I live on a super yacht: Madeleine's life in the middle of the ocean

As the playthings of only the very wealthiest among us, super yachts have an undeniably mysterious aura, and most of us will never see the inside of one. Unless, of course, it's part of your job.

Madeleine Meister, 28, works as a stewardess on a super yacht that cruises through the Mediterranean - in particular Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Italy.

For Meister, it began as a means to fund her European travel.

"I wanted to travel Europe and so applied for my UK visa and made the move to London," says the former spa therapist. "I was struggling to save money - let alone travel - when I heard that I could do both on super yachts in the south of France. I'd never heard of the industry before and started Googling what it was all about, before booking a ticket with the last of my money and hoping to snag a job."

Fast-forward six years and Meister is now a chief stewardess on what she describes as a "five-star floating villa". The yacht, which charters for between $A500,000 and $A1 million a week, features jacuzzis, helicopter pads, wake-boarding boats and marble and gold furnishings.

Meister's own living quarters are slightly less glamorous. She sleeps in a bunk in a "tiny" cabin that she shares with another crew member, and says wardrobe space is very limited. The living area is shared between 11 staff.

"There's no such thing as personal space here," says Meister.

As chief stewardess, Meister has two or three women working under her at any one time. Her role involves giving five-star service, ensuring the interior of the yacht is pristine, and providing silver-service dining. Most workdays last between 12 and 16 hours and there are no weekends.

But there are also perks - for example the high-quality food that is served to guests and crew.

"We eat really, really well," says Meister.

And while Meister's schedule doesn't allow her to see much of the countries she's visiting, apart from through a porthole, she does get opportunities to play in the water.

"During my break on board I get to go for a swim and jump off the bow - maybe go for a kayak or stand-up paddle board, which is always a highlight of my day," she says.

These days Meister is lucky enough to work on a fly-in, fly-out basis, meaning she works for three months and then has three months off, during which she travels and visits family. It's not a lifestyle Meister can see herself maintaining forever - but she's not leaving anytime soon.

"I'm trying to figure out what I will do once I'm home," she says. "It's a hard transition to go from living a semi-transient life, constantly travelling and seeing new things to then being grounded in the one spot. A lot of 'yachties' leave the industry to go home and end up back within a couple of years. For now I'm happy at sea."

This story I live on a super yacht: Madeleine's life in the middle of the ocean first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.