Career Options (Hotel Operations/Interior)

To meet high customer expectations, a series of training programmes have been created which offer a clear pathway of progression for both newcomers and experienced hotel operations personnel who are looking to advance their careers.

Guests on board cruise ships, ferries and superyachts expect nothing less than excellent service, delivered by first class hotel operations personnel.

Whether students already have experience in the hospitality and customer service industries or are looking to move into their first job role, the elite interior training courses provide beginners through to advanced students with the necessary skills and competencies, adapted specifically for marine hospitality environments.

There is a clear career path for hotel operations personnel, which allows students to progress from a junior steward/ess to managerial positions with the right qualifications and training.

Roles vary depending on the size of the vessel, but they commonly require a broad base of skills and experience including:

  • Housekeeping and interior maintenance.
  • Guest service including table setting and silver service.
  • Impeccable eye for detail.
  • Superb customer service skills.
  • Precision management and forward planning.
  • Flexible, practical and highly organised.
  • Discreet and trustworthy.
  • Understanding of protocol and etiquette.
  • Exceptional spoken and written English skills
  • Computer skills (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)

Cruise and ferry industries

Modern cruise ships and passenger ferries are run in a similar way to a large hotel, and a whole range of hotel and catering, hospitality and support services are needed on board to service guests’ requirements.

Specific roles vary from company to company but prior qualifications and experience in hotel, catering or hospitality work are generally necessary. In addition to the relevant qualifications and experience, you’ll also need to have a bright personality, an efficient manner and a sincere commitment to providing top quality customer service.

In all these functions you’ll be providing services to passengers on a daily basis. As with all ‘customer-facing’ roles, you will be required to maintain high levels of customer service to ensure that passengers fully enjoy their cruise or ferry experience.

Listed below are the types of jobs you could find on board cruise and passengers ships, however, this is not an exhaustive list.

Hotel and catering

  • Hotel management and administration (often called ‘pursers’): receptionists, bookkeepers, PAs and office based staff.
  • Restaurant: Maitre d’Hotel, waiting staff, wine stewards.
  • Bars: bar manager, bar staff, cocktail waiters.
  • Kitchen (galley): chefs, catering assistants.
  • Housekeeping: housekeepers, stewards, cleaners, porters, laundry personnel, carpenters and joiners, concierges.
  • Hospitality.
  • Entertainment: cruise directors, dancers, entertainers, DJs, casino staff.
  • Shore excursions: managers, support staff.
  • Health and beauty: hairdressers, beauticians, massage therapists, sports and fitness instructors.

Support services

Support roles Include but are not limited to: childcare assistant, youth staff, doctor, nurse, lifeguard, retail manager, retail assistant, photographer, florist, computer system/IT manager and computer technician.

It’s worth noting that many of the concessionaire staff employed on passenger ships (e.g. entertainers, hairdressers, beauticians, casino staff and photographers) are usually employed through third party companies who provide specialist staff to the cruise or ferry company on a contract basis. In this case, you’ll need to apply to the concessionaire company direct, not the cruise or ferry company.

Superyachts

Luxury superyachts require nothing less than a seven star standard of service and hospitality. It is down to the interior crew to provide a first class experience which matches the expectations and standards of the owner and guests.

Roles will vary depending on the size of the yacht, but commonly require a broad base of skills and experiences including: guest, housekeeping, butler and valet services, barista, bar and wine knowledge, laundry and wardrobe management and floristry.

A career path within the interior department allows students to progress from junior steward/ess to managerial positions with the right qualifications and training.

Superyacht roles

Interior manager/purser

This position is responsible for managing and directing the interior team and ensuring that owners and their guests are provided with the highest level of service and attention specifically tailored to their needs during their stay on board. They mentor and develop all interior staff with a view to strengthening their current performance.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: hiring, developing and implementing training programs, co-ordinating leave schedules, creating maintenance plans, day-to-day scheduling, provisioning and financial management.

Chief steward/ess

The chief steward/ess is responsible for setting standards and keeping the yacht maintained to an immaculate condition. They will also deliver an exceptional experience for owners and guests, which may include creating itineraries, scheduling activities, organising events and craft memorable themes for owner and guest trips. They manage, direct and oversee the team in their area of assigned responsibility.

Lead, second steward/ess, butler

This position is responsible for leading the housekeeping and/or service team and ensuring the owners and their guests are provided with the highest level of service and attention specifically tailored to their needs during their stay on board.

The lead steward/ess is also responsible for keeping the yacht maintained to an immaculate condition in their assigned area of responsibility, for example, wine cellar, bonded store, drinks fridge, candles and decorations, wardrobe care, owner amenities, guest amenities, owner’s deck, stationery, or flowers and plants, which would include updating and maintaining appropriate inventories, preparing orders and creating in-house training.

Steward/ess

This position is responsible for ensuring the owners and their guests are provided with the highest level of service and attention specifically tailored to their needs during their stay on board. The steward/ess is responsible for keeping the yacht maintained to an immaculate condition with minimal supervision. Although the position of steward/ess used to be a blend of housekeeping and service duties, on the larger vessels we see a division between these departments and crew are assigned to a department with a focus on either one.

They will manage the area of assigned responsibility, for example, wine cellar, bonded store, drinks fridge, candles and decorations, wardrobe care, owner amenities, guest amenities, owners deck, stationery or flowers and plants). They may also be required to accompany the owners and/or guests on tours, shopping trips or excursions, or provide childcare services.

Speciality steward/ess roles

These roles are primarily undertaking the role of a steward/ess. Demand is increasing for this position to have qualifications in speciality fields such as nursing, beauty and massage therapy, hairdresser, personal trainer/yoga instructor and floristry.

Lead laundry

This position is responsible for the overall laundry department and ensuring the owners and their guests are provided with the highest level of laundry service and attention specifically tailored to their needs during their stay on board. The lead laundry steward/ess is also ultimately responsible for the day-to-day operations of the laundry and maintaining the set standards.

Laundry steward/ess

This position is responsible for ensuring the owners and their guests are provided with the highest level of laundry service and attention specifically tailored to their needs during their stay on board.

Day-to-day duties include cleaning and maintaining all owner and guest wardrobes and linen; log all laundry to ensure all items are returned correctly and in a timely manner; cleaning and maintaining all crew uniforms and linens as well as galley, deck and interior linen; return all cleaned laundry to appropriate location in a timely manner.