July 13, 2006

Cunard to bid icon Warwick a fond farewell

Cunard to bid icon Warwick a fond farewell
By Michael Coleman 07/13/2006
Commodore Ronald Warwick, standing on the bridge of the Queen Mary 2, will host his final Cunard Line voyage later this month after 36 years of service.
In the year 1970, IBM introduced the floppy disc, Monday Night Football was born, The Beatles broke up, Kansas City won a Super Bowl and Brazil knocked off Italy for the World Cup.

1970 was a year full of promise, and a time when a young seaman joined the Cunard Line.

My, how times flies... even on the high seas!

Later this month, Commodore Ronald Warwick will retire from arguably the most famous cruise line in the world after 36 years of service. He will step down on July 31 after his final transatlantic crossing, from New York to Southampton.

The Commodore and his wife, Kim, will host a variety of functions onboard Queen Mary 2 during the six-day voyage, departing July 24. Special lunches will be held in the Commodore's honor in both New York and Southampton and passengers will take part in a "Commodore's Dinner" during the voyage, complete with a commemorative menu.

Captaining Cunard Queens is something of a Warwick family tradition. Commodore Warwick holds the unique distinction in Cunard Line's long history of notable captains by following in the footsteps of his late father, Commodore William Warwick, who sailed as Master of the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, was the first Master appointed to Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1968, and was also promoted to Commodore of the fleet in 1970.

Commodore Ronald Warwick joined Cunard Line as a Third Officer in 1970. Frequent Marco Island cruisers have no doubt shared a table with the bearded icon, much less an onboard photo opportunity, while plying the global seas in luxury.

He first sailed as Captain in 1986 onboard Cunard Princess and also sailed in command of the Cunard Countess and Cunard Crown Dynasty before his appointment as Master of Queen Elizabeth 2 in July of 1990. From April of 1996, he sailed permanently as Senior Master on board Queen Elizabeth 2 until his appointment as Master-designate of Queen Mary 2 in 2002. At the time it was the biggest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet), tallest (236 feet), widest (135 feet) and most expensive passenger liner ($800 million) ever built.

In December of 2003, he was promoted to the rank of Commodore of the Cunard fleet.

In June of 2005, Commodore Warwick's service to the Merchant Navy was recognized. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth.

Commodore Warwick also holds the rank of Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve and is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Cunard Line ships have crossed the Atlantic every year since 1840. Even onboard the Queen Mary 2 today, the past comes to life through the Maritime Quest exhibition, the first permanent exhibition on an ocean liner where deck upon deck and corridor upon corridor trace Cunard's proud history since its founding in 1839.

Cruise Guide columnist Michael Coleman, a former newspaper editor, was a public relations executive for major cruise lines in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. He welcomes your feedback at cruiseguide@hotmail.com.

©Marco Island Sun Times 2006

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