This month saw the second of Bateaux London’s weekend cruises set sail since they re-opened for business in September. We spent some time catching up with Jorge Canela, Bateaux London’s Food and Beverage Manager, to talk to him about how the Bateaux team have successful relaunched dining cruises safely and with a great guest experience as well as the renovations and improvements he has made during the lockdown period.
As F&B manager, Jorge is responsible for all things guest related at Bateaux London, from pre-arrival communication to post event follow-up as well as most importantly what happens during the event itself.
Jorge has been in this role for the last two years and before that he worked as an operator in central London hotels. Having found his sealegs in this unusual venue he says there is nowhere he would rather be now creating great experiences for guests on the water entertaining them for lunch, dinner and Sunday Lunch cruise experiences.
The last few months haven’t been easy though. When lockdown set in and the business was temporarily closed, Jorge was initially re-deployed to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and then onto a Heathrow testing centre to help colleagues in our healthcare division at a really difficult time. He then returned to Bateaux London to prepare for reopening the business with covid safe measures in place, training the staff and preparing the teams for a new way of working.
Bateaux London took the opportunity to carry out some aesthetic improvements to the boats and the pier during the lockdown period including painting and decorating as well as setting up all the new safety procedures. Jorge, being a keen horticulturalist, also used the time to do something he had always wanted to do at Bateaux London, add some greenery! Jorge, who is renowned for his green fingers, installed beautiful plants and foliage to both the entry pier and the dining space onboard the boats creating a real oasis of calm and tranquillity for guests to enjoy.
‘The first event on board took a huge amount of preparation and hard work from the team’ said Jorge. ‘It was the first time the boat had set sail for six months and all the new covid safety measures were activated. The team were very excited to see guests back on board and guests enjoyed the experience too giving positive feedback and great appreciation for the food, the service and the overall handling of the event.’
Key measures introduced included social distancing, with over 500sqm of dining space on board there was plenty of room for everyone, installation of air circulation throughout the cruise, guests being seated at their tables throughout the duration of the cruise with table service from the bar. Guests were contacted 48 hours before the event with an email explaining the procedures for the cruise and giving table numbers to ease the boarding process.
The first cruise was a huge success and now three weekends have sold out to the end of October with a further 14 more cruises planned between now and Christmas including a Family Cruise launching 25th October, Thanksgiving 26th November and both Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
To add to the excitement, Friday 16th October, saw the opening of the brand-new pier bar at Embankment Pier. A beautiful bar and lounge with interior design by Tom Dixon serving a fabulous array of cocktails and bar snacks and specialising in gin and whisky.
It is London’s newest waterfront bar and lounge, a contemporary space with incredible views across the water to The South Bank. Open Fri-Sat 3pm to 10pm and Sunday 11am -4pm.
Jorge and the team are really looking forward to welcoming bar visitors and cruise guests alike to experience what Bateaux London has to offer.