One Year Prior to Its Debut, Sun Princess Captains Are Announced

In one year, Princess Cruises’ newest and largest ship Sun Princess is scheduled to debut in the Mediterranean. To kick-start the one year countdown, the cruise line has announced the inaugural team that will lead the ship through its final phase of construction, delivery, and first season of sailing.

Note that there are two people listed for each role because officers have to switch off periodically to have breaks between their contracts.

the dome sun princess
The Dome on Sun Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Captain Craig Street

Captain Craig Street joined Princess Cruises as a deck cadet in 1990, following time at the Warsash Maritime Academy in the south of England that also included training on cruise ships.

Appointed third officer in 1993, he worked his way up through the ranks, taking command of Star Princess in 2008. He’s since served as captain of 13 Princess ships.

Street developed an appreciation for travel at an early age as he spent much of his childhood 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 before joining Princess.

With an interest in flying, he also holds a private helicopter license and enjoys playing golf in the ports Princess’ ships visit. His favorite ports are in Hawaii and French Polynesia.

Captain Paolo Arrigo

An accomplished mariner whose career spans more than a quarter of a century at sea, Arrigo joined Princess as a deck cadet in 1996 after serving for a year in the Italian Coast Guard. After moving up through the ranks, 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 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 on the reality TV program The Real Love Boat, which recently completed its first season.

sun princess sphere class exterior rendering
Sun Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Staff Captain Brian Whelan

A native of Galway City in Ireland, Whelan began his maritime career 23 years ago with Princess, and over the years has steadily moved up the ranks to his current position as 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. When he’s not on a ship, he enjoys traveling with his family and says the Mediterranean is his favorite place to cruise.

Staff Captain Valerio Esposito

A native of Meta di Sorrento near Naples, Italy, Esposito’s career spans over two decades, including the past 17 with Princess Cruises.

He started as a 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’s commanded nearly every ship in the Princess fleet, plus two P&O Australia vessels. Esposito is currently staff captain of Majestic Princess.

He completed his studies in the south of Italy at Nautical Institute Nino Bixio, near his hometown, and holds a Master Mariners Captain License.

sun princess horizons dining room
Horizons Dining Room on Sun Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

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Hotel General Manager Ralph D’Souza

D’Souza joined Princess in 2006 as a junior purser and worked his way up through the ranks, achieving 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, he has been part of the launch team for Royal, Regal, 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 the new technology.

D’Souza holds a degree in EMBA and a Ph.D. in business administration. When he’s not sailing, he enjoys spending time at his coastal home where he enjoys gardening and exercising.

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 diversified her hotel experiences by working in guest services and with the hotel and food & beverage division.

She is now 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 mountains in the Alps, and looking after her orchids.

cabana deck sun princess
Cabana Deck on Sun Princess (Rendering courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Chief Engineer Gaetano Guida

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 on Star Princess in 2015 and together they have two sons. His hobbies include reading and listening to music.

Chief Engineer Davor Pavlovic-Kalifo

Pavlovic-Kalifo joined Princess Cruises in 2002 as second engineer and was named chief engineer aboard Sapphire Princess in 2014. A native of Croatia, he worked as an engine cadet on 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 parents to a three-year-old boy and 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.

More Information

Several members of the aforementioned officers are already spending time at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, and over the course of several months will be joined by nearly 1,600 teammates who will serve as the inaugural Sun Princess crew.

The 4,300-guest Sun Princess is scheduled to debut in Europe on February 8, 2024 for a season of Mediterranean cruises followed by Caribbean voyages from Fort Lauderdale later in the year.

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