Cruise control: Captain Kent of the Emerald Princess

We caught up with Princess Cruises’ Captain William Kent to talk life on deck, sailing the Red Sea and how to spend 24 hours in Venice.

With 19 decks, 1,539 cabins, 26 private suites, seven spas, an impressive terrace pool and gourmet grazing courtesy of Curtis Stone, the Emerald Princess paves the way for a luxurious coastal escape. One of the largest vessels in Princess Cruises' fleet, you can voyage through Venice, Vancouver or Puerto Vallarta aboard this luxe liner. Here, we speak to the man at the helm of this high sea super-ship, Captain William Kent.
Tell us about the Emerald Princess.
She is 290 metres long, just over 113,000 gross tonnes, has 19 decks and came into service in 2008. I've been her Captain for three months.
How many people are you responsible for on board?
At this moment in time, 3032 guests and 1151 crew.
Where was your last journey?
We sailed from Southampton and then visited Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples and Messina before transiting the Suez Canal. Once in the Red Sea, we turned up into the Gulf of Aqaba for a day call at Aqaba (for Petra and Wadi Rum) before carrying on down the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and ultimately around to Dubai. I'm normally away from home for three months [at a time].
What does a day in the life of a Captain entail?
If we are at sea, it's very much admin work, but with regular visits to the Bridge and meeting with the ship's senior officers. When arriving into each port, it's an earlier start being on the Bridge ready to meet the port pilot. It never ceases to amaze me that every single day is different with its own challenges and rewards.
What was your most memorable day on the job?
Meeting the Queen and Prince Philip when she christened Oriana in 1995. A very close second was being in Sydney Harbour for the Bicentenary in January 1988.
Any favourite ports?
Venice, Boston, San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Singapore.
You've got 24 hours in Venice, go.
We normally dock in the commercial port, so it's a wonderful walk through the winding narrow back streets to St. Mark's Square, where you must have a cappuccino at the renowned Florian's coffee house. After a leisurely stroll by the side of the Grand Canal taking in the sights and sounds, I am always amazed when I enter the Arsenale di Venezia dockyard dating back to the thirteenth century. Just around the corner is the Museo Storico Navale which is well worth a visit. By now, I am in need of a famous Bellini at Harry's Bar, prior to enjoying a wonderful meal in one of the quaint family-owned restaurants by one of the small canals. It's then back to the Arsenale for the spectacular Sonne Lumiere display.
What was plan B?
To join the Royal Navy or Royal Air Force.
This article is presented by Princess Cruises