It has taken more than 10 years sailing in and sailing out again but P&O Cruises Captain Salvatore Lupo has recorded an astounding 500 transits of Brisbane taking thousands of Queenslanders on cruise holidays.
Captain Lupo has done more Brisbane transits than all but the most senior marine pilots charged with the task of guiding ships in and out of the port.
With an extended six-hour transit to and from Brisbane, the journey is far from being the maritime equivalent of a ‘walk in the park’.
“I like to think during the past more than 10 years that I’ve met on our P&O ships about half the entire population of Brisbane,” Captain Lupo said.
He could well be right. Since taking the helm of Pacific Sun in 2009, his first P&O command and then on Pacific Dawn, Captain Lupo has carried an estimated 750,000 cruise guests.
When Captain Lupo was originally deployed to Brisbane he was told it would only be for a year after which he would be assigned to ships in the United States.
“But the experience was so good and the affinity with a different cruise market so nice that I forgot to remind my shore manager that the planned ‘one year’ had already gone,” Captain Lupo said.
“Most of our guests are cruising for the first time and I believe that at the beginning they are thrilled with the idea of a sea adventure and very soon they realise they are in a friendly and reassuring environment, where everything is well organised for them to enjoy the experience.”
Appropriately, Captain Lupo’s 500 Brisbane transits were especially recognised by the port’s marine pilots who have the utmost respect for him.
To mark the occasion, Captain Peter Liley, managing director of Brisbane Marine Pilots, presented Captain Lupo with a memento after the ship arrived alongside at the Portside Cruise terminal.
Captain Lupo has also received warm praise from P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell.
“Huge congratulations on completing your 500th Brisbane transit, an extraordinary feat that only a few very experienced Brisbane pilots can match,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Few people would know that transiting the Brisbane River is both complex and far from straightforward.
“Your commitment and skill have been instrumental in P&O’s long term success in the Queensland market. Congratulations and thank you.”
Captain Lupo has enjoyed his 500 transits. “Every transit lasts approximately six hours and each one is always different from all the previous ones,” he said.
“After so many years running in and out of Brisbane, I still find the overall experience very interesting and extremely rewarding. Every time there is always something new to learn.”
Captain Lupo has been a seafarer for 45 years and, when he is not cruising in and out of Brisbane, home is in Malta with motorbikes and motorsports his major passion away from the sea.
Having achieved his incredible 500 transits, what are Captain Lupo’s plans now. “It’s time to stop counting,” he said.