Demanding guests and difficult crew are just a few elements that a Superyacht stewardess must learn to take in her stride.
On a charter superyacht in season it may be weeks before your next day off. You may be having to deal with, literally, the most demanding people on the planet for as many as 18 hours of the day.
In this environment perfection is a minimum requirement, and under these strains a superyacht stewardess has to develop superhuman levels of patience.
It's not a job for everyone, but those who get a thrill from providing immaculate service in difficult circumstances have plenty of tips to share for those who are finding patience difficult to come by.
Working in a 7* Plus Hospitality Environment
The role of a superyacht stewardess will open a window on how a tiny proportion of the world's population lives. It's a select few, and they can be unique in more ways than just their wealth. Many will have unusual habits, make extravagant requests or have an unconventional manner, and it is up to you to adapt and apply a whole host of different skills while at their beck and call.
Your job description extends to all manner of odd-jobs and it's up to you to master all of them. Just by way of introduction you'll have to understand the nuances of international etiquette, keep watch at night, help the exterior crew, apply a silver dining service, help plan meals tailored to the guests' tastes, maintain the cleanliness and tidiness of the yacht's interior and perform a variety of laundry duties, many of which are personalised for the guests.
When dealing with billionaires, (many of whom are staking their reputations on the smooth operation of their superyacht while their guests are on board), the word "no" is not in your vocabulary.
Whatever the demand, and however outlandish it may seem, you are obliged to find a way to make it happen. What's more, it's not just enough to meet the needs of your guests, the role of a stewardess working in a 7* plus a hospitality environment dictates that you should go about your work with a smile and cheerful air.
Experienced stewardesses talk about a gradual transformation into a service superhero, no matter the time of day and no matter how many days into a voyage. The rewards in tax-free salary and tips, which can be 10-15% of the charter, speak for themselves and make the effort worthwhile.
Patience with Professional Challenges
Out at sea, you may be confronted by any number of professional challenges. One of the most common is a universal truth of seafaring; some people will get sick. This can be a particularly challenging situation to deal with.
It's not just the unpleasant task of cleaning up vomit quickly and efficiently, you will also have to attend to some poorly and most likely impatient guests and make sure that they are as comfortable as possible.
Superyacht stewardesses, also have to get used to the fact that there will be no set routine on board, especially during a charter. Your day will be dictated by the schedule and demands of the guests, and it's up to you to change to ensure that you offer a bespoke experience for them.
Here, goal-related thinking will go a long way. A calm exterior and brave face will inspire confidence and peace of mind for your guests, and there's a good chance it will be rewarded financially at the end of the trip.
Many superyacht stewardesses say that, once they've learned to go with the flow the charter takes on a timeless quality, as days blend together in a pleasant way.
Patience with Personal Challenges
Something that many superyacht stewardesses find difficult to cope with is the absence of personal space. Quarters can be cramped and cabins are shared. Crews tend to mix and match so there's a chance that you'll be spending a lot of your time in the company of a stranger.
Homesickness can also strike at any time, even to the most hardened seafarer. Rather than getting nostalgic and looking to the past, try to look forward to future experiences and the time you'll get to spend with loved ones when the season does come to an end.
At these times it's a good idea to fall back on the training that you put to use in the professional sphere. Approach every day with a smile, but also fix your gaze on the best parts of the job.
Because few things are better than when you have time off between charters, when you'll be moored in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Many stewardesses take the time to treat themselves, booking in for massages, sunning on the beach or by a pool.
For these days you can be as selfish and demanding as the guests you serve out at sea. And that gratuity will be all the more welcome when you're relaxing in a tropical paradise like the Bahamas, Saint Martin or Saint Barth. So while the potential for stress can be quite high when you're on a sailing, the opportunity for de-stressing and luxury is never too far away.
Patience with difficult guests
All stewardesses will have an interesting story to tell about the guests that they have served in the past. It's a simple fact that the super-rich have a different set of standards and modes of behaving to the rest of the world.
A watchword, no matter how difficult the guest may be, is discretion. It comes with the territory in this business, and even when recounting weird and wonderful tales of times at the beck and call of an eccentric sheik or rude oligarch, stewardesses will never name names.
Spending days on end at the beck and call of difficult guests can be especially draining. But, though it may sound strange while you're actually living the experience, there's little in this job that beats the satisfaction when you come to the end of a particularly challenging stint and know that you made sure that the guests went home happy and satisfied.