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Interview: Cruise Ship Hairdresser Tammy Erasmus

Tammy Erasmus had a fantastic experience working on board, and on her return, joined the team at a top Cape Town salon.

Q: Tell us about your background and how you applied to work on board?

A: I applied in 2015, I had already studied at Stellenbosch Hair Academy and worked for 6 years in a small town in Worcester at Hair Affair. Before my first contract, Steiner requires all applicants to do a training course, getting the basics up to their standards, everything from learning client excellence, to hosting hair shows and basic cosmetology that includes facials and different massages to add to my hairdressing skills.

Q: What ship were you placed on?

A: My first contract was on the most beautiful ship from Royal Caribbean called Oasis of the Seas, which at that time was the biggest cruise ship in the world, we use to dock at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a 7 day cruise round the Caribbean, including breathtaking destinations such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, Labadee (which was Royal Caribbean's own private island), Cozumel and Cancun in Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Q: Tell us about life on board. A: It was the experience of a lifetime, with different cultures and food. The formal nights were my favourite and there were two formal nights on every cruise. Salon life was basically like a hair salon on land, we coloured, cut, blowdried, and did a lot of upstyles. I hosted the hair show in the pamper parties the spa used to offer the guests onboard. We also educated guests on hair and explaining the importance of looking after their hair.

We worked extremely hard, but we partied harder! There was a team of about 40 spa therapists including hairstylists, nail techs, personal trainers, medi spa doctors, massage therapists, acupuncture, slimming treatments and teeth whitening. I enjoyed my team and ship, the experience shaped me to want the best in every single service and deliver beyond expectation. I am still in contact with all my friends abroad who are friends for life.

Q: Would you recommend working on board ship?

A: I urge anyone who wants to travel, make good money and love what they do to consider cruise ship hairdressing. This was truly the experience of a lifetime. You work extremely hard on board but this benefited my career so much. After coming back to South Africa I applied at Scar Hair on Kloof Street and was accepted! This was my dream salon from the time I started out in hairdressing.

Q: What did working on board teach you?

A: Steiner is exceptionally professional, hair and makeup is still a huge personal expectation for me every morning as you must look your best. I learned to deliver the wow factor in every service I do, and I still consider myself a Steiner, as I am set in my good habits of looking my best, delivering five star service, and being 100% professional at all times.

Book a confidential interview with one of The Onboard Spa’s recruitment consultants who can start you on this amazing career path. To book, go to

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