Chronicles of a First Mate: A glimpse into the nautical world of Mariposa Cruises

My name is Kyle Larkin, and over the course over the summer I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the work the officers of Mariposa put in throughout they year as we gear up for another action-packed season!

About Me

After five years at the University of Toronto pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I naturally progressed to steering boats for a living. But in all seriousness, what began as a kid from rural Ontario searching for a summer job in Toronto six years ago, turned into a passion. Having had no experience with boats at all except for yearly fishing trips, I started as a deckhand and learned the world of seamanship and the hospitality cruise industry from scratch.

As time passed, I slowly realized the magic of being on the water and became much more partial to the nautical aspect of Mariposa. The learning curve felt steep at first, as operating a vessel (even one as little as Rosemary!) requires a breadth of knowledge that most people underestimate. But with generous help from our well-rounded roster of captains, who are made up of some of the smartest and most interesting people I have ever known, I acquired the menagerie of licenses, certifications, and experience needed to safely man Mariposa’s six vessels in the ever-busy Toronto harbour. And I don’t see myself looking back.

What a Crew!

On April 1st Mariposa Cruises held its 30th Annual Orientation. The entire Mariposa Crew (returning and new hires) united on the Captain Matthew Flinders for an official kick-off. Afterwards, Captains and navigational crew hold their own meeting on the new rules & regulations and ever-changing laws governing the water. The Captains want to pay attention to these laws first and foremost while also trying find new way to deliver the best guest experience possible. Every single cruise–and there are hundreds each year–I never fail to learn a dozen new things. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I’m surrounded by some of the smartest and hardest working people I’ve ever known. You’ll be meeting more of them throughout the season, but let’s start with our resident Newfie, Captain Dave Yetman, the Classic Captain you’d picture who spent decades on large vessels in the Arctic working some of the toughest jobs. Every shift with Dave is a blast, and I’ve learned as much from him as anybody else.

Boat Migration: Getting the Oriole and Showboat Ready for Season #30

Now for the fun part. After the meeting adjourned, we divided into two teams in order to return the Oriole and Showboat to their regular berths in order to prepare for the season. They’re kind of like polar bears, as they hibernate in the warmer, more sheltered slip for the winter, before waking up in the spring and moving south to the warmer, more active slips along the waterfront.We remove the extra ropes we use over the winter to keep the Oriole and Showboat extra secure throughout the winter weather. I remove the spring line and we back the Showboat out of the slip.The Oriole follows less than a minute later.

And finally, Showboat and Oriole are back home, looking majestic as ever and ready to be beautified for the season!

Keep in tune throughout the summer as I’ll endeavour to bring you more behind-the-scenes looks at our vessels and bring you a perspective you might not have been exposed to before. Happy sailing!

We’re Building our 2017 Team of Amazing Talent!

At Mariposa Cruises, we are gearing up for another busy season. For 30 years our team of professionals have been delivering unforgettable cruise experiences on Toronto’s Harbour.

Our team is the perfect blend of trusted experience and new energy and each season we look to continually improve our services. We are a team of professionals passionate about delivering the highest level of quality and service to our guests who come to us from all over the world.

There are many seasonal opportunities. With six busy passenger boats operating in Toronto and hosting a wide variety of events and programming, we are recruiting Cruise Managers, Reservations Agents, Event Coordinators, Harbour Tour Guides, Bartenders, Maintenance and Daytime Operations (Maintenance/Deck Hands), Kitchen Help and Servers, Captains, Mates and Marine Engineers.

Check out our Career Section for available openings.Hospitality and Tourism requires a genuine commitment to being a positive can-do person. If you are a student or seeking to launch your hospitality career, we offer many entry level positions that can set you on your career path.

Resume & Experience Building

Some of our opportunities are perfect for students seeking entry level positions. Not only will our training allow you to hone your customer service and hospitality skills, you have a unique opportunity to work as part of a crew on a boat, participate in regular drills and understand what it takes to work as a team. (more…)

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.  (more…)

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!