Crew Management

7 Ways to Keep Guests Happy on Board

1 May 2021By Kate Lardy
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Written by

Kate Lardy

Based in Fort Lauderdale, freelance writer Kate Lardy got her start in the yachting industry working as crew. She spent five years cruising the Bahamas, Caribbean, New England, and Central America, then segued that experience into a career in marine journalism, which has included stints as editor of Dockwalk and ShowBoats International.

Whether quarantined or cautious, guests are likely more confined to the yacht this season. “When shore-visits are minimalized and you ... have to keep the guests entertained with watersports, amazing dinners, and barbecues ... that will get boring after three days,” says Manon de Wit, hotel manager on Sherakhan. She and Tracey Bamforth, chief stewardess on Remember When, share creative ways to keep things fresh on board.

1/ Expand Your Theme Repertoire 

“Themes make sure every day feels like a new and first day,” says de Wit. Bamforth tried a neon theme that proved fun for all ages. Held on the sundeck, a casual barbecue dinner was served as the sun went down, then the flashing balls, glowing hula-hoops, and lit-up rubber duckies came out.

2/ Educate Them 

Use the talent available on board to teach the guests something new, says Bamforth, a yoga instructor herself. For instance, Remember When has two dive instructors on board, and while time may not permit full certification, diver guests can learn breath-hold techniques for spear- or free-diving.

3/ Go Old-School with Game Night 

Engage the group in a tournament-style competition, complete with scoreboard, says de Wit, who’s learned over 12 years of chartering that competitions and challenges fare well in families and groups.

4/ Drink Up 

“I always have a special cocktail of the day,” says de Wit. “Sometimes I start with suggestions and have the guests create their own ultimate cocktail.” This can be elevated to a full-on cocktail competition, or have the sommelier hold wine tastings and pairings.

5/ Take Water Toys to the Next Level 

Hold a Water Olympics, using everything in the toy box, suggests Bamforth.

6/ Compete in the Galley 

“Most guests like to make their own dessert or cocktails but making a serious competition against a REAL chef always works out well,” says de Wit. “Who can impress the captain or chef the most in 30 minutes using only a few ingredients?”

7/ Get Crafty 

Bamforth has turned the aft deck table into a painting station, supplying wooden cut-outs that the guests can decorate with acrylics, watercolors, or chalk and take home. She’s also found that adult guests spend a lot of time with the yacht’s supply of meditation coloring books.

This article originally ran in the December 2020 issue of Dockwalk.

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