Superyacht chief stewardess Martina Drezancic (above) pulled the curtain back for MailOnline Travel on the ‘real’ Below Deck world
‘One guest requested chicken eggs from chickens that eat only worms. He wanted the maximum amount of protein in the eggs.’
Superyacht chief stewardess Martina Drezancic pulled the curtain back for MailOnline Travel on the ‘real’ Below Deck world – and revealed that she’s fulfilled a lot of unusual guest requests.
She currently works on a 48m (157ft) boat that roams the Adriatic Sea called M/Y Freedom, which can accommodate up to 22 guests, boasts a cinema, gym, pool, hot tub, massage room and a ‘full menu of water toys’ – and costs between €80,000 (£67,000/$80,700) and €100,000 (£84,000/$101,000) a week to rent.
Martina said: ‘Mostly we find solutions – or alternatives if we can’t. But sometimes guests ask for things that you can’t imagine you’ll be able to match.’
Whatever the request – Martina deploys a ‘never say no’ approach.
And tackles her duties with military precision.
There have been some slackers and mischief makers on Below Deck, the hit reality TV show that chronicles life on a charter yacht. But according to Martina – who has been a chief stewardess for two years – if you don’t follow the rules, it’s time to jump ship.
She said: ‘Working on a yacht is like being in the army – order, work, discipline. Anyone who doesn’t follow this doesn’t need to be on board at all.
‘From the very beginning, I am really clear with what is expected. It’s really important that they are on board with that. There is no place for the word “but”. It doesn’t matter how they did it before on another boat, there is only one way of doing things.
‘And trust me, I’ve tried all the ways.’
The Croatian’s yen for disciplinarian methods she said has earned her the nickname ‘Hitler’.
Martina works on works M/Y Freedom (above), which costs between €80,000 (£67,000/$80,700) and €100,000 (£84,000/$101,000) a week to rent
Martina said: ‘Working on a yacht is like being in the army – order, work, discipline. Anyone who doesn’t follow this doesn’t need to be on board at all’
‘From the very beginning, I am really clear with what is expected,’ said Martina. ‘It’s really important that they are on board with that. There is no place for the word “but”. It doesn’t matter how they did it before on another boat, there is only one way of doing things’
She added: ‘I am indeed really strict. But that is the only correct way. Once everyone is doing their job, we go ahead as a Swiss watch. There is no checking, re-doing things and losing time for no reason. And every crew member has to be able to do whatever is needed.’
And what does the job involve, aside from egg hunts?
Long hours and a lot of cleaning.
‘We clean things that are already clean,’ said Martina. ‘And my working days are 16 hours minimum.
‘Let’s say we get up at 6.30am… we have to be ready to serve breakfast at 7.30, which sometimes lasts until 11am.
‘After cleaning that away and preparing lunch settings, which is usually 1pm to 3pm, we might have some free time while guests are swimming and enjoying our toys.
‘There is always something to do though, from filling up fridges to cleaning fingerprints, and from checking on guests to organising laundry.
‘We clean things that are already clean,’ said Martina. ‘And my working days are 16 hours minimum’
‘Later, we go through menus with Chef, always making special requests possible. Then at 6pm we change into our night uniform and start serving cocktails and preparing for dinner, which often turns into a party, often finishing around 2am.’
Are crew romances commonplace?
Martina said: ‘Romances with guests for me and on the boats I’ve worked so far are a big no-no. You can be polite, friendly, but always aware of the line you cannot cross.
‘[A romance] could affect the working atmosphere. If, for example, you fire one member, his boyfriend/girlfriend or whoever will leave as well. In this industry, it’s not recommended to lose two people at all, especially in high season.’
The hardest part of the job for Martina is recruiting and managing a crew that get along.
Martina said: ‘I am really strict. But that is the only correct way. Once everyone is doing their job, we go ahead as a Swiss watch’
Martina has a ‘never say no’ approach to guest requests
She said: ‘It’s not easy to find up to 12 people that can work with each other. For a minimum of six months you are living with those people. I have to recognise how to behave towards each one of them. You take two people and throw them to the sharks, one will get eaten and the other will continue swimming with them. So, making a good team is the hardest bit.’
But while the job involves long, romance-less hours and hard work, the rewards can be huge – sometimes financially huge.
Martina, 28, added: ‘The biggest tip I got was €10,000 cash (£8,400/$10,200). And I’ve had a lot of presents.’
To book M/Y Freedom visit www.goolets.net/yacht-rentals/freedom-croatia.