What It's Really Like To Be A Charter Guest On Below Deck

If you're a fan of the Bravo series Below Deck, you might have fantasized about the life of a charter guest — sunning yourself on the bunny pad of the yacht, sipping cocktails delivered at your command, and five-star meals based on every wish and whim noted on your preference sheet

If you've not seen the show, this is literally how every guest on board the luxury vessels spends their time while cameras follow every move. The cameras are there to document the inevitable drama stirred up by the crew — the fights, the hook-ups, the drunken nights. But they're also there to capture every obnoxious act and uncomfortable moment generated by the charter guests. Since the guest's main objective is to have a good (sometimes drunken) time and perhaps flaunt their wealthy lifestyle a bit, it's not always smooth sailing. 

Here's what it's really like to be a charter guest on Below Deck.

Charter guests are often shown at their worst

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything, Below Deck charter guest Jane Zhao revealed the truth behind some pretty cringe-worthy scenes from her time on the show. Zhao was part of a group of eight guests that appeared on season five, episodes five and six, of Below Deck Mediterranean. This season takes place on a 184-foot motor yacht, shuttling the guests around the water and beaches of beautiful Mallorca, Spain. On this charter, however, due to inclement weather, the boat never actually left the dock. Despite the circumstances, these guests were still able to keep things exciting. 

One night, Zhao and her friends invited four additional, last-minute guests back to the boat for a pre-planned, six-course meal (via Vulture). This saddled Chef Kiko with the task of whipping up a whopping 72 plates of food, something that seemed to be of little concern to the guests. Anyone who has ever worked in the hospitality industry is shaking their heads right now. 

A Reddit user asked "Did anyone in your group think it was rude to double the size of a 6 course meal with very little notice?" Zhao replied: "We should have been more considerate. In hindsight after watching I feel terrible." The lesson here is being a charter guest in the lap of luxury on Below Deck may skew your expectations into the realm of the unreasonable, and you'll come off looking somewhat obnoxious.

Charter guests may be set up for embarrassment

Speaking of expectations, let's talk about that tip money. Participating in a charter on Below Deck earns you a deeply discounted (though not cheap) rate of roughly $11,000 per person, including flights and hotel (via The Forward Cabin). But, a tip for the captain and crew is extra and is expected. Zhao alleges they were told by producers that an average tip for a charter is $15,000. Accounting for the extra dinner guest fiasco, Zhao says her group left a $17,000 tip. 

When the show aired, however, viewers watched as this tip was met with disappointment from the crew and Bravo flashed some accompanying text on screen stating that the average tip is usually $20,000. According to Cheat Sheet, primary charter guest Justin Thornton took to Instagram to defend their $17,000 tip, adding that it was, in fact, a 23.4 percent gratuity — an increase from the producers' quoted average.

We suppose as a charter guest on Below Deck, you must also be prepared to look like a cheapskate.