Superyacht crew sleep in tiny, hidden cabins — but tips can be significant

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

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

For the crew, on the other hand, it’s a completely different story: they have to spend months working very long days before going to sleep in tiny cabins nestled on the ship.

Tea Kundić and Valentina Rijeka were part of the crew that worked this summer on the Ohana, a 160ft superyacht based in Split, Croatia.

They have spent six months hosting up to 30 guests, ensuring everyone is happy from the first moment of the day until the last bedtime.

The crew cabins are hidden aft of the main deck. Kundić and Rijeka each have their own en-suite cabins they go to when their working days are finally over.

The hidden cabins are located at the yacht bag.

The hidden cabins are located at the yacht bag.

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Valentina Rijeka's hut.

Valentina Rijeka’s hut.

Sam Tabahriti/Insider



Rijeka, 30, is the latest addition to the crew of Ohana, led by captain and owner, Josip Šerka.

She earns 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 $1,000 more,” Rijeka said of a typical tip after a seven-day charter.

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

Šerka splits tips equally among the crew and does not take a share himself, according to crew members.

Kundić, 24, described the captain as a “calm soul”, adding: “He just cracks a few jokes and makes everyone happy.”

Valentina Rijeka (left) and Tea Kundić.

Valentina Rejika (left) and Tea Kundić serve Ohana guests.

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The captain’s right-hand man, Zoran Vidović, 39, told Insider that working on a superyacht can be very enjoyable but often quite demanding. This is especially true if young people rent the yacht because “all they want to do is party,” he says.

He recalls an incident when the crew was about to weigh anchor when guests jumped into the water near the propellers: “You have to be on it, you have to think about safety at all times.

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

Ensuring everyone feels supported is also crucial, she says: “Living on a boat for six months is a completely different life than being on land.

Šerka knows how his crew feels, as he was in their shoes before becoming captain.

“I worked as a sailor, waiter in the kitchen – I tried everything, so I know how difficult it is,” he says. “I want to be the boss I wish I had when I was doing these jobs.”

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