Princess Cruises Announces Discovery Princess Leadership Team

In less than 200 days, Princess Cruises’ newest ship Discovery Princess will debut at the Port of Los Angeles. The vessel’s inaugural season, beginning in the spring, will see the ship plying the waters of the Mexican Riviera and California Coast.

Discovery Princess is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and will carry 3,660 passengers.

discovery princess aft pool deck rendering
The aft sundecks on Discovery Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The Ship’s Leadership Team

Captain Gennaro Arma

Captain Arma began his career with Princess in 1998 as a Cadet and moved up the ranks, achieving his first command as Captain of Sea Princess in 2015.

He took the helm of Diamond Princess in 2018 and 2020, leading his onboard team through uncharted territory managing the COVID-19 virus onboard at the start of the pandemic. As a result of his efforts, he was honored with the recognition of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the highest of the orders of the Italian Republic.

He was also selected among the 20 most influential Italian characters of the year by Vanity Fair in December 2020.

Captain Arma was born in Sorrento, Italy, where he lives with his wife and son.

Captain John Smith

Captain Smith joined Princess in 2007 as a First Officer, and rose through the ranks into his current role as Captain when he took command of Grand Princess in 2018.

He joined the Merchant Navy in 1983 as a deck boy, and gained his first certificate in 1988, rising to the rank of Captain on board tankers and ferries before joining Princess Cruises.

As he made the transition from rating to officer, he received the “Watch Ashore” award by the Marine Society, and with this his name was added to the famous plaque in London.

Captain Smith is from Cheltenham, UK and now spends his off-time on the Costa del Sol, Spain.

READ MORE: How Princess Cruises Will Change Dining When Sailings Restart — Will Other Lines Follow?

Chief Engineer Vincenzo Alfi

Chief Engineer Alfi started as a 2nd Engineer Officer aboard Fair Princess in 1999. He was named Chief Engineer in 2011 on Ruby Princess and has since served on various other Princess vessels.

Born in Crotone, Italy, he graduated from the Italian Nautical Institute and had his first contract as an Engine Cadet in 1991 on a container ship.

Chief Engineer Tomislav Ljoka

Chief Engineer Ljoka joined Princess in 2003 as a 3rd Engineer Officer and reached his first contract as Chief Engineer in 2019 aboard Sea Princess. 

He’s served on various Princess vessels, including Crown and Coral Princess.

Born in Zadar, Croatia, Ljoka graduated from the Marine Engineering high school and sailed as Engine Cadet on bulk carriers. He then attended the University of Piran/Portorose University and graduated as Marine Engineer and completed a Cadetship on oil tankers.

Staff Captain Allesandro Genzo

Staff Captain Genzo began his career with Princess in 2004, where he climbed the ranks to Staff Captain.

Over his 17-year career with Princess, he’s served on a variety of Princess vessels. At the age of 10, he watched “The Love Boat” with his grandmother and decided one day he wanted to be a cruise ship Captain.

Born in Trieste, Italy, he studied at the Nautical College, one of the oldest nautical schools in Europe. Then he joined the Italian Navy, serving on a destroyer. Towards the end of his service he was transferred to the Morosini Navy School in Venice as an instructor before joining Princess.

Staff Captain Petar Lesic

Staff Captain Lesic joined Princess in 2006 and achieved his current position in 2018.

Born in Split, Croatia, he followed the seafaring tradition of his family and graduated from the Maritime University before starting his career in the Merchant Navy in 2000.

Hotel General Manager Richard Harry

Hotel General Manager Harry joined Princess in 1988 as a front desk receptionist. Since then, he’s been on the newbuild teams for seven ships.

Born in Farnborough, England, Harry now resides in Bristol with his wife — who he met on Golden Princess — and his two children.

Hotel General Manager Jasper Wolthuis

Hotel General Manager Wolthuis has served Princess since 2002, after seeing a Princess ship sailing by in Curaçao and deciding to pursue a career at sea.

He joined as a Junior Assistant Purser and has enjoyed serving guests ever since.

Wolthuis was born in Leiden, the Netherlands, and after receiving his degree in Hotel Management & Economics he moved to Curaçao to work in the hospitality industry before joining Princess.

Switching Out

princess cruises captains
(Photos courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Captain Arma is set to bring Discovery Princess into service from the shipyard, and will be joined at the launch by Chief Engineer Alfi, Staff Captain Genzo, and Hotel General Manager Harry.

When Captain Arma is on leave, Captain Smith will take over and serve with Chief Engineer Ljoka, Staff Captain Lesic, and Hotel General Manager Wolthuis.

“The entire Princess team, both ashore and at sea, would like to congratulate and recognize Captain Arma and Captain Smith on their notable and hard-earned appointments to lead our newest ship, Discovery Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

“Their meticulous focus to always look out for our guests is a testament to the level of service Princess is proud to deliver. The first Discovery Princess guests will have the pleasure of sailing with an esteemed inaugural leadership team.”

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