When you’re drawn to a career at sea, there are a few options available to you. And if you’ve written off joining the Navy or working on a cargo ship, perhaps you’re torn between the lifestyle on a cruise ship and that of a superyacht.
Well, here’s a quick reference guide - a breakdown of the key differences between working on a superyacht and working on a cruise ship.
Cruise ships are typically owned and operated by large corporations and filled with thousands of guests. This means that the ship is run according to strict business practices and expectations, and the guests represent an entire range of ages, backgrounds, demographics, and interests.
Just think of the college spring break week and low-cost cruise ships making the circuit of Caribbean resort towns. Now, compare that to a family-oriented cruise featuring popular cartoon characters and themed entertainment. A cruise ship experience can really fall anywhere on this spectrum!
In contrast, superyachts are usually either owned and inhabited by a single person or family, or chartered out to specific, small groups - families, business partners, or close friends.
Typically, most of the guests will already know each other or will have history together. The owner may be onboard and take a vested interest in the yacht’s operations or expect certain things from the crew.
And while most anyone can afford to take a cruise if they save their pennies, superyacht travel is typically only an option for the very wealthy.
If you’re working on a ship where people have paid to travel, there’s always going to be a baseline expectation of good service.
But the difference between a cruise ship and a superyacht is like the difference between flying economy and flying on a private jet!
On a cruise ship, you’re there to make sure the guests are safe, fed, and entertained. However, with the many activities, shore excursions, strictly planned itinerary, and simply the huge number of people onboard, in many cases crew are rushing just to keep things going smoothly, and don’t have the time or encouragement to make things extra-special.
Contrast this to a superyacht, where the high touch experience is one of the key draws. Guests are expecting customized service, from unique menus that cultivate a theme and provide entertainment, to special touches like knowing their favorite drink, bringing them a preferred morning paper or coffee, and anticipating anything that would make the experience more luxurious.
The yacht is run to a level of five-star service, or highly possibly even higher.
The truth is, superyacht crew are better paid, earlier on in their career, and have greater potential for salary increases. Superyacht crew also often have weekends off, and vacation pay! Finally, superyacht crew working on charter yachts have a secret weapon -- tips.
Tips for great service, from a population that’s likely to have more money to spend and be willing to recognize exceptional service with a reward. Private yachts don’t typically provide tips, but the salary is enough that it’s not needed.
Tipping is suggested and encouraged on cruise ships just as it is at many resorts worldwide. However, it’s not required, and many tourists may have already spent their travel budget just getting to the ship and paying for the voyage itself.
All the above are great reasons to work on a superyacht rather than a cruise ship, but here at FreshYacht, we think this last reason is the best.
Cruise ships follow an established route, making the same circuit again and again (and again) throughout the seasons and years. As exciting as this is for guests, for crew, it can become downright boring. Not to mention, cruise ship crew typically work 6 days a week, and long hours each day.
Often, the crew won’t have enough time off in ports to truly see places as the ship is focused on moving on to the next destination and starting the cruise over with the next batch of guests.
In contrast, superyachts are much more flexible. Depending on the guests, the yacht, and the season, a superyacht may travel to all new destinations. Superyachts are also much smaller than commercial cruise ships, which gives them access to harbors and destinations that a cruise ship simply cannot visit.
Sometimes, yachts will even travel to private islands and exclusive resorts! And superyacht crew can also take advantage of time off when the yacht is in the shipyard or at the dock.
As a result, on a superyacht, you’ve got loads of opportunity to see some amazing, hidden destinations, and to travel at the whim and desire of the yacht’s owner. You’ll likely see places you’d never otherwise have the chance to visit.
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