Dock Walking – Getting a Job on a Super Yacht

What is dock walking?

Dock walking is the process of walking along a dock, going up to a yacht, speaking with the crew on-board with the aim of trying to secure any of the following; day work, permanent work or to leave them with one of your CV’s.

For me this proved to be one of the most nerve wracking processes about finding a job on a super yacht…

Monday morning 0630, I wake early in anticipation of the morning ahead. I am living in a crew house with numerous other ‘wannabe’ super yacht crew, all eagerly trying to secure a job on a super yacht, all competing for the same work on a limited number of yachts. I get up early, I want to be the first in the shower (before people start to queue for the shower) and to have a shave for my first day walking the docks of Antibes. Presentation is important in this industry and my clothes are ironed and laid out the night before. I shower, shave and eat breakfast, my appetite is low as my nerves fill my stomach with a certain unease. I pack my bag with the essentials, sun cream and water, before leaving the crew house armed with a selection of recently printed CV’s and references in a neat plastic folder. I want to be the first out of the crew house and onto the dock in case I can catch any early crew out on deck.

It is a beautifully fresh morning, the salty smell of the sea lingers in the calm air that surrounds the small cobbled streets in Antibes. The sun is about to rise, the sky is clear with white aeroplane trails scarring the blue backdrop, there is a coolness in the air indicating the ever approaching autumn. Leaving the cobbled streets behind I am greeted with a vast selection of yachts moored, all overlooked by a beautiful golden fort that looks down on the harbour of Antibes, the rising sun accentuates the golden colour of the fort. As I walk along the dock side a scavenging sea scurries into a hedge dragging some left over pizza from a torn bin bag. The water is calm and the town empty, it is 0730 and the port is quiet.

I walk towards the International Dock, the main dock home to some of the largest super yachts in the world, past the more modest yachts, which by standards at home are still very impressively sized yachts. My anxiety is growing as I approach the entrance to the main dock, my heart races faster and my fears of rejection grow with ever step closer. I pass the security barrier through an open gate looking like a school boy about to embark on his first day at school, rucksack on, clean ironed clothes and carrying my folder of CV’s; I certainly look like a novice. As I enter the International Dock I am greeted by a large yacht with the large letters spelling ‘D I L B A R’ written down the side in gleaming silver, the reflection of the water ripples glistening off the yachts hull and the front of the yacht stretching way off into the distance; my heart beat increases further and I almost try to convince myself that it is not a good day to dock walk and I will try tomorrow, as it will be easier then… I know I must continue.

Sitting on the dock it is 0735, there is no-one around bar the security guard and he looks wholly uninterested in my intentions here this morning. I sit by a flower bed that overlooks the vast stretch of yachts before me, all moored stern to (the back of the yacht facing the dock), I struggle to comprehend the change in worlds I am experiencing in just two days. Two days ago I was working in an office watching the rain falling outside on a busy road… now I sit, unemployed, admiring these incredible yachts, with the blue sea and sky around with the back drop of that old golden fort.

Slowly more dock walkers appear, some look highly seasoned dock walkers, walking with a certain confidence and heir of knowing, some I talk with politely and briefly, some people are focused purely on the yachts and walk past without so much as an acknowledgement.

It is 0745 and I decide to walk to the opposite end of the dock and begin my dock walk from the far end forward, hoping to catch crews before they are disturbed by the other dock walkers. The larger yachts are at the beginning, I anticipate these will draw the most dock-walkers attentions so I opt first for the smaller yachts (still over 60 meters in length!). As I walk to the end of the dock, the yachts start coming alive, deck crew appearing from side doors on yacht, walking down the sides of the yacht to the stern (back). I see the crews coming out, a moment I have long been anticipating, and my anxiety steps up another notch. My heart beats now to a level where I can feel the beating and the pulsing of blood around my body, a feeling I have not had since standing up to do a best man’s speech the month previously. My mouth dries and I feel sweat building below my armpits, I go to approach the first yacht, the crew member looks at me, I think I have caught his attention, I smile, before he looks down and heads up to the second deck to raise the flag at the back of the yacht, I am sure he noticed me, but my polite English disposition stops me disturbing him and I convince myself they must be fully crewed and therefore I should look elsewhere. As I walk away, I realise I have failed at the first hurdle in my search for work on a yacht.

With my disappointment building but my heart rate easing a little, I continue along the dock, determined to not succumb to fear on the next yacht, I vow this will be the only yacht I do not approach, a new beginning…

The third yacht along, someone is also putting out the flag at the back of the yacht, I approach, again the heart rate increases, but with grit and determination I call up to the chap, “are you looking for crew?” The chap looks down, smiles and informs they are fully staffed. Although a rejection I feel an enormous sense of achievement, I have overcome my fear of asking for work on one of these yachts and feel a little more equipped to start on my journey to find work on a super yacht.

That morning I managed to talk to crew on five different yachts that morning. Walking back to the crew house I feel more confident than I did on the walk out this morning and pleased I have managed to give out some CV’s. I have completed my first mornings dock walking, the start of many more docks walks now lay ahead.

My dock walking skills improved with practice, it took about a week for me to feel confident doing this and for the feelings of anxiety to disappear. The process improved with time, I became slicker at asking if they need day work or new crew, I also managed to leave more CV’s and references with yachts, even if they were not looking for crew at that time. I always tried to have a polite conversation with crews before leaving, hoping to develop some form of polite rapport, which I hoped would help me stand out from the crowd. I was surprised to find crews surprisingly helpful and welcoming to me as dock-walker. The reality is most crews on-board will have at some point endured the process of dock walking and understand it is a necessary part of finding work on a yacht, empathising with you and helping you where they can.

My dock-walking took me too many docks, Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Nice, St Tropez, among a couple of other ones. The best I found were Antibes and Monaco though. I spent many hours walking miles of docks, handing out many CV’s and speaking politely to many crew members. At times it did become disheartening, as no leads seemed to come from my hard work. I always tried to keep positive and keep moving forward, although it was difficult at times and I knew the clock was rapidly ticking, drawing a close to the end of another season; the yachts would soon leave the Mediterranean for the Caribbean.

However, the hard work, persistence and patience eventually paid off. I got day work on a couple of yachts which built my experience on my CV, making me much me more employable.

Without realising it my dock walking days were coming to an end as I approached one yacht not long after it had docked one late afternoon. The normal routine of asking for work followed with polite pleasantries, I handed the crew member my CV, He asked about my qualifications and seemed disappointed I did not have my yacht masters qualification, he goes on to inform me the Captain only employs deck crew that have this qualification. I left with disappointment as the yacht had an interesting itinerary and the crew seemed really friendly on-board. The following morning walking the dock I passed the same yacht that I had handed my CV to the afternoon before, the crew member called me over and offered me some day work. This progressed from one days’ worth of work, to a weeks’ worth of work, which lead onto a trial period, which lead onto permanent work and all this from that one fateful day of speaking and handing that one CV to that person.

It is such an incredible feeling, achieving a job a super yacht, completely off your own back from the hours of dock walking. Working on that yacht as I moved all possessions on-board, as I went from dock walker to full time crew member was a day that filled me with great pride. Coming from an office job some two months earlier and now stepping on-board to start a new life working on one of the top charter super yachts in the world was a lovely moment in my life.

Looking back, the dock walking was the most nerve wracking part of the job finding process. But it did get notably easier with time and practice, you just have to overcome that fear of asking that first yacht.

As humans I feel we need to get more comfortable at embracing fear and uncertainty, for it is often the things that make us feel uncomfortable, fearful or nervous that can lead to some of the most exciting changes and opportunities in your life…

… you never know, that one decision you make, that one conversation or person you meet could change the direction of your life or career and take your life on a whole new exciting adventure.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

New Age Luxury Travel

The present luxury travelers are looking for new and unique experiences. They want to learn and understand the culture and history of the places they visit. They must experience it like a local, or more aptly, a very wealthy local.

The new aspect of luxury vacation, it’s no longer about living in the most expensive hotels or eating off gold (or actually eating it); it’s now about experiencing that you’ll never forget that no one else has Instagrammed.

A choice that could provide you a real new experience in terms of the modern meaning of luxury travelling is a private sailing cruise on a luxury yacht. A cruise like this in the Aegean Sea and especially in the Cyclades island group can provide an authentic experience of the town, city or village you’re visiting.

Although there will always be “must see” tourist spots to go to, you could also live authentic and local experiences. For instance, on the islands you are going to visit you could participate in events that locals would frequent, like local festivals with music, dance, food and drink.

For those who love to shop, you’ll have the opportunity to try and buy local products that you can’t find anywhere else. Try amazing wines, cheeses, exceptional Hellenic products like herbs coming from the Greek earth and grown with the help of sun and salty wind.

Among others you’ll have also the option of arranging with your skipper a unique experience by mixing and matching different excursions, day trips, cruises and activities to suit your personal preferences and interests. You could visit such as, archaeological sites or secret buys or even enjoy a massage or personal counseling session like Ayurvedic & Thai massages, Healing, Reiki, Aromatherapy. If you wish you could also enjoy water sports or a relaxing yoga workshop.

All the above could be a memorable time of your life consisted of services planned only for you, private visits, isolated beaches, private tours, or a relaxing afternoon cycling through the Greek countryside to a vineyard where a wholesome Mediterranean meal awaits? The options are endless.

Of course on a trip like this the crew of the sailboat can ensure you a level of safety and security, a calm cruise, a safe anchor the best services in and out of the boat. Everything on a trip along these lines is designed to satisfy your peace in mind and give you the pleasure you swear by a new age luxury travel.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

How a Luxury Cruise Differs From a Regular Cruise

Which do you prefer? Do you like the larger cruise ships that hold over 4,000 passengers or the smaller ships that hold under 1,000? Some ports don’t handle the larger vessels and the attention to the passenger is better on the smaller ships. So, check out the possibilities with these luxury cruise lines.

Some of the luxury cruise lines have smaller ships. I’m talking Azamara Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn Cruises. This means you get more choices of ports. Yes, they may cost more but the benefits may just make it worth it. These luxury cruise lines give you travel at its best, most are even all-inclusive. That means no extra drink packages, no extras that are unexpected.

Azamara Cruises

Azamara Cruises focuses on Destination Immersion where longer stays, more overnights and night touring are included on 100% of their voyages. You get to explore everything from nightlife in Stockholm and morning walks in the French Riviera to all-day adventures in Costa Rica’s rain forests. You’ll experience boutique-style ships with a maximum of 686 guests, staff and crew can quickly learn your name, tastes, and preferences. All of this with lots of inclusive amenities like standard spirits, international beers and wines, gratuities, and an AzAmazing Evenings event (on most voyages) – all with their compliments. Also included for all guests are bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas, English butler service for suite guests, self-service laundry, shuttle service to and from port communities (where available) and concierge services for personal guidance and reservations.

Visit ports like Marseille, Amalfi, Crete or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away), the heart of Seville, and the city center of Bordeaux. Experience the culture, cuisine, scenery and people of your destinations. The crew really like to mingle with the guests and are pleased to point out special things at sea and onshore and go above and beyond your expectations.

Crystal Cruises/Crystal River Cruises/Crystal Yachts

Another all-inclusive cruise line. this includes complimentary gratuities, unparalleled choices of dining options including specialty restaurants, complimentary fine wines and premium spirits, open bar service in all lounges, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Also, you get 24-hour room service, high tea, golf lessons, computer/technology classes and a technology concierge, Crystal Visions Enrichment Program, entertainment and complimentary launderettes. One shore excursion is included on every voyage as part of your “We Care/You Care” program. And, you can bring your own wine/liquor with no corkage fees!

Predominantly non-smoking indoors (except the Connoisseur Club Cigar bar) this is a great and elegant alternative to the large ships. They now offer river cruises, yacht cruises, luxury air and residences. Booking is open for 2017 and 2018. The yacht is an all-inclusive super-yacht with 31 luxury suites and two complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in most every port, depending on the destination. Water sports from the yacht’s marina platform is also available and don’t forget the state-of-the-art deep-sea submersible accommodating two passengers and certified pilot. The river cruises will be home based in Paris and will have various length cruises, all suites and will have its first sailing in July, 2016 with 2-for-1 fares and overnights in popular ports.

Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises lets you see a spectacular selection of diverse and exotic destinations with elegance. They are unique itineraries specifically designed to showcase the most fascinating destinations. They are intimate and luxurious, visiting historic cities to modern meccas to charming seaside villages nestled along sparking coastlines. Each day offers exciting opportunities to experience the history, art and cuisine of a wondrous new destination. Enjoy dining inspired by Master Chef Jacques P├ępin. Lavish complimentary amenities abound, and there are never supplemental charges in any of the onboard restaurants. Value packages ensure that sipping vintage wine, surfing the internet or enjoying a shore excursion is both convenient and affordable.

Oceania offers catering to its passengers as it holds just 684 to 1,250 guests, depending on the ship. It is country club casual ambiance with personalized service. It offers port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays. Experience epicurean enrichment programs, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours in the world’s most fascinating destinations. The spa is an acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas offers a truly sumptuous and very personal experience. You can anticipate an unforgettable journey to the world’s greatest destinations where everything is included, without exception and without compromise. Regent’s fares include 2-for-1 All-Inclusive fares, early booking savings, free unlimited shore excursions, free luxury hotel package in Concierge Suites and higher, free specialty restaurants, free unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, free open bars and lounges PLUS in suite mini bar replenished daily, free pre-paid gratuities, free 24-hour room service, free transfers between airport and ship and many other amenities. The dress code is elegant casual dress. An enriching onboard experience is brought to life through The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. There are Broadway shows, virtuoso performances, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings and the spectacular Canyon Ranch SpaClub wellness programs.

There are enticing voyages to more than 250 ports around the world in the comfort of a smoke free environment throughout almost the entirety of their ships. These ports are some of the more intimate ports that larger vessels cannot reach on a vessel that is all suites with 97% of them with a private balcony. There are only 490 or 700 guests, resulting in stellar service, no lines and no waiting.

Seabourn Cruises

With Seabourn you sail with your own private club, where members share expansive open decks, inviting social spaces, and the personalized attention of an exceptional crew. There are unique itineraries to must-see cities and hidden gems where larger ships cannot go. These are intimate ships with no more than 300 spacious suites with sweeping ocean views, most with verandas. The intuitive staff is passionate about pleasing their guests. Gourmet dining experiences that rival the finest restaurants anywhere, complimentary welcome champagne and in-suite bar stocked with your preferences, complimentary dining venues where you dine where you wish, when you wish and with whom you wish. This is an all-inclusive experience with open bars throughout the ship and fine wines poured at lunch and dinner. Tipping is neither required nor expected.

Seabourn visits bucket wish destinations and small ports like Saint-Tropez, France and Palarmo, Spain. Visit the lesser traveled Caribbean islands of Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, the Grenadines, Guadeloupe and Saint Barthelemy and St. Kitts. Shore excursions are available for purchase with lots of time to explore each port of call.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off