Superyacht crews sleep in small, hidden cabins — but tips can be big

  • Ohana’s crew members, who earn about $1,400 a month, say they often get big tips.
  • It’s important to get along well with your colleagues, the superyacht crew told Insider.
  • Working on a luxury yacht can be stressful, so the captain needs to understand the requirements of the crew.

Sailing on a luxury yacht as a guest is an unforgettable luxury experience.

But for the crew, it’s a somewhat different story: They must spend months working very long days before sleeping in tiny cabins tucked away on the ship.

T Kondic and Valentina Rijeka were two of the crew members who worked this summer on Ohana, a 160-foot luxury yacht based in Split, Croatia.

They spent six months catering to up to 30 guests, ensuring everyone was happy from the first moment of the day until the last time they fell asleep.

The crew cabin is hidden away aft of the main deck. Kundić and Rijeka each have their own cabins where they go when their working days are finally over.

Hidden cabins are located in the yacht's hold.

Hidden cabins are located in the yacht’s hold.


Cabin Valentina Rijeka.

Cabin Valentina Rijeka.

Sam Tabhariti / Insider

Rijeka, 30, is the newest recruit to the Ohana crew, commanded by captain and owner, Josep Sirca.

You get a base salary of 10,000 kuna (about $1,400), but guests tend to tip generously at the end of their stay.

“Sometimes you get up to an extra $1,000,” Rijeka said of a typical tip after a seven-day rental.

Rika told Insider that she tries to save as much as possible to fulfill her dream of opening a bar in Hawaii.

According to crew members, Šerka divides the tips equally among the crew and does not make any cuts himself.

Kondic, 24, described the captain as a “quiet soul”, adding: “He makes a few jokes and makes everyone happy.”

Valentina Rijeka (left) and Ty Kondic.

Valentina Ryjika (left) and Ty Kondik serve Ohana’s guests.


The captain’s right-hand man, Zoran Vidović, told Insider that working on a luxury yacht can be a lot of fun but is often very demanding. This is especially true if young adults are renting the yacht because “all they want to do is party,” he says.

He recalls an incident where the crew was preparing to raise anchor when some guests jumped into the water near the propellers: “You have to be on board – you have to think about safety at all times.”

Another skill is being able to get along with fellow crew members, says Rijeka, “because you’ll be stuck with the same people for months.” Kondic adds that it’s important to “respect each other’s boundaries” and give people space when they need it.

Making sure everyone feels supported is also crucial, she says: “Living on a boat for six months is a very different life than living on land.”

Šerka knows exactly how his crew feels, because he was in their shoes before he became captain.

“I used to work as a bartender and a waiter in the kitchen—I’ve tried everything, so I know how hard it can be,” he says. “I want to be the manager I hoped to be when I was doing these jobs.”

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