What are Interior Managers responsible for? One might imagine that this occupation has something to do with interior design however that would be wrong. So, what do Interior Manager’s do, and what skills does this position require?
As a rule, an Interior Manager supervises all issues related to accommodation and facilities on board. Interior Manager’s take part in new projects. In the early stages, they help plan out utility areas, galleys, pantries and crew cabins, and also choose relevant equipment. The Interior Manager has to make sure that all the supplies and consumables are sufficient, and they are also responsible for the hiring and training of the stewards.
During construction, the Interior Manager generally spends one week out of every month at the shipyard. After the vessel has been launched, the Interior Manager continues to purchase and control the stock, check crew members’ discipline and appearance, as well as maintain tidiness on board, and look out for possible design flaws. If necessary, and the cruise timetable allows it, the Interior Manager may spend additional time on board completed vessels, or speak to the Captain and crew via video conference.
All these tasks require not only theoretical knowledge but also practical skills. That is why the only way to become an Interior Manager is to start as a steward and continue to become a chief steward. Having sufficient experience at sea allows them to supply a yacht with all the necessary consumables, even whilst remaining on land.
We asked the Head of the Interior Manager Department at Imperial Yachts, to look into the nuances of this occupation. She manages a team and together they take care of the Imperial fleet, applying high standards for all their vessels, regardless of size.
“Our job requires deep knowledge of each superyacht. First of all, we have to keep in mind the layout and equipment and stay in touch with the shipyard, contractors and suppliers that took part in the construction. We also have to know the brands and collections for each vessel’s equipment and accessories. Rule number two – always hire top professionals who can take care of interiors, and look after guests on the highest level. Finally, a necessary skill is anticipating the Owner’s demands and expectations. Whether that be a special event or table setting for a theme dinner. Though each superyacht might have its peculiarities, these rules still apply to the whole fleet built and managed by Imperial Yachts”.
One of the most demanding tasks is to prepare a superyacht for her first cruise with the Owner and their family and friends on board.
“We must pay attention to every tiny detail, such as marks on crystal glasses, a stuck-out zipper on a couch pillow or flaws with the polish. Our duty is to discover and eliminate such defects during the general examination of a superyacht before its maiden voyage. Another criterion of professional management, which is very important for every Owner, is financial control, including galley expenses. An Interior Manager has to make sure that the crew does not exceed the budget”, — she explains.
Cleaning on board is a separate sphere of knowledge. For example, vessels of 100-metres plus have a care and maintenance handbook comprised of hundreds of pages. Stewardesses have to be familiar with different ways of cleaning and taking care of different surfaces and materials. So as not to make the process of cleaning guest zones more difficult than it has to be. Interior Manager’s, together with the crew, work to make sure everything is completed quickly, efficiently, and with minimum use of harsh chemicals.
Summing up, preparing a yacht for her maiden voyage is one of the most challenging tasks for an Interior Manager. It is extremely essential not only to take care of the equipment and supplies, but also to make sure that the crew is well-trained, has a thorough knowledge of all the procedures pertaining to safety on board, and is well-rested for the voyage.
All the items that might be required by passengers should be delivered well in advance, inventoried and put away. Also, furniture should be adequately protected from moisture and humidity. The level of responsibility is equal to the level of the Owner’s requirements - which is traditionally extremely high. Experienced Interior managers can meet these requirements to the fullest extent.