Norfolk captain becomes fleet commodore

RICHARD PARR A Norfolk captain spoke of his “absolute delight” last night after being elevated to senior master of the fleet one of the world's premier cruise lines.

RICHARD PARR

A Norfolk captain spoke of his "absolute delight" last night after being elevated to senior master of the fleet of one of the world's premier cruise lines.

Stephen Burgoine, 58, of Thursford, near Fakenham, has been appointed commodore of the P&O fleet after an "exemplary" maritime career stretching back to his days as a deck cadet in 1966.

In his new role, Mr Burgoine will represent the interests of the

entire P&O fleet and the company's captains.

Speaking to the EDP yesterday from his vessel Arcadia - halfway between Aruba and Trinidad in the Caribbean - Mr Burgoine said: "I am absolutely delighted to be given this post, especially at such an exciting time for the company with its fleet of new ships and two more being built."

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A top post it might be, but his feet are firmly on the ground - or rather the sand of his native Norfolk. One thing he will now have to consider is whether to change the name of his beach hut at Wells from the "Captain's Cabin" to the "Commodore's" Cabin".

Mr Burgoine - who has a collection of memorabilia of Norfolk's most famous maritime son, Horatio Nelson, in his cabin aboard Arcadia - said he had been around the world countless times during his career, "but I wouldn't say that I have seen it all yet".

He is due back home at Thursford in February for a couple of months' leave before returning in April - and spoke with pride of his Norfolk roots.

"I was born at Earlham Hall in Norwich and my father was a prominent architect in the city," he said.

"My grandfather was a master tailor and once ran a gentleman's outfitters called Greens in Gentleman's Walk."

He explained that this Christmas his wife, Kathryn, and daughter, Sophie, joined him on board. His other daughter, Rosie, is with him all the time because she is one of the ship's photographers.

Mr Burgoine undertook merchant navy academic studies at HMS Worcester at the Thames Nautical Training College and joined P&O Cruises in 1966 as a deck cadet sailing on Soudan, Ballarat and also on Chusan.

He has progressed steadily through the ranks and, after taking time out from sea travel to do a degree course in maritime studies, he became second officer on board the original Oriana and Canberra and was then promoted to first officer on board both ships.

By 1996 he took his first command, serving as captain of Pacific Princess. Since then he has captained the Victoria, Island Princess, Oriana, Aurora and Oceana.

In April 2005, he took the helm of Arcadia, the newest addition to the P&O Cruises fleet, where he currently serves.

P&O Cruises managing director David Dingle said: "I am delighted to appoint Stephen Burgoine to the position of commodore of the fleet. His appointment is in recognition of a long and successful career with P&O Cruises and reflects his outstanding dedication and commitment over the past 40 years."