Ana Powell: Yacht Stewardess

  • Name: Ana Powell
  • Age: 26
  •  Job Title: Yacht Stewardess
  •  Job Description: I act as a server, bartender, and glorified cleaning lady for mega-yachts. Anything that involves taking care of the guests or the interior of the boat is my responsibility.
  •  Location: All around the world, as long as there is beautiful weather and amazing beaches!

Tell me about the path that led you to where you are today.

Having grown up in upstate New York, and enduring far too many freezing cold winters, the only thing that I knew for sure after graduating college was that I needed to chase the good weather and the sun, and never leave it again! I wasn’t in any hurry to go straight into the find-a-serious-job-that-I-need-to-have-forever-and-ever lifestyle by any means. I went on a 5-month trip around Europe a couple weeks after graduating where I met amazing people and landed some amazing side jobs at bars and hostels. Fast-forward a month after returning home, I began work at an all-inclusive resort, and after saving everything for a 6-month season, I traveled for nearly another year through Europe and South America. It was clear that I was in love with traveling and needed to find a way to finance my addiction. Once I returned home again completely broke and ready to take a break, I took a summer off to research yacht jobs and the industry while working as a waitress. After weeks of networking, building my resume, and contacting crew agencies, I began to get offers for employment, even though I had no previous experience!

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How did you come to the realization that this is something you wanted to pursue as a career?

While searching for jobs after college, I always tried to follow my heart and my passions in life rather than following the herd into regular routine type of job. My biggest passion happens to be traveling, so I wanted to find a job that would allow me to get paid as I travel, as well as have the ability to have sufficient time off to travel while not working! Between college and the start of my yachting career, I had worked in hospitality at hotels, hostels, bars, restaurant, etc. I knew that I had the personality and the skills to work on boats even though I didn’t have any directly related experience aboard yachts…so I just went for it! I researched and Googled anything and everything about working on yachts, and eventually the hard work paid off and I landed my first stewardess job 3 years ago. I now freelance on all different boats as needed, doing short term trips on and off throughout the year. I can now choose when and where I work, and while not working have the freedom and the funds to explore the rest of the world. Life is good!

Tell me about your daily routine.

Although I love my job, I have to admit it can be very hectic, energy draining, and stressful. We work long hours and are awake before the guests are awake, and go to bed after the guests go to bed. However, the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion, so even though this may look like a lot for a day´s work, keep in mind that you are always in a beautiful location, eating food made by a chef, not paying for rent, and traveling in style aboard a multi-million dollar vessel… and getting paid! In my mind, that definitely beats working in an office.

Good morning! I wake up early around 6 or 7, usually on a bunk bed in a shared room with a chef of mate of the boat. I have a short commute to work, just about a 20 seconds walk up the stairs to the galley, where I proceed to chug a few cups of coffee, set up the breakfast buffet and the table, so that everything is ready to go for the guests once they wake up!

As the guests begin to trickle in, I begin to take breakfast orders and behind the scenes race around to make the beds and clean the rooms. I come upstairs with a smile and ask if they would like more coffee or another order of eggs, then tiptoe away and run finish the rooms! Change the laundry! Fluff the pillows! Make little diamond shapes in the toilet paper rolls! Pull up the shades, tidy up clothes, shine the faucets, blah blah blah you get the picture. It is a balancing act of cleaning, serving, and taking orders in the morning. The goal is to get everything back to perfect condition without leaving a trace that you were secretly racing around all over the rooms.

When the guests are finished with breakfast, I break everything down, pack up the food, clean the dishes, tidy the upstairs of the boat and am usually finished just in time to make mimosas, bloody marys, or whatever tropical cocktail they might be in the mood for.

Lunch and dinner are basically the same routine as breakfast: set up, serve, break down, clean, bartend, etc.

After dinner, guests will either go out or hang around the boat; I will continue to make them drinks, snacks or whatever they need. Finally after a full day I go to my little bunk-bed and recharge for the next day to do it all over again.

What is the best part of your job? What excites you the most?

Alright, so maybe the daily routine didn’t sound like anything overly interesting.That is my basic schedule, however, there are definite perks to the job! Sometimes the guests will take me out on excursions, to bars, to restaurants, etc! I have worked for plenty of families who treat me like family, and appreciate my hard work… not to mention compensate me properly for it as well! I have swam with pigs in the Bahamas, hung out on Richard Branson´s island in the BVIs, ridden in the cockpit of private jets, golf carted around countless Caribbean Islands, and am sure that I have tried about every type of frozen cocktail and rum drink known to man on some of the world’s most pristine beaches. The benefits outweigh the hard work and long hours. On top of everything though, the simple fact that I am not only traveling for free, but also getting a wage for it, is by far the most amazing part of my job.

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What aspects of your job do you dislike? What is the biggest sacrifice that you’ve had to make?

The hardest part of my job is probably the lack of privacy and time for myself. When you are a stewardess, you are living where you work, oftentimes sharing a room with your co-workers and just next-door to your bosses. Although the guest quarters are spacious and luxurious, crew quarters tend to be a bit… cramped. It is definitely a challenge to share such a small space after a long day of work, when sometimes all that you want is a little alone-time away from people you see over and over day after day.  For me, as a traveler and a pretty easy-going individual, it is something that I am used to and do not really mind as much as your average person. You are usually only in your room to sleep, so it really isn’t that big of an issue for me.

Did you make any mistakes along the way that you think could have been avoided? What would you have done differently (if anything) to ensure a faster path to where you are today?

As a stewardess, any extra skills that you have whether it’s cooking, diving, or driving will help to set you apart and make you more job-worthy. At the moment, I am in Central America taking my dive courses to help build my resume. If I had done this sooner, maybe it would’ve led me into other amazing positions, but overall I am content with the path I have taken thus far.

I think that I have been pretty fortunate on my path from where I started to where I am now. I had no experience, no clue about the industry, no contact… but with a positive attitude and a lot of research it all ended up working out. I think that anyone can do anything that they want, as long as they have a good attitude, a bit of courage, and a lot of motivation and persistence with their goal. People give up easily and don’t embrace failure as a way to learn and grow, as they should. Rather than being too scared to go for something, realize and accept that there will be bumps along the way and react as necessary to stay on course! Everything will work out in the end.

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Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 

With work? The British Virgin Islands were gorgeous! I also love Staniel Cay in the Bahams, swimming with the pigs! Cruising around Ibiza and Mallorca was also amazing and different from what I am used to in the Carribean!

Do you have an individual person or event in your life that pushed you to become who you are or what you are? Who has always being in your corner to support your dreams?

Both of my parents have encouraged me throughout my life to go for my dreams, to go for what makes me happy, and to go for it without fear! They have never questioned or doubted my travelling lifestyle and have supported me with open minds, despite the fact that my path has been very different from most people my age. They are fully behind any decision I make so long that it is in line with my long-term goal of finding success from my passions and dreams. Their support has been crucial in keeping me motivated toward doing what I love, and I am very thankful to have been raised by such amazing people!

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What one question do you want the next interviewee on People With Cool Jobs to answer? (You can ask anything!) 

How do you define success, and do you think that people with the most money are necessarily the most successful?

I think that success can be defined as finding a career in which he or she has the ability to find happiness, fulfillment, and the means to live comfortably. I think that people these days are very focused on money, status and  their job title. I think that the idea of success has been manipulated and transformed from what it once was. Whenever I go back to the US, the vibe of our country is much different than many countries.  We are very work-oriented, often times stressed, and we are very competitive and concerned with what people around us are doing, buying, earning, etc. People complicate their lives by feeling that they need to buy certain things, rent certain apartments, own certain cars, and so on in order to finance all of these things, they need to work. The fact is, things that people want are not things that people need. Every dollar that anyone earns should be spent as desired, but I think that if people started to simplify their lives and minimize their spending on things, they would not have to spend so much time in the office. The American Dream used to be defined as ¨the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.¨ It says nothing in this definition regarding money or possessions, and I think that this shift in focus on what success is leads to many people spending way too much time working, and choosing certain careers that they may not even like. I think that once people stop focusing on money and start focusing on their passions in life, they will find more fulfillment with their career and live happier lives. Don´t be scared to go for what you love in life. If you are positive and motivated you will find a way to make it work out!

Work to live, don´t live to work!


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