiss boarder)

  2. Andy Tookey says:

    If ever write a book then Paul will take up at least a chapter!

  3. Shuji says:

    I really wanted to sail with Captain wright.
    Missing three great QM2 Master, Captain Paul Wright, Captain Nick Bates and Commodore Bernerd Warner within one year is very sad!
    HOWEVER I’m looking fowrard to sailing with Commodore Christopher Rynd in August.

  4. Any word on who will join Commodore Rynd as a master of QM2? As in, any word you will share with us?

  5. Rob says:

    All the best to captain Wright. I had the pleasure of sailing the transatlantic crossing this year in may. He was a very personable man to meet and I certainly felt the ship was well run under his command.

  6. judith sayers says:

    Thankyou for answering my question Peter. I think we will be in and out of Brooklyn on our trip next year which includes Canada. Will there be a shuttle bus into town for guests who are doing the M222B? Looking forward to 1st July and the QE.

  7. Have a happy retirement captain Wright. We sailed on the Queen Victoria while he was in charge, we had a wonderful voyage and the crew seemed to be so relaxed around him.
    Eddy and Ann

  8. James Thomson Egan says:

    I have just read with great sadness that Commodore Bernard Warner has retired as Master of Queen Mary 2.
    My wife and I had the pleasure to sail with him twice in 2008 to New york and in 2009 to various Mediterranean ports.
    We are booked to voyage aboard Queen Mary 2 again for a 3rd time on the Iberian Adventure at the end of October this year and we were hoping it would be 3rd time lucky having Commodore Warner as our Master.
    Sadly not to be. He will be greatly missed as he was a very well respected gentleman who took great pride in the operation of both his ship and his crew.
    Many best wishes go to you Bernard on a long happy and prosperous retirement. You will be missed.
    The offer of a game of golf on the wonderful links of Carnoustie is still on offer.

    Jim and Margaret Egan (Carnoustie) Scotland

  9. Bridgette says:

    It is ** “hang on sloopy”… :/

  10. why can canadians not board the Queen May2 translantic voyages out of saint john new brunswick or
    halifax nova scotia to ireland & britain……a very historic route for most canadians.
    also, united states border services are a terrible infliction on canadians.

  11. Zannis says:

    Dear Mr Shanks,
    Forgive me to say that this was not the right way to bid farewell to captain Paul Wright, a legendary captain of Cunard Line.
    Zannis
    PS I have never sailed on a Cunarder, but I respect Cunard’ s history.

  12. Bill Bradbury says:

    Peter, Thanks for taking the trouble to reply as I have just returned from glorious weeks in the Lake District-working off the “stone” Cunard put on me last year!!-you will be hearing from my lawyers!!!?? As to the retirement of Captain Paul Wright there appears in the recent year a lot of retirements from the top? To quote Oscar Wilde “To lose one captain, Mr.Shanks,may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose (more) looks like carelessness.”

  13. Bill Bradbury says:

    Peter, I forgot- Happy Birthday Cunard! As I type this on the 4th.July when 171 years ago the Britannia made its Maiden voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Boston 1840 from Liverpool. If Cunard ever built another ship it must be the Britannia.

  14. Daryl Cooper says:

    Why is it that today, July 5 2011 in Australia, and hopefully in the rest of the world that the comments on “We are Cunard” are all dated June 28, hopefully 2011. A previous “blogger” asked the question, “are they being blocked”? If the editor or whatever you call a person in charge of a “blog” cannot “stand the heat in the kitchen” give it away.Cunarders criticism is for the sake of Cunard and “members” of the Cunard family need to know that action isbeing taken against adverse commentary.There are other cruise lines but in the present economic climate most are under the “Carnival” banner . I repeat my earlier requesttoday to Mr.Peter Shanks, ” you need to answer/comment on the adverse commentary re QM2 for the sake of ALL “Cunarders”

  15. Keith Hunt says:

    Hi Peter
    Can I be cheeky and ask how the free upgrades work please..
    When I was
    Gold – I got a free car to the port from wales
    Platinum – Free up grade to Queens Grill
    Diamond – Not a sausage even when we take 3 cruise most years.

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