Princess Cruises announces Star Princess captains

US-based Princess Cruises has announced the two captains who will serve as masters of the line’s second, Sphere Class cruise ship, Star Princess, during an official keel laying ceremony in Monfalcone, Italy.

Captain Gennaro Arma, who currently serves as the newbuild site lead for the construction of both Sun Princess and Star Princess, will be master of the 17th Princess ship when she debuts in summer 2025, bringing her into service from the shipyard. When Captain Arma is on leave, Commodore Nick Nash will take over the navigation and leadership of Star Princess.

‘It is my privilege to introduce and congratulate the masters of the stunning new Star Princess,’ said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. ‘Captain Arma and commodore Nash have remarkable histories with Princess, and will provide great experience and excellent leadership on our newest vessel.’

Commodore Nick Nash, a 33-year veteran of Princess Cruises, was promoted to the rank of commodore of the line’s global fleet in 2020. He currently serves as captain of Enchanted Princess, having navigated the ship out of the Fincantieri shipyard for the first time. Commodore Nash first joined the company in 1989 and was promoted to staff captain in 1997. In 2002, he became captain and has been at the helm of many Princess vessels.

Commodore Nash has also served as president of the Nautical Institute and after two years now serves on the council. He was awarded the United Kingdom’s Merchant Navy Medal for meritorious service in 2018. He is a Chartered Master Mariner, a fellow of The Nautical Institute, The Royal Institute of Navigation, The Royal Geographical Society and a younger brother of Trinity House.

Captain Gennaro Arma has always been passionate about the sea. He began his career with Princess Cruises in 1998 as a Cadet and moved up the ranks achieving his first command as Captain of Sea Princess in 2015, where he navigated the ship on two world cruises. He took the helm of Diamond Princess in 2018 and in 2020 and was honoured with the recognition of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, the highest of the orders of the Italian Republic, and selected among the 20 most influential Italian characters of the year by Vanity Fair in December 2020. Arma has also received the title of Magister of Amalfi Civilization for the Byzantine New Year, the Emanuela Loi award for courage, and the Assarmatori prize from the Italian maritime association awarded by the Minister of Transportation. He most recently served as captain of Discovery Princess. He was born in Sorrento, Italy, where he lives with his wife Mariana and his son Diego.

Star Princess makes her debut in August 2025, with cruises on sale now.

Thomson and First Choice launch ‘Collection’ range of exclusive excursions

Thomson and First Choice have launched a new range of exclusive excursions – ‘Collection’ – tailored to help customers get a taste of their holiday destination.

With the launch, Thomson and First Choice customers can now browse and book a range of special, exclusive excursions online and in-store before they travel.

Each of the holiday destinations has reportedly been verified to guarantee that they deliver greener, fairer holidays and comply with sustainability principles. The excursions that are part of the Thomson Collection and First Choice Collection are required to meet at least three of the six features enlisted to set them apart from excursions offered by other tour operators. To qualify, every excursion must be exclusive to TUI, should have no commercial stops, as well as meet minimum criteria for sustainability.

Jane Ashton, Group Director of Sustainable Development, says: ‘We’re delighted to be offering a range of exclusive and exciting excursions with sustainability principles that our customers can’t get anywhere else.

We’ve put criteria in place to make sure that all excursions which are part of either the Thomson or the First Choice Collection are exclusive to us with whilst meeting sustainability minimum criteria. We’re very conscious about the impact of our holidays on the environment and local community and are always looking at ways of reducing this, and including our excursions in this is the next step for us.’

Thomson and First Choice Collection excursions are available in Majorca, Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, Tenerife, Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata and Punta Cana) and Turkey (Dalaman).

Where possible the offer will include Wi-Fi on the excursion, and point out local charms that only a tour guide with detailed local knowledge would usually find.