Charlotte Michael Versagi, L.M.T.
can I get a job on a cruise ship?"
Like most dreams of a lifetime, working on a cruise ship is attainable
for any massage therapist who's hard-working and flexible - and
willing to jump through the necessary hoops.
Steiner TransOcean manages the personnel
for about half of the 225 cruise ships running in the world, by
recruiting, hiring and training massage therapists, beauticians,
nail technicians and most other personnel for cruise-ship positions.
Hiring information for the remaining cruise lines must be attained
through the individual ships.
John Roseby, the personnel manager
for Steiner Training Ltd. (the training arm of Steiner TransOcean)
in London, England, explains that they are looking for experienced,
"We're looking to take anyone
who has the qualifications to work as a massage therapist in the
United States," Roseby says. "We're not looking to do
a lot of training; they should come to us qualified [to do] different
Roseby says therapists who are accepted
receive training in the Elemis system of massage, which includes
a specific product line of oils not available on land. The oils
are used in a 75-minute massage that incorporates mind and body
relaxation. Therapists are taught how to work on pressure points,
shiatsu techniques, hand and face treatments, and reflexology.
Experience working on a cruise ship
isn't necessary, but Roseby says that many therapists who initially
try a cruise ship job "just as a different experience"
turn it into a career.
A good attitude is a big plus. "[We
want] a smiley personality," Roseby says. "Our guests
on the ship are on holiday and we don't want them to see a miserable
Another qualification is the ability
to sell. Steiner's massage therapists are expected to sell the Elemis
products, and a large part of their income is dependent upon these
The length of assignments ranges from
four to eight months depending upon your country of origin and your
After sending in a professional resume
that describes your technique expertise and offers proof of your
certification or licensure, you will be contacted by Steiner if
they choose to conduct an initial interview and trial massage. Interviews
and trial massages are conducted on cruise ships when they are docked
in U.S. ports, usually around Florida.
Once accepted, you fly to London (this
is the only expense you incur) to the training office. Roseby says
training lasts from two to 10 weeks depending upon how qualified
the therapist is and how quickly she/he catches on to the Elemis
system. Lodging for shipboard-therapists-in-training is paid for
by Steiner. Therapists are then flown directly to the assigned vessel
from England. From that flight forward, Steiner picks up all expenses,
including the flight to the ship; room and board, including food;
and the return flight home at the conclusion of the assignment.
Roseby is quite frank in explaining
that working conditions are hard.
"Our therapists work from 8 a.m.
until 8 p.m., sometimes with back-to-back appointments," he
says. "You are expected to be on duty for 12 hours. You get
one and a half days off per week and then you are free to do anything
you'd like, just like a passenger, which includes going into port
when we land."
On-board massage therapists are considered
crew members and are ultimately responsible to the captain.
Staff has full deck privileges when
not on duty. Your actual paycheck is very low (around $50 per week)
but money is also made from the percentage of sales of the Elemis
products and from tips. In general, pay can range from $300 to $800
For more information, contact Jan Green,
Human Resources Department, Steiner TransOcean, Steiner Training
Ltd., 65 Broadway, Stanmor Middlesex, London, England, UK, HA7 4DU
or via e-mail: email@example.com
To contact other cruise lines to find
out how they hire, you can call a travel agent for the names and
phone numbers of the lines. For example, Silver Seas, a cruise line
that primarily sails to Asia, does their own in-house hiring.
-Charlotte Michael Versagi, L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B.,
is a journalist and a massage therapist who specializes in manual
lymph drainage and work with clients with cancer.