Working as a Massage Therapist on a Cruise

Jul 2, 2019

Working as a massage therapist can take you anywhere – literally! As a massage therapist on a cruise ship, you have the enviable job of treating guests to luxurious massages while sailing the world and docking at some of the most beautiful destinations. Cruise lines are always on the lookout for qualified massage therapists to join their crew in an industry that’s thriving with opportunity. If you have the qualifications and are looking for a different career path in massage, then working on a cruise ship may just be your calling.

Benefits of working as a massage therapist on a cruise

Apart from the perks of travelling to distant, exotic locations and meeting people from all walks of life, working as a massage therapist on a cruise comes with a host of benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Being provided with a room and paid board. You’ll be given accommodation on the cruise ships and have your board, snacks, drinks, laundry, and entertainment paid for or discounted, leaving you with the opportunity to save most of what you make.
  • Flexibility. Depending on the length of the cruise, you can be contracted for short-term or long-term work, as well as have the ability to work anywhere in the world for any cruise line you choose.
  • Salary and gratuities. Salaries for massage therapists on cruise ships can vary greatly depending on the cruise line. Some sources suggest that you can be paid between US $200 a week to $3600 a month. This field of work also relies on tips or gratuities from clients, which is given to you directly as an addition to your salary.
  • Commissions. Sales is a big component of working as a cruise ship massage therapist. Many cruise lines want you to be able to sell their products along with the services you’re offering.
  • Ongoing training. Most cruise lines will provide you with ongoing training, particularly in the sales and marketing areas. This can be very valuable for when you potentially decide to change careers, and can give you the skills you need to set up and run your own massage business.

What to expect?

A day in the life of a massage therapist on a cruise line can be interesting. Often, therapists are faced with long hours (between 8-12 hours a day) and are constantly on their feet. The day will usually begin at around 8am, but therapists are required to be at the spa earlier to prepare the room for their first client of the day.

You’ll be expected to perform a range of treatments, look after clients, and clean and prep the room for each session. Rest breaks are scheduled in, and depending on how busy the day is you may have time for a short lunch break. For cruise lines where sales make up most of the income, therapists will need to be confident in recommending products to their clients, as well as partake in weekly sales training workshops to improve their product knowledge and sales skills.

Generally, as a cruise ship massage therapist, you’ll be expected to do the following tasks in a single day:

  • Provide guests with therapeutic massages
  • Maintain product inventory
  • Clean and prep your workroom and equipment
  • Greet guests and make clients feel comfortable
  • Educate clients on their health and wellness
  • Promote the salon and its products
  • Continue your training in new areas and techniques.

The types of massage you’ll give on a cruise ship

Many cruise lines seek massage therapists who can perform a wide range of massage types. These include Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stone massage, deep tissue massage, and remedial massage treatment for those passengers who are dealing with a pre-existing injury or are in need of holistic pain management while they are on holiday.

Training is essential

For those looking at pursuing a career in massage therapy on a cruise ship, be aware that you’ll need the right education and qualifications. Prior education and training is vital, even if the cruise line offers its own in-house training. While specialising in massage is a required skill to work as a therapist on a cruise, you’ll also often have to be well-trained in the areas of sales and hospitality. Since you’re dealing with holiday guests and are required to promote the products of the onboard spa, having this prior knowledge and experience will be favourable as a candidate when applying for the job.

Get qualified to begin your massage career on a cruise ship

Becoming a licensed massage therapist is the start of a successful career as a cruise ship massage therapist. With the right training and education, you’ll have the confidence to perform a range of massage techniques, along with the necessary knowledge to provide clients with the best treatment plans and products. Discover Massage Australia offers industry recognised courses that will equip you with the right qualifications to begin working on the seas.

Cameron Aubrey

Cameron Aubrey has over 20 years experience in the massage industry, and leads the team as Course Director at Discover Massage Australia. Cameron holds a Diploma in Remedial Massage, and his expertise runs across a large range of massage techniques, particularly sports, Swedish and whole body massage.