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!

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?

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Meet the Crew – Senior Sales Manager Sophie Watson

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to one of our Senior Sales Managers Sophie Watson.

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Meet the Crew – Leisure Sales Director Sue Vivanco

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to our Leisure Sales Director Sue Vivanco.

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Meet the Crew – Galley Chef Faye Valenzuela

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to one of our Galley Chefs, Faye Valenzuela.

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Meet the Crew – Senior Sales Manager Brenda Tucker

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to one of our Senior Sales Managers Brenda Tucker.

(more…)

Meet the Crew – Cruise Manager Allison Batic

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to one of our Cruise Managers Allison Batic.

(more…)

Meet the Crew – Server & Bartender Lev Kozhevnikov

Meet-the-CrewAt Mariposa Cruises we strive to exceed expectations and provide our guests with the highest levels of quality and service. It’s what sets us apart from our competition and why we are recognized as Toronto’s best recreational cruise by Consumer Choice Award and voted one of the top attractions in Toronto by Trip Advisor. It would be impossible to achieve this without the dedication and hard work that each of our team members exemplifies. For this reason, we want to celebrate our team members and let you get to know them a little bit better.

This month we would like to introduce you to one of our Servers & Bartenders Lev Kozhevnikov.

(more…)