Gearing up for Fall & Winter Cruise Season: A day in hospitality training

Like New York and Chicago, Toronto provides great opportunities for cruising in the fall and winter. As a busy summer season winds down, many of our seasonal staff departs, but it’s still business as usual at Mariposa Cruises as we move into our fall and winter cruise season.

Recently our Hospitality Department hired a small group of staff see us through to New Year’s Eve.  September Orientation consisted of a small group of new hires. Very different from April Orientation, during which we welcome and train our crew in large numbers, this orientation session was smaller and afforded us the opportunity to take a more experiential, hands-on approach to introducing our new hires to Mariposa Cruises.

Orientation began in the morning on the Captain Matthew Flinders, led by Director of Hospitality, Andrew Vilhena. Service training opened with an overview of company policies and procedures.

Training, Captain Matthew Flinders

Fall Orientation on the Flinders.

Afterwards the group headed over to the Northern Spirit for a working lunch and an opportunity to  experience Mariposa Cruises’ hospitality and service first-hand. Prior to lunch everyone ordered their drink of choice, and Andrew briefed them on the bar menu items, which included teaching them the difference between a typical Caesar and Mariposa Cruises’ signature Captain’s Caesar, served up spicy with Chipotle-infused vodka.

Bartending Training Session

Bartending Session on the Northern Spriit

After we set sail the lunch service commenced. Everyone had a chance to taste and familiarize themselves with the items on the buffet lunch menu and experience the lunch service.  The crew was briefed on all our product offerings, types of menus, service and selling techniques, followed by some time for feedback and questions. Many members of our crew are either in college pursuing a career in hospitality, or have years of experience behind them, and their comments and observations were welcomed and added so much more to the training session.

Lunch Cruise, Northern Spirit

Lunch Cruise on the Northern Spirit

Once Northern Spirit returned to dock and passengers disembarked, the group helped with cleaning and preparing the vessel for a scheduled charter in the evening. Next on the agenda was a bartending session that covered bar set-up and how to take inventory, followed by a tour of the Mariposa fleet before calling it a day.

Training is on-going throughout each season to maintain the best possible standards of service. In addition to  general orientation and safety training, we encourage professional development: crew are welcome to participate in cross training sessions throughout the season in order to gain new skills, from hospitality essentials to bartending to Cruise Manager training. Anyone who is willing can hone their skills or learn something new, whether they seek to move to a new position within Mariposa Cruises, or gain experience that will help them in the next step along their career path.

Interested in a position with Mariposa Cruises? We’re always looking for talent! Send us your resume at reservations@mariposacruises.com for consideration.

 

Meet the Crew: Customer Experience Manager Roshan Tajdini

Ro emcees Mariposa Cruises 30th Anniversary Voyage

Meet Customer Experience Manager, Roshan Tajdini, master of ceremonies and people person extraordinaire!  Roshan (aka Ro) has a background in entertainment and recreation that includes an 8-year tenure coordinating entertainment and events for Disney Cruise Lines, which gave him the opportunity to cruise all over the world. Two years ago, he left Disney Cruise Lines at the end of his contract to take an extended break and attend a family wedding. He took some time to travel around Canada and get his land legs back before returning to his hometown Toronto. Ro’s experience and warm & friendly personality was welcomed at Mariposa Cruises, where he has worked for two seasons.

Describe the role of Customer Experience Manager.

My role is to that ensure that guests who come aboard our Scenic Dining Cruises have the best cruise experience possible. That begins with our Hospitality Crew: recruiting, hiring, training and mentoring our staff, and supporting them with the delivery of onboard service on every voyage. I coordinate and oversee the onboard entertainment and activities, troubleshoot and generally make sure that the service on each cruise unfolds as smoothly as possible. My role involves a great deal of interaction with our guests, talking to them, answering their questions and making sure they leave happy customers

No two cruises are alike. Every cruise brings a different crowd with different expectations. How do you gauge the mood of our passengers on a typical voyage?

Our public cruise program offers different onboard experiences, from lunch, brunch and dinner, to our Sip & Sail Cruises and Special events. The type of cruise determines the expectations a lot of the time. Guests who come on board for lunch or brunch want a relaxing afternoon. It’s a daytime experience, an opportunity to dine together, experience the scenery and view, take pictures of the harbour. Cruising through the islands and lagoons is really picturesque and calming.  I meet a lot of tourists on my job  and enjoy hearing about their travels, if they’re enjoying Toronto, answering their questions. I love Toronto, so I’m always happy to offer suggestions about what to visit, where to eat, what’s happening in the city.  Sometimes I can feel the mood and start a trivia game or a giveaway; other times I know the guests just want to be left alone to do their own thing.

Dinner cruises on the weekdays are a little different than on the weekends; the energy is much higher on a weekend. People want to watch the sunset and see Toronto light up at night from the water. They want to enjoy music. There are couples on dates, families, private celebrations. Each cruise brings a different mix, but weekends have a certain vibe, whether our guests just want to keep to themselves or dance, mix with the crowd and participate in the onboard entertainment, I try to meet all these expectations.

Our Sip & Sails are shorter two-hour cruises, only two hours and perfect for the after-work crowd who don’t necessarily want to dine, they just want an alternative to a bar or patio or to experience Toronto in a different way.  A special event like our Fireworks Cruise is very high energy, so I communicate with the crowd throughout the cruise, building up the excitement to the Fireworks display, encouraging participation. This summer’s Fireworks Cruise was absolutely electric because of the Canada 150 celebrations. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cruises have a different feel. They are family events, so I have to know how to balance family time with keeping the crowd entertained. Our annual Santa Brunch is one of my favorite cruises because families come ready to play games and have their children participate in the holiday festivities.

2016 Santa Brunch Cruise

Have you ever read a crowd wrong?

No. Not yet.

Not surprising…Ro has a magical gift; there’s always a few tricks up his sleeve. He used to be a magician, and because he’s got a way with the kids, he enjoys dazzling them with his magic tricks. “I remember on one cruise a little boy was so fascinated with seeing me perform magic tricks, he told his parents he wanted to become a magician. I gave his parents tips to help him learn magic and where they could go to get a basic magician’s starter kit.”

What inspires you about your job?   

There is always something unique about every cruise. I have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I’ve learned to meet what comes with every voyage. We sail rain or shine, and it’s amazing how much impact the weather can have on the mood of a cruise.  I’m thankful for those instances when the rain suddenly stops and the clouds clear.  That’s when you see the craziest sunsets, and just like that, the mood of the cruise lifts and the energy changes. Moments like that inspire me, because I never know what to expect. No cruise is ever the same way twice on any given day.

Views on the job. Photos courtesy Roshan Tadjini

 

 

 

 

Live on the Lake rocks the Toronto Harbour

Toronto’s music scene hit the harbour in July when Mariposa Cruises introduced Live on the Lake to our public cruise program. Featuring performances by great local musicians on select Tuesdays aboard the Oriole, the music nights are similar to our Sip & Sail Cocktail Cruises where guests can take in the sights of Toronto’s skyline and harbour, except that these cruise nights are charged with the energy of live music. (more…)

2017 Miss World Canada Harbour Cruise

One of the most important things we do at Mariposa Cruises is share the Toronto harbour cruise experience with young people.  We traffic in shareable moments and set the stage for new friends to make foundational memories. Our staff aboard each of our unique ‘floating’ networking platforms strives to create the perfect place for young adults to start lifelong friendships.  Cruising the busy harbour opposite the biggest city in Canada is thrilling at any age, and watching the shoreline grow more distant while being ensconced in the excitement aboard ship impacts young minds and empowers them to visualize infinite possibilities on their own horizons. (more…)

On Celebrating 30 Years

If only our boats could talk, the stories they could tell of couples who met and fell in love, young students who came on a class trip, a corporate milestone celebrated onboard…they could boast about hosting dignitaries, sports legends, Stanley Cups, celebrities & movie shoots. There are stories of birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, company events, proposals and weddings. There are stories from so many who came to us from all around the world and visited our city of Toronto.  Over the last 30 years, our fleet has welcomed over 3 million guests and while our boats can’t speak, they do tell our story. (more…)

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. (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?

(more…)