What’s Cooking? The scoop on revamped menu offerings this season!

Andrew Vilhena, Director of Hospitality at Mariposa Cruises, talks about new onboard menu offerings this season. Our culinary team have developed a fresh take on our traditional buffet offerings.

Menu-wise, what can our guests anticipate in 2017?

We pay close attention to our customers’ requests, their preferences in menu selections, and the important feedback from post-cruise reviews and customer surveys. Buffets continue to be the most popular choice, however our Food Stations and cocktail style menus are becoming increasingly in demand.

Our 2017 menus consistently offer a vegetarian main, in addition to our traditional beef or chicken. We feature a variety of choices, different salads and sides for more vegetarian and vegan friendly options. Our delicious gluten-free tomato and edamame salad, or the cranberry and baby spinach stuffed tortilla (Gluten- Free & Vegetarian) with wild rice and butternut squash, are some examples.

Tell us about how Mariposa Cruises is revamping its cocktail-style menus:

We host a lot of cocktail style events for both our charter and scenic dining programs.  Our Sip & Sail Cruise program is a great alternative to a patio and a relaxed way to experience Toronto. We offer a variety of hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and platters on the menu. Guests can decompress from their work day, mingle, & take in the views and enjoy some food and cocktails.

On the private event cruises, we’ve identified the growing popularity of food stations and passed appetizers. This menu style encourages more movement on board for guests to mingle and enjoy the scenery and not be tied to timelines around meal service.

We have created a variety of fun, creative food stations, from fresh PEI Mussels, to pasta prepared to order with choices of sauces and ingredients, along with Asian & Thai stir fries. We’re serving up the classic Canadian favourite—poutine— in new ways, using a variety of ingredients (pulled pork, turkey,) and tasty toppings like guanciale, the Italian cured, dry-aged bacon made from pork cheeks.

Sliders continue to be popular, with the classic Mariposa favourite, AAA Canadian Roast Beef, aged for 28 days, hand-carved, and served au jus with grainy mustards and horseradish.

Tell us about satisfying the sweet-tooth!

Most of us enjoy a sweet ending to our dinner, but are aware of the healthy benefits of eating less sugar.  In 2017, we launch our new dessert stations, which will feature miniature items, bite-sized and on the go, perfect to enjoy on deck taking in that skyline. Moving from the heavier cakes and tortes, we are excited to showcase our new mini mousse cups featuring Nutella, Reese’s Peanut Butter and tasty miniature cheesecakes like the classic New York, or Raspberry Delight. Our guests can savour a little of everything. Plus, we have our usual freshly baked cookies, pastries and cannoli.

We’re also introducing delicious, fresh hot fruit crumbles which definitely falls in the comfort-food category!  We’re using fresh seasonal fruit—berries, apples, rhubarb, pears, etc., local wherever possible–topped with a crumble and baked to bubbling perfection. 

What about dietary requests and trends? 

Not only have we added vegetarian mains to our buffet menus, we have also identified several vegan options. We do our best to accommodate dietary requests of all kinds, from kosher menus, to halal, to guest allergies. Some things we can’t guarantee, for instance, our kitchens aren’t nut-free facilities. We encourage our guests to alert us of they dietary needs and we can customize dishes and menus for them.

What can you tell us about the products Mariposa Cruises uses in its menus?

We buy local and seasonal produce whenever possible; fruits for our dessert crumbles and pies, local ciders, Ontario winter root vegetables for the fall and winter menus. Our chicken is grain fed, and antibiotic, hormone-free. Our beef is Canadian AAA, and aged 28 days.  We support Canadian farmers, and more and more we’re adding organic products to our menus, like the organic pork sausage featured on our brunch cruises.

What menu options are available for private cruises?

Wow, that’s a long list! Mariposa Cruises can cater almost any style of event, from brunches and luncheons to dinners, cocktail receptions and activity stations. We have wedding menus, BBQ menus, menus for student groups, autumn, winter and holiday menus which can be viewed on our website.

And on your scenic dining cruises?

We have identified that many of our guests cruise with us frequently in a season and would like to experience different offerings. As such, we have developed different menus throughout our season. If you cruise in June, your menu will be different than if you cruise in September. It is all part of our overarching initiative to keep things fresh in the culinary department.

Any final thoughts?

Mariposa Cruises is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. Our food offerings will reflect 30 years of experience in the food service industry. As Toronto’s boat cruise operator of choice, we look forward to welcoming you aboard!  Bon Appetit! 

6 Helpful Tips for Planning your Wedding

Events Manager, Lauren Matunin talks wedding planning.  She’s been to over 100 weddings! Well not exactly…she’s coordinated that many during her tenure at Mariposa Cruises; plus many more special occasions on the water–so it sure feels that way! Lauren makes wedding dreams come true; and with so many happy nuptials behind her–and her own wedding to plan this year– she’s got plenty of insights & good advice to impart. (more…)

Tips for Holiday Party Planning

pictureMariposa Cruises talks to Leisure Program Coordinator, Courtney Mayer, who offers party planning advice that takes the stress out of planning and puts you on track to throwing a successful holiday gathering this season.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to throw a holiday party?


5 Great Reasons to Celebrate the Holiday Season with Mariposa Cruises

There are so many ways to celebrate the holidays with Mariposa Cruises this season. Whether you are looking for a unique event venue to celebrate with family, friends, or coworkers, or you want to get into the holiday spirit, we have just the festive event for you! This season, experience winter cruising from the warmth and comfort of the two largest ships in the harbour. The Captain Matthew Flinders and The Northern Spirit offer fully heated and festively decorated interior dining spaces from which to enjoy the winter wonderland of Toronto waterfront and  skyline–all lit up like a Christmas tree!

Here are 5 great reasons to get on board a Mariposa Cruise this season!

1. Holiday and Christmas Party planning made easy.


Rediscovering Toronto’s Waterfront

From industrial port to metropolis, Toronto’s harbour has come a long way.

If you haven’t visited Toronto’s Harbourfront in over a year, you’re in for a surprise.  An extensive three year revitalization project (completed in June 2015) has  transformed Toronto’s waterfront.  Queen’s Quay West is now completely accessible by car, public transit, on foot or by bicycle, with lots of great public places to frequent and enjoy. Tourism is also up this year:  Big events, a low Canadian dollar and really great weather have all contributed to an increase in visitors.


If you spend a day on Toronto’s waterfront, you’ll notice a multitude of activity on the lake. (more…)

An enchanting evening aboard the Classical 96.3 FM Summer Cruise

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Marg Koop recalls her experience aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders last year for The New Classical 96.3 FM Summer Cruise on the Toronto Harbour. Join us again this summer for the 2nd Annual Classical 96.3 FM Cruise on August 18th. 

Boarding the Classical 96.3FM Summer Cruise

The 1st annual Classical 96.3 Summer Cruise with Mariposa Cruises on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 was an enchanting evening. My friend and I were among the many classical music fans and avid listeners of the New Classical 96.3FM radio station who had traveled down to the Toronto harbourfront for an evening of classical music and fine dining while cruising on the Toronto Harbour.

We were blessed with exceptionally warm clear weather, which made the outside deck that much more enjoyable for taking in the marvellous Toronto skyline and snapping photos of it.

Sharon and Joe: Reflections on their First Wedding Anniversary

Our guests Sharon and Joe were married aboard the Showboat on July 3, 2015. A year later Mariposa Cruises is happy to welcome them on board again to share their wedding experience and celebrate their First Anniversary.

By the time Joe and I were married, we had been together for 26 years!  Although we often talked about ‘tying the knot‘, we could not decide on ‘the how’, traditional or non-traditional.  The pivotal event that helped in our decision came when we attended a fundraiser aboard the Northern Spirit.  We later discovered that good friends had been married, years earlier, aboard the same ship.  We were ‘hooked’!  With Mariposa Cruises we had our traditional ceremony with a very unique venue!

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We made inquiries with Mariposa Cruises and met with Daryl, one of the sales staff.  He answered all of our questions and addressed our concerns.  Daryl turned out to be the perfect person to talk to, as he had married his wife aboard the Showboat the previous year.  His many ideas, suggestions and advice were so helpful.  Daryl left Mariposa Cruises shortly after our meeting, but there was a seamless transition to Sophie, their senior sales manager.  Sophie was very friendly and accommodating.  She was always available to chat about whatever we needed to know – a lovely lady. The person whom we dealt with the most, face to face, would be Lauren, our event manager.  Following our walkabout aboard the Showboat with our photographers, we had many discussions about the set-up.  Lauren was always patient and understanding in dealing with the many details.

THE WEDDING DAY WAS PERFECT!  We couldn’t have asked for better weather!  Everything went according to plan thanks to our cruise manager, Amar, who did everything in his power to ensure that we had the best experience possible.  We cannot say enough about the food!  Our guests still rave about it!

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One of the best compliments we received was from one of our 30ish year old nephews who asked, “Auntie Sharon can you get married again?”  The only complaint was that it was too short!  Everyone had such a wonderful time!  The entire Mariposa Cruises team was committed to making our wedding day special, and they exceeded our expectations!We have not ended our relationship with Mariposa Cruises just yet.  We celebrated our 1st anniversary with a dinner cruise on board the Showboat and possibly many more after that!

Hats off to the fabulous staff at Mariposa Cruises!

Z103.5’s All White All Night Cruise Was A Night To Remember

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Laura D recounts her experience aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders during last year’s  Z103.5 boat cruise. Join us again as we host their 2nd annual party cruise on July 21st.


The horn sounded and the engines swelled. The decks of the luxurious Captain Matthew Flinders yacht were filled with droves of beautiful people dressed in their most luminous whites as they waved goodbye to July.

The sun may have been setting but summer was still in full swing, and the folks who usually help fill the radio airwaves were making waves on Toronto’s Harbourfront for the annual Z103.5 appreciation cruise.


ALOHA SAILOR! Enjoying a Hawaiian Luau on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Michele Aristide recounts her experience aboard the Northern Spirit for the Hawaiian Luau Dinner Cruise on the Toronto Harbour..

Hawaiian Luau Dinner Cruise

After a long and difficult week, my husband and I went aboard the Northern Spirit in hopes of some R&R.

We were immediately greeted by a very cheerful Manager, Allison, who welcomed us aboard. Once on the ship, the soothing music of Hawaii and a lovely young female dancer attracted our eyes and slowed us down from our fast paced march of the work week. Her slow and ethereal movements immediately made us feel like we just entered an environment that would give us just that, a nice relaxing evening.