Crew Profile: Captain Roberto Leotta – Carnival Liberty

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Captain Roberto Leotta

The master of the first Carnival ship to receive the ‘Fun Ship 2.0’ treatment has been working for the line for 24 years.

Captain Leotta spoke to Cruise in Review earlier this year about his love of photography and where he considers to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Cruise in Review: Have you always worked for Carnival?

Roberto: No, I finished school in 1984 and as soon as I finished school I went to work on a cargo ship.

Captain Leotta (centre) with his team of bridge officers.

Captain Leotta (centre) with his team of bridge officers.

I was with them for three years until 1987 then I was in the Italian Navy for one year.

In July 1988, I joined Carnival Cruise Lines.

It’s a long time…24 years.

Cruise in Review: What is your favourite part of the job?

137919bRoberto: My favourite part is the nautical aspects, the navigation and manoeuvring…I love manoeuvring the ship.

Cruise in Review: What is your favourite port to sail into?

Roberto: To be honest with you, the one I liked very much was Jacksonville.

I like the St Johns River, it was a very beautiful river and it was very nice to go around all of those big curbs with the ship, go through all these beautiful landmarks. It’s a beautiful port!

Another one that I like very much is San Pedro.

San Pedro was nice, everybody was there waiting for the ship to pass by and they were waiting for us to blow the horn. So that was a very, very nice departure.

I have very beautiful memories of San Pedro, California.

Cruise in Review: Were you on Liberty before she had the Fun Ship 2.0 renovations?

Roberto: No, this is my first contract. I have been assigned to this vessel until 2014.

Cruise in Review: How does your contract work?

Roberto: I get four months on the ship and two months off.

Cruise in Review: How do you like to spend your two months off?

Roberto: I stay home in Italy.

I like to travel…my wife is from Romania. So, sometimes, when I’m home, we like to go to Romania.

Last vacation we went to Paris for a week.

Cruise in Review: Do you get any time to get off in the ports?

Roberto: I do, once in a while. Not that often because we are busy with drills, training, inspection and things…but yes, I do once in a while.

Cruise in Review: On the current itinerary that Liberty is sailing on, what is your favourite port to spend time in? 

Roberto: I have had no time to get off in any of the ports in one month, but, I am planning to go out in Roatan.

I’d like very much to visit the market and buy local fruits…now is the season of the mango. Also, visit the fish markets.

So that’s what I am going to do in Roatan; see if I can buy some mangoes and some fish.
Hopefully before I go home, maybe one day I will go scuba diving in Roatan. That is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Cruise in Review: Have you had any celebrities sail aboard a ship you’ve mastered?

Roberto: Oh yes! I think the biggest one was Celia Cruz, the Salsa dancing Cuban lady.

I was on the Carnival Triumph…that was back in 2001. She was a great person, I was really, really impressed with this lady. Because, I mean, you expect a big celebrity like her to hide but she was totally the opposite!

She was open to everybody; she wanted everybody to stay with us, she wanted to have lunch with us, she liked to meet all the Latinos who were onboard and she was so humble that you could not imagine.

Cruise in Review: When you are on vacation, what are the three things that you have to take with you?

Roberto: My camera. I love pictures, so my camera is always with me.

And then…maps. But I don’t like the new ones, the electronic ones with satellite and GPS, no, the traditional ones on paper.

Then, my computer, of course…to look at all the pictures I take during the day. I’m very simple! I’m not very complicated so I think just very, very few things to be happy!

Originally written by Natalie Aroyan for e-Travel Blackboard

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