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December 27, 2003

Cunard names Commodore

Captain Ronald Warwick, master of Cunard Line's new Queen Mary 2, has been awarded the rank of commodore, the highest position a cruise line can bestow on one of its captains. The announcement was made yesterday as Queen Mary 2 was welcomed to Southampton--its British home port--for the first time.

"I am pleased to make this appointment, which recognizes Ron Warwick's long and distinguished career with this great company," said Pamela Conover, Cunard's president and chief operating officer. "It befits his position as the first master of Queen Mary 2, the new flagship of Cunard Line and the greatest liner of the new century."

Queen Mary 2 is the first ocean liner to be built in over three decades. The 2,620-passenger vessel is the largest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet/345 m), tallest (236 feet/72 m), widest (135 feet/41 metres) and most expensive ($800 million) passenger ship ever built.

"This great honor only enhances what has been a wonderful week for me personally and for Cunard Line," said Warwick. "First I took command of Queen Mary 2, now I am appointed Commodore, a position my father held with honor."

Warwick's father, the late Commodore W.E. Warwick, was a prominent figure in Cunard history. The senior Warwick was the only captain to serve as master of both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in the mid-1960s and he also was the first master of QE2.

Prior to assuming the helm of Cunard's flagship, Ronald Warwick, who joined Cunard in April 1970, served as master of QE2, a position he held since 1990. This was another first in the 163-year history of Cunard--the first time a father and son had commanded the same ship.

Ronald Warwick has also served as master aboard Cunard Countess, Cunard Princess and Cunard Crown Dynasty. Before assuming the rank of master, he served for a short time as marine superintendent, based at Cunard's Southampton office. The first time this master mariner ever cruised the world was in 1958 on a cargo ship.

Commodore Warwick has also been involved in military campaigns while at Cunard. He served as chief officer aboard QE2 when England commissioned her in the Falklands conflict and was the master of Cunard Princess when she was chartered by the U.S. government during the Gulf War.

In its inaugural year Queen Mary 2 will sail 13 transatlantic crossings between England and New York as she takes over the role currently operated by her sister ship, QE2, as Cunard's transatlantic liner. Her maiden westbound crossing from Southampton, England, to New York will depart on April 16. The vessel will also introduce a series of Caribbean cruises from New York and Fort Lauderdale; a voyage to Rio de Janeiro and back, timed for Carnival; five European itineraries and two fall foliage cruises to ports in Canada and New England.

Queen Mary 2 features 10 dining venues with acclaimed Chef Daniel Boulud serving as Cunard's culinary advisor and Chef Todd English operating a Mediterranean speciality restaurant of the same name. The liner also has the world's first Canyon Ranch SpaClub at sea, the first planetarium at sea, the largest ballroom at sea, the largest library at sea, and the largest wine collection at sea, as well as a Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar, a two-story theatre, a casino, five indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, boutiques and extensive children's facilitie

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