Cunard’s Bermuda Move Sparks UK Mutiny

October 22, 2011

Mutiny is in the air among British Cunard aficionados following the legendary shipping lines’s decision to switch registration of its vessels
from the UK to Bermuda.

Britain’s “Daily Mirror” tabloid reports today [Oct. 22] that UK passengers are infuriated by Cunard’s Bermuda move, claiming the firm is abandoning the British heritage it promotes so heavily in advertising.

However, the newspaper points out it’s only in recent years that Cunard ships have been exclusively UK-registered –- vessels were flagged in both Norway and the Bahamas in the past.

Cunard boss Peter Shanks has announced that the decision to reflag its fleet in Bermuda is to allow the ships to hold wedding ceremonies at sea –- a lucrative market already for sister cruise lines P&O and Princess.

Critics fear the change is designed to save money rather than make it, because it will mean crew wages and ­conditions will no longer be governed by UK employment law.

Richard Chalu, from Norwich, wrote on Cunard’s Facebook page: “How many cruise ships are there in the world? Hundreds. How many do I put on a pedestal? Three. We ARE Cunard. There should be none other like you. This tissue-thin wedding excuse is a veil for avoiding the UK’s National Minimum Wage laws.”

But defending the decision, Mr Shanks said: “We pride ourselves on how we look after every member of our crew.”

The change of registration will take place after the ships’ world cruises at the start of 2012. A “Cunard Weddings at Sea” brochure is issued next month and couples can book from December.

Cunard currently operates three vessels — “Queen Mary 2″ [pictured at top], “Queen Victoria” and “Queen Elizabeth”.

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Comments (10)

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  1. In Mark's opinion says:

    We are still part of the UK .

  2. cricket fan says:

    Okay, now come on! I am sory, but the British come here and work take advantage of our land (yes they do us a great service , don’t get me wrong)and complain about this! They have to know that some of us here are BRITISH passport holders too! So we are open to what goes on in the European Union!

    • FYI says:

      cricket fan, to clarify things, all Bermudians are British (the Privy Council has ruled that “Bermudian is not a nationality.”) Bermudian passports are in fact British (albeit only Dependent Territories passports)


    C’mon Motherland ,hand down some of that great wealth you have . You don’t have to treat us as a stepchild .

  4. What ! says:

    Hardly a mutiny. UK gutter press at its finest. Surprised Bernews ran this angle on the story.


  6. sandgrownan says:

    This was in The Daily Mirror. End of story.

  7. Mohammed Ali says:

    First of all may I say I’m a regular visitor to Bermuda, and it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with an even more beautiful people.

    Nonetheless, it’s a shame that the Cunard Line is, for the first time in 171 registering the British merchant flagship, the Royal Mail Ship Queen Mary 2 outside of the UK. The ship will loose her legendary ”Cunard Queen” call sign GBQM, used on the first RMS Queen Mary since her construction in the 1930s.

    The issue here isn’t the lovely Bermudans- it’s the fact that a company which basically exists on marketing itself as pure British has, to save a few dollars, turned their back on the Union Jack which they drape themselves in for all intents and purposes. When Carnival Corporation took over the Cunard Line they had an obligation to keep it’s heritage alive. They charge the world’s highest premium for a mass-market passenger line, yet with every passing day the things that differentiates them from others fades, and this is a big deal.

    Let the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria be registered outside of GB, but the Queen Mary 2? That would be a great shame. The RMS Queen Mary 2 would become the ‘Motor Ship’ Queen Mary 2 just like any other cruise liner.

    Yet more than anything, the Cunard Line’s actions are an insult to the intelligence of it’s passengers. If they came out stating the new laws would be too much of a dent in their revenue, and they have no choice but to re-flag the ships, while also stating something about just how long Bermuda has been part of the extended UK, the people would have accepted it and understood. But this Weddings At Sea is an insult to many.

    • WellSaid says:

      I agree with the loss of the call sign GBQM – this is a sad loss.

      But saying that I don’t agree with “Bermuda Registered” as any less “British” than UK registered. The sad part of this controversy is those people who view Bermuda as any less British than the UK. At least the registry is somewhat staying “in the family” rather than going to some distant cousin or step cousin.