Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon
As crew, we’ve meet them all. I’ve written previously about how many different personalities we come across in this industry, but as I approach a half-decade in yachting, I find myself looking back at the past five years and the people I’ve met in that time, including all the guests we have had on board our various yachts over the years.
I laugh to myself about some of the funny times, smile about the happy times – then I look at my arm and see the lovely gifts, and strangely, the memories of bad guests seem to slip my mind. Catching a twinkle of my favorite aquamarine crystal bracelet, “They were great guests,” I think to myself.
I then find myself pondering, what makes a good guest? It’s a hard question to answer, because obviously, the nicer the person, the more pleasant the environment – but simply being nice doesn’t equal easy.
By the same token, “easy” guests can make the trip drag. Easy? To me, this was a family of four New Yorkers on a Caribbean charter a few years back who all sat indoors on the salon couch reading their books the whole week. They drank nothing but water; they even made their own beds. The deckhands had no watersports to supervise, the stewardess had no cocktails to make, and one week felt like three.
Although “nice” is a broad word, the general gist is a group of people who are pleasant to have around, But then again, suggesting the whole group will be “nice” is, perhaps, presumptuous. We’ve had a party of the most wonderful people, but they were demanding of attention: early rising, insanely active, constantly hungry, cocktail-loving, late-night drinkers who drained all of our energy for their week.
We’ve had the group of hilarious jokers, who even turned to include the crew on their practical jokes, full of life and ensuring that not a single dull moment went by on board. The ever-laughing primary charter guest was the life of the party and always wanted the crew involved in the fun, meaning that rest time became the time to catch up on missed duties and, of course, meant another exhausting trip.
Aside from how the guests comport themselves, a lovely perk of the job is the drawer I now have full of jewelry bought for me by guests over the years who sincerely cared for the effort we all put in for them to have a fun-filled time on board and wanted us to remember them with a token of appreciation. Each piece tells a personal story, linked to a memory of a place, a family or a specific moment in my yachting career that brings joy each time I remember the gift-giver.
Ultimately, from my personal experience, I have found the best kind of guest to be one who will be looking for both adventure and relaxation, dedicating time to enjoy their surroundings, but also conscious of not wearing themselves out too much.
They will appreciate the small touches and notice every effort. They will give the chef an opportunity to showcase their specialties, while allowing the stewardess(es) to get creative with drinks and giving the deck crew an opportunity to show them the best snorkel spots or demonstrate the water toys.
The ideal guest loves to make the crew feel like family without taking us and our roles for granted. They allow us to enjoy our hours of rest by taking the odd dinner or lunch off the boat. They won’t be too needy or demanding, but will certainly not be shy to ask for whatever they want.
Finally, as every crew member will say, the perfect guest (if there is such a thing) will show us their gratitude in one way or another.
Lauren Loudon has worked as a yacht chef and stew for more than four years. She hails from Lancashire, England. Comments are welcome below.