My Cruise Ship Career: By Simone Black, Lonehill Hair, Johannesburg

At the age of 36, Simone took the exciting leap away from the salon and did a contract on board a cruise ship. Not only did this give her an unforgettable travel experience, but it also upskilled her in many different ways from expert hairdressing skills to top notch retailing ability, to having a lifelong focus on cleanliness and hygiene in the salon.

Q: Why did you decide to make a big change and go for an adventure on board cruise ships, and how old were you at the time? A: It was a decision to travel and explore the world, the only way was to have constant work and I didn’t want to be stuck in one place. I was 36 years old. Q: Where did you travel and what was the experience like? A: I was on a P&O ship call Oriana, we were based in Southampton, and travelled to most ports in the Mediterranean, America and Caribbean. I loved every minute of exploring places I had only dreamed of. Living on a ship was amazing. It was such a safe environment and helpful friendly crew. Great fun. Q: What were the main skills that you learned or perfected during your time on board ship? A: We were taught to be alert, the depth of safety training on board was amazing, so that if there was an emergency ,your brain went into that automatic mode. Whenever we were in port we had two hours of intense training, either emergency drills or handling of the different fire equipment, or muster stations and life boat handling. Steiner also trained us on great selling techniques. And how to clean extremely well.

Q: Would you recommend that stylists go on this adventure? A: Absolutely yes yes yes, but not if you are scared of being alone and being without family. I recommend that you choose to do this from the age of 25 onwards as you know how to work harder for your goal. You become streetwise being on your own!

Q: What would you say the main personal qualities are that you need to succeed on board? A: Being able to live and work in confined spaces, and to have a goal of what you want, it’s not about the money even though it’s great, I would say it’s about getting on with lots of different personalities and adhering to the many rules and regulations of a ship and salon. Don’t get me wrong, although it is fun, it’s also hard work and long daily hours so you have to have a good work ethic. Q: As far as hygiene goes, this is a main priority on board ship – what did you learn in this regard during your contract? A: Yes, we learnt that everything had to be extremely clean. If you weren’t busy, you were cleaning and tidying up. as there are no helpers or apprentices. Everywhere you went on the ship there were disinfectants on the walls and you had to use them. There were cameras everywhere which make you feel safe too. The Captain on our ship, used to go around the ship with white gloves on, and inspect if every area was clean enough! Luckily we always passed. Q: How did your time on board ship equip you to run the safest and most hygienic salon on land? A: It taught me that if you don’t pay attention to the little things it can run away from you so keep on top of it, and keep a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene. No one wants to have their hair done in a untidy or unsanitary place. Q: In your opinion will this strong focus on hygiene ensure that cruise ship hair salons are a safe environment when ships start to sail again? A: Yes, not only hair salons, but also the beauty and fitness areas on board, as the three go together. Hygiene comes from within, and from lots of training. Steiner makes you so focused on this that it becomes a way of life. Are you keen to have the adventure of a lifetime and earn excellent money when ships start sailing again? Sign up today for your confidential interview and get onto the waiting list!

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