The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

06 January, 2010

Captain Ian McNaught Leaves Cunard for Seabourn Cruise Line

Former Master of Queen Elizabeth 2, Captain Ian McNaught, has "resigned" from Cunard Line and will be transferred to a position at the ultra-luxury brand of Carnival Corporation's Seabourn Cruise Line.  This news was first reported here and later confirmed when questioned on the Cunard Facebook page. 

While disappointing news, this really should not come as a shock.  You could hear the difference in his voice in the noontime captain's reports from Queen Victoria posted to YouTube.  That energy so evident while onboard QE2 was missing.  Things just did not seem to be the same as demonstrated by a recent report of an interview while onboard Queen Victoria that ended quite abruptly, very uncharactaristically for the Cunard captain that personified all things Cunard. 

That particular cruise out of New York was not going well in the first place, having been delayed due to a problem with the pod propulsion of Queen Victoria.  This problem resulted in missed ports without the reserve speed available, such as would have been the case on QE2, to make up time.  I am sure this thought did not escape him at that time.  Then there was the naming of the master of the new Queen Elizabeth and the apparent snub by Cunard.  It has been speculated that he was deeply disappointed that he was passed on this appointment.  I too was disappointed, having booked the Maiden Crossing of Queen Elizabeth with the utmost certainty he would be appointed her command.  In fairness to Cunard, they appointed fellow Captain Chris Wells, who has previous experience in the fitting out of Queen Mary 2, who will oversee the completion of the ship in the yard in Italy.  On the otherhand, to help ease the pain of the retirement of QE2, having Captain McNaught at the helm of her replacement would have eased the pain for many, myself incuded, and would have been a nice bridge from the past to the future. 

Those who have had the pleasure to sail with Captain McNaught saw firsthand his deep affection and respect for the significance of QE2 and what she meant for so many loyal passengers, fans, people of the UK, and others throughout the world wherever she sailed.  Without a doubt, he has been the most accessible Captain we have sailed with which combined with his personality, has earned him many loyal fans.  We were even contemplating switching our booking next January on QE to QV for our tandem Atlantic Crossing just to be onboard with him and recapture some of the spirit of our past cruises with him.  There is a palatable difference with him at command throughout the ship.  His energy and demeanor transferred throughout the ship. Without him, it just seemed like everyone was just going through the motions. 

Captain McNaught will fit into the more intimate ships of Seabourn quite easily, where he will shine in his interaction with passengers.  Unfortunately, the "Yachts of Seabourn" as they are billed, are very small, exclusive cruise ships, which are out of my price range at this time.  At first, I took this news similarily to hearing the news that QE2 was sold; total shock.  Now, seeing that he is still within the Carnival group of cruise lines, I see this a bit differently.  Captain McNaught belongs at the helm of a true OCEAN LINER.  I am confident we will see his return to Cunard in the future for the ultimate command of Cunard's new flagship, Queen Mary 2.


  1. Captain McNaught will be missed by many who have had the pleasure to sail with him.I was fortunate to sail on The farewell sailing around the British Isels a lasting memory.

  2. I had the pleasure of sailing with him as a crew member on Cunard Princess in 1988 and him a rather less senior deck officer! A charming man and very humorous with it.

  3. He was only a 2nd Officer when I first sailed with him. His character and laugh made it a pleasure to work alongside. One day yiu will fill the final dream like so many Cunard Captains before you.

  4. Have just read that Captain McNaught has resigned from Cunard. I sailed on the penultimate cruise around the med before the QE2 sailed off to Dubai.
    What a charming Captain he was, always kind and considerate and nothing was too much trouble for him. He spoke to everybody who stopped him when he was walking around the ship. He will be sadly missed by us Cunarders.

  5. He was a real star when I worked with him on Cunard Princess in the very late 80's and clearly he has shone ever since.