Captain of the QE2

July 2002

At a Captain's Reception we remarked to Captain Warwick that we had made the eastbound crossing the previous fall. That of course was just after September 11 (see Finally On Our Way, and no one knew until two days beforehand where the ship would be allowed to land. He then revealed that he was in command during the westbound crossing two weeks later, which also landed in Boston, and what personal repercussions that had for him.

It was originally planned that, upon the QE2's arrival in New York, a minister would come aboard for a wedding ceremony in which Captain Warwick would give away his daughter in marriage. Of particular personal significance in this on-board ceremony was that Captain Warwick's father was the QE2's first master when she was launched in 1969. Unfortunately, the minister was not licensed to perform weddings in Massachusetts. However, Captain Warwick determined that it could be possible for him to receive permission from the governor to perform the ceremony himself, something that was not possible in New York. And, in a victory for romance, Governor Jane Sharp shortcut the usual long approval cycle, approving the request by return fax.

So Captain Warwick officiated at his daughter's wedding, and he was quite emotional as he described the ceremony, at which his son assumed the role of giving away the bride. Some members of the wedding party, coming from the U.K., were already on board; others were allowed to board in Boston for the ceremony. (As non-passengers normally are not permitted aboard at any port, special approval was required. Perhaps it helped that the requestor was the Captain.)

Incidentally, the old movies were accurate, at least up to a point – a ship's captain can perform a marriage at sea, but only if the ship's country of registry permits it. Currently, only Bermuda, Liberia, and Japan allow onboard weddings performed by the ship's captain – and for Japanese ships, only passengers with a Japanese passport can be married onboard.

After the cruise ended in Southampton, we decompressed with five days in London. One day we took a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich (I guess we were getting landsick), site of:

© Copyright 2002 Jack Ludwick - All Rights Reserved