Neil PalombaCosta Crociere S.p.A. Group has appointed Neil Palomba to the newly created position of senior vice president, hotel operations and guest experience, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Palomba will report directly to Michael Thamm, chief executive officer of Genoa, Italy-based Costa Crociere S.p.A..

Palomba will oversee hotel operations and guest service across the Costa fleet.

"With his ability and his extensive international experience in the industry, Neil will contribute substantially to our executive team," said Thamm. "Neil's main responsibilities will be to take Costa forward, to strive for continuous improvement through operational excellence and to make our guests' experience on board an unforgettable holiday."

Palomba started in the cruise industry in 1996 with MSC Cruises, advancing through several onboard positions and becoming project manager of the newbuilds department in 2001, charged with coordinating all departments involved in new shipbuilding projects.

In 2006 he was appointed chief operating officer of the MSC sales and marketing office based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., overseeing the U.S., Canada, Caribbean and Mexico. In 2010 he was appointed corporate operating officer based in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for optimizing profit by establishing performance parameters and developing new destinations including supervision of MSC's South Africa operation.