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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 10:41 GMT
QM2 captain's family tradition
Commodore Ron Warwick
Commondore Warwick said 'it was the greatest day of his life'
As the huge transatlantic liner Queen Mary 2 is officially named by the Queen, its Welsh captain is writing a new chapter in a remarkable family tradition.

Commodore Ron Warwick, from Llangollen in north Wales, is at the helm of the 550m QM2, the longest, tallest and widest liner ever built.

In December 1968, his father Commodore William Warwick was appointed the first captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, and took it for its maiden journey the following May.

The younger Commodore Warwick followed in his father's footsteps and took over the QE2 in 1990.

But captaining the QM2 will be the pinnacle of Commodore Warwick's career, which began when he was a 15-year-old cadet at the pre-sea training ship HMS Conway in north Wales.

Passengers will probably clock up several miles a day as they explore the ship

"This is the greatest day of my life," said Commodore Warwick shortly before he escorted the Queen around the 150,000-tonne vessel at Southampton on Thursday.

"I think the Queen Mary 2 is a magnificent liner," said Commodore Warwick, who now lives in Somerset.

"We are very pleased to be part of it and we are very pleased for Cunard line that we have got another transatlantic liner."

The QM2, which is as tall as a 23-storey building, leaves on her 14-day maiden voyage to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from her home port of Southampton on Monday.

Her bright red funnel takes her height up to 72m.

She will carry 2,620 passengers served by 1,253 crew, and has a casino, sauna, cinema - which converts to a planetarium - library and theatre.

A place on one of her proposed 30 annual transatlantic passages will start at around 999 and rise to 26,000 for the best suite.

Penthouses will feature butler and concierge services.

Next August, the liner will become a floating hotel for the Olympic Games in Athens.

In pictures: Queen Mary 2 launch
08 Jan 04  |  Photo Gallery
Security high for QM2 'spectacular'
08 Jan 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
QM2: The ultimate luxury liner
15 Nov 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset

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