Chartering with a Hostess | 10 Surprising Things You Need to Know

Sailing with a Host or Hostess

If you want to learn more about chartering with a hostess…

Please enjoy our ultimate ten things you need to know about chartering with a hostess on a yacht charter. You can use these links to read how yacht charter works (new window) and what qualifications do I need to charter a yacht (new window). You can also learn about chartering with a skipper (new window). Let’s get started!

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Chartering with a Hostess

One simple way to upgrade your yacht charter experience is to hire a host or hostess to assist with the yacht’s day-to-day running. It is fairly uncommon for this role to be carried out by men, although that is changing. For that reason, the blog will, for now, use the word hostess.

Chartering with a hostess is a fairly straightforward transaction, but there are a few things you need to know.

Using our years of experience, we have collected our top 10 things to know before you go ahead and hire a hostess.

This detailed guide will take you through everything you need to know about chartering with a hostess on a yacht charter.

Definition of a Hostess

There are many definitions for hostesses that cover aircraft, trains, cruise ships, and others that focus on nightclubs or a person who entertains guests. In terms of chartering with a hostess, it’s my view that it’s a mixture of all three, and your hostess will work very hard during your trip to cater for your crews’ needs.

They will be primarily there to assist the skipper or captain above all else. As the saying goes, your safety will be their number one priority. In this respect, they will typically have some basic sailing skills to aid the skipper with their duties.

Next, your hostess is there for the food and drinks service. Although it may, in reality, be seamless, your crew may split the day into a breakfast service, lunch service, afternoon tea or sundowner service. This can also include supper or evening meal service. Although your hostess will be available at other times, they will do other duties and take a break in between services.

In all, you should expect a hostess to work for no more than eight hours a day.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Hostess?

The first question on everyone’s lips is – how much does it cost to hire a hostess?

It, of course, can vary from region to region and even the time of year. We see hostesses paid around €180 per day as standard in Europe and $200 per day in the Caribbean.

Who Actually Hires the Hostess?

This might seem an odd thing to need to know when you’re chartering with a hostess. But, it can be useful to know as it might not be what you are expecting.

If you are chartering a boat with a permanent crew, they are typically salaried employees of the crewed yacht charter operator. They are typically a couple who share a cabin that maximises cabin space for guest use.

If you are hiring crew separately, keep in mind that each will need their own cabin to comply with employment law in most countries. That said, there are lots of exceptions, but it pays not to assume.

When hiring crew in this manner, they will typically be self-employed. The operator will have their own reputation to protect and will always try and work with the best they can find, yet they won’t always be directly responsible.

What Will Your Hostess NOT DO on a yacht charter?

Working out exactly what your hostess will not do when chartering is vital. It will ensure there are no misunderstandings. It’s also the most challenging question to answer, as no two operators are the same, and it can even vary from hostess to hostess, making it even more important to know where the lines are.

Here is a list of six things you will typically find your hostess won’t do:

  • Cook. Many hostesses will prepare simple breakfasts and layout service, yet they are not qualified chefs and will not typically prepare food beyond simple preparation.
  • Turn Down Service. Cabins on charter yachts are often personal storage areas and difficult to prepare like you would on a larger luxury charter or a hotel room. You may find your cabins are not tended to during the week.
  • Late Runs Ashore. The way you will get ashore for land-based activities is via the tender. During the day, this will often by the Skipper or your hostess. Yet, they will not stay awake to run guests back the yacht after a certain time in the evening.
  • Provision. Your hostess will do the provisioning, but not “provision”. What’s the difference I hear you say! Your host will go to the supermarket and buy the vitals you have chosen, yet they will not work out what you need and buy according to your preferences. You are moving into the area that chefs specialise in. There are services operated at most marinas where you can pre-select your provisions, and your hostess is likely to help you with that.
  • Work Outside Service. A good hostess on a yacht charter will need to recharge their batteries and perform other duties. If they are on call the whole day, you will find that you get a degraded overall performance.
  • Pre-Charter Support. Charters are pretty intensive for the crew, ensuring you have the very best time. The last thing you want on your charter is the crew’s inattentiveness because they deal with questions from guests of upcoming charters. For that reason, most operators protect their crew by dealing with your questions and pre-charter support up until much closer to the day, if not the day of your charter.

What will your hostess ACTUALLY do on a yacht charter?

So now we have learnt a few things your host won’t do when chartering with a hostess. Let’s focus on what you can expect from them.

Here are 12 things you can expect when chartering with a hostess:

  • Drinks and Beverage Service. Typically in four periods throughout the day (on higher-end charters), you can expect silver service and very attentive staff. On more mid-range charters, you will find hostesses are much less formal.
  • Breakfast Service. Laying out a buffet-style breakfast.
  • Lunch Service. Again, typically laying out a buffet-style lunch with minimum preparation.
  • Sundowners. All hostesses are skilled mixologists! At least the ones that I have dealt with. So get ready with your preferences and look forward to some great sundowners in the early evening.
  • Late Meal Service. If you have a chef, your hostess will work with them seamlessly. If you decide to cook your own meal onboard, you can expect their full support with that.
  • Washing Up. That’s the bit we wanted to know about! It’s nearly always in the hostesses remit to wash up after service.
  • Housekeeping. Your hostess will keep on top of these matters throughout.
  • Cleaning. Within reason, the hostess will always clear down after service and help the skipper keep the boat generally tidy. Cleaning up the following morning after a late one is really outside of their remit. I find the hostesses will often use diplomacy and goodwill in these circumstances.
  • Runs Ashore. Although they won’t stay up late to bring you back from the local nightclub, hostesses will run you ashore during the day and early evening.
  • Concierge. Your hostess will definitely help you book restaurants, attractions and make recommendations.
  • Tour Guide. Your hostess is likely to be very familiar with the area and language. You should expect them to be willing and able to help with that.
  • Purser. Your hostess and sometimes the skipper will ask you for a sum of money to cover incidental expenditure. It really helps the crew look after you paying for mooring, fuel, etc., without having to come to you each time. You will always receive a full breakdown, and any unspent APA is returned. What is an APA? Read our comprehensive APA guide.

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How many Hostesses do You Need?

Now here’s a great question, how many hostesses do you need! Well, on superyacht charters, the crew is already arranged, and you’ll be told the staff ratios.

On more mid-range charters where you hire your own crew, it’s typical only to hire one hostess. That said, once there are more than 8 guests, we do recommend thinking about a second pair of helping hands if you want the best possible experience.

How Much Does a Hostess make on a Yacht Charter?

Hostesses will typically keep all of the fees you pay them. This is a little higher than the salaried guys who are get paid whether they are on charter or not and typically get bigger tips.

The operators retain some hostesses and keep a percentage, typically 15-20%, for their compensation.

A hostess on a superyacht would get around $3,500 to $4,000 per month plus tips that tend to be bigger than on mid-range charters.

How Much do you Tip your Stewardess on a Yacht Charter

How much you tip your stewardess on a yacht charter can depend on a few factors; the price of the charter, location, number of crew, etc. Tips are generally higher in the Caribbean and North America due to the tipping culture.

The Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) has suggested tipping guidelines. The general rule is to tip between 10% and 15% of your weekly charter fee, excluding running expenses and taxes.

That seems about right to us, although we do see more.

Are Hostesses Qualified?

Are the hostesses you are chartering with qualified? Possibly, possibly not.

At SailChecker, Bethan, our head charter hostess, completed her STW95 basic safety training for working on yachts. If your hostess is part of a larger crewed yacht, then they are likely to have completed at least this qualification.

On a smaller charter where you hire the hostess separately, it’s much less likely.

How Do You Become a Stewardess?

Maybe you are reading this because you want to know how do you become a stewardess? We have come up with an eight-point action plan:

  1. Get your STW Basic Training.
  2. Gain your ENG 1 medical certificate.
  3. Ensure your passport, visas and vaccinations are up to date.
  4. Do a flower arranging course.
  5. Get food hygiene training.
  6. Join a few crewing agencies.
  7. Gain a sailing qualification.
  8. Research, research, research.

Any Last Questions on Chartering with a Hostess?

Have you ever thought about chartering with a hostess. Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.

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