Sun Princess Exterior Concept
Sun Princess exterior

Excitement is building as the launch of Sun Princess nears! In just one year, this new generation ship from Princess Cruises will debut in the stunning Mediterranean. Sun Princess will offer a wealth of new destinations, facilities, and experiences for travelers, including reimagined signature spaces, all while honoring the cruise line’s history as ‘The Love Boat.’

“With such an amazing opportunity to elevate the guest experience, it takes an equally talented team of revered mariners to oversee the ship’s final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard, then officially take delivery of the ship and welcome the first guests onboard.

– Princess Cruises President, John Padgett

The highly qualified team, with over 150 years of combined experience, is leading the construction of Sun Princess and will be responsible for the ship’s inaugural season. The team includes Captains Craig Street and Paolo Arrigo, Staff Captains Brian Whelan and Valerio Esposito, Hotel General Managers Ralph D’Souza and Simona Stumberger, and Chief Engineers Gaetano Guida and Davor Pavlovic-Kalifo.

Here’s a more in-depth look at the maritime professionals who will be instrumental in the ship’s progress, delivery, and beyond:

Sun Princess Inaugural Team

Captain Craig Street: Captain Craig Street joined Princess as a deck cadet in 1990, following his time at the Warsash Maritime Academy in the south of England that also included training aboard cruise ships. Appointed third officer in 1993, Street worked his way up through the ranks, taking command of Star Princess in 2008, and has since served as captain of 13 Princess ships. Street developed an appreciation for travel at an early age as he spent much of his youth living with his family overseas in various countries including Nigeria, Singapore, Dubai, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia. He was educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Scotland, before joining the Princess family. With a keen interest in flying, he also holds a private helicopter license and when time permits, enjoys playing golf in the amazing ports Princess visits. His favorite ports are those in French Polynesia and Hawaii.

Captain Paolo Arrigo: An accomplished mariner whose career spans more than a quarter century at sea, Captain Paolo Arrigo joined Princess Cruises as a deck cadet in 1996 after serving for a year in the Italian Coast Guard. After moving up through the ranks, serving as first officer, safety officer and staff captain, Arrigo was named captain at Princess Cruises in 2017. In addition to his role as captain, Arrigo has worked for Princess’ shoreside headquarters on a variety of high-profile projects, including the managing elements of the development and launch of the MedallionClass Experience. His extensive maritime experience and easy rapport with guests and crew made him a natural choice to serve as captain of the reality-based television program, The Real Love Boat, which recently completed its first season and attracted millions of new viewers to the brand.

Staff Captain Brian Whelan: A native of Galway City in Ireland, Brian Whelan began his maritime career 23 years ago with Princess Cruises, and over the years has steadily moved up the ranks to his current position of staff captain. A graduate of the Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, Whelan holds a Master Mariners’ Certificate and has been named one of 20 leaders under 40 by Seatrade Cruise News, a prestigious cruise industry publication. When he’s not onboard ship, Whelan enjoys traveling with his family and lists the Mediterranean as his favorite place to cruise.

Staff Captain Valerio Esposito: A native of Meta di Sorrento near Naples, Italy, Valerio Esposito’s career spans more than two decades, including the past 17 with Princess Cruises. He started as deck cadet on Golden Princess in 2006, and quickly progressed through the ranks up to his promotion to staff captain in 2018, becoming one of the youngest in the company to earn that position. Over the years he has commanded virtually every ship in the fleet, including Star Princess, Dawn Princess, Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess, Ruby Princess, Caribbean Princess, Island Princess, Diamond Princess and for P&O Australia – Pacific Pearl and Pacific Eden. He is currently staff captain of Majestic Princess. Esposito completed his studies in the South of Italy at Nautical Institute Nino Bixio, nearby his hometown, and holds a Master Mariners Captain License.

Hotel General Manager Ralph D’Souza: D’Souza joined Princess in 2006 as a junior purser and worked his way through the ranks and achieved his goal of becoming hotel general manager in 2019. The highlight of D’Souza’s career was being chosen to be part of the inaugural team for the new Royal Class series of ships. During his seagoing career, D’Souza has been part of the launch team for Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. In 2017, he was selected to be part of the deployment team of the MedallionClass Experience, where he was an ambassador of this new and innovative way to cruise with Princess. D’Souza holds a degree in EMBA and a Ph.D. in business administration. When he is not sailing the sea, he enjoys spending time at his seacoast home where he soaks up the abundance of nature around his home by gardening and keeping fit.

Hotel General Manager Simona Stumberger: A native of Slovenia, where she studied language and hospitality management, Stumberger began her career at sea in the bar department and further diversified her hotel experiences by working in the guest services department and hand in hand with the hotel and food & beverage division. She is now proudly a hotel general manager, where she shares her passion for travel and impeccable service with each guest. When on vacation, she loves spending time with family and friends, hiking the beautiful mountains in the Alps and looking after her orchids, which are her passion.

Chief Engineer Gaetano Guida: Gaetano Guida joined Princess Cruises in 2002 and was named chief engineer aboard Royal Princess in 2017. After earning his nautical degree in July 1999 from Nautical Institute Nino Bixio in Piano di Sorrento, Italy, Guida joined the Italian Navy serving on the “M/V Vesuvio,” a refueling ship for other naval ships. He met his wife onboard Star Princess in 2015, and together they have two sons. His hobbies include reading, particularly, leadership and psychology books, and listening to music.

Chief Engineer Davor Pavlovic-Kalifo: Davor Pavlovic-Kalifo joined Princess Cruises in 2002, as second engineer and was named chief engineer aboard Sapphire Princess in 2014. A native of Croatia, Pavlovic-Kalifo worked as an engine cadet onboard a cargo ship and then went on to college, graduating as a marine engineer. His first assignment on a cruise ship was Tahitian Princess, where he met his wife. They are proud parents to a 3-year-old boy, and they love spending time as a family in Dubrovnik. When not traveling the world, Pavlovic-Kalifo enjoys deep sea fishing and exploring the Adriatic islands via his motorboat.

Some members of the team have already arrived at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy and over the next few months, they will be joined by nearly 1,600 colleagues who will make up the inaugural crew of Sun Princess. These dedicated individuals are eager to offer guests an unforgettable vacation experience.

Sun Princess Cruise Deals

On sale now, Sun Princess is scheduled to debut in Europe on February 8, 2024, for a season of Mediterranean cruises, followed by Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale later in the year.


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