captainwells.jpgCunard have announced that Captain Christopher Wells is to take command of their next cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth, which will be making its maiden voyage in just over a year’s time. It’s not the first time he has been in charge of a new Cunard liner. In 2002 he became part of the site team at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard during the construction of Queen Mary 2. and he was the first Staff Captain of the new ship when she was handed over to Cunard on 22nd December 2003, remaining with her until May 2005.
He later went on to take command of the Caribbean Princess, and has been at the helm of P&O’s Oriana and Oceana. Capt Wells is also a Lieutenant Commander with the Royal Naval Reserve, which means he is entitled to fly the blue ensign on his ship, instead of the Merchant Navy’s Red Duster.
He first joined Cunard in 1992, and was Staff Captain for several years on the QE2, which reminds me that if I was a betting man, I would have had money on Ian McNaught – the last QE2 Captain – taking command of Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps he ruled himself out of the running with the disparaging comments he made about Queen Victoria during the tandem Transatlantic crossing in January 2008.
Capt Wells, who was born and brought up in Bournemouth, and now lives in Barnham, west Sussex, says: “Bringing Queen Elizabeth into her British homeport of Southampton will be one of the proudest moments of my life.”
There are some regular passengers who have nicknamed him Blakey, after the Stephen Lewis character in the long-running TV comedy series, On The Buses. I don’t see it – Wells hasn’t got a moustache for a start. And to be fair, those same people say he is a popular captain who puts himself about on his ships rather than hiding away on the bridge.