I have to admit to being a little excited about meeting the captain on our honeymoon cruise on board Ventura.
An invitation arrived in our cabin for a drinks reception as we sailed from Lisbon.
Surely there can’t be many more prestigious jobs in the world than captain of a cruise ship? Airline pilots and Formula One drivers are the only ones that run it pretty close in my eyes.
Captain Paul Brown has been at sea for 30 years and with P&O for 23 of those. But at only 47 he’s certainly no salty old sea dog.
Unlike an airline pilot or F1 driver, there are so many more things Paul’s duties demand than just steering the ship.
On board for months at a time, his day starts at around 6.30am as the ship closes in on her next port.
Meetings with all the department heads then take up his morning after the ship is safely alongside.
By the afternoon, he’s touring the ship making sure everything is pristine. Then, after departure, his evening of entertaining begins.
Captain’s cocktail party, captain’s dinner, captain’s drinks reception. Boy oh boy, everyone wants a piece of this man!
But what surprised me was how he knew so many people. Regulars were greeted like old friends.
One of the most interesting passengers was a man who spent £20,000 on a charity auction to be there with his wife. Looking at our bar bill, our tickets may have ended up costing as much!
I soon realised what dedication you must have to obtain the position of captain. There’s the responsibility of not only the ship, but her passengers and crew. It’s a whole lot more than just shouting out ‘full speed ahead’!
So do I still want his job? No. I’d be happy as Larry at the wheel, but I think I’d struggle with all the other parts of the role.
I mean, could you keep a straight face at beetroot red passengers? Could you start at 6.30am and finish at 11pm every day for three months?
And it’s not all glitz and glamour, you know. After we disembark tomorrow, he’s off to Zeebrugge for three nights with 3,000 party cruisers! Good luck, Paul - you’re going to need it.