Working on board a luxury cruise liner was something I considered for many years. I wanted to work in a five star luxury environment where exceptional customer service and professional treatments were the key focus, thus enable me to gain more experience in this type of spa environment. Also, as many therapists working on board, I wanted to see the world. And you certainly do get that opportunity in more ways than one. Not only do you get to see many beautiful exotic places, but you also get the opportunity to meet and work with many different people from different cultures; which I believe truly opens your eyes to the world.
My first ship was based out of Barbados. A two week cruise around the Caribbean, back to Barbados for the next group of passengers and repeating the same cruise. As a therapist unfortunately you don’t get a lot of days off, typically 1 day per week, but the way you spend your day off can certainly make up for that.
As with any job you have good days and bad days. The difference on a cruise ship is you can’t go home after a bad day to get away from it all, so it can become a very intense environment with many ups and downs. Your work colleagues become your family, so a big part of the experience you have comes down to the people around you.
The living conditions are not what many people would be use to. A small cabin, typically sharing with another Spa staff member, with enough room for bunk beds, a small wardrobe and a bathroom with a shower and a toilet. In terms of food, the bonus is you never have to cook. The downside is you also don’t get much choice. As a staff member you usually eat in the crew mess; serving mainly rice, fries, more rice and maybe a few other dishes thrown in. However different ships have different polices and you may be able to eat from the buffet, sounds great but the same buffet every night for months on end doesn’t become so appealing.
As a Spa therapist you will be given a specific column of treatments. A massage column, a facial column etc. This means you do the same treatment all day, every day. During my contract however I did change columns 3 times, so I began with a facials column then a massage then a body scrubs and wraps column.
Many people will tell you, you are going to make a lot of money working on a cruise ship - enough to buy a new car or a deposit for a house etc. But this is not necessarily the case. First and foremost you have to reach target, when 6 other people are also running the same column as you this can be tricky, you have to self-promote A LOT. Also, you have an amazing opportunity to spend money in the many places you would visit- who could resist a blue and white diamond ring form the Caribbean?! My biggest regret is not having bought the matching bracelet!
I would definitely recommend to anyone considering working on a cruise ship to go for it. It is an invaluable life experience unlike any other and the beauty and spa industry holds high regards for anyone who can work those kinds of shifts. Contracts are usually for 9 months and 9 months out of an entire lifetime is not long at all.
This is a great video created by a Spa Girl that worked on a Steiner Cruise Ship.
Video courtesy of Youtube.