Cuba Cruise: Interview with Yannakis the Hotel Manager

Cuba Cruise: Interview with Yannakis the Hotel Manager

On my recent Cuba Cruise, I sat down with hotel manager, Yannakis Ioannou to chat about his role and the benefits of cruising on this ship.

Cuba Cruise Yannakis

Why is the Cuba Cruise itinerary unique?

We are the only cruise line that takes passengers around Cuba. Other companies come to one port and leave. It’s for anybody who wants to see authentic Cuba.

What is the difference between this ship and mega ships?

The ship is nice, small, and cozy. Ok — we don’t have the luxuries of the big cruises and mega ships, but everything is Cuban here: shows, food, activities. Everything has to do with Cuba. It’s authentic.

Who is your typical clientele?

We see mostly couples. We see people who are first-time cruisers and people who have done 20 cruises. It’s a unique cruise. It’s not any normal cruise you take in the Caribbean. It’s something completely different and people want to experience it.

This year, we’ve had one third of the passengers Canadian, one third American, and the rest from all over. We have a lot of Germans, Scandinavians, Japanese, Chinese, and Latin Americans.

Where are you from?

Cyprus.

As the Hotel Manager, what are some of your responsibilities?

Look at it as a hotel: Anything that has to do with the hotel department, I’m in charge of. Like cabins, food, bars, entertainment, provisions, crew accommodations, crew food. Basically I do nothing. (laughs)

How many staff do you have?

Around 410.

As the hotel manager, I have 11 assistants: there’s the executive chef, maitre d, bar manager, provision master, sanitation, housekeeping, crew stuart, shore excursions, guest relations manager, cruise director and the food and beverage manager. Each manager has their own assistants, for example, the executive chef has three sous chefs, but all of us work as a team.

How many staff member are just in the food and beverage department?

Around 250.

How do you know how much food to order for all the people onboard?

We have a system whereby we know more or less the percentage of dishes that are going every night and then we analyze this. The analysis goes to the provision master who has the ingredient list and orders accordingly.

How far ahead do you order and where do you get the ingredients from?

Usually one month. Ingredients are predominately from the United States and Europe. We have provisioning in Montego Bay and we recently started provisioning in Cuba.

How does the dining experience compare to other cruise lines?

It’s similar. The restaurant is open seating. We also have options if someone wants to have something extra – lobster and steak from the U.S. as well.

What were some of the recent renovations that took place?

Last November, we put balconies on 54 cabins and we renovated some of the bars with new upholstery, carpet, lighting, and furniture.

Do you have accessible staterooms?

We have 6.

For more information on Cuba Cruise, check out my review here.

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