Farewell . . . without fanfare

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Cunard rarely makes a move these days without fanfares of trumpets, big announcements and lengthy press releases – such as the one I received a few days ago about the introduction of 3D movies and songwriting workshops on flagship Queen Mary 2.
It seems remiss of them to allow long-serving Commodore Bernard Warner – master of the QM2 and their most senior captain – to slip quietly into retirement.
But that’s what happened today. Apart from a brief mention on Facebook, it appears there will be no official statement. The most I have been able to glean is that Commodore Warner was presented with a ceremonial sword and then driven home from Southampton in a Mercedes. The Facebook page shows a picture of the Commodore making a speech at the foot of the gangway, and a very average-sized car waiting to drive him away.
Captain Paul Wright is now in charge of Queen Mary 2 until his own planned retirement in June. An announcement about Cunard’s new Commodore will be made on Thursday.
I may be reading more into the departure than the circumstances suggest, because a distinguished colleague (an Admiral outranks a Commodore, doesn’t he?) tells me Warner, who is 62, had been talking in January about retiring soon after the end of Queen Mary 2’s world cruise.
But on the very day the ship returned to the UK? And without fanfare?
Meanwhile, just to round off the mention of the new entertainment planned on board QM2, the announcement disclosed that Chris Difford, one half of the Difford and Tilbrook partnership which wrote most of the hits enjoyed by Squeeze in the 1970s (before Jools Holland went on to his TV career) will be holding songwriting seminars during four Transatlantic crossings during the summer.
And the Illuminations Planetarium, a unique venue at sea, is to host 3D films, the first being a Royal Opera House performance of Bizet’s Carmen. It will be followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strager Tides, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The ship’s company of actors from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art will be adding to their repertoire with street theatre performances of Much Ado About the Ship, adapted from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Noting, and The Pilgrim’s Journey, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
But will they be as dramatic as the Commodore’s departure?

By | 2011-04-19T15:17:57+00:00 19 April 2011|Cruise Gossip, Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Andrew Sassoli-Walker 19 April 2011 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    They did give him a water display with a tug, it looked beautiful as the sun rose and burnt off the mist. Will forward some pics later on this evening.

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