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Q&A on Cruise Ship Hairdressing with Recruitment Manager Nadine Brits

Recruitment manager Nadine Brits explains more about the training, earnings, and hours of work on board ship, as well as the value of the work experience.

Q: What does the Onboard Spa training programme include?

A: It’s basically a 3-month programme condensed into 10 intensive days where you learn everything you need to succeed at sea, training on many different treatments and services. You also learn how to open up a service with your guest, with a great consultation.

Q: What qualifications do you need to apply?

A: You need your Level 2 and 3, as well as some experience. Having your Trade Test is a bonus but if you are still working towards your Trade Test, your time on board ship counts towards your working hours.

Q: What hours do you work on board?

A: You will work maximum a 14 hour shift, which includes two hour-long breaks for lunch and dinner. You get one and a half days off per week and on your full day off, which is a port day, you can go and have an amazing outing for the day.

Q: What are the working days like?

A: The days are divided into port days and sea days. On sea days, the ship sails all day long and there is usually a formal evening with the captain, so the salon is very busy and you will probably do a few formal hairdos. Port days are more relaxed, so there is a slower pace in the salon but still great money to be earned. It’s a very different environment from a salon as you have new guests every week, rather than ongoing regular clients.

Q: What are the average earnings?

On average, cruise ship hairstylists earn between R20,000 and R40,000 per month – this is tax-free, and you obviously have no rent, transport or food bills to pay as all meals are included on board.

Q: What is the value of the experience you gain?

A: A nine month contract on board is the equivalent of two years’ experience on land. It is internationally recognised experience and Steiner is known and respected worldwide. Cruise ship hairdressers are very sought after in salons.

Would you like to find out more, or book a confidential interview?

Sign up today at and a recruiter will be in touch.

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