It's apparently the end of a Below Deck era. Below Deck Mediterranean returns to TV on Monday night for its fifth season, which chief stewardess Hannah Ferrier says will be her last on the show and as a stew.
"I think I'm probably done," Hannah, 33, confesses to ET on video chat. "I learned when I first started yachting in my very early 20s, you know, I would see these women who were in their late 30s, 40s, sitting at a bar, getting wasted with 20-year-olds living in a tiny cabin, and I was like, I don't want [that]. I want this to be a good, fun, enriching experience that allows me to travel a lot, but I don't want to get to the stage where I'm locked into yachting and there's nothing else in my life except that."
"It's a bit different if you're captain, but as a chief stew? They just don't seem like very happy people to me," she adds.
Hannah has been the chief stew on Below Deck Med since its premiere in 2016. Her choice to exit the series follows Kate Chastain's exit from the OG series, Below Deck, in February. Kate, 37, had been chief stew on the franchise's flagship show for six years. Both women have called yachting a "young people's game," each saying they simply outgrew the industry that turned them into TV stars.
Hannah says she actually came to the decision that she was ready to be done with yachting before returning for season 5; she just needed one last go to confirm her choice. She admits she's interested to see how her attitude comes across on screen as the season airs.
"I think it's definitely different to any season the viewers have ever seen before when it comes to me," Hannah admits. "That’s the thing that people don't realize sometimes is like, you are in your head space and where you are, the way you're acting is normal to you, but you never really know how that’s going to, you know, come across or appear."
"I think that with yachting, you really have to be done-done with it before you can properly walk away, otherwise you're constantly questioning yourself about, did I do the right thing? Should I have done one more season? Could I have done this?" she shares. "I think probably a part of me knew that before going into this season."
"I definitely went into this season going like, I'm here to, like, give the guests the best experience they could have," she adds. "Is this something that I wanna do even for the next two or three years? Probably not."
The decision also comes on the heels of a heated fourth season for Hannah and Captain Sandy Yawn, who is calling a potential bluff on Hannah’s announcement that she's done with yachting.
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"She's said that every season," Sandy tells ET, on a separate video chat. "Do you know how many crews say that? Everyone at the end of the season."
"I don't live in Hannah's mind, thankfully," she adds. "I don't know. Like, that's up to Hannah. We get out of yachting and we get back into yachting. So many people do."
At the end of season 4, Captain Sandy pulled Hannah aside to tell her that yachting was not Hannah's passion, a statement that, while true, came as a blow to the chief stew.
"She said that I wasn't passionate about yachting, which is a difficult one to tackle because I'm not passionate about boats and machines and anchor watches and how things work on boats," Hannah notes. "I am very passionate about making sure that the guests have a good time and that they're never wanting for anything, and I believe I do that. Like, we had the whole last season where we didn't have one guest complaint the whole time. Am I passionate about putting plastic rocks and fake flowers on the table? No. It’s not my style, so yeah, we kind of butt heads with that. Because what she sees as good table decor, I see as tacky."
"If someone hates their job and if someone, you know, constantly just goes against authority or… Hannah, I wish the very best," Sandy shares. "She admittedly hates yachting, so when you have that mix, it's hard to stay focused."
"Like Sandy said, it's really not my passion in life," she scoffs. "I felt like I was coming in a little bit on the back foot. ... I really put my head down and worked as hard as I could, and if that's still not good enough, then I'm not sure where I can go from here."
"I think Sandy responds very well to people who who kiss a**, and I'm not good at that," Hannah goes on to note. "I’m much more of a like, I'm here to do my job. I have respect for you as my captain, but at the same time, I do say no to her sometimes, which I don't think goes down very well."
It appears things will come to a head for Sandy and Hannah this season. At the end of the trailer, Sandy tells Hannah, "I could've fired you a long time ago, Hannah. I could've fired you last year, the year before, and I haven't." Both women play coy on whether Sandy actually pulls the trigger and fires Hannah this go-around.
"I feel like with Sandy and I, it's almost every year we're hitting the reset button and trying to have a healthy work relationship, so, yeah, we do that again," Hannah admits.
"The reality is, it's not about Sandy and Hannah's relationship," Sandy says when asked about that moment. "The fact is, Sandy's the captain. Sandy runs a vessel. She has a huge responsibility. It's not about one person."
There was a lot happening below the surface -- both literally and figuratively -- this season that affected Hannah and, in turn, Sandy, who admits she has no idea about "80 percent" of the events that transpire between her crew until the show airs on TV. That includes some drama fans will see unfold between Hannah and her second stew, Lara Flumiani.
"Lara is, yeah, she's just, she's in a league of her own that one," Hannah teases. "I thought I had seen bad, and then I saw Lara."
"It was definitely a very trying start to the season, probably the most difficult start to the season I've had in all of my Below Deck days," she adds. Hannah says she would rather work with season 4's Chef Mila Kolomeitseva -- who made homophobic remarks, served microwaved steaks to guests and was ultimately fired for being incompetent as a yacht chef -- over Lara again.
In the teaser for the season, Lara is shown being wildly insubordinate toward Hannah, telling her, "The more you piss me off, the less I will do. Get your s**t together and be nice." In another moment, it appears the women are close to blows in the galley.
"Wow," Sandy says of that interaction. "I was like, holy crap. I had no idea it was practically a fist fight in the galley. I didn't know that. Hannah doesn't tell me these things. I think if Hannah would come to me more often, I could help her navigate this."
"I always say to my crew, if you can't work it out downstairs and you bring it to me, someone usually gets fired. Who do you think I would've fired in that case?" she adds, saying she would’ve "immediately terminated" Lara had she known the truth about her behavior.
Hannah says working with her worst stew of all time added an extra layer of difficulty to an already complicated season. On top of contemplating her career future, this season was the first time she'd done a charter with a boyfriend back home; Hannah is keeping the identity of her man under wraps for now, but proudly shares that their relationship survived the charter season and is now surviving quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was just a little bit more aware, I guess, of my relationships with the guys on board," she says of her time shooting season 5. "Having to just consider someone else and go, yeah, I do need to check in and make sure that they know I'm alive. But then, at the same time, it was so amazing to have the support there, to just have someone at the end of the day to kind of open up to and, like, this is what happened. I'm sick of this…"
While there's a whole season left to air, Hannah has already moved on and is focused on life after Below Deck Mediterranean.
"I am really settled here in Sydney, [Australia]," she beams. "I have my partner and my dog and they bring me more happiness than anything in life has, so that’s very good. I'd just like to settle down, work in Sydney and hopefully have a rugrat or two."
Oh, and one more thing Hannah won’t miss about boat life? "June, June. Hannah," the infamous radio call turned catchphrase from season 4, where Hannah could never get ahold of her third stewardess, June Foster.
"It drove me crazy on the boat and then I had another 12 months of it, so yes, it drove me crazy," she quips.