As a super yacht stewardess, occasionally you will encounter a situation in which you do not have a particular spirit or you run out of the necessary ingredients that are required for a cocktail.
Here are some guidelines for acceptable substitution of ingredients:
Gin = vodka
This is a tough one to pull off, but in general, if you are making martini-type drinks, gin can sometimes be substituted for vodka, and vice versa. While these alcohols taste quite different, the texture and appearance of a cocktail are not altered by switching, and can often be just as good.
Rye = Bourbon/Blended whiskey
This is a guideline only. Whiskeys have distinct flavours, even whiskeys of the same grain. Experiment, but keep notes about what works and what doesn’t – especially if you have whiskey-loving guests.
White Tequila = Gold Tequila
Many “tropical” drinks such as Margaritas do not actually rely on the subtle distinctions between tequilas, as much as advertising would have you believe.
Gold tequilas are generally slightly sweeter than clear tequilas, as they have caramel and flavour additives.
Rum = Tequila
Exotic drinks tend to rely on spirits brewed in equatorial lands. Rum drinks often work well with tequila substitutions and vice versa, especially white rum for white tequila or gold/light rum for gold tequila. However, the flavour will not be the same, but it is likely the drink will still be good.
Schnapps = Liqueur
Depending where you are in the world, there may not even be a distinction between schnapps and liqueur. Sweeter brands of schnapps are practically liqueurs and may be substituted freely. Be careful of dry schnapps, which can be closer to a vodka.
Tonic Water = Carbonated Water (Club Soda)
These are not the same. Tonic water is flavoured with quinine, which is the base for making bitters. Carbonated water (a.k.a. soda or seltzer) just has dissolved carbon gases for bubbles.
For many years people at home would ask me what exactly does a super yacht 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 super yacht 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:
Soft drink and other non alcoholic storage and service.
Further to 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:
American service or plate service.
In addition to the styles of service a yacht stewardess must be well versed in table management, table settings , 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.
So that is what a super yacht stewardess does. For a complete reference manual for every super yacht stewardess, please visit the bookstore.
For many in the hospitality or service industry for that matter would have heard the expression “the customer is always right”, and I guess for many this is true. But what about dealing with conflict that may occur with your colleagues or that guest is just step too far over the line (yes there is a line!). This article will examine boundaries and how to handle conflict in a manner that won’t break your spirit or destroy your belief system.
The Super Yacht Stewardess & Conflict Management.
“Conflict usually occurs when two or more individuals demonstrate differing needs, and can occur between employees, management and customers”.
Sadly, conflict for many of us is unavoidable and is a part of life; how it is resolved can make the difference between positive and negative outcomes for all parties involved.
Given that there is a very high turnover of professional crew from season to season, I believe that conflict resolution is an important element for senior officers and departmental heads to master. Furthermore,I believe that is equally as important for individuals to take personal responsibility and accountability for their actions in the conflict.
Conflict within the crew:
We are shaped by family, culture and experiences, which can at times create a polarizingeffect with colleagues. Each conflict is unique and can have its own dimensions and behaviors to the conflict situation.
This in turn can affect work performance and have a negative impact on the individual who is already under the pressures of the hospitality industry. Due to the very nature of working at sea, there are limited resources to ‘de-stress’, lack of personal space, cramped crew accommodations, and long work shifts can result in poor work performance, demotivation and even depression.
Conflict may occur for many reasons, some may include:
Poor communication processing.
Exhaustion and stress due to the nature of the work.
Poor interdepartmental cooperation
Poor internal culture created by a senior crew (i.e. Captain, Chief Engineer, Chief Officer).
Hierarchical dominance and lack of respect for fellow colleagues.
Sexual social difference and behaviors.
In my experience, conflict within the crew usually occurred due to a combination of two or more of the above points. Professional super yacht crew in general is usually very nice open minded people, therefore it is unusual that conflict will arise due to one reason only.
Furthermore, (and this point is specifically in relation to the interior department, that consists predominantly of women), in my experience I found that avoidance of the initial irritation led to an escalation in the conflict, which required more energy and resources to mediate.
The difference in the genders on board also results in the difference in behavior. For example,conflict on deck seemed to be resolved faster and with greater ease than that of the interior department.
However, conflict between genders took much longer and seemed to linger on and on. This difference in gender behavior can be researched independently, however my hypothesis for this is that many women working in a male dominated industry (for various reasons) feel highly stressed, which alters their psychological state, and can affect their sensitivity and effect how they communicate effectively.
More about The Super Yacht Stewardess & Conflict Management is in my new book:
The Stewardess Bible: Achieving Excellence in Service – Module One.
Conflict with a guest: Case Study- Conflict with your values.
In this case study I will use an example where the conflict occurred against my inner values and belief system. We were half way through a very busy 2 week charter, yes, I know all charters are busy, however we were travelling with another yacht, in and around the St Tropez area . Everything was going well until one day it was our turn to host the cocktail party. The conflict occurred when one of our guests was showing off to another guest , he was a hunter and was boasting that he had shot over 5000 birds (of some kind) one of his hunting trips. The next statement he made was even more damaging. He went on to say that he had shot and killed a black rhinoceros on his last African safari. He was bursting with pride. As my stomach was turning I looked over and saw the horror and absolute devastation on the South African deckhands face as he was tiding up the sundeck. My first instinct was to protect the deckhand from hearing any more of what this guest had to say and he was removed from that area to work in another. Secondly, I had to check my own behavior and body language. The thing about conflict with your inner values is that they are your values. I don’t know if what the guest said is true or not and that is exactly the point. People say things for different reasons. Killing an endangered species is illegal, and killing anything for fun just makes me feel sick, however hunting is not illegal and the feeling sick part becomes my problem. How would you handle such a situation?
A lacquered wood surface is a surface that has been painted with a resin type substance which leaves the furniture with a hard, highly polished and lustrous surface. Before you begin: Make sure you have adjust the temperature of the room. A well balance room is ideal for natural wood surfaces. Therefore it is recommended that the optimal room temperature should be between 18-22 degrees Celsius, with a humidity level of 40-+60%. (5).
What you will need:
A soft cloth
A drop cloth
Start at the top of the wooden surface with a duster to remove the dust particles and dirt.
Then with a damp cloth, remove any finger prints.
Dry immediately with a soft lint free cloth.
Additional tips and advice:
Be mindful when watering the flowers and plants as not to leave a wet ring around the base of the vase.
Unless you are working outside and have sea salt on the wooden furniture, there is no need to use vinegar, as this is acidic and will change the surface of the furniture.
Only use natural wax products in accordance with the instructions.
5 Things you need to know about your Russian Guests.
When you have worked on super yachts as long as I have you come across an array of people cultures and races. Russians are big spenders in the world of the Mega yachts, with more and more billionaires buying up BIG every year.
Your role as a super yacht stewardess is to know as much as possible about your guests as possible. The following article will give you a glimpse of Russian cultural etiquette that I have observed over the years.
[headline_georgia_medium_left color=”#000000″]1. History:[/headline_georgia_medium_left]Russia has had a rich and turbulent history and for some Russian people their personal finances have never been greater. Approximately 160 ethnic groups call Russian home with over 100 languages spoken. Most Russian people identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians, but Islam, Judaism and Buddhism are also practices there.
[headline_georgia_medium_left color=”#000000″]2. Vodka:[/headline_georgia_medium_left]Like many other cultures, food and drink play a major role when socialising. Most people are familiar with the Russians love affair with Vodka, and I agree that is does take centre stage whenever there is a party or gathering or Russian people. If your guests have not specified what kind of vodka they prefer then make sure you have a good selection on hand.
Below is a brief overview of popular types of vodka. Until you know your guest preference keep a bottle of vodka in the freezer and the rest in the cabinet.[features_box_light_green width=”75%” + border=”2px”]
Types of Vodkas to consider:
Chopin Vodka. Polish Vodka is reputed to be the best in the world.
Zyr Vodka: Is a Russian premium vodka made from wheat and rye. It is an ultra smooth vodka and great for accompanying caviar.
Stolichnaya Vodka is a Russian Vodka and is ne of the more popular brands. This is a great vodka to use as a cocktail base, and as a little ‘sipper’. Any good charter super yacht will have ‘Elite’ on board.
Grey Goose Vodka: Is French and very smooth. This is my ‘go to ‘ vodka as it does not disappoint. It is a must have for any super yacht.
Ketel Vodka: is Dutch no frills but very smooth.
Hangar Vodka: Is an American vodka that is making quite a name for its self. Hangar vodka is distilled from Viognier grapes rather than potatoes/grain, it also comes in different flavours.
Belvedere Vodka: Is another popular Polish vodka. It is a very fine vodka that is made from rye.
[headline_georgia_medium_left color=”#000000″]3. My experience with Russian Guests:[/headline_georgia_medium_left]
No one liked room temperature vodka.
Russian guests preferred clear vodka
Russian guests stayed away from flavoured vodka.
In addition to wine with dinner, I also served a lot of cognac and fine whiskey to my Russian guests.
It took me a while to understand the Russian culture, and to be honest I used to think they were very cold and “standoffish”people; but I found out that this is not the case. Russians love to entertain and you do not need an excuse to invite a friend over or to go visit someone. It is wise to have a selection of canapés and hor d’oeurves at hand (and not chips or nuts).
Russian people love to have an array of different foods when entertaining, so make sure the chef has prepared a selection of:
[headline_georgia_medium_left color=”#000000″]5. Be prepared for the ‘cheers’.[/headline_georgia_medium_left]
As mentioned before the Russians love to drink and to entertain. They tend to sit at the table and discuss all of kinds of things, and when entertaining guests or celebrating an occasion, you will see the true Russian warmth in the cheers. Toasts are usually given at the beginning of the meal through the meal and at the end… (especially if it is a celebratory meal), so make sure you have plenty of their chosen beverage on hand.
Thank you for reading my article about: 5 Things you need to know about your Russian Guests.
Broadly speaking, there are five types of service that a stewardess is required to competently master. These are as follows:
American service or plate service.
In addition to the styles of service a yacht stewardess must be well versed in table management, table settings, courses and order of service.
As a super yacht stewardess you are expected to offer impeccable service, but what happens when the owner or primary charter guest of chef wants service done in specific style?
Do you feel lost?
Do you feel silly for not knowing the difference between food service styles?
Or do you just wing it and hope for the best?
Below is a brief explanation of the difference between food service styles.
I hope it helps.
This chart is available for download in the members section!
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