The perfect charter experience is a combination of where you are and who you’re with – and that extends to the crew. It’s the role of the onboard team to cocoon you and cater to your every need, but as Claire van der Vorm – Cecil Wright’s charter expert – explains, it’s the little touches that help create those golden moments.

‘The crew on a charter yacht works like a very well oiled machine,’ explains Claire, ‘each member is a vital component and they all rely on each other, working in rotation to provide flawless 24-hour service.’ 

For the cogs to turn smoothly, certain characteristics are essential: the deck crew must be sporty, dexterous and fun; the interior crew should be intuitive, attentive and creative; the masseuse – often one of the busiest crew members on a charter – must be highly skilled; and the chefs and engineers need to fulfill their duties but also be willing to help out in any other capacity. ‘The captain is of course critical,’ explains Claire, ‘not only for his navigation expertise, but because the best captains attract the best crew.’ 

Beyond the cleanliness, tidiness and efficiency found in a five-star hotel, a top crew seeks to personalise the experience and anticipate the mood. ‘A really good stewardess knows what you need before you know it yourself,’ says Claire.

When the crew has particularly excelled, Claire hears reports from happy clients. The head stewardess on 54m BURKUT has become renowned for inventing new cocktails for guests; the crew of MOGAMBO apparently searched the streets of Portofino for a folk guitarist who could play ‘Volare’ (and found just the man); and the crew of FEELIN’ FREE spirited Santa Claus onboard on Christmas morning in St Barths. ‘Anyone can put a chocolate on a pillow,’ Claire explains, ‘but not everyone will create your child’s favourite animal in origami, personalise your wine labels or organise a mock treasure hunt onboard.’

Due to the confidentiality agreement that each crew member abides by, it’s often not possible to interview them directly – but a captain may speak on their behalf. ‘Robert Shove is the captain of SALU, a 30.2m Benetti and one of the best charter yachts of its size in the business’, says Claire. ‘The team are particularly popular, and it’s already fully booked for the summer.’ 

‘Understanding the client’s hopes and desires is key,’ explains Robert, ‘and before every charter we’ll get our heads together with the chief stewardess to repeatedly create that wow factor during the trip. It might be cocktails on the beach, belly dancers onboard, or guitar playing by one of our crew.’ It’s hard work – and sleep deprivation is common – but Robert insists that they have fun. ‘There’s nothing like having confidence in your crew – even just to protect the crystal from flying about in rough seas!’

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