So, you’re thinking about chartering your first luxury yacht and you’re wondering what the yacht crew do to provide this 7-star service you’ve heard about. Who are yacht crew, and what on earth do they do that’s so special?
Anyone who’s ever chartered a luxury yacht will tell you that while of course it’s important that the yacht has all the facilities and toys, the most important factor by far for a brilliant charter is the crew.
Who are yacht crew?
A yacht charter is an extraordinarily complex operation, carried out by a team of highly trained yet fun-loving ‘yachties’ who travel the world on these gorgeous superyachts, living on them year-round in shared cabins up in the bow. Generally a pretty young bunch, the majority of your yacht’s crew will be in their 20’s or early 30’s, ranging up to their 40’s and 50’s for engineers and captains. You’ll find that US-flagged boats will normally run with an American crew, while Australians, Brits and South Africans make up the majority of foreign-flagged yacht crews, particularly in the Mediterranean.
Regardless of where they’re from, yacht crew are chosen for being highly personable, discreet and well-trained. They adapt to your desired style of service, whether that is more formal and refined or a more relaxed family atmosphere.
As a highly professional team, yacht crews are like swans: while everything’s calm and smooth on top of the water, they’re paddling frantically beneath the surface! It’s a busy job creating a 7-star, 24 hour experience for up to 12 guests.
But I’m not that hard to look after, how can there be so much to do?
Well, that’s nice- you’re welcome on a yacht any time! However, no matter how easy you are to look after as an individual, the yachting spectacular the crew put on for you relies on countless little touches and a huge preparation that starts long before the charter.
Luxury yachting relies on perfection, you see, and yacht crew are there to deliver it.
Many weeks before you step on board, the yacht is already deep in planning for your arrival. The yacht broker is discussing your charter plans with the captain, who is drawing you up a personalised itinerary, making tentative bookings at sought-after marinas and restaurants, and researching the best anchorages, beaches, and dive spots. No matter what you want to do, the captain will make it happen, using years of experience and exclusive contacts.
The chef has by now received your preference sheet and has started crafting menu plans suited to your tastes. They’ve contacted their suppliers for the absolute best produce available, and ordered in what they can’t find locally. In the days before your charter, the deliveries will arrive, and the cupboards and fridges of the yacht will be filled to overflowing with your favourite food and drinks. The yacht is now ready for one of the great cuisine experiences of your lifetime.
The stewardesses, meanwhile, will have the interior of the yacht immaculately presented- all polished silver, vases of flowers and gleaming marble. When you board, the table will set for an elegant lunch underway, with crisp white linens and crystal glassware. They’ve read your preference sheet too, they are already discussing what music to put on, what wine to chill, how to make your coffee- and this is all before they’ve even met you!
The first mate and/or deckhand, will have been using the time getting the boat’s exterior absolutely spotless- hanging in harnesses off the side of the boat with soft brushes and chamois to make sure that every speck of salt and every watermark is gone, and that every bit of stainless and white paint is shining . The deck is scrubbed clean and the yacht’s toys are readied- the jetskis, the wakeboards, the snorkels, the kayaks, and the dive gear all ready for your enjoyment.
The engineer is busy too- although it’s unlikely you’ll see much of them during the charter. They’re working behind the scenes ensuring the smooth operation of the satellite and AV systems, the internet, the generators, engines and the air-conditioning that’s so deliciously cool after a hard day’s relaxing in the Caribbean sunshine.
And you haven’t even arrived yet! All this industry by so many people is just the preparation stage. The action intensifies hugely when you step aboard – a wave of meal services, night passages and watersports activities that ebbs and flows throughout your week charter. You, meanwhile, get to lie back and not lift a finger. That level of service is what luxury yachts are all about.
What’s so special?
It’s funny what things yacht guests remember after their first yacht charter-the particular touches that somehow strike them as being particularly special. Perhaps for you it will be the beautiful array of luxury toiletries in the bathrooms, or the slippers waiting for you on deck as you arrive on the yacht and accept your cold jasmine-scented facecloth.
It might be the sight of all your freshly laundered clothes neatly put away for you in the cupboard each day and your cabin cleaned every time you leave the room. It might be the menu on embossed paper that the chef presents each morning for your approval, or the trays of fresh iced teas and cocktails that appear seemingly out of nowhere when you’re relaxing in the Jacuzzi.
Perhaps it’s the deckhand that patiently teaches your son how to windsurf, or leads the kids on a treasure hunt on a nearby deserted island. Or maybe it’s just the idea of the captain coming to the breakfast table each morning and asking you what you dream of doing that day. Your yacht crew can make it happen.
Creating perfection is what they do, remember?