Meet our Onboard staff

Captain Ante-Toni Mirkovic

Born in Split, Croatia, Captain Ante-Toni Mirkovic has been living in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik since the age of eight and is a graduate of the Nautical School and Maritime University there. In 1980, he joined his first cruise vessel, Dalmacija. Aboard this ship, he sailed the Mediterranean, North, and Baltic Seas, the entire Norwegian Coast, Island and Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, north of mainland Europe.
In 1986, Toni sailed on the cruise ship Ambasador as a Chief Officer and Staff Captain. This gave him the opportunity to visit the West and East coast of Africa on expeditions that included the Seychelles and Madagascar.
Toni became a Captain for the first time in 1995, on passenger-cargo ships cruising from Northern Europe to the United States. He also sailed on the famous sailing ship Sea Cloud on her Mediterranean and Black Sea voyages.
From 1998 to 2005, he served as Master of Cruise/Casino on NCCL vessels in Southeast Asia and Australia.
He joined Paul Gauguin Cruises in 2006 and is very proud to be in command of the m/s Paul Gauguin. The beautiful waters of French Polynesia never seize to amaze him and naturally the beauty of the Islands and the Polynesian Culture has made the The Gauguin his home away form home.

Sail with Captain Mirkovic on board The Gauguin.

Captain Rajko Zupan

Captain Rajko Zupan was born in Split, Croatia, which is the largest town on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he chose a career at sea. The first ship he commanded was the Sea Land container vessel, one of the largest container companies based in New Jersey. Zupan’s cruising career started with Costa Cruises. He then spent 15 years as Captain and Staff Captain with Orient Lines, cruising all the corners of the globe including Antarctica – spending ten seasons there and completing six circumnavigations of the continent. Zupan was also involved with start-up operations of both the Marco Polo and Crown Odyssey, including their major refits and refurbishments. He has been sailing the beautiful waters of French Polynesia for the past six years as Master of the m/s Paul Gauguin.

Sail with Captain Zupan on board The Gauguin or The Moana.

Captain Davor Ljutic

Captain Davor Ljutic was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia. With Dubrovnik having one of the oldest Nautical Schools and a deep maritime history in the Mediterranean, Ljutic selected a career at sea. After finishing his secondary education, Ljutic started as a Cadet on ships. In 1984, he graduated from the Faculty of Maritime Studies at the University of Dubrovnik. Ljutic worked for Atlant Line, a local cargo company, until 1987 when he was promoted to Chief Officer. In 2003, he joined his first cruise vessel – the Walrus/Neptune-Asia Wide Company. From 2004 to 2007 he worked for the Iberocruseros Company on the ships Grand Latino, Grand Mistral, Grand Voyager, and Grand Celebration as well as the Seabourn Pride, Silver Whisper, and Amadea. He joined Paul Gauguin Cruises in June 2008 as Safety Officer and was promoted to Staff Captain, second in command to the Captain, and in charge of safety, navigation, maintenance of the ship, discipline of the crew, and security of the vessel. In 2014, he was promoted to Captain.

Sail with Captain Ljutic on board The Gauguin.

Staff Captain Ivan Silic

Born into a nautical family in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Ivan Silic followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and brother by attending naval school. Upon receiving his high school naval degree, he served as 1st and 2nd officer aboard ship before leaving the sea to attend the University of Split, Croatia. He joined the army upon earning his naval degree.

After finishing his service, he worked as captain of a 250-passenger catamaran for seven years. In 2002, he became Safety Officer for a French family-run cruise line, CroisiEurope. In 2013, he joined the m/v Tere Moana as Safety Officer and was quickly promoted to Staff Captain.

He is married and has two daughters.

Sail with Staff Captain Silic on board the m/v Tere Moana.

Staff Captain Marko Bubalo

A native of Rijeka, Croatia, Marko Bubalo is a graduate of the Nautical School in Bakar and The Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka. He began his nautical career in 1995, as a cadet on an oil tanker, and, after passing all the required exams, he was promoted to deck officer. In 2005, he had the opportunity to join the cruise vessel industry when he was hired as Safety Officer aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. He also worked for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Ibero Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises before taking a hiatus from the sea in 2010 to work in the maritime industry on land.

Marko rejoined Paul Gauguin Cruises in 2012 and is delighted to be working aboard The Gauguin as Staff Captain. In this position, he is second in command to the Captain and thus in charge of safety and security, navigation, and maintenance of the vessel, as well as the discipline of the crew.

Sail with Staff Captain Bubalo aboard The Gauguin.

Hotel Director Jean-Paul Grepon

Originally from Bandol, France, Jean-Paul Grepon studied in Germany and Nice before joining his first ship, with the cruise line Paquet Cruises, in 1974. Starting as a waiter, he quickly worked his way up to Hotel Operations Manager. Between 1991 and 1994, he moved on to the Ocean Pearl and then to the Ocean Princess, traveling to Antarctica and South America. In 1995, he became corporate Hotel Operations Manager for Costa-Paquet Cruises before joining Festival Cruises to help develop the cruise ship Mistral from concept through completion. In 2001, he became auditor for the bankrupt Renaissance Cruise Line, helping to accelerate the reopening of the ships in Gibraltar and Tahiti as the Regatta, the Insignia, and the Nautica. As Hotel Supervisor for Renaissance, he worked on the Delphin Renaissance, traveling to Japan, Alaska, Asia, the Panama Canal, and the South Pacific. In 2007, he continued to explore the world with Cruise West and the Spirit of Oceanus. Fascinated by Asian culture, he currently lives in Bali and is delighted to join the award-winning m/s Paul Gauguin as Hotel Director.

Sail with Hotel Director Grepon on board The Gauguin

Hotel Director Nelson Trindade

Born in Sines, Portugal, Nelson Trindade grew up in Biarritz, France. After graduating school in 1986 with a degree in Tourist and Hotel Management, he worked in London in different hotels under the Trusthouse Forte Hotel Group and in Michelin-rated restaurants.

He joined his first ship, the Cunard Crown, in 1992, where he started out as a Buffet Supervisor and advanced through the ranks to the position of Restaurant Manager. In 1998, he joined Windstar Cruises as Dining Room Manager, sailing the Caribbean during the winter season and the Mediterranean in summer.

He has since continued his mastery of the hospitality industry at sea with Norwegian Cruise Line, which he joined in 2002, and Disney Cruise Line, where he served for five years aboard the Disney Dream, visiting the Caribbean, North and South America, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. He is very pleased now to be cruising the exotic South Pacific aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, and Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America aboard The Moana

Sail with Hotel Director Trindade on board The Gauguin and The Moana.

Hotel Director Jacques le Tallec

Jacques Le Tallec was born in Brittany, France, to a family in which hospitality spans four generations. He began his own career in hospitality in the Caribbean island of St. Bart, where he worked for several years at a five-star resort. From there, he traveled to England, where he earned a degree in International Hospitality Management from Brighton University. He launched his career at sea in 1983 with Pearl Cruises, then joined Orient Lines as Hotel Manager in 1987. Having sailed from the North Pole to the South Pole, he now is delighted to be plying the warmer waters of French Polynesia. When not assuring the comfort of guests aboard The Gauguin or The Moana, Jacques divides his time between Peru and the small village in Brittany where he was born and where Paul Gauguin himself helped to found the Ecole de Pont-Aven before moving to Tahiti.

Sail with Hotel Director le Tallec on board The Gauguin orThe Moana.

Cruise Director Isabel Morales

Born in Lima, Peru, Isabel has been fascinated by the legends, myths, and history of the Incas and other ancient civilizations from a young age. That interest inspired her to study other languages and also led her to obtain a degree in Tourism and Hotel Management.

Her profession has since taken her all over the world with such major travel companies as Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Variety Cruises. Among the destinations she has visited are Europe, Africa, the Americas (including Alaska), the Caribbean, and the Emirates. She feels very fortunate to have experienced the different cultures and lifestyles of these places, and to have worked with extensive multicultural teams.

In 2013, Isabel joined the m/s Paul Gauguin, first as an International Hostess in charge of the onboard French entertainment program and then as Guest Relations Manager. She is now happy and honored to be Cruise Director on board the m/v Tere Moana, where she is charge of the onboard entertainment and cultural programs, as well as shore excursions.

She has a genuine passion for people, traveling, and culture, and boasts an adventurous spirit that is contagious. She looks forward to devoting herself to making your cruise aboard The Moana a joyful and an unforgettable experience.

Sail with Cruise Director Isabel Morales on board The Moana.

Cruise Director Michael Shapiro

Originally from New York, Michael Shapiro has wanted to be a singer and actor as long as he can remember, and performing remains his first love and passion. Since his first stage appearance, at the Barn Theater in New Jersey at age ten, soon followed by high school stardom, he has been plugging away at his craft. 

After graduating from the University of Colorado with a theater degree, Michael moved to New York City to work in musical theater and television. Among his credits are the dramas All My Children, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live—cast as the head waiter. He also spent one year doing extra and under-5 work on Saturday Night Live. Musical theater credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Joseph's Dreamcoat, Music Man, and most recently Bush Is Bad and Play It Cool  in Los Angeles, where he was nominated for an Ovation and LA Weekly Awards.

A passion for travel, however, led him to start working as a performer on numerous cruise ships, and over the years, he has found himself on Scandinavian World Cruises, Sitmar Cruise Line, Royal Cruise Line, American Hawaii, Cunard, and Radisson Seven Seas. After spending a year (1997) as a performer on the Song of Flower, he was asked to join the m/s Paul Gauguin, becoming Cruise Director in 1998.

When not in the Tahitian Islands, Michael makes his home in Los Angeles, where he also remains an active entertainer. You can catch his latest film, Mr. Zummenshine, on YouTube, along with his hosting work under the name Michael Craig Shapiro. His self-titled CD, which he made with The Gauguin's onboard band, Siglo, is for sale onboard and is available at

Sail with Cruise Director Shapiro on board The Gauguin.

Cruise Director Pauline Abed

Born in Mexico City, Pauline began her career as an entertainer immediately after high school, performing at 5-star resorts in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Among these was the Barceló Maya Beach Resort, where she served as Activities Manager. In this role, she coordinated a variety of activities for guests of all ages, including sports activities, watersports, comedy shows, dance instruction in salsa and merengue, and more.

She then began working on 5- and 7-star cruise ships, holding a variety of positions that included Assistant Cruise Director, Cruise Director, Youth Activities Manager, and International Concierge. She was delighted to join Paul Gauguin Cruises as Cruise Director aboard The Moana in September 2014.

A proactive, focused, and committed professional, she loves working in the travel industry and having the opportunity to work with children and adults from all over the world. Whether she’s giving dance lessons, organizing games or arts and crafts activities, or otherwise entertaining our guests, she enjoys getting to know everyone aboard The Moana and learning about their cultures.

Sail with Cruise Director Pauline Abed on board The Moana.

Cruise Director Cristian Frew

Hailing from Romania, Cristian was adopted by English parents at the age of only 15 months and is proud to call England his home. He has shown a keen interest in the entertainment industry from an early age, and the entertainment-and-events company he created, BigBigNights, has taken him around the world—most notably to Scandinavia, Russia, Europe, America, and the Caribbean.

For the past seven years, he has spent his summers working abroad, first on Spain’s Costa Blanca, then on the island of Mallorca, and finally in Cyprus. The winters saw him back in England, performing at various venues around Yorkshire and running BigBigNights.

He longed to pursue a life at sea, however, so he joined Carnival UK, a division of Princess Cruises, then went on to Cunard, P&O, and Seabourn Cruises. He is happy to have accepted the position of Cruise Director aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin in late 2014.

When not at sea, Cristian makes his home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Sail with Cruise Director Cristian Frew on board The Gauguin.

Travel Concierge Manager Pia Neekzad

Born in Tuusula, Finland, Pia planned to take a year off from school before matriculating at the University of Helsinki. She moved to London, where she fell under the city's spell and decided to settle there permanently.

She attended hotel and tourism management colleges in central London before launching her career by working in reservations at some of the city's top hotels—notably, the Washington Mayfair Hotel, Le Meridien Piccadilly, and the NH Harrington Hall Hotel. After five years in the hotel world, she gravitated toward tourism, joining travel companies that created special-interest and customized itineraries and group travel programs to the UK and Europe from North America, New Zealand, and Australia.

It was when she had an opportunity to work for a cruise ship agent in London that she got the inspiration to work at sea. She started her nautical career with Royal Caribbean International as Shore Excursion Manager on a number of their ships (Brilliance of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, and Grandeur of the Seas), cruising the beautiful Mediterranean, the historic Baltic, and the vibrant Caribbean. In 2010, she found her way to the exotic South Pacific and is now delighted to help you make the most of your time aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin.

Sail with Travel Concierge Neekzad on board The Gauguin

Travel Concierge Manager Sorin Crihalmeanu

Sorin Crihalmeanu brings more than ten years of experience in the travel industry to his role as Travel Concierge Manager aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. After studying economics and engineering in his homeland of Romania, he began his career with Celebrity Cruises in 2003 as a Shore Excursions Assistant Manager. He was quickly promoted to Shore Excursions Manager. A few years later, he was promoted again, this time to the position of Onboard Marketing Manager.

After a wonderful time working for Celebrity Cruises, Sorin decided to take a break from the sea in order to launch his own business back home in Romania. A year later, he agreed to join Paul Gauguin Cruises while still developing his own tourism business at home.

In all, Sorin has visited more than 100 ports worldwide, including ports in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, and he imbues his work with his enthusiasm for traveling and discovering new cultures and places. He looks forward to sharing his expertise with you. 

Sail with Travel Concierge Sorin Crihalmeanu on board The Gauguin