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


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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?

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Great question Harry.

Having known a few people who have worked on board, it seems to make a difference to the crews enjoyment, which must filter down.

A captain has never spoilt a cruise for us but one in particular, who seemed to be in a foul, sarcastic mood all cruise, definitely caused a bit of a sour atmosphere.

My feelings are, as long as we don't crash, I don't care who is at the helm.

Andy

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Directly I don't think it matters who the Captain is to most cruisers but like any business  a good manager/boss feeds down and can make the staff happier and seeing that those have most contact with cruisers on a ship it can make for a better environment and therefore a better cruise.

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30 minutes ago, 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?

As long as the captain keeps us all safe that makes us happy.

Hotel manager,Cruise Director etc are the ones who enhance our enjoyment.

The only captain I remember is the captain on RC Harmony of the Seas when in June 2016 there was a serious accident during a lifeboat drill when a crew member died.

We were detained in Marseille for an extra day by the accident investigaters and missed a call to La Spezia which under the circumstances we didn't mind as we were sad for the crew and the crew member who died.

The captain graciously gave every cabin obc for the missed port and we got $300+.

 

Edited by grapau27
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8 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

Great question Harry.

Having known a few people who have worked on board, it seems to make a difference to the crews enjoyment, which must filter down.

A captain has never spoilt a cruise for us but one in particular, who seemed to be in a foul, sarcastic mood all cruise, definitely caused a bit of a sour atmosphere.

My feelings are, as long as we don't crash, I don't care who is at the helm.

Andy

Exactly my feelings, Andy, and I don't suppose there's much evidence either way. I do like a visible Captain though, rather than one who hides away.

 

Genuinely curious to hear views though.

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I normally don't care who the Captain is, apart from the lovely Captain Box who gave out such wonderful information on our cruise up the Bosphorus some years ago.

 

However, on our last cruise on Aurora, the Captains announcements were so childish and trivial, we were usually glad when they ended.  Some people on here love him, but frankly we found him so awful, I now can't even remember his name!!

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2 hours ago, 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?

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

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Who captained A907 Azura at the end of March - the one we had all the problems with that couldn't be resolved?

 

Whoever it was was almost invisible, and presumably tolerated a situation in which customers were blocked 'by protocol' from accessing the Customer Service Manager. 

 

I'm not well up on the names, but is that particular Captain well regarded by people here?

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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.

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1 hour ago, Harry Peterson said:

Who captained A907 Azura at the end of March - the one we had all the problems with that couldn't be resolved?

 

Whoever it was was almost invisible, and presumably tolerated a situation in which customers were blocked 'by protocol' from accessing the Customer Service Manager. 

 

I'm not well up on the names, but is that particular Captain well regarded by people here?

There was one captain on Azura who took over when Captain Camby transferred to Oceana who had the problems with the French courts in Marseille.Perhaps it was him?

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12 hours ago, dazlight said:

Loved our captain on the oceana the other week. Captain Robert Camby. Looked forward to his thought of the day every day. Very positive vibes for everyone when he did his speeches in the atrium. 

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?

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I generally don’t find that the Captain makes a huge difference to a cruise, they are there to get me where I want to go and back safely and if they do that then I am perfectly happy with them. Their other duties only really become visible when they are not done properly eg we all hear about it when they don’t deal with bad behaviour onboard quickly and decisively. Ironically a lot less is said about the skill involved in much of what they do for example getting a sick passenger evacuated in a difficult sea state.

 

We were on a Marella cruise recently and the Captain was really interesting, his announcements gave a lot of information about the ports, history of the country etc. I found myself listening to him intently. He also apologised fulsomely for an issue with delayed tenders,  nice for someone in charge to be honest that there was a problem and apologise for it.

 

I don’t remember many Captains, the odd ones stand out for the right reasons, the other just fade away but as I got home safe they did their job (all except one but that is a whole other story).

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Whilst the captain would never make a difference to me choosing a cruise, I do think it affects the overall cruise because of the mood it generates on board, especially with the crew. Our first P&O cruise in recent times was on Aurora with Neil Turnbull, a summer holiday cruise to the fjords. We thought he was great, our children got to know him and his wife a little better because our son played with his children, and he is a really lovely man.  He did a Captain's Q&A, which was hilarious. The atmosphere on board was great, all the crew seemed very happy and a couple of them told me they loved having him as captain.

Next was Azura under Paul Brown, with Neil Oliver as Cruise Director. Again a very enjoyable cruise, although PB is much less visible and sociable. Entertainment was excellent, though.

Britannia under the same PB/NO combination was a disappointment, despite it being her maiden season in the Caribbean and a Christmas/New Year cruise. PB hardly seen, staff seemed very demotivated and grumpy, entertainment very good to excellent, but NO had got very big for his boots and wouldn't deign to even say hello to passengers.

Finally Aurora under Wesley Dunlop, again generally very happy, pleasant atmosphere on board. Capt Dunlop quite visible around the  ship - eating in the buffet, strolling around the deck, etc., and always had a word for passengers and crew. CD was Jon Bartram - entertainment was OK, some good Headliners shows, but very disorganised - equipment not available, not working, members of entertainments team not turning up to run quizzes, etc, or turning up late.

All these cruises have been in school holidays, so peak times and that may make a difference too.

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2 minutes ago, Josy1953 said:

That would be Captain Evans Hoyt.  I have always been of the opinion that most captains are pleasant and have good people skills but on Azura last year we had Captain Hoyt and he seemed to have zero people skills.  We never saw him around the ship and he never made any announcements, they were all made by various officers "from the bridge".  It may have been because he was due to appear in court in France the week after our cruise on charges to do with a problem about the fuel that had been used on a previous cruise though we met some passengers who told us that they had been on NCL cruises with Captain Hoyt and he was the same there.

Would Captain Hoyt have been on Azura in March/April this year do you know?

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2 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

For a topic where a lot of posters have said they don't care who the Captain is, this thread has certainly attracted a lot of posts.

It's made me wonder,  certainly,  whether they have more relevance on the customer service side than I'd have expected.  Maybe the comments are persuasive. 

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53 minutes ago, Harry Peterson said:

Would Captain Hoyt have been on Azura in March/April this year do you know?

 

In the crew itinerary from Moments Spring/Summer 2019 magazine, Captain Stephen Howarth is listed for March/April.  However, I would image that list was subject to change.  I wonder if someone may have kept the cruise log from your voyages?

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1 hour ago, Josy1953 said:

That would be Captain Evans Hoyt.  I have always been of the opinion that most captains are pleasant and have good people skills but on Azura last year we had Captain Hoyt and he seemed to have zero people skills.  We never saw him around the ship and he never made any announcements, they were all made by various officers "from the bridge".  It may have been because he was due to appear in court in France the week after our cruise on charges to do with a problem about the fuel that had been used on a previous cruise though we met some passengers who told us that they had been on NCL cruises with Captain Hoyt and he was the same there.

 

We had Captain Evans Hoyt on Azura last year for our Norwegian Fjord cruise.  Unlike your experience, he made most of the announcements from the bridge, and I personally spotted him a few times around the ship.

 

We all had a wonderful time, enjoyed the whole trip.  Mind you, the North sea like a mill pond does help.

Edited by jaydee6969
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11 minutes ago, jaydee6969 said:

 

In the crew itinerary from Moments Spring/Summer 2019 magazine, Captain Stephen Howarth is listed for March/April.  However, I would image that list was subject to change.  I wonder if someone may have kept the cruise log from your voyages?

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

 

Does he have any particular reputation I wonder?

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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"...

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My second P&O cruise was this June and Wesley Dunlop was the Captain.  His daily briefings were the highlight of our day; so funny but also informative without getting too technical.  As he spoke I could clearly imagine Britannia pirouetting as it manoeuvered from the port!!

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