Destination therapist: Beauty life on board a cruise ship.

Professional Beauty gets on board the P&O to talk to Shine, a well-traveled beauty therapist, about managing a cruise ship salon, travelling around the world, and life onboard.


Spa Manager, Shine, has been working on board cruise ships for the past three years.


What is your role on the P&O?

“I work at Aqua Spa and my background is as a facialist. I am a spa manager at the moment, and it is my role to give people the best service.”

How long have you been working on the ship for?

“This will be my fourth 9 month contract, which I’ve just started. I have worked on the Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn. So I still have seven months as a manager.”

What is your background?

“My case is a little bit different, I studied tourism. So my background is tourism, then I went to school for aesthetics in Canada. Then I got a job for a year in a salon in Toronto and then applied for this job three years ago.”

Do the treatments you offer on the P&O differ from what you might offer in a regular salon? Is there anything you can’t offer being out to sea?

That’s a good question actually. We provide the best 5 star service. Yes you can get that 5 star service on land as well, but the experience you have here, you cannot have on land; it is different. Whatever you do here, it’s different. You’re on a floating hotel. That makes a big difference to the experience.”

What are the most popular treatments on board a ship?

“The most popular treatment is the seaweed massage. Seaweed is basically a detox treatment. We wrap the client in green algae and lay them down on a warm flotation bed. It penetrates and takes all the toxins out.”

Which skincare brand do you use?

“Everything that we use here is Elemis. It is a British company.”

What Elemis product is your favourite and how do you find the clientele enjoy the treatments?

“That is a good question too. I have so many favourites but being a facialist, one of my all-time favourites is the facial range. The Marine Cream is my number one.”




What are some of the benefits of working on board a ship?

“We work hard but at the same time it is rewarding. We only have one chance with the guest. That guest might come back, or might not come back. You might never see that person ever again, so we have that opportunity to give 100 percent with everything. I think that is hard, yet fascinating. You also you have a chance to see different parts of the world. It is really hard for me to come here to Australia as it is far away. I never thought about going to Vanuatu or Fiji either but [I went to these destinations too]; I have a chance to see all these places because of my job.”

What are the challenges of working on board a ship? 

“You don’t have regulars. You don’t have returning clientele. Every cruise has a different clientele. Also one of the challenges would be, your personal life. It’s really hard to keep up with your personal life.” ”

 What are your hours on a ship? Are they longer than in an on-the-ground salon?

“On land it is 8 hours. I am not sure about Australia but in Canada it is 8 hours. On the ship, we work longer than that. Officially we start at 8 o’clock but of course you have to come a little bit early to prepare for guests. So 7:40 and I am going to finish around 9 o’clock. When everybody is gone, I still have to check up.”

You obviously can’t get off the ship after work, so what is life like on a ship?

“On the days we port days I like to go out. Sea days, I finish work and go to my room to be honest with you. Before, when I was a therapist I would go out to the crew bar and socialise. Instead of just sticking to our same department of people, you have a chance to socialise with different people from different backgrounds. But now, I just joined this ship so my body is still adjusting.”

You work in close quarters, how do you find working and living with your colleagues?

“You might have some trouble with certain people but you have to adjust yourself. Maybe on land you are used to doing things a certain way… but here it is different. You are going to have a roommate with you. So you have to learn how to adjust yourself. That’s another good thing working and living here. You learn so much about yourself and you improve and grow as a person.”

For other therapists who would love to get a salon role on a ship, what is your top tip to getting this great gig?

“My tip would be to be open, be willing to learn and willing to accept. For some people it comes naturally but for others, if they do not have these attitudes, it could be a little harder; it might take a little bit longer for them to adjust.



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