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Harry Peterson

Does the Captain really make a difference to the overall enjoyment of a cruise?

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15 minutes ago, pete14 said:

I really don’t think it is fair or right to discuss the ‘reputation’ of any named staff on here, especially as there seems to an agenda to this thread. I do not know anything about Stephen Howarth and he has never captained a ship I have sailed on but he doesn’t deserve the possibility of his reputation, good or bad, aired on this public forum. Perhaps the thread should be closed or withdrawn but unless or until this happens, perhaps nobody should post anything about any P&O employees who cannot respond.

There's absolutely no agenda to the thread that I can think of.  Discussions of Captains in this forum are commonplace,  and this thread's not any different unless you know something nobody else does.

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1 minute ago, Harry Peterson said:

There's absolutely no agenda to the thread that I can think of.  Discussions of Captains in this forum are commonplace,  and this thread's not any different unless you know something nobody else does.

….. and its a change from discussing dress code and tips!!! 

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7 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

There's absolutely no agenda to the thread that I can think of.  Discussions of Captains in this forum are commonplace,  and this thread's not any different unless you know something nobody else does.

So you are honestly telling everybody that this is not just a way of bringing your ‘problems’ on Azura back to the fore. If not, why mention it in your initial thread starting post and seem to launch a ‘fishing expedition’ for the Captain’s name because you have forgotten it? Maybe I am misjudging you!

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4 hours ago, Harry Peterson said:

Thanks for reminding me. I'm pretty sure it was Stephen Howarth. 

 

Does he have any particular reputation I wonder?

We had Steven Howarth on a round trip Caribbean cruise a few years ago, he wasn't very outgoing and his daily sea day announcements not very memorable, but on a one to one he was very friendly and interested in your views..

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17 hours ago, ann141 said:

I do think that a captain can make a difference to the overall tone of a ship, just as a good or bad headteacher can make a big difference to a school or a boss in an office.The way they treat staff etc (and passengers) can help promote  good morale about the ship(or school etc)This was really noticeable to me when we cruised on Azura a few years ago and Robert Camby was Captain.He seemed to get involved in everything(even coming to the cruise critic Meet and Greet!)and took time to chat to passengers and crew.I think he helped the crew feel valued and he told us that he would occasionally spend half an hour alongside the crew doing their job e.g peeling potatoes at night!I wonder whether a lot of the negative views about Azura have been given since he left to captain Oceana?I would never book a cruise because a certain captain was in charge but I think it helps anyone, particularly the crew if feel they are appreciated and if the crew are happy it tends to make the cruise seem more enjoyable for me

 

Agree. Also agree about Camby, I’ve been on two cruises with him as Captain and both times he gave a very moving speech at the end wishing his crew all the best as they were moving on.

I’ve also wondered if the recent bad reviews on Azura have been because he’s moved on.

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2 hours ago, pete14 said:

So you are honestly telling everybody that this is not just a way of bringing your ‘problems’ on Azura back to the fore. If not, why mention it in your initial thread starting post and seem to launch a ‘fishing expedition’ for the Captain’s name because you have forgotten it? Maybe I am misjudging you!

Very clearly you are.

 

There's a clear interest in this rather important issue, as you'll see from all the comments. It has much more to do with the general picture, and any conclusions that can be drawn, than any individual cruise.

 

No need to participate if you don't want to of course, but others have found it an interesting topic.

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6 hours ago, Britboys said:

I think it does make a difference but not a massive one.  It does generally set a tone I think, especially on a smaller ship where they have more time and opportunity to walk around the ship - which used to be a standard thing years back, when you saw the Captain walking the decks every day.  As others have said, his maritime and safety skills are the most important thing.  I do think a decent Captain can help ensure a happy crew.

 

I know Neil Turnbull is not to everyone's taste but I had personal experience of him on Aurora when I took my partner's ashes to cast into the sea and he was wonderful.  Very caring and compassionate and he carried out a brief ceremony beautifully.

 

The Captain that annoyed me the most was on Marella Discovery 2, who every day informed us that the day was going to be a "bobby-dazzler" and that we had to remember to "slap some sun cream on yer legs"...

I’m so glad that you had a good experience when scattering your partners ashes. On an important, very personal and meaningful occasion like that I would like to think that most Captains would ensure that they did their upmost to make things perfect for you.

 

On a lighter note the bobby dazzler and sun cream comments would annoy me as well!

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23 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

Very clearly you are.

 

There's a clear interest in this rather important issue, as you'll see from all the comments. It has much more to do with the general picture, and any conclusions that can be drawn, than any individual cruise.

 

No need to participate if you don't want to of course, but others have found it an interesting topic.

It is nice to have something new to discuss and interesting to hear the varied comments, so thank you Harry.

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9 hours ago, dgs1956 said:

We were on Oceana in March and I agree that the captain was good. We enjoyed his little ditties. The staff however were incredibly unfriendly and abrupt and no matter how we tried we couldn't get any rapport with them. Its the first time we've experienced that. How were the staff on your ctuise?

 

We found they good to be fair. Waiters amazing , rose our cabin Stewart was lovely. 

In winners I got on with the bar men. Could of been different staff though. 

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3 minutes ago, dazlight said:

 

We found they good to be fair. Waiters amazing , rose our cabin Stewart was lovely. 

In winners I got on with the bar men. Could of been different staff though. 

I'm glad to hear that. To be honest I was surprised how bad they were as it is not the norm. We did wonder if there had been a big change around in staff just as we boarded and they were finding their feet.

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12 hours ago, mrbluesea said:

I think it depends on the size of the ship. On other boutique cruise lines the captain is extremely visible compared to the larger ships that p&o operate. Where possible a visable captain greatly enhances the overall guest experience. A captains role is so much more than stearing the ship. Unfortunately on the larger ships this interaction tends to be limited to the 12.00 announcements and the captains cocktail.

Agree entirely.

In April I sailed on Britannia to the Canaries. I do not remember who the captain was, because I never saw him apart from making his speech at the Captain's Reception. I am not saying that he was not out and about at times, but on such a large ship with 3500 other passengers the chances of meeting him were small.

In July by contrast, I sailed on Star Flyer. She is a small ship carrying just 170 and Captain Yuri was an almost constant presence, on the deck, on the open bridge and in the bars and lounges chatting to passengers.

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On 9/1/2019 at 8:38 PM, Harry Peterson said:

Genuinely have no particular views on this one, but people frequently ask which Captain's on a particular ship, so it obviously matters to some people. 

 

I can certainly see that the Captain can set the overall tone of the ship (which might explain some of the problems we had on Azura in the Spring). 

 

Is that still possible on the larger ships or is the tone set more by the next level of 'management' down? 

 

Can one man or woman really transform an entire ship from bad to good? Or vice versa?

Captain's can marry couples on board ship so for the couples involved I'm sure he can make a difference for them.

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Please note that slating crew members/officers by name, with no right of reply by them, is not acceptable and such posts have and will be deleted.

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16 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

I’m so glad that you had a good experience when scattering your partners ashes. On an important, very personal and meaningful occasion like that I would like to think that most Captains would ensure that they did their upmost to make things perfect for you.

 

On a lighter note the bobby dazzler and sun cream comments would annoy me as well!

I am sure that you are right but whilst I won't go into details here, he went far beyond just doing a good job of providing a compassionate service.  I must also say that the P&O shore-side office I dealt with and several other members on the ship were all wonderful at a very difficult time for me.

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43 minutes ago, Britboys said:

I am sure that you are right but whilst I won't go into details here, he went far beyond just doing a good job of providing a compassionate service.  I must also say that the P&O shore-side office I dealt with and several other members on the ship were all wonderful at a very difficult time for me.

That’s lovely to hear that both shore-side and on the ship were so kind to you.

I personally think Neil Turnbull is a great Captain. On a world cruise a few years ago on Aurora we arrived bright and early in Mumbai and he let all the crew off first as they had such little time with their families.  Capt. Turnbull quite obviously valued his crew and was considerate towards them which meant a very happy set of waiters, stewards etc etc. There were of course a few passengers who complained!

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Of course in a number of cases you can see the captain nearly every day wandering around while others who have a different routine hardly ever see him/her. We had this with Sarah Breton. One one cruise never saw her at all and on another I saw her every day. 

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31 minutes ago, daiB said:

Of course in a number of cases you can see the captain nearly every day wandering around while others who have a different routine hardly ever see him/her. We had this with Sarah Breton. One one cruise never saw her at all and on another I saw her every day. 

Very true Dai - but the ever increasing size of cruise ships in general make it difficult for the Captain to be visible any more.  My first P&O cruise was on Victoria, at 28,000 tons a mere tiddler by today's standards.  The Captain can easily do a walk-round of the entire ship every day in an hour or so.  Not quite so easy on ships well over 100,000 tons!

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We've never had a cruise spoiled by the Captain and doubt that we ever would. However, we have fond memories of some of the (in our opinion) "better" Captains such as Chris Wells, Robert Camby and most recently Derek Gray.

We saw a lot of Chris Wells as our cabin was near the bridge and he would always take time to say hello if we saw him on the corridor. I also remember him joining in with ballroom dancing in the Atrium which must have been a lovely experience for the ladies he invited to dance with him (I hope so anyway). 

Robert Camby was every bit as good as others have posted here, and took time out to speak to our son in the Atrium prior to the Captain's Welcome On Board reception.

I posted some positive comments about Derek Gray in my recent onboard blog and he is the only Captain I can remember who attended the Caribbean Tier lunch and went from table to table to speak to the guests.

These are all just little things, not vitally important, but happy memories that help us to recall our cruises with fondness.

 

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I have had great experiences with some of the Captains mentioned. Chris Wells was very funny (I will never forget his midday sea shanty in a gale in the Bay of Biscay!) and made my daughter very welcome on Oriana when she was 10 (it was a family ship then). Robert Camby is always friendly and when his wife gave birth to their son the day before we reached St Maarten on the Caribbean transatalantic on Azura everyone cheered when he made the announcement. Azura broke down in the Azores which made us late into the Caribbean and he kept us very well informed. And yes, I appreciated  Derek Grey circulating every table at the Baltic/Ligurian lunch on Oriana last year and speaking to everyone. He also appeared in a tutu at the Staff Show!

Edited by Clodia
typos

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