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What Makes a Good Chief Stew?
Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 5:50 PM
I would like to know what makes a good chief stewardess.
Posted: Friday, July 2, 2010 10:05 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Personally secure . A seaman. Able to work unsupervised , a self starter. Multilingual...English, Spanish,French German. Street Smart, experience in all major yacht centers. Culturally aware, able to live and work very close with guests and crew without being intrusive. Honest with money.
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 12:00 AM
Assuming you already have the basics of being a good stew, like great service and social skills, amazing attention to detail, excellent product knowledge, a flair for presentation, super-human stamina, the ability to anticipate guest and crew needs and a genuine desire to serve, you will need..... The ability to manage, delegate, supervise and train junior staff. Good interview and selection techniques – get the right crew onboard to assist you. Good forward planning and organization. That goes for everything from setting up your bar to dinner service to purchasing of provisions, consumables, uniforms etc. Plan and prepare for the unexpected. Time management - Plan your days to manage your team’s time effectively and achieve your goals. A lot is said and written about motivating staff but personally I think that most new crew come to a job already motivated, eager to do a good job, so an emphasis should be put on not de-motivating the excellent crew you have found using your great interview and selection techniques. It could be said that a good manager is a good facilitator. Someone that makes sure that the crew has everything they need to do the job well. That includes the knowledge, skills, experience, products, tools, space and time to achieve what is asked of them. Give them those things and they should achieve what is asked of them and earn praise for a job well done. Going back to planning, make sure tasks are done in a logical order. It really ticks me off having to do a job twice because it wasn’t thought through and it will tick off crew as well.
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 3:02 AM
I agree. . . In the current role of 2nd stew i find it extremely frustrating when tasks are given in an un uniform order, with no logic and strategy to fall into place with an overall future outcome. Most stews should be able to achieve and master the art of completing the tasks that they are given however, you will only de motivate them if you keep rotating tasks among the team in an effort to keep them busy, without a vision or purpose of what is to come. What i think will set aside a chief stew from the others, is communications skills with your interior team and captain in order to create synergy and fluidity and productiveness in your work. There should be no reason for rushed jobs, re doing inventory in an un organised manner over and over again, and provisioning before trips, if goals are transparent, communicated and planned.
Lynne P. Edwards
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 7:14 PM
Joined: 30/12/2008
Posts: 1

It's a great question insofar as it gives those of us who are, or who have been in the yachting industry the opportunity to voice our opinions as to what we believe are the most important qualities of a good Chief Stewardess - and thereby highlighting the importance of this crucial role.  I wholehertedly agree with previous posts and should also like to add qualities such as professionalism, courtesy and diplomacy: consistency, patience and discretion.  Good memory and observation skills; loyalty and reliability, energetic and healthy.  Let's not forget - food and wine knowledge, ability to correctly maintain all furnishings and fittings aboard and perhaps some knowledge of cruising areas  All of this attributed to someone who also takes great care of their appearance - skin, hair, nails and so on.  All in a day's work!!
Australian Superyacht Crew Recruitment & Training
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010 3:02 PM
Joined: 02/07/2010
Posts: 1

I have been working in the Superyacht industry since 1993 - internationally on 5 Superyachts as Chief Stewardess. I have also taught professional stewardess training courses for four years and I am often asked my opinion on what attributes and skills contribute most to the success of a Chief Steward/ess. It goes without saying that he/she is: • ‘technically’ adept at all aspects of service, housekeeping, and laundry and able to train those under him/her. • extremely well organised (planning in advance – considering possible contingencies) • experienced 5-star service personally, in a variety of places around the world and able to incorporate improvements and enhancements to service on a yacht as appropriate • possessing good food and wine knowledge and seeking to continually increase this! • possessing abundant energy (by keeping trim and fit) • possessing a creative flair and styling abilities • adept in administration skills (particularly book-keeping) • mature and confident • excellently groomed Above and beyond that I would also add that they should possess the important social skills or people skills of: • Being a good communicator • Being able to smile and spread the goodwill • Being self-confident, optimistic and positive • Being socially skilled – knowing how to ‘take their cues’ • Remaining unruffled in a crisis • Being a person with future goals, but also focused on the job at hand • Being a good role model and mentor to those in their charge. Going further, I think that the CS should be: • the Chef’s ally – always looking for ways to support them in their hugely important role onboard • the Captain’s personal assistant • an ally to the Mate, loaning him the interior crew whenever possible because the support will be appreciated, and there’s a lot to be gained by “multi-skilling” the crew and fostering team spirit! • supportive of the Chief Engineer also, by being considerate of his workload and offering assistance in the engine room from time to time for those jobs requiring the finesse that the interior crew may be able to provide • keenly aware that the success of the interior team’s efforts are largely due to fostering a happy and productive environment for them • driving their crew hard and expecting excellence from their team whilst being mindful that they are human beings with limitations! • aware that their crew need motivating, challenging, mentoring, responsibility, rest, recreation, a few laughs and a boost their spirits, and even a bit of parenting...! • supportive of their team, and able to assist the development of their individual potential; honing in on their strong points and building their confidence whilst also sorting out their weak points when the opportunities arise. I hope that you have worked with (or will work with) or become a Chief Stewardess like this....! Although he or she seems like a “paragon of virtue” the reality is that they are ‘human’ – just like anyone else; a person who gets tired and has ‘bad hair’ days, gets stressed and exhausted and experiences the usual range of ups and downs. If a CS is aware of what they can aspire to be, and works at it, with some level of commitment, they are likely to succeed in becoming the well-rounded confident individual described above. So, what have I learned over the years and what would I do differently now? Armed with a swag more ‘people skills’ (and being a lot more rested), I think the following points sum it up best: • I’d smile more and complain less • I’d work harder at all my ‘relationships’ because everything goes so much better when people are ‘on your side’ • I’d smile more and laugh more • I’d be more disciplined about eating well, getting exercise and maintaining fitness and energy levels • I’d smile more and always be positive • I’d be more concerned with getting good rest than partying! • I’d smile more and breathe deeper • I’d meditate • I’d smile more and be optimistic • I’d always keep in mind “it’s not about me” and re-focus on the task at hand • I’d smile more and turn around the negative moods • I’d invest more in those under my supervision • I’d work on developing my personal charm skills because this helps you the most whilst working with other people • I’d smile more! Hindsight is a wonderful thing! I hope that others may be able to benefit from these thoughts. Fortunately there is a lot more ‘resource’ for people in the industry today than there was in my day. However, often it’s the very basic communication skills that we can learn and become so much better at, that can stand us in good stead for a very successful career. I am the principal of a yacht crew recruitment company and training school in Sydney called Australian Superyacht Crew Recruitment & Training and we offer, amongst other training options, an ‘Effective Management’ course for senior crew, that can be taken via Distance Education. All the best in your career on yachts. Donna Morris, Sydney Australia 
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010 7:22 PM

I agree and 

I found a gazillion good tips here

and not only for Stewardesses, but finding jobs, daywork, etc.

Posted: Saturday, July 10, 2010 2:16 PM
I believe that many yacht owners/employers underestimate what it takes to become a top flight stewardess. The Chief Stewardess role is central to the success of an owner cruise and/or charter. Every aspect of service and hospitality is crucial, how a stateroom is kept, how meal service is done and efficiently laundry is handled is a reflection of chief stew. A chief stew is only as good as her team and knowing how to develop people, manage and motivate people is beyound important. Leadership is a skill that lacking in this bussiness and the fact there is no specific training, education and certification for chief stewardess / steward it is very difficult to make the transition from junior to senior ranks in the interior. Giving a hot babe a job tittle and a couple of teenage girls with zero experiance is very common on yachts. A good chief stew is worth her weight in gold and formalizing the process of becoming a chief stew is well overdue.
Posted: Saturday, July 10, 2010 11:15 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Seems all the posters are reflecting on their personal experience when working on charter yachts. While its true that charter yachts make up the bulk of yachting employment, don't overlook the position of stewardess on private yachts. Laundry, personal appearance, table settings, team work......all of this is superfluous tip pandering that leads nowhere when dealing with the same family, day after day, year after year, on a private yacht.. On this yacht , when the owner introduces the " Stewardess " to guests he never uses that word....he uses the term Hostess, followed by the crews name. . Owners and guests come to the yacht to have fun and relax...not think about laundry or critique flower arrangements. Entertaining, setting the tone and relaxing the guests are the responsibility's of this crew member. " The Hostess " When I'm lucky enough to find a good Hostess, I have a very easy, enjoyable life. So easy that a whole week will go by without a word spoken between myself and the owner.. Owner or guest requests always come to me via the hostess. For virtually every detail , including the yachts Itinerary, the owner prefers to discuss options with the Hostess. The rest of the crew, myself included ,are viewed as pieces of machinery to be energized when a task must be accomplished. The Stewardess Hostess position on a private yacht requires a crew who virtually becomes a member of the owners family. To undertake the position of Stewardess on a private yacht , operation knowledge of yachts and a relaxed self confidence when dealing with people are critical.
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