John Delaney is president of Windstar Cruises and has overall executive responsibility for all business and global operations for the award-winning small ship cruise line. He joined the Windstar team in July 2016. Delaney was formerly SVP of Global Marketing and Sales for Seabourn Cruise Line and held a number of positions at Holland America Line including Vice President of Revenue Marketing, Director of Special Projects, and Manager of Management Advisory Services. He also had significant tenure with The Walt Disney Company including leading the Financial Planning & Analysis function at the Disneyland Resort. John earned his BS in Business Administration and Accounting from California State University in Long Beach, California, and resides in Seattle where he serves on the board of directors of the Pike Place Market Foundation. John is also a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s invitation-only Society of Fellows.
Vice President of Fleet Operations
Chris Prelog brings more than 20 years of cruise-related job experience to Windstar. He is responsible for overall hotel operations encompassing the complete guest experience including culinary, entertainment, and guest services, as well as oversight of all administrative, nautical and port operations including purchasing and logistics. Prelog was educated in Austria, earning a Bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality management from the esteemed Bad Gleichenberg Institute. After graduation, he worked at several Austrian hotels including the Vienna Hilton before his debut as an up-and-comer in the cruise industry, starting in 1998 as an onboard assistant maitre d’ hotel. Prelog’s work has been recognized with top awards and resounding accolades by cruise guests and industry insiders including travel agents and top travel publications. Prior to coming to Windstar Prelog was with Seabourn as Vice President of Hotel Operations and Hotel Entertainment. Chris is also a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s invitation-only Society of Fellows.
Steven Kona Simao, CTC
Vice President of Sales
Steve Simao oversees domestic and international sales. He has spent the last 20 years in the cruise industry, most recently as the Director of International Sales at Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruise Brands where he oversaw international sourcing for developing markets and managed the worldwide network of GSAs for both brands. During his tenure at Holland America, he also served as Director of Sales for the Western Division, as well as Purser for the Holland America’s annual Grand World Voyage. Prior to his tenure with Holland America and Seabourn, Steve was employed as a Chief Purser at Norwegian Cruise Line. Simao graduated from Mansfield University with a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis on travel and tourism.
Vice President of Technical Operations
Paul Barrett is responsible for Technical Operations overseeing all related aspects with regard to safety and regulatory compliance, inventory control and purchasing, shipyard projects and refits. He has over 30 years of marine engineering and technical operations experience having most recently worked for the Holland America Group overseeing Technical Operations for Princess Cruises’ 18 vessels deployed worldwide. He is a graduate of the Executive Management Leadership Program, UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from California Coast University. He is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institute of Marine Engineers, Scientists and Technologists in the U.K. and a member of the U.S.A. Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
Vice President of Accounting
Peter Beck brings to Windstar 25 years of financial, accounting, and staff management experience, most recently working at Seattle-based Columbia Hospitality, Inc. as vice president and chief financial officer. He is responsible for overseeing management of the company’s financial reporting and accounting functions, and managing the budgeting, forecasting, capital planning, and risk management processes. Previous positions included serving as vice president and chief financial officer for the Space Needle Corporation, as well as several progressive positions within the finance department of Westin Hotels & Resorts. Beck is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Fullerton.
Vice President of Human Resources
Vice President of Human Resources Valentina Zackrone joined Windstar from transportation company, Sound Transit, where she was chief human resources officer for the past five years. Zackrone also held senior human resources positions in other industries, but is not new to cruising or Windstar, having worked for Holland America Line in the Human Resources Department for nearly a decade. Zackrone is a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, where she attended St. Petersburg University to earn a dual master’s degree in education and linguistics. She volunteers on the board of Treehouse for Kids, an organization aimed at improving the lives of foster children.
Senior Director of Guest Services
With nearly 40 years of travel-related experience, George Howell is responsible for the Vacation Planning department which supports sales and customer service. Howell is a past president of Skal International Seattle and chairs the organization’s WSU Hospitality and Tourism Scholarship Fund. He has served on various travel advisory boards including Disney Travel Services and Washington State Blue Ribbon Travel Board. Prior to coming to Windstar, Howell ran Howell Management Company, providing consulting services to the travel industry in sales, operations and marketing. He is a veteran of the Cruise Industry and Retail Travel management, in addition to his early career experience in travel agency and wholesale travel sales and operations.
Director of Hotel Operations
In his Director of Hotel Operations position, Tobler is responsible for overall leadership and guiding principles overseeing hotel management for the fleet including food and beverage operations, revenue, product development, service standards, and employee training and development. Tobler was running his own consulting business and was vice president of culinary/food and beverage for Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, as well as director of food and beverage operations for luxury operators Seabourn and Cunard. Tobler’s recent cruise industry successes include receiving the Best Cruises for Food Lovers distinction by Food & Wine Magazine; the Seatrade Insider Cruise Award for the Chef’s Table, and a 31st Annual Telly Award for Love at First Sip. Educated at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Culinary Institute of Zurich in Switzerland, and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Tobler is a lifetime member of the Cornell Society of Hotelmen and past president and chairman of the board of directors for the Marine Hotel Association.
Director of Information Technology
Brian Kimmons serves as the Director of Information Technology for Windstar Cruises and brings 20 years of hospitality information technology experience, including 15 in the cruise industry. He is focused on implementing new corporate information technology standards, as well as providing around-the -clock support to Windstar’s vessels. Previous positions include working as director of information technology for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, as well as 10 years at Silversea Cruise Lines. Kimmons holds a degree in computer science and biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Corporate Executive Chef
Chef Graeme is responsible for overseeing menu and recipe development; culinary talent retention, recruitment and training; culinary partnerships, standards, procedures, and innovations for the cruise line. He is responsible for elevating the guest dining experience by developing destination-centric recipes that celebrate the authentic cuisine of the region including sourcing local ingredients. Cockburn has enjoyed an illustrious career established early on with the crème de la crème of cuisine, including training at world-famous The Gleneagles Hotel and the Pompadour Restaurant Edinburgh, named top restaurant of Scotland during his tenure. He has trained with Michelin-awarded chefs and was recruited for Cunard’s Queen Mary II, also working for Princess Cruises, and Seabourn. He holds a degree in culinary management, and his awards include two Gold Medal Hot Kitchen – Hot Chef awards. He also cooked at Buckingham Palace for the Queen at a state honors event. Chef Graeme is a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s invitation-only Society of Fellows.
Director of Risk Management & Compliance
Bringing with him a diverse spectrum of experience from both the U.S. Coast Guard and the cruise industry, Mike Inman is responsible for Windstar Cruises Risk Management, Regulatory and Environmental Compliance, Maritime Auditing and Safety Management System programs. He works alongside the fleet operations, technical operations and compliance teams to maintain and further enhance the company’s high standards for safety and traveler welfare. During his distinguished career with the U.S. Coast Guard, he was involved in leading complex search and rescue, law enforcement and international engagement operations in the Caribbean Sea, Bering Sea, North Pacific Ocean, and into the U.S. Arctic. This included commanding multiple Coast Guard ships and serving as the Captain of the Port for Southeast Alaska. He previously also worked for Holland America Group focusing on safety, occupational safety, emergency response and environmental issues. With a Bachelor Science in Marine Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a Master of Science in Telecommunications Systems Management from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Mike is also an Associate Fellow of The Nautical Institute and on the board of the Alaska Maritime Prevention and Response Network.