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.
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 personalisedfor the passengers.
Working in Customer Service
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 passengers, the role of a stewardess working in a 7* plus 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 the 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 passengers 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 voyage.
Many superyacht stewardesses say that, once they’ve learned to go with the flow the voyage 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 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 has 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 sheikh 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.
A skill every superyacht stewardess must learn to master.
The life of a superyacht stewardess is incredibly busy with many tasks demanding her attention seemingly all at once, therefore time management is the greatest skill that a superyacht stewardess can possess.
Time management is the ability to effectively manage your goals by implementing good planning and task management.
Poor time management can be related to lack of focus, distractions and procrastination, as well as problems with self-control and personal power.
If you are a stewardess who wishes that there were more hours in a day, then below are some helpful tips to help you achieve more throughout the day.
The more you focus on a set task the more you can achieve in a day, additionally the less you focus on the task the more distracted you become which results in a sub-quality of work.
Many people attempt to do everything themselves, which quite often results in a burnt out and stressed out stewardess. However many tasks can easily be assigned to other colleagues so that you have more time to accomplish the most important tasks.
This is a very valid point to make if you are the Chief Stewardess or second stewardess and have a more structured day.
If you are a junior stewardess than this is an important point to make if you are feeling inundated with too much work, let your superiors know what task you are up to so that they can redistribute the workload.
Procrastination and putting off tasks that can be completed during the day is a recipe for disaster. Procrastination occurs for several reasons:
You do not like the job
You are too tired
You do not have the skills to complete the task within the time required
Quite often because of the above reasons, this leads to avoidance of the task. Therefore, it is a good idea to do the more challenging tasks first, when the team is fresh and has enough mental energy that is necessary to complete the task.
In addition to this tackling, the more difficult or unpleasant jobs first reduces the amount of time to build up stress and anxiety, making it seem less hard.
Setting goals is a very effective way of achieving workplace demands in a timely manner. By simply setting a goal you can organise your day, week and month better.
One advantage of setting a goal is to improve time management and to have a realistic understanding of how much can be achieved in one day. However, a goal must be set in an effective manner, for example:
The right person must be delegated to the task.
You must have enough resources to achieve the goal.
It must be a realistic goal.
You must be interested in achieving the goals set.
Meet the deadline early: Deadlines are there to help us manage our time better. Certain tasks are inevitable and must be met by a certain time. Rushing to get a job done can result in poor attention to detail, however, if you break the big task down into smaller manageable jobs that can also be delegated then the task can get done before the deadline and with a higher standard of work.
Organisation and time management are like two pee’s in a pod. Many people waste time by:
Playing on the computer.
Messaging their friends.
Or just being too consumed by too many things at once.
To stay organised follow these simple steps:
Maintain a cleared workspace, clutter is a killer of time, every day clean your workspace. This will ensure a clear mind and a more efficient way of working.
Make sure you have the tools and resources readily available to you.
Keep your day planner or schedule up to date, when one task is finished strike it off the list, and if it is not completed on the day, put it down to be completed the following day, or work the extra hours to get the job done.
The effects of stress on the body can be damaging, and there are many books written about this subject.
Stress impairs your ability to manage your time well. To effectively manage your stress, identify the triggers. Next, remove the triggers, or if this cannot be done to take steps to reduce the amount of stress that you place on yourself by
The Superyacht industry is all about service and striving for excellence in service. This can not be more pertinent for the Superyacht stewardess. So what words come to mind when you think of excellence in service? Let me share with you a few that come to my mind:
Excellence in Service & The Superyacht Stewardess
I could go on but you get the idea… Achieving excellence in service to me means giving the guest more than what they anticipated, but no more than what they are willing to accept.
Being a superyacht stewardess your main focus is on the guest and how they are enjoying their holiday. Sure, you have your daily duties to attend to, however, these skills are not that hard to master What is important is finding the right tone with your guests and understanding how much service your guests are willing to receive.
When I was working my way up in 5*hotels, one of my jobs would be to meet the VIP guests, check them in and be their point of contact within the hotel.
Whilst my superiors were happy with my customer service skills I never really understood the concept of the ” VIP guest”… For me, all guests were important regardless of the socioeconomic status, the position held or their political influence.
Working on superyachts supported this premise as we all know that superyacht owners are UBER wealthy, the charter guests are super rich, but what about friends of the owner or the family of the charter guest???
As it turns out they acted and behave just as expected… Just like guests! My point here is that you should treat everyone with the same respect and strive to offer everyone excellent service whilst they are on board. Endeavour to make all of your guests feel like VIPs.
Now, this is not to say that everyone should receive the same service….NO! People are individuals and as such, as a superyacht stewardess should adapt to each individual need.
The culture of delivering world-class service stems from the Captain who supports his team in whatever way he/she can. For the Chief Stewardess, this is her area to shine…educating and guiding the other stewardesses, so that they may learn what it means to be able to deliver a world-class level of service.
Customizing your service skills to your guest’s needs ensures that you are on the right path to delivering a world class service. The best way to do this is to make all your guests feel like VIP guests.
For example, if you are trying to engage your guest in conversation… asking too many questions… Being too enthusiastic or too pushy may leave your guest feeling smothered, which let’s face it is simply annoying…
The important tip here is to give as much service as your guest is willing to receive! Another recommendation is to do a little cultural research about your guests. Educate yourself about cultural habits, food and beverage preferences and social etiquettes. This way everyone wins.
So to conclude here is a summary of my top tips for achieving excellence in guest service:
Treat everyone like a VIP
Learn the cultural and social habits of your guests
Remember that everyone is unique, so adjust your service to their individual needs.
Everyone deserves to receive excellent service whilst on board. Even if they may not outwardly show it, your guests will appreciate the efforts that you go to for them, they even may leave you a tip 🙂
Working on a Superyacht can be described as a bittersweet experience.
It is work characterized by a mix of extreme highs and extreme lows. The adventure that is touring some of the most exotic destinations on earth also doubles up as around the clock service job for the yacht crew, specifically the Super Yacht stewardess.
A yacht stewardess is charged with the responsibility of making sure the hospitality and accommodation bit of the guest’s stay is up to standard, any time any day. This then begs the question: What is the Super Yacht Stewardess Salary?
Before deliberating on the salary, it is important to understand the job description of the Superyacht Stewardess
In this regard, one begins by appreciating the other yacht crew members offering services to the guests in the yacht. They are the:
Engineers and the chefs.
A stewardess’ work is complemented by that of the other crew members. The number of crew members, except the captain, of course, depends on the size of the yacht and/or the number of guests.
This goes to show that for each crew member there’s a clear job description. For the stewardess, the job description comprises a host of tasks; some of which are sometimes not put in writing.
A stewardess is responsible for everything that happens inside the yacht, although, this is the general description of all stewardesses who exist in three categories.
Senior or first stewardess and a junior stewardess or stewardesses depending on the size of the yacht. The senior and junior stewardesses mostly feature in major and medium-size yachts.
Small yachts tend to have one stewardess, who attends to the needs of the guests.
The job description is a cocktail of housekeeping activities which needs a can-do attitude for the better part of the day. The stewardess is expected to provide 7-star services when it comes to dining, drinking, laundry and cleaning up services, floral arrangements and cabin preparation.
Stewardesses also obtain local currency besides planning trips/events and arranging transport for the guests. Their job mainly involves serving the guests and ensuring that their trip is as enjoyable as it should be.
A stewardess is answerable to the chief stewardess or the captain of the yacht she is on.
In this position, she anticipates every situation before it happens. The Stewardess’s ability is pinned on how much attention she pays to detail and the way she carries out her duties.
She should be fast to learn every guest’s preferences and need and use this to make them as comfortable as possible on the yacht.
There’s no such thing as a typical day at work for a stewardess; work for a stewardess has no specified time and requires that one be prepared for any outcome.
For one to qualify as a stewardess, they would need a convincing background in the service industry such as customer care or hospitality, culinary mastery and/or housekeeping.
The other important requirement would be STCW95 and ENG1. It is an added advantage to possess the mastery of silver service, wine knowledge, cocktail service and bartending skills.
In addition, it may not be written but a stewardess is a discrete person who practices confidentiality and displays good organizational skills. A Chief stewardess may also be called upon to see to IT/ accounting and management matters.
The guest also expects that the stewardess speaks his/her native language, therefore being multi-lingual comes in handy.
Upon review of this information, we re-visit the earlier question:
What is the Super Yacht Stewardess Salary?
A look at the industry’s salaries reveals that position matters and hence a chief stewardess’ salary is not similar to a junior stewardess’ salary neither is a 20-30 meter yacht stewardess’ salary the same as one working in an 80 meter plus yacht.
Besides position and size of the yacht, experience, use of the yacht (charter or private) and the style of the boat (power or sail) play a major role in determining how much a stewardess on Superyacht gets paid.
Other contributing factors include qualifications of the stewardess and the travelling itinerary of the yacht.
On average, a Super Yacht stewardess gets paid about £1,750 – £3,000 on a small yacht and £ 2,500 – £ 4000 per month on larger yachts.
Important to note is that these salaries are not inclusive of tips which add to the salary amount. Though they add to the salary’s final tally, tips hinge on the guest’s resolve.
Stewardesses are expected to file their own personal income tax in accordance with the tax rules and regulations of their respective countries. In most cases, this is done with the help of an International tax guru.
While on board, a stewardess is entitled to food and drink, accommodation, basic toiletries and uniform, transport to and from home and others on board expenses.
In fact, most yacht owners cover the stewardess’ health and accident insurance. Furthermore, on the stipulated annual 4-6 week holiday, a stewardess is paid in full. Pay increment is dependent mostly on performance.
In essence, the stewardess does not incur any costs related to overheads. However, the stewardess is expected to provide for their personal effects.
In matters of career progression, a stewardess advances to become a purser.
A purser’s role is mainly administrative and found mostly in extremely large yachts. In this position, one works for a monthly income of between £ 4,500 and £ 6,000.
She is however required to have strong and competitive skills in administration, crew management and all service industry abilities.
Other stewardesses progress career-wise to become more influential staff members in the hotel industry such as operations managers. There are those who move to become housekeeper/butler of the yachts owner’s residence or even secure a job in a cruise liner.
For some, this compensation is not enough for the stewardess’ hard work and diligence; while others see it as one of the best jobs to cultivate a savings culture.
There’s much about being a stewardess which hasn’t and can’t be documented. How much a stewardess is paid plays a big role in service delivery. However, it is passion and determination for the job that makes a stewardess appreciative of the payment received.
For years now I have been flitting across the globe, either on a yacht or on a plane and more commonly, on a plane to join a yacht and I have to say that I have seen my fair share of airports/airline travel disasters, I’m sure a lot of you can identify with the following:
Airports snowed in
Passengers waiting in the sleet and rain for hours… (yes HEATHROW you should hang your head in shame)
Ridiculous and sometimes invasive security checks,
Rude airline personal,
Absurd transfer times either too long that you can read a whole novel in the transfer lounge or way too short that it becomes a sprint from one terminal to the other.. (Qantas at Frankfurt airport, you can put your hand up to that one)
And finally in the last 10 years we have seen the emergence of the budget airline, where the airline lures the passengers in with next to nothing prices only to find out on check in that you have to pay for your luggage, your seat, a glass of water and more; which all comes to the same amount that the premier airlines were charging in the first place!
But I have a tried and tested way of beating the travel woes
First thing, READ YOUR TICKET… I know that may sound like an obvious thing to do but so many people that I’ve seen yelling the customer service staff have missed their flights because they didn’t read their ticket properly.
After having read your ticket, know the difference between a direct flight and non-direct flight, I say this only with the foresight of counting on any delays that may occur with the stop offs.
Make sure your passport and visas are all in order….. I have had a few discussions with customs officers regarding my passport as it looks more like I was a drug runner than a professional seaman. OOOOOOOHH and I was even taken into that “little white room” in Fort Lauderdale” as the custom’s girl told me I had the wrong visa… Of course, you can’t argue with a “box Ticker” so I had to use all of my might to keep my mouth shut… (yes I can be a mouthy Aussie) after a few hours of waiting and me POLITELY pointing out the differences with the visas I was on my way.
If you do have a short transfer time and you haven’t been to the airport before having a look online and know the difference from terminal 1 – 5, it may help you get to the gate those few precious minutes earlier.
Now for the cool part, you’ve navigated the airport obstacle course like a professional, and you’ve made it to your (previously paid for) allocated seat of your choice(aisle or window).
or if you the poor sucker that is stuck in the middle of the middle aisle thenCLAIM YOUR SPACE as soon as you sit down;seriously! especially on long haul flights’ it took me years to figure, you can only be nice for so long about being sat next to a weird or some space invader that thinks half of your seat belongs to him.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard people saying “pack everything and then you will be prepared, ”Well that is great advice if you were travelling on a boat, car or train and the hefty “excess luggage” $$$$ is kept to a minimum.
In fact you can pay up to $50 per kilo in excess baggage fees, so make sure you check with our airline before you start packing, you do not want to have to pay $100’s in excess or have to face the embarrassing “repack” at the check-in counter.
Always roll your clothes, this saves on space and eliminates creases.
Prepare what you think you need on the bed, then half it, (those ‘glam’ 6 inches going out shoes, won’t be needed for your island getaway)
Use a pashmina as a lightweight cardigan, it can always double as a light throw or scarf.
Depending on your length of stay, always pack underwear for at least 1 week.
Rely on the basics, that can be dressed up or down depending on the situation.
Always pack a swimsuit.
Always pack a pair of good walking shoes
Always pack a light jacket
Travel Tips – What to Pack in your Cabin Bag:
Always pack a change of underwear and a spare shirt, you never know when delays may occur, or if you want to take a shower during a transit period
Always put your toiletries in a small clear plastic bag
Liquids should always be under 100ml, per bottle or customs will take it off you
Make sure all of your duty-free is in a sealed bag when you go through security
Pack a good book, and music
TIPS FOR AVOIDING JET LAG:
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. internally and externally. Drink water and have a good moisturizer on hand. I also find eye drops are handy to have as the air pressure in the cabin can really dry you out.
Exercise or move as much as you can during the flight. taking short walks down the aisle and doing small ankle circulations and waist twists whilst seated can really make a difference to the discomfort of swelling feet and legs
Take a shower in the transit lounge when you stop for a refuel. This can ease muscle cramps, freshen you up and give you a mental boost washing away any anxiety associated with the plane travel.
Finally !you‘ve arrived at your destination, try to stay awake, go for a walk, take in some sights or book a meeting, these simple tips help you to get in the RIGHT Zone (a time zone that is).
The following article is an excerpt from my new book:
” The Stewardess Bibles Guide to Achieving Excellence in Service”
We’ve talked about the fun aspects of working on a Superyacht, so lets just for a minute look at what the work actually is. As a Superyacht stewardesses your job description is basically domestic help. Yes I know many people do not like the idea of being called domestic help especially those who have good educations; however , cleaning, serving, and taking care of someone’s personal effects is in essence domestic work.
You can find traces of domestic workers way back in history, however from the point of this chapter we will focus on the period from the mid 1900’s where the business of household domestic staff was booming in both Europe and in North America.
The conditions faced by domestic workers has varied over the years and from household to household. Traditionally people who took on the work as a domestic worker came from poorer socioeconomic situations, and depending on the individual’s skill set would evolve into a hierarchical system. Individuals would get paid for the services that they performed, however with no real legal protection many were taken advantage of. The only real advantage of becoming a domestic worker was on the provision of food, clothing accommodation and a modest wage. Service was based on an apprenticeship system with room to advance over time through the ranks. Domestic servants were divided into upper and lower classes.
The upper servants carried out duties such as:
The lower servants carried out the following duties:
Historically most household servants lived within the house, in an allocated area usually called the staff quarter. The accommodation was often substandard accommodation. I.e. The kitchen, the basement or in the attic. They wore simple yet presentable clothing and it was not uncommon for workers work between 16-18 hours a day.
So how does the super yacht industry compare to the above historical overview?
Well many aspects of historical service still may be applied to the super yacht industry, however the notable difference lies within the people involved; both the owners of the yachts, and the staff who crew the yachts. Whilst a limited amount of research has been done on this topic I will rely on my own experience and personal thoughts hypothesize the differences.
Owning a super yacht requires a great amount of wealth, a super yacht is very visible, very public. A super yacht is international a thing of beauty to be shown off the rest of the world. Therefore many owners of super yachts want beautiful people top to match their beautiful yacht.
In addition to the ‘ego side’ of owning a super yacht and Unlike the domestic work force who have very little if any legal right at all to rely on; the super yacht industry is protected by strict rules and regulations under international maritime law and as such has industry standards to adhere to. Such as salary standards, and work regulations, and accommodation standards.
The staff who crew these amazing vessels are very different from traditional domestic workers. In general they come from wealthy Western countries and are highly educated. They generally flock to the docks of the Mediterranean sea and USA Florida, in search of travel, sunshine and good salaries. In addition to this the super yacht industry has incredible high standards and as such offer many training programs, which ensure that the crew on board are highly skilled, trained, efficient workers.
Furthermore I believe this to be the main difference between historical domestic workers and super yacht crew;. Professional yacht crew make a conscious choice to work in domestic service. They are not forced to work in service if they chose not to. This makes a huge difference in their self esteem, personal development and career advancement, resulting in high standards and excellence in service.
Case study: No action required here just food for thought:
A few years ago I was hiring new crew in Antibes France for the upcoming Mediterranean summer season. I required 2 new junior stewardesses.
The salary on offer was 2500 Euro per month, plus the usual medical , 1 month paid holiday and 1 economy class return flight home per year.
Throughout the season I had to constantly reprimand one of the stewardesses. She was new to the yachting industry, so had absolutely no experience. Training and support were consistent and ongoing, however I was met with a barrage of belligerence, criticism, tiredness, tardiness and laziness.
After some time the summer was going ok, the interior team of 4 was settled in and getting on with the tasks at hand. One day the 4 year experienced Phillipina stewardess came to me in tears after a personal incident which recently occurred at home. After a quiet conversation I was horrified and appalled to find that she was being paid only $500 per month. To end the story without further deliberation, the captain rectified the situation with the management company, The Phillipina stewardess was paid $2500 per month her personal situation at home was helped and I had to be satisfied with the outcome.
I say satisfied because one stewardess was hard working , Keen to learn, had years of experience and was a pleasure to be around. On the other hand I had to deal with what was like a temperamental teenager who would throw a tantrum at any given moment, and who was paid more simply because of the color of her skin and the way she looked.
This made me think of the injustices in the world and how far has domestic service really come over the years?