Legendary US Secretary of Defense Joins Cunard’s Insights Programme


Former US Secretary of Defense, Dr Robert Gates, has been announced as a special guest for Cunard Queen Mary 2’s transatlantic sailing in August. Gates will be offering his unique experiences and considerable expertise to fellow guests as part of Cunard Line’s Insights programme.

Gates made history in 2009, when he became the first Secretary of Defense in history to be asked to remain in office by an incoming President of the United States. Serving under George W. Bush and Barack Obama from 2006-2011, Gates represented both the major political parties of the country.

Guests aboard the Queen Mary 2 sailing from Southampton to New York on 11 August 2015 are invited to pose questions to Gates during two Q&A sessions. A book signing session has also been organised for the cruise.

Queen Mary 2nd

Richard Meadows, president of Cunard North America, enthused: “We look forward to welcoming the celebrated Robert Gates to the Cunard Insights programme. We know our guests will enjoy learning about his significant contributions in public service, his tenure in national security and about his past and current business ventures.”

Overall, Gates has served four US presidents across a series of roles and positions. He joined the CIA in 1966 and served as an intelligence professional for 27 years eventually rising to the role of director. Record-breaking Gates is still the only officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director.


Upon leaving service in the White House in 2011, Gates was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama – the highest civilian honour in the US. This was awarded on top of his other honours which include the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal (both awarded three times).

Gates added: “I am very pleased to be invited into Cunard’s Insights program and to share stories from my career. I look forward to meeting guests from all over the world, and to experiencing one of Queen Mary 2’s renowned Transatlantic Crossings.”

Images sourced via Wikipedia Creative Commons Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Ed Schipul, stereotyp-0815


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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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