Charter Croatia: Why You Shouldn't Ask to Board Early (Video)

By 18 September 2017

Every week, new holidaymakers fly, drive or ferry into Croatia, excited to start their charter – a week sailing in Croatia! And, guaranteed every week, guests ask to board early. We have two words for you – please don’t.

I worked as a hostess on a luxury yacht for two seasons; Saturday was and is, the dreaded day of all crew who work in the charter industry in Croatia – ‘turnaround day’. Every week, guests get off the yacht at 9 am and the crew have until 5 pm to get the boat ‘spick and span’, looking shiny and new, ready for the next excited group to board.

While the crew would never dream of letting you know what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, now that I don’t work on a yacht full-time, I figured maybe I can.

Behind the Scenes
Every week, guaranteed, guests would ask to board early – and understandably so, I mean who wouldn’t want to start their sailing holiday early? What most people don’t realise is just how much work goes into getting a boat ready for charter, so I wanted to share a little insight because this doesn't just happen...

alba 4.jpg

Credit: Mario Jelavic

Linen heading out, new linen coming in, stock arriving, stock being put away, the inside of the yacht being cleaned and completely remade and the outside of the yacht being scrubbed from top to bottom… it is all happening. Yes, all boats get cleaners to help but it is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ situation. Just see for yourselves…

Some days, for whatever reason, we barely had time to eat, shower or get ourselves ready by 5 pm, even if we wanted to, allowing people to board early was simply not an option. I remember one day in particular, I had almost finished cleaning the boat (one of our cleaners couldn’t make it, which meant more work for me), it was 3 pm, I was hot, sweaty and tired then someone came and asked if they could board early. I very politely explained that it wasn’t possible, in an incredulous tone she went on to tell me how tired they were from their (2-hour) flight … again, I showed empathy (even though I had just worked 8-weeks straight and was beyond exhausted) but explained that it wasn’t possible. She came back twice more before they finally all just rushed the boat at 4.30 pm.

She came aboard pissed off because I had said “no” to her three times and I felt frustrated and deflated by her attitude – this is NOT how a holiday should start. It didn’t happen exactly like this every week but something similar did happen every other week.

Which is exactly why I made the above video, I figured, for the most part, people are decent when they have a little understanding; for example, I am sure this woman would not have been upset had she known exactly what happens on a Saturday - that we weren't all sitting around drinking daiquiris or saying "no" just to spite her.

So, please don’t ask to board early. 

It puts crew in an uncomfortable position to say “no” and it means the trip starts on an unpleasant note –

• For guests: hearing ‘no’ may seem unreasonable, like the crew are not very accommodating or empathetic.

• For Crew: saying "no" is not in their vocabulary, they pride themselves on doing almost anything to make it a perfect sailing holiday, so it doesn't feel good to start the tour on a negative note. They also want everything to be perfect when you first step aboard because they truly care. My ‘final touches’ on the yacht were doing one last polish, setting the table with fresh flowers, snacks and getting champagne on ice. If you try to board early, chances are you will miss out on the perfect start to your holiday.


Credit: Pinterest

There is also one more thing that needs to be added…

Yacht crews work every day for 12 – 22 weeks, there are no days off, as you have just seen – ‘turnaround’ happens on the same day and the summer season is generally booked back-to-back. If the crew are lucky and everything goes to schedule, they may get 1 – 2 hours free on Saturday to nap, eat, shower and/or see loved ones. If you have booked a charter holiday, you don’t necessarily need to know all of this, after all, they chose to be in this profession, right?

Correct. But show a little respect, if your boarding-time says 5 pm, trust that it says it for a reason.