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It’s 7am and my alarm goes off. The first thing I see when I open my eyes is my clean white uniform hanging, waiting to be picked up. I’m ready for another day onboard a luxury vessel trying not to be seen.
The morning light reflected from the Mediterranean Sea blazes through the cabin window, but Ania is still asleep.
Today I’m on service duty. Thank God I’ve finally been taken off housekeeping until next week.
I stumble out of my bunk, quietly put my white uniform on and head to breakfast. I can’t wait for Ania today, my stomach is already growling!
As I walk past the kitchen, I see chef Mia waving energetically and shouting good morning. I wonder why she’s always so happy.
As soon as I finish devouring my Nutella pancakes, I head to my morning duties, starting with the master cabin. The first thing we all have to do every morning is the yacht checks which by now I know by heart.
I’ve been stuck on this boat for nine months, so I know how I like my routine. From the aft towards the bow. Exactly 291 feet long to inspect. Starting in the main cabin with ensuite bathroom and finishing in the gym with panoramic views. I save the best part to the end.
Everything has to be impeccable 24 hours a day here – just as if no one was onboard. So I meticulously scan the first room. Just as if I had laser vision I try to spot what stands out. Found it! It’s always the cushion.
I move a green cushion with embroidered gold one inch to the left. Now, it’s perfect! I would never pay attention at home, but here that inch makes me shiver.
I continue to the bathroom and what I see is even more disturbing: a fingerprint! How didn’t I see this last time I checked? I know no one has been here and this cabin has been empty for days – the owner’s family don’t arrive until tomorrow.
I rub the expensive white marble compulsively until the stain is gone. After a rigorous half an hour, I finish my morning checks at the gym. And this view is definitely my favourite part.
I check the time. My watch says it’s nine o’clock and 30 degrees already!
I know the owner is up as I hear him saying good morning to other crew members on the deck. I make my way outside and stand next to the breakfast table – which Ania has already set with new giant flower arrangements – and try not to be seen.
This is our number one rule: we need to see them at all times, but we can never be seen. We must anticipate their needs without them having to ask for anything. Never bother them! As crew chief Sonya would say.
Every meal here is not just a meal but a whole experience. The service has to be not five but seven stars! Just like the most luxurious hotel, but on the water.
I stand still staring at the blue sea and blazing sky only to move 23 minutes later. God, that was a long breakfast!
With the last sip of his black americano with one sweetener, I anticipate what comes after and I discreetly place an ashtray on the table, but he doesn’t even look up.
He then heads to the bathroom and I go with him. I have to wait outside until he finishes and then I go in and re-arrange everything he has used. That’s the protocol. Can’t forget to add the diamond accessory on the loo roll!
Today, he proudly announces he wants to go to the beach club so I disembark and go with him. He barely notices me as I spend the day walking behind him. I’d say he sees me more like a butler really, and not like an experienced and trained member of the crew. But it’s ok.
Back on the yacht, I’m enjoying a 15 minute break watching the French Riviera sun slowly go down when Ania asks me to help her with laundry. Never knew a person could have so many Hawaiian shirts!
It’s now 12am and I’m knackered. I have one last cigarette with Ania leaning on the deck railing and contemplating the night sky.
I used to think working on a yacht and being at someone’s service 24 hours a day was hideous – and yet I’m oddly grateful for being here in this exact moment. The cold midnight breeze hurts my face, but I take one last look at the breathtaking view, I put out my cigarette and head back to my cabin.
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