I was born in Galati, a quiet town in Romania, which is home to three rivers – the Danube, the Siret and the Prut. There’s a port and a big promenade along the Danube near where I live. When I was young, I used to enjoy watching the passing ships and would dream about what it would be like to work on one. You could see all kind of ships here – the big cruise ships coming in to the port, along with the smaller river cruise ships, which were dotted around them like ants. My passion for sailing took me to the School of Marine Technology in Galati. After graduating, I worked on all kinds of ships including my first cruise ship in 2005. I’ve been a Sailor, Boatman, Steersman and First Mate, slowly working my way up to my dream position of Captain. I’m proud to have worked for lots of prestigious companies during my career and I’m excited to start my new position with TUI. Nowadays, I live in Galati with my family who are my world. I’m married to a beautiful Romanian woman, Maria and together we have two children – 10-year-old Alexandru and 8-year-old Theodora.
My two uncles used to sail the open sea. I think I developed a passion for travelling around the world and gaining new experiences after listening to their stories.
I love that you can go to sleep in one town and wake up the next morning in another.
My favourite moment is actually a funny one. After my Captain’s exam, the German examiner said to me ‘Glückwunsch dass du deine Prüfung bestanden hast’, which means ‘Congratulations on passing your exam’. I was so exhausted and emotional that I didn’t understand. I replied that I was very sorry that I didn’t pass. He gave me a glass of water and said laughing, ‘There will be no next time, you passed. Congratulations’. After finally realising what he’d said I started laughing too. We remain good friends even to this day.
It’s all about experience and the skills gained through years of training and practice.
It’s two different worlds, both of which are fascinating. The biggest difference is that with river cruise ships you can’t rely on autopilot. So, sailing a river ship is a much more ‘hands-on’ job. You need to keep your eyes on the river at all times.
TUI is a trusted, well-known holiday company with a great reputation. The opportunity to be a part of this, and of something new is exciting for me.
The chance to introduce guests to river cruising through new destinations and experiences.
I enjoy visiting both lively cities and small towns. My favourite big cities are Austria’s Vienna with its Schönbrunn Palace and Botanical Gardens, Germany’s Koblenz – home to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress – and Amsterdam because of its picturesque canals, dotted with small boats. My favourite small towns are Cochem and Bernkastel in Germany. They both have charming architecture and are usually full of happy, smiling people.
I’m most looking forward to two. The Rhine Explorer – this seven-night itinerary calls at some of the smaller, lesser known cities and towns along the Rhine, such as Breisach and Kehl in Germany. Also, European Icons – it’s a 14-night cruise, which stops at some of the most impressive cities in Europe, including Austria’s Vienna and Hungary’s Budapest. Check out all of our river cruise itineraries.
There’s really no such thing as a ‘typical day’ for a river cruise Captain. Every day is different and brings new challenges. That’s one of the most exciting things about my job.
Relax and just enjoy yourself.
First-time river cruiser? Check out our essential guide to river cruising.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
As its name suggests, this itinerary’s all about the Rhine River – you’ll visit Amsterdam, Germany, France and Switzerland.
Moselle Valley – Vines & Views shows you the best of Europe’s vine-crossed countryside – think traditional towns complete with buckets of charm.
Explore everything from pretty palaces in Vienna to thermal baths in Budapest, on this seven-night itinerary along the Danube River.
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