The team of officers will bring more than 140 years of combined service with Princess Cruises to Sky Princess
CLARITA, Calif. (February 11, 2019) –– Princess Cruises has
announced the leadership team for its latest ship, Sky Princess, with seasoned
master Captain Heikki Laakkonen to take the helm and bring the ship into
services from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
Debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019,
Sky Princess will be brought into service by a team of officers with extensive
maritime experience, including more than 140 years' combined service with
Announcing details today, Jan Swartz, group
president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, said Captain Laakkonen
would sail on Sky Princess' inaugural voyage on October 20, 2019 in Europe, and
would remain at the helm as the 143,700-tonne ship offers a series of European
cruises before sailing to the Caribbean.
Captain Laakkonen will be joined at the launch
by Chief Engineer Officer Fabio Braccelli, Hotel General Manager Terri
Cybuliak, and Staff Captain Giovanni Cardile.
Captain Michele Tuvo, Chief Engineer Officer
Mladen Ratkovic, Hotel General Manager Richard Harry and Staff Captain Brian
Whelan will complete the leadership team. Captain Tuvo will represent the
entire leadership team during a ceremony on February 14, at the Fincantieri
Monfalcone, Italy shipyard to celebrate a significant milestone in the Sky
Princess new build process that will celebrate the ships' recent float-out.
"We are confident the deep seagoing expertise of
these officers will allow our future guests to safely enjoy all that a Princess
experience offers, and their strong leadership will support our crew in our
commitment to create lasting memories," Ms Swartz said.
Captain Laakkonen said he was proud to be
bringing Princess Cruises' newest ship into service.
"Sky Princess will be a magnificent addition to
Princess Cruises' fleet and I am deeply honored to have been chosen to
introduce this awe-inspiring ship to our guests," Captain Laakkonen said.
The 3,660-guest Sky Princess will include the
best of the stunning features found on - Royal Princess, Regal Princess and
Majestic Princess – as well as new offerings that represent an evolution of the
current ship' designs.
New offerings onboard the ship include the most
premium suites ever available from Princess Cruises, the Sky Suites.
Centrally located on the top decks of Sky Princess, the suites will offer the
largest private balconies ever offered by any
cruise line. Measuring 1,012 square feet (starboard side Sky Suite) and 947
square feet (port side Sky Suite), the furnished balconies will provide a
private vantage of the ship's Movie
Under the Stars screen and create the ultimate space for
entertaining. The two suites will also offer 270-degree panorama views and have
sleeping capacity for five guests, and more room for gathering -- making them
ideal for families.
Laakkonen - Captain Heikki Laakkonen was born in the coastal
town of Kotka, Finland and began his career in the Finnish Navy in 1991. After
completing military service, he studied at the Maritime College of Rauma,
Finland and graduated as a Master Mariner in 1999. Captain Laakkonen joined Princess Cruises in 2001 and first served as
Captain aboard Pacific Dawn in 2013. He has since commanded Pacific Pearl,
Crown Princess, Island Princess, Caribbean Princess, Coral Princess, Golden
Princess and Sapphire Princess.
Captain Michele Tuvo - Captain Michele Tuvo hails from Levanto, Italy. After completing naval
college and serving on container ships, Captain Tuvo joined Princess Cruises in
2000 as a 3rd Officer on the Sun Princess. He worked his way up through the
ranks on Sea Princess, Grand Princess, Golden Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire
Princess, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Star Princess, Coral Princess and
Island Princess. He served his first command onboard Star Princess.
Officer Fabio Braccelli - Fabio Braccelli lives
in Cerri di Arcola in Northern Italy and joined Princess Cruises in 1990. In 2004, Fabio began his first contract as Chief Engineer Officer aboard
Sun Princess. He has since sailed as Chief on Sapphire Princess, Caribbean
Princess, Pacific Princess and Royal Princess. He has been part of the Royal
Princess crew since 2013.
Officer Mladen Ratkovic - Mladen Ratkovic lives in Zadar, Croatia and started his career with
Princess Cruises in 2003. Mladen was promoted to Chief Engineer Officer on
Pacific Princess in 2014. After his time on Pacific Princess, he has also
served as Chief on Ocean Princess, Star Princess and Sea Princess.
Hotel General Manager
Terri Cybuliak - Terri
Cybuliak hails from White Rock, B.C., just south of the port of Vancouver. She
joined Princess in 1998 as a Junior Assistant Purser on the original Crown
Princess. Her career has progressed through the ranks, and
she has traveled with Princess Cruises to all seven continents.
Hotel General Manager
Richard Harry - Richard Harry was born in Farnborough, England
and now resides in Bristol. He joined Princess Cruises in 1988 as a Front Desk
Receptionist and worked on the original Sky Princess in 1989. Richard has been part of the newbuild teams for five Princess ships.
Giovanni Cardile - Giovanni Cardile was born in Messina in
northeast Sicily. Following a family tradition of seafaring, he joined the
Merchant Navy as a Deck Cadet, then after service in the Italian Navy, worked
on tanker and cargo ships. Giovanni joined Princess Cruises in 2005 and
advanced through the ranks to be appointed Staff Captain on Regal Princess in
2014. He has since served as Staff Captain on Regal Princess, Sea Princess,
Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess.
Staff Captain Brian
Whelan - Brian Whelan was born and raised in Galway on
the west coast of Ireland. His interest in cruise ships started with some early
family cruises, including onboard the S.S Canberra. Brian started his cadetship with Princess Cruises in 2000. He has worked
his way up the ranks, including working in the head office, before taking the
position of Staff Captain.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is
available through a professional travel advisor, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting the company's website at princess.com.
# # #
One of the best-known names in cruising,
Princess Cruises is the fastest growing international premium cruise line and
tour company operating a fleet of 17 modern cruise ships, carrying two million
guests each year to more than 380 destinations around the globe, including the
Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America,
Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England,
Antarctica and World Cruises. A team of professional destination experts have
curated more than 170 itineraries, ranging in length from three to 111 days and
Princess Cruises is continuously recognized as "Best Cruise Line for
In 2017 Princess Cruises, with parent company
Carnival Corporation, introduced MedallionClass Vacations enabled by the
OceanMedallion, the vacation industry's most advanced wearable device, provided
free to each guest sailing on a MedallionClass ship. The award-winning
innovation offers the fastest way to a hassle-free, personalized
vacation giving you more time to do the things you love most. MedallionClass
Vacations will be activated on five ships by the
end of 2019. An activation plan will continue across the global fleet in 2020
Princess Cruises continues its multi-year, "Come
Back New Promise" – a $450 million-dollar product innovation and cruise ship
renovation campaign that will continue to enhance the line's onboard guest
experience. These enhancements result in more moments of awe, lifetime memories
and meaningful stories for guests to share from their cruise vacation. The
product innovations include partnerships with award-winning Chef Curtis Stone;
engaging entertainment inspired shows with Broadway-legend Stephen Schwartz;
immersive activities for the whole family from Discovery and Animal Planet that
include exclusive shore excursions to onboard activities; the ultimate sleep at
sea with the award-winning Princess Luxury Bed and more.
Three new Royal-class ships are currently on
order with the next new ship under construction, Sky Princess, scheduled for
delivery in October 2019, followed by Enchanted Princess in June 2020. Princess
previously announced that two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships
in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests are planned for
delivery in 2023 and 2025. Princess now has five ships arriving over the
next six years between 2019 and 2025, increasing fleet capacity 32 percent. The
company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL;
Additional media information is available at princess.com/news.
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