Name: Vito Giacalone (my family was very humble so they only gave me one name!)
Country of Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Country of Current Residence: Italy, but I spend lots of time in Slovakia
Job Title: Master (Mariner) Unlimited COC
1. Why did you choose the career you did and how long have you been a Captain?
Being at sea has been in my Dad’s family heritage since the beginning of the time, although I ended up enrolling in Nautical College against his will, then went into the Italian Navy. Back then it was mandatory and I served 14 months on the most beautiful sailing vessel – the Naval Academy ship Amerigo Vespucci. Afterwards I sailed with a few different companies to get my sea time so that I could upgrade my license. In September 1989, after taking a sabbatical to assist my terminally ill parents, I managed to get my Master’s ticket and on March 17, 1990 (Saint Patrick’s Day) I stepped aboard my first Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Carnival Holiday, as a 3rd Mate. In December 2002, I took command of my first Cruise ship – the magnificent Carnival Paradise (back then it was a no smoking ship), so this December it will be 18 years.
2. What is a Captain responsible for?
Everything on board! Health, environmental, safety, security… and then some… in the presence of GOD.
3. What specific qualifications and/or experience are required for this position?
An IMO unlimited Master License and all the STCW required courses is all that is needed from a certification point, however the Master of a modern, extra large cruise vessel, just alike a CEO ashore, is required to be a strong leader and that is quite a task!
4. Please describe a typical working day for you.
Well, depending on the itinerary, the schedule will vary. Either way, days start very early and end very late and will consist of the arrival manoeuvre, debrief with the Bridge Team and departure manoeuvre. The day after arrival we have more manoeuvre briefings, then there’s HESS (Health, Environmental, Safety & Security) inspections and meetings, operational business meetings, departure debriefings, guest and crew functions and engagements, HESS and maintenance walk-through and hopefully some rest and gym time! I love walking on deck at sunset or sunrise – that is where and when I plan most of my days ahead.
5. What personal qualities do you consider to be drivers of success for this position?
Modesty, humbleness, the ability to listen, listen, listen, good leadership skills…..and of course great seamanship.
6. If you weren’t a Captain what other job would you have done and why?
Possibly fulfilling my father’s dream of making wine in my beautiful Tuscan village birth place of Montalcino.
7. What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people and the unlimited horizon and sky. It’s a constant reminder of the presence of the Almighty.
8. What do you enjoy least?
Packing my luggage before signing on and off a ship. I really hate packing… even for vacation!
10. Tell us something about yourself that not many people know!
I really love Motorcycles, but I stopped riding them for 29 years after promising to do so to my Mom when she was on her death bed. I broke the promise two years ago, so now I ride my steel horse once more. The sense of freedom and independence really relaxes me and the sense of respect among bikers is second to none. I am really passionate about it!