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Cunard Captain Tackles The Controversial And The Questions You Never Dared To Ask

Cunard Captain Tackles The Controversial And The Questions You Never Dared To Ask

Cruise.co.uk were lucky enough to interview a retired cruise ship captain to find out the answers to the questions you never dared to ask…

After a short flight over to the small town of Ratho, Edinburgh, we were greeted at the door of the Captain’s cottage by two friendly labradors and the man himself.

We introduce to you Captain Nick Bates, a man with 45 years experience at sea and the former captain of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, Cunard Countess, Cunard Dynasty, Crown Dynasty, Caronia and Sea Goddess 2.

Captain Nick answered our most controversial questions live on camera, so scroll down for his opinion on everything from tipping to smoking on balconies.


Does pre-paying gratuities defeat the point of tipping someone for good service?

I think they offer pre-paid gratuities to make things a lot easier for the guests, so that they can budget and know what they have and haven’t paid for. Although if you’re not happy with the service you’ve received onboard, you can take it off. The option is always there.

Do you think that all cruise lines should have the same set price for gratuities?

Well, would you want everyone to charge the same for the cruise? The world’s full of different people and long may it be that way!

It’s good for competition too because if everyone was to charge the same the level of service might not be as keen as it would be if everybody was more individual.

Should the cruisers who dislike paying grats book cheaper cruises?

If you go for the cheapest lines, you’ll get the cheapest service! And although that service could still be very good, it will not be as good as the more expensive ones.


What is your opinion on passengers smoking on balconies?

My opinion is that I would ban smoking altogether in the entire universe! However, I would say that if you could refine your smoking to your balcony that would be okay, as long as you did not smoke in your cabin because this will linger and affect the next guests onboard.

There is the deck space too, although if you’re sailing through the North Atlantic that’s not going to be easy with a force 10 gale!

Dress Code

Are you a fan of formal nights? Or do you think cruises should scrap them?

I’m absolutely a fan of the formal nights! Would you like the crew to walk round in a pair of jeans and flip flops? It really is about looking smart and being together all in the same dress code.

If you don’t like dressing up then go on another cruise line that doesn’t dress up!

Do you think cruise lines should introduce more than two formal nights on a seven-night cruise?

How will you fit six gowns into your suitcase when you’re getting on a plane to fly down to wherever the cruise ship is setting off from? There has to be a balance.

Watch the entire interview below for more of Nick’s answers on our most controversial questions!

Keep an eye out for more of Captain Nick’s answers coming soon, we find out what he really thinks of Cunard, which ship was his favourite to sail and his own personal stories from 45 years at sea…

What are your thoughts on Captain Nick? What did you find most interesting from the interview? Have you sailed on any of the ships he captained for? Leave us your thoughts and stories!

Bulletin Editor

Editor and Creative Copywriter of Cruise.co.uk's bulletin blog, bringing you cruise news, tips and guides daily! - Contact: bulletineditor@cruise.co.uk

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