I heard the news today
On both a private and charter yacht, guests and owners expect the very best service and love that money can buy. Yacht crew are required to operate at the highest standard, almost superhuman. They are working in a pressured environment and new entrants may be unfamiliar with the sophistication expected of them. The crew are not there just to perform tasks; they are there to make every moment of experience onboard memorable for guests from the moment they wake up to the last minute they close their eyes. And that means delivering joy and radiating happiness.
Owners and charterers are not just buying time on a yacht. They are there to experience something unique to them, the greatest show on earth. They are the focus of everybody’s attention from the second they walk onto the yacht.
This generates an intensity to the crew’s working practices that impose a consistent level of pressure. Added to the demands of exceeding expectations, the crew has to share the excitement that the guests are feeling.
Lively up yourself
The superyacht is not a place to suffer depression or jaded nerves. The crew has to be lively and upbeat even when they are dog tired and dead on their feet after an 18 hour day. They are part entertainer while remaining discrete. Visible but transparent.
Starting in the morning as early as 06.00, before the guests rise, the yacht is washed down, and any traces of the night spray removed. Salt can be a bugger to wash off. Interior crew prepare the living, dining and relaxation areas, moving through the yacht with more co-ordination than synchronized swimmers.
The Sun is shining, the weather is sweet
When the guests rise, breakfast is served. Deck crew set about preparing for the day’s activities; this could involve setting up the water toys and inflatables or moving to a new location. Everyone has to know exactly what is expected of them. No panic, no running, no sudden moves. It is like a ballet without the tutu.
The interior crew will then start on cleaning the bedrooms which have to be spotless, way beyond levels that the average human being expects. Totally spotless, no smears, hairs, stains or imperfections. Whilst cleaning the cabins the interior crew will also need to be on call to attend to the guests at a moment’s notice.
The interior crew are in a mental state of alertness throughout the day. The body language has to be relaxed, not jumpy. Guest privacy is respected. Visible but transparent.
During the morning the Chef will be preparing the guest lunch. The routine of cleaning and tidying and attending to the guests continues throughout the day, with only short breaks.
The Chief Steward or Stewardess will also have to plan ahead in ensuring stores are monitored and readily on hand. Individual guests may have particular requirements and requests which have to be respected.
Food and beverages arrive in the morning when the crew form a chain up the passarelle. Flowers are delivered.
At dinner, all the interior crew will be present to serve. As the evening progresses, interior crew are scaled down, with the constant attendance of at least one crew member.
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Before the day is over, deck crew secure down all the toys and inflatables and stand down to normal watchkeeping duties. Not until the guests retire for the night can the interior crew stand down.
Much of the crew work into the night. The deckhands are putting finishing touches on their polishing and varnishing work. The rails are wiped free of fingerprints, dirt is cleared out of the scuppers and scratches from the teak are polished away to restore the yacht to a pristine state. The china is washed, the silver polished, and the guest linens pressed and stored. Lights are tested and every speck of dust is removed. Uniforms have to be pressed. Every day is a groundhog day of immaculate conception.
Throughout the day, all crew are required to be immaculately turned out in the yacht’s uniform. The pressure is relentless and there are often only very short breaks between charters, to restore the yacht to a state of splendour, fixing broken parts, ordering food and cleaning to an almost obsessive level of cleanliness.
And the beat goes on
The guests depart leaving a tip the size of a developing country’s GDP. Everyone is happy and relieved and exhausted. 24 hours later new guests arrive. Perhaps a first-time charter. The crew has to psyche themselves up again to be at the center of the guest’s superyacht experience. It’s showtime. Every day must be the greatest show on earth.