Today Commodore Wells will be embarking on a new adventure as he disembarks Queen Mary 2 as Master for the final time after 29 years with Cunard and P&O Cruises, and heads off for a long and happy retirement.

It all began in 1974, joining Warsash Maritime Academy to begin his cadetship with Shell Tankers. Once qualified he began a career in commercial shipping. Over the following 16 years his career took him on a variety of ships, from tankers to bitumen carriers, bulk carriers for coal and iron ore then finally LNG ships. His passion for the sea and commitment to the job in hand saw him rise through the ranks to qualify as a Master in 1985.

In May 1992, Commodore Wells left commercial shipping to join the cruise industry, where he’s worked on no less than eight ships from across Carnival brands, including Cunard, P&O Cruises and P&O Australia. His first taste of cruise ships was onboard Queen Elizabeth 2 where he started as Second Officer. In 2010, Chris sealed his fate, taking the Captaincy of Queen Victoria before being appointed as the first Captain of Queen Elizabeth.

During his three decades on cruise ships, Commodore Wells has had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty the Queen at the naming event for Queen Mary 2 and once again as Master at the naming of Queen Elizabeth.  Another highlight was in 2017 when Commodore Wells climbed the tallest sail of the Sydney Opera House to mark the 10-year anniversary of Queen Mary 2’s very first visit to the Australian city.

Commodore Wells combined his seafaring career with a 25-year commission in the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) and remains an Honorary Captain in the RNR. 

 James Stride, VP Governance and Line Manager to our Captains, looks back at Chris’ impressive career and contribution to CUK and our brands:

“On behalf of the entire company, I’d like to thank Chris for his 29 years of service and dedication. I’ve known Chris for many years and it’s clear to anyone who’s had the pleasure of working with him that his passion for the sea extends beyond the Bridge to being an inspiration to those just setting out on their seagoing careers with us today, as well as a great hit with our Guests. As Chris goes to enjoy his well-earned retirement, he leaves behind an impressive legacy which will leave ripples throughout the Maritime industry and our brands for years to come.”

As he gets ready to leave the Bridge one final time, Commodore Wells reflects on his time at sea:

“Looking back perhaps the most important moment in my career was being appointed to the build team for Queen Mary 2. This was a fantastic opportunity, and allowed me to experience “normal living” as I commuted to and from the shipyard each day from a rented house in Pornichet, France, and enjoyed family living with two toddlers. After 18 months, we delivered not only the most incredible Transatlantic Liner, but William Wells too. I sailed on QM2 as her first staff captain, and was then delighted to return to command her first in 2008. I have now been most fortunate to serve my final five years in command of this great ship. I leave at a low point in her history, still in operational pause, but with light on the horizon for a return to service.”

If you wish to join us in wishing Commodore Wells a happy retirement why not add a comment below?


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