Glad to be aboard


How else could I start this week’s column other than to say “Wow!!!” in response to such a welcome from Mr Richard Shane of The World’s Greatest Vacations to the Team here, via his video filmed from his boat alongside the one and only Queen Mary 2 in New York Harbour!!

Up until just a short time ago I was fortunate enough to be the Captain of Queen Mary 2 and it literally amazed me every single time I Captained her into New York – such an iconic arrival after following in the footsteps of the famous Ocean Liners of the last century on a Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton, England!

Not long ago Richard interviewed me on the Navigating Bridge of Queen Mary 2 and now here I am with a weekly column aimed directly at you, the active vacation traveller as Richard so succinctly describes his readership.

The cruise industry has seen huge rises in the numbers of people taking that option for their vacation plans and for a true experience of how to cross the Atlantic Ocean in real comfort and style, there is no other way but to take Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 for the one week trip. You will be following in the wake of celebrities and nobility and you can even take your pets along with you, as she is fully equipped with luxury, fully staffed kennels for dogs and even cats too!!

But there are in fact three Cunard “Queens” in total and I was also Captain of one of the other Queens too – namely Queen Victoria where I was in command for five years. She too is a beautiful and traditional liner style vessel and she and her sister ship Queen Elizabeth will be able to take you far beyond the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea or Norway along with a host of other desirable destinations besides. I can assure you that you will be benefiting from the traditional and luxurious Cunard service whichever of the ships you choose to travel on.

The Younger Man

I mentioned in my first weekly column that there had been another reason why, at the tender age of sixteen, I decided that a career at sea was for me and that was all due to the fact that I was fortunate enough at the age of 15 and whilst still at high school to embark on a “school cruise” on a ship named “SS Uganda” in the Mediterranean with eleven other fellow students and my school Principal who was escorting us!

What an adventure it was and what an excellent idea to fit a rather elderly passenger ship out with dormitories and classrooms and send kids off for ten days to travel by sea and to see some of the world and learn it’s history at the same time. And there is a lot of history to be learnt around the Greek Islands, Athens and Naples, Italy for Pompeii and the famous volcano, Vesuvius!!

I don’t believe there is such a ship in existence nowadays and more’s the pity, because I know I not only learnt more than I would have in double the time back at school, but it also set my mind on the very career I wanted to follow for the rest of my life.

Around 40 years later I would find myself Captain of Queen Mary 2 – at the very pinnacle of the British Merchant Navy!

I have so much more to share with you about my career, about cruising and my thoughts on the cruising industry and indeed I’ll be sharing many of the anecdotes from events that happened and people I’ve met on board ship through the years and I look forward to writing more for you very soon.

Next week; my first ever passenger ship and “Weddings at Sea”….!!

Until then, safe travels

Peter Philpott
Queen Mary 2.