Giovanni Cutugno is living his dream as captain of the Carnival Magic.
“My goal always was to be captain of a cruise ship and I love my job,” he said. “I have been with the Magic since she started. She is my baby.”
The man from Italy has been with Carnival Cruise Lines an amazing 35 years. “I have been a captain for 23 years,” Cutugno said. “I am Carnival’s most senior captain.”
It started on Nov. 15, 1978, when Cutugno boarded the Carnival Festivale as a third mate. “I come from a family of seamen which meant it was in my blood,” he said. “But my experience was in cargo and tanker vessels.”
Working his way up in the ranks, Cutugno served on a long roster of Carnival ships – Mardi Gras, Carnivale, Tropicale, Holiday, Jubilee, Celebration, Fantasy, Ecstasy, Sensation, Fascination, Imagination, Inspiration, Paradise, Destiny, Fiesta Marina, Spirit, Pride, Legend and Conquest.
He moved from assistant navigator to third officer, then second officer, then first, safety officer and staff caption. In 1991, he became captain of the Tropicale. The Magic is the fourth new vessel he has commanded.
“Every time it feels like the first time,” he said. “You always learn something new.”
When he was introduced at the Welcome Board Show on the Magic, Cutugno came on stage to the sounds of Maroon Five. That is always his intro music, he said, because that is the GRAMMY-Award winning band that performed for a standing-room-only crowd on the Galveston pier when the Magic arrived in her new year round homeport of Galveston.
As ship captain, Cutugno gave Adam Levine and Maroon Five a tour of the ships’ wheelhouse. I was at the same kick-off concert and the weeklong cruise that departed Nov. 14, 2011, for the Magic’s inaugural cruise.