by Peter Elson, Liverpool Daily Post
Captain Wright revisits his past for Cunard liner debut in Liverpool
IT WAS an emotional voyage for Capt Paul Wright yesterday when he brought the Cunard liner Queen Victoria into Liverpool for her maiden arrival.
Capt Wright started his seafaring career in Liverpool as fifth officer on the Canadian Pacific flagship Empress of Canada in 1971.
The Empress regularly sailed for Quebec and Montreal from the very berth he returned to with Queen Victoria.
The visit also commemorated the 170th anniversary this month of Cunard Line starting its services from Liverpool to North America.
This event was officially marked by the first visit to m/s Queen Victoria in Liverpool, by Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, since she named the liner in 2007.
Capt Wright was very impressed with the view from the new Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
“I can see the Royal Liver Building where I joined Canadian Pacific in 1970 as a cadet officer,” he said.
“In the mid-1990s, I was also a relief on Atlantic Conveyor from Liverpool – which had replaced her namesake lost in the Falklands war.
“This was Cunard’s last cargo ship, before the line concentrated on passenger ships only.
“Atlantic Conveyor had a crew of only 15, compared with 1,000 crew on Queen Victoria.”
The visit to Liverpool also marks Capt Wright’s career coming full circle.
“Empress of Canada was sold to Carnival Cruise Line and became its very first ship, Mardi Gras,” said Capt Wright.
“The refurbished former Empress and Carnival’s concept of cruising was a huge success.
“Carnival has become the world leader in cruising and now owns Cunard Line.
“Queen Victoria is not as big as Queen Mary 2, but she is still an ocean liner in facilities and ambience. We make occasional transatlantic crossings.”