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Interview with Chanel Phillips, Educator for London Wellness Academy

Accelerate Your Career and Your Future with Onboard Spa Training: Interview with Chanel Phillips, Educator for London Wellness Academy

We interviewed Chanel Marie Phillips of the London Wellness Academy Training Team, Cape Town Campus, to get the inside story on the real benefits of jumpstarting your career future with onboard spa training and cruise ship contracts.

Chanel joined The Onboard Spa training team in 2018 after spending a decade in the beauty industry. Chanel began her career in an onboard position as a beauty therapist, eventually growing into a management position where she had much success. For the last four years you would have found Chanel running her own spa business, her best practices all learned from the time at sea!

Chanel brings energy and a wealth of knowledge to each of her classes, ensuring each lesson is a step closer for all of you in your success onboard.

Q: What are the biggest benefits of doing a cruise ship contract?

It’s the most rewarding way by traveling the world and earning money, with a huge amount of self-discipline and entrepreneurial skills developed whilst enjoying an incredible lifestyle.

All this while gaining experience working on international waters with a diverse clientele, working with a multiple of nationalities that takes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you people skills that you will just not experience in a spa on land at home.

Your spa team and the cruise crew quickly become your family away from home, with a wonderful sense of teamwork and co-workmanship developing, and friendships for life made.

Q: What does the London Wellness Academy training programme include?

All therapists are already fully qualified, so they already have a knowledge of the fundamentals. At the academy they are trained in the tailor-made treatments, products and procedures used in the spas onboard that set us apart. An important factor in the quality we train for is striving to provide guests with the same quality treatments in any of our spas on any of our cruise ships.

There are programmes from anything from head to toe, covering health and wellbeing.

Just a few examples include:

  • hair stylist,

  • nail technician,

  • massage therapist,

  • beauty therapist,

  • detox specialist,

  • Medi spa doctor,

  • acupuncturist,

  • fitness trainer, and so many more!

Q: What qualifications do you need to apply?

The primary requirement is that your qualification, whether in the fields of hair, nails, beauty, etc, needs to be internationally recognised. This should be either with an international registered qualification or a level that can be compared to international standards depending on the profession. Our recruiters are very familiar with all South African qualification levels, and they will be able to advise applicants if a qualification is acceptable or not.

Q: What are the most important personal skills you look for in a candidate, that a cruise ship stylist or beautician will most need?

Having self-confidence is beneficial, as public speaking is a vast part of the job role onboard. Willingness to learn, follow instructions, abide by rules and regulations are essential, as well as a positive attitude, friendly open demeanour, pleasant manners, and an excellent knowledge of the profession. Being confident and comfortable with achieving targets plus having the ability to be adaptive in all scenarios is fundamental in team building and in your own success in the business!

Q: How does it differ from a land-based salon or spa experience?

In an onboard experience, you work in a 5-star spa, needing to deliver 5-star quality every day, with a far more intensive, inspiring atmosphere. On land, you can set your own pace, but onboard it’s a fast-paced, challenging work environment with the excitement of waking up in a different port most days! With the added bonus of a short commute of a maximum of 10-15 minutes, enjoying the fresh sea air!

It is longer hours of work, often with different hours on some days which will all depend on what part of the world you are cruising. You need to be flexible, energetic, and positive.

You have an incredible opportunity gaining life skills and increasing your knowledge and experience in your profession, working with and on so many different nationalities from so many parts of the world!

Your business experience receives a broad range of training not only in running a business with specific column management, but you get to perform an array of many different services. In a land-based, fixed location spa or salon, treatments can be more repetitive, with less of a range in different services.

Q: What is the value of the experience you gain and how does it help future career options?

You gain so much experience and become goal-driven and expectations become higher, encouraging you to always strive for more. When employers see on your CV that you have worked onboard, they know that you are used to working under pressure of time and quality of services, that your personal skills and etiquette in dealing with guests is of the highest calibre. What sets our staff aside is a sense of providing the best quality at all times. You are so used to providing fantastic 5-star customer service along with 5-star treatments that it becomes second nature to you.

Chanel’s Personal Thoughts

I would not exchange my time onboard for anything. The professional and personal experience is invaluable and difficult to describe if you haven’t experienced it yourself. I think that most who have worked onboard would agree with me wholeheartedly!


Educator, Cape Town Campus

Are you keen for the adventure of a lifetime, while earning an excellent income and working in the career you love? Get in touch for your confidential interview by signing up on


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