Your first charter onboard is always a daunting one. It’s an experience you won’t forget and can often feel like a blur with each day rolling into the next.
As a first-time junior stewardess, there are ways you can prepare for your first charter which will, in turn, boost your overall confidence. From procedures to learn, to how the boat operates and is laid out and the expectations of your role whether it’s laundry, housekeeping, service, or crew mess.
Here are some tips which will help you prepare as a junior stewardess coming into the upcoming charter season.
- Familiarise yourself with the whole boat from the names of each cabin to the different decks (Sun deck, Upper-deck, Owners Deck, Main Deck, Lower Deck), storage areas, and the yachting terminology such as port (left) and starboard (right).
- Stock up your cleaning caddy and be sure you know how each cleaning product is to be used such as don’t spray alcohol or vinegar on marble surfaces.
- If you have access to guest profile pictures before they arrive familiarise yourself with the charter guest’s face and preferences such as things like what wine they love, how they like their laundry done, and any food allergies (if available).
- Make sure you understand what’s required to be done in your role, and if you’re not sure ask your chief stew. Such as is it your responsibility to look after the crew mess? Run guest laundry to cabins? Hoover the guest upper deck level? Bring in sunscreen baskets in the afternoon? Most organised vessels have a manual for each shift however not always. If that’s the case you need to ask what’s required to ensure nothing is missed.
- Make sure you clear space in your cabin cupboard for on charter uniform, ensure you have all of the uniform (inclduing an epaulettes) and it’s all pressed and ready to go.
- If you’re in service I recommend creating a table decor schedule. It takes the thinking out of it when you did the theme last and allows you to prepare your table decorations in advance, pulling everything if you can the night before. With this schedule you can edit with your charter dates and table decoration themes, then save and print so you can refer to each day.
- If you’re in housekeeping make sure you have you’re familiar with the sheet change schedule, this is when each cabin is meant to have the sheets changed whether it’s daily, every 2 or 3 days. Label it in calendar format so the laundry stew and housekeeping team are aware.
- Take the time to understand the laundry procedures specific to your boat. Who takes the guests clothes back to the cabin is this your role? What days can you put your own clothes/towels/bedidng in the wash? Where does the laundry stew like items to be put? Often there are systems in place and you need to know them to ensure it all runs smoothly. If you’ll be doing some laundry on charter make sure you understand how the machines work, temperatures, how to stain treat. I understand not all boats have time to train juniors for this role, if this is you then I would highly recommend The Seaworthy Yacht Stewardess Online Course for the laundry module you will have all of this information, in downloadable format.
- Ask about the procedure for when the guests arrive. Often it’s a busy time for the heads of departments, however, for juniors, it’s a time in limbo where you can find yourself a bit unsure of what to do. I suggest you find out where the luggage tags are stored, be ready to tag and unpack any guest luggage, make sure the luggage mats are out in the cabins and if you have spare time set up for crew mess meals or restock items, there is always something to do.
- If you’re going to be unpacking for the guets ask your chief stew or head of housekeeping how they would like it done. For instance how the cupbaords are set out, what’s items are priority to be pressed, how the clothese are to be hung on hangers, how the shirts are to be buttoned – usually its buttons 1,3, 5 done up however this could also be specified to owner or guest so double-check. Not sure about any of this? You can find exactly how to do this in the wardrobe mangement and guest packing/unpacking module in The Seaworthy Stew Training Course.
- Lastly, if you’re in service make sure you try and learn the wines, spirits, and snacks you have available onboard, this will be a common question asked by guests.
It’s always a busy time leading up to charter, by following some tips to prepare you know you will be more confident when the charter is about to start. This means you can step into your role as a super stew as you understand the expectations and what is required to meet the standards onboard.
Best of luck with the first charter!
The Seaworthy Stew
>> Article originally published for Superyacht Content