Rai Caluori has one of the biggest jobs in all of cruising. He's not just senior vice president, fleet operations for Princess Cruises, overseeing operation of the 15 ships in the fleet. He's also the chief of operations for Cunard.
How do you get what for many passionate cruise travelers might seem the ultimate job? Start as a cruise director! Indeed, Caluori began his career with Princess in 1984 as an assistant cruise director. He soon worked his way up to cruise director, and during his six-year stint at sea, served on almost every Princess ship. In 1989, he came ashore to the line's Los Angeles headquarters to serve as director of entertainment.
Caluori hails from London and says he's had no problem in adapting to the southern California weather (with a wink to suggest "who could?") and lifestyle of Princess, which is based north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita. He's a dedicated dog dad and has two golden retrievers. He swears that some day he'll test out the kennels on Queen Mary 2 and issue an evaluation.
CC: What types of entertainment did you see at the start that are still around?
The expectation level has greatly increased. You can't get away now with just a couple of production shows and one TV channel. The same traveler is also going to Las Vegas and they don't buy the fact that you're at sea and can't do certain things they can on land.
CC: Where do you get your ideas?
That really came from seeing the big screen in Times Square. Everyone thought we were crazy, but we made it happen. It's become an iconic offering for us.
CC: What films have been the best received? Have any films been somewhat provocative?
We had thought of it, but they did it first! Everyone talks about the rock-climbing walls and ice skating rinks, but they're just not for us or our passengers. We want to have more people participating. Pockets of originality are a key to us, like Scholarship@Sea and the "Ultimate Balcony Breakfast or Dinner."