She Believed She Could.... & So She Did!!
For many years people at home would ask me "what exactly does a Superyacht stewardess do"? And I’m sure many thought I just smiled nicely whilst serving tea and coffee to the guests on board (similar to that of an airline stewardess).
So what exactly does a super yacht stewardess do?
A Superyacht stewardess wears many hats, think housekeeper, waitress, safety officer, guest relations, butler, laundress, florist and well groomed hostess.
A typical day may include:
Drinking is at the cultural epicenter of every social group on the planet and a yacht stewardess must be extremely competent with serving all types of beverages. Skills a stewardess must possess are:
- Wine knowledge, wine, pairing wine storage and wine service.
- Champagne service.
- Port and Cognac service.
- Beer knowledge and beer service.
- Cocktail knowledge, preparation and decoration.
- Spirit's knowledge.
- Hot beverages, tea and coffee service.
- Storage knowledge of fine tea and coffee.
- Soft drink and other non alcoholic storage and service.
Further with beverage service, a good stewardess will also be educated about tobacco and service of cigars, cigarettes and pipes.
Broadly speaking, there are five types of service that a stewardess is required to competently master.
These are as follows:
- Silver service.
- American service or plate service.
- English service.
- Buffet service.
- Russian service.
In addition to the styles of service a yacht stewardess must be well versed in:
- Table management.
- Table settings
- Menu courses and order of service.
These duties and the success of a beautiful dinner or a bodacious party primarily lay with the Head Chef and Chief Stewardess.
A super yacht is full of fine fabrics, and expensive artwork, so a yacht stewardess must be extremely proficient to handle such pieces; or may be required to work under the supervision of the Chief Stewardess until that level has been achieved.
- Housekeeping duties will include cleaning cabins.
- Cleaning public areas on board.
- Cleaning the officers' cabins.
- Cleaning the crew mess and other crew areas.
The details of housekeeping will depend on the size of the vessel and will be co-ordinated by the Chief Stewardess.
The most common types of fabrics a stewardess must know how to launder correctly are:
Laundry details and co-ordination will be explained by the chief stewardess, and must be executed by the stewardess. This is an area where many mistakes can happen so extra diligence is required here.
Flower Arranging & Plant Care:
Flower arranging and plant care is a fun part of the job. The reason why every good stewardess should know how to arrange flowers is that ‘yes… you are on a yacht’ and you may not have access to or the budget to call a florist every time your flowers or plants need attention.
Yes, I’m sorry to say that looks do matter in this industry. It is one of the things that I found hard to handle when I was being instructed to hire ‘model’ like stewardesses.
However, there is a light at the end of this (some times) superficial tunnel; and that is groomed and presentation.
Grooming, personal hygiene and personal presentation is not hard to manage. Knowing your colours, what hair style suits your face and how to wear your uniform can make a great impact on your overall presentation.
Professional Etiquette & Interpersonal Communications:
Professional etiquette and personal communications in my opinion are one of the most under rated assets of a stewardess.
These skills must be learnt over a period of time; where a stewardess will learn how to speak and when to speak (a skill that many struggle to master); how to walk on a boat, and how to carry herself in front of very important people.
Communication skills are not only limited to verbal communications, but also includes non verbal communications, like a pretty smile, or non direct eye contact (depending on the culture of the guests).
All of these small things make all the difference to your guests having a truly relaxed and enjoyable experience on board.
STCW 95 & Safety Responsibilities:
Finally a super yacht stewardess must fulfil her safety role in a case of an emergency. Her role will depend on her position, the size of the vessel and her qualifications. Her role will be allocated to her by the Captain or Chief Officer (again depending on the size of the vessel) and must be taken very seriously.