Cunard’s Eric sails into the sunset

//Cunard’s Eric sails into the sunset

eric.jpgFor longer than many of us care to remember, the second Tuesday in December has been a highlight in the calendar, a date not to be missed. It’s the day of the annual Cunard Christmas press lunch.
The generous hospitality of the day, the fun, the food and the goodie bags contribute greatly to the fact that – as Cunard president and managing director Peter Shanks acknowledged yesterday – the company punches above its not inconsiderable weight when it comes to reaping good publicity throughout the year.
And this in a cruise industry which he also said recently garnered more than its share of favourable press compared with the rest of the travel business.
But that coverage isn’t bought by lavish lunches and free-flowing drinks alone – it’s largely due to a man who this month will be stepping down after 27 years at the helm of Cunard’s press office.
Eric Flounders is a diminutive northerner whose wit and wisdom have steered Cunard through choppy waters and away from some perilous rocks during that time, as the company has survived several changes of ownership and its fleet of ships has shrunk and grown by turns. For several years he also found time to be Liberal leader on Tower Hamlets council and his political opponents and hardened hacks alike will vouch for his wicked sense of humour and one of the warmest hearts ever to come out of Yorkshire.
There were tears of laughter and tears of sadness at Anton Mosimann’s dining club just off London’s Sloane Street as Eric said his farewells yesterday, before retiring at the end of the year.
There was a surprise gift, too, in the shape of a portrait (above) by Gail Graham, whose painting of The Queen was unveiled on Queen Mary 2 just a few days ago.
Eric will take the picture to his retirement retreat in Wales but we all hope he won’t disappear completely from the scene. Cunard (and the second Tuesday in December) won’t be the same without him.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:57+00:00 14 December 2011|Cruise Gossip|0 Comments

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.

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