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London Wellness Academy: SA Stylist Mervin Arthur Naidoo Cruises the World - His Review of 2023

Adventures in Real Shipboard Spa Life: Cruising the World

Mervin Arthur Naidoo is from Pietermaritzburg, KZN and at 48 years old, has been a qualified hairstylist for 29 years, working in South Africa. He has spent the last year working onboard the magnificent cruise ship ISLAND PRINCESS, on a shipboard spa contract. He is sharing his exciting experiences and photos with us about real life onboard!

This contract is a world adventure for 2023– starting from Fort Lauderdale, USA, aboard the cruise ship ISLAND PRINCESS and making our way through the ports of the world, one by one, experiencing the most exciting sights and cities, people, and food! Onboard the ISLAND PRINCESS I worked at the LOTUS SPA, as Hairstylist/ Barber. The ISLAND PRINCESS is the smallest of the Princess fleet. On my previous contracts, I had worked on ships double this size, so one of my pleasant surprises was how much faster it was to get around. This was especially handy as the spa team lived at the front of the ship, but the Lotus Spa is at the back of the ship!

We experienced 5 continents and 54 countries over 111 days – truly a world tour, all while doing what we love best – hair!

This article is dedicated to my teammates and friends - the people that explored the world with me! Anyone who joined me or who would be interested in an adventure, please comment on the social media shares and we can have a really good chat!

Our Team at the Lotus Spa

I worked with an amazing team at the Lotus Spa. We all got on very well and there was always a happy, vibrant feel, that was always noted by the guests/passengers. Our Lotus Spa always got good reviews. Eventually we managed to hit # 1 ship of the fleet. Each modality of the spa had a place on The TOP 20 of the Princess fleet.

The salon came out best with myself at # 1 for barber and my fellow stylists on top 20 for hairstylists along with nails.

Our Daily Life

Port days and sea days usually equalled almost the same. When we get to a new area, we would have 4 port days in a row. When crossing oceans, we can have 4 sea days or more.

From the day we stepped on the ship, every port after that was a brand new port, a new and exciting adventure.

The salon was the busiest part of the spa and sometimes the whole ship. The stylists and nail technicians were booked solid every day. We sometimes had to miss our breaks to finish on time. We were so busy, we ran out of hair colour by the time we got to the last quarter of the world cruise!

We had to scramble to get stock onboard, so we could continue to provide a very needed service.

Working with 2 other very talented, young hairstylists and nail technicians, it was like we were running a 6-star salon in the busiest place on land. The experience is exactly the same, with every day and night a unique and stimulating experience.

Formal night is like getting people ready to attend the awards ceremonies and weddings of royalty.

Our work was talked about at the dinner tables. We became minor celebrities! People were saying our names out loud, because they were getting all the attention - they could even win best dressed for the night.

Port Days are for Adventure

On port days, our team is split into two, so we all can get a chance to visit the port. My team was Team B: The Olympic Walking Team. We got that name from Singapore. We walked everywhere we went, took pictures, had food and drinks, and made memories! I know that each member of team B has a story to tell of us together. Leave a comment with the story and a picture of your unforgettable day with me. It will be hilarious to read!

A world cruise meant we were not coming back to each port again. So naturally I had to get off at every opportunity I could, along with my teammates, even for an hour. Just enough time to get outside, take pictures of what I see, and get back on the ship before my allowed time is out.

Many times, I had a minute left – with the BBD, the Crew Welfare, Spa Manager - all waiting with glaring eyes!

Celebrating birthdays with friends -Piraeus, Athens, Greece Nov 13 2023

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

We even got to watch the Springbok RWC win onboard!

Northern Adventures

After that we made our way to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Greenland. This time we were staying here for 5 months, the entire summer season. Here we get 24 hours of sunlight in summer with no sunset for 3 months. It was amazing to see these places in so much light. It’s as real as the pictures on the internet!


Again it was all new to me and many of my teammates, with amazing new places to explore. We were out exploring as much as we could, finding all the best restaurants for all our tastebuds. The ethnic diversity was such a stimulating experience. I have now realized that there are Indian, Philippine, Thailand and Chinese people everywhere in the world. Who would have thought you see Indian people from south India, living and speaking Icelandic!

Oslo, Norway - Cold!

Copenhagen, Denmark - streetscapes

Food was always no problem for us, but we always looked for the real authentic food from whatever location we were in. We enjoyed such a wide variety of foods and drinks from around the world.

Winter Wonderlands and the Northern Lights

Once the summer came to an end, we were able to see these northern areas in the enchanting darkness of night as well. The lights at night turned each city into a magical sight. Walking through the streets, freezing weather, snow falling softly. An amazingly difference to what we got so used to for the summer.

At this time of the year, we are able to actually see the Northern Lights! A truly wonderful experience, that one can only believe when seeing with your eyes. We tried many nights to capture them but it happens when it wants to. There is no predicting when they will appear! When we did see them, it was stunning. The sky is filled with colours, all are dancing and swirling. All you can do is watch in awe and wonder.

Our visit to Alta, Norway, was especially incredible with fantastic sightings of the Northern Lights at night, from the ship!

It made a real winter wonderland, and now I could see where the white Christmas we all know comes from!

See the World while Doing a Job you Adore

All in all, for me, it was a truly magical and inspiring journey around the world to places I’ve never had a chance to see before. The ISLAND PRINCESS is small, but her size is perfect to get into the smaller ports, to really enjoy the local sites and unique foods and experiences! The guests love the small, intimate ship, and many have been back numerous times. I personally really enjoyed the small ship - easy to get around and not too many people. You get to know everyone so easily and make fantastic new friends!

My next contract has already been assigned to me, which I am extremely excited about. That will be in January 2024, so until then, have a fantastic Christmas and the best New Year!

And remember, if you don't step out of your comfort zone, you will never know the wonders that lie out there in the wide world!

Do You Want to Share in The Adventure of a Lifetime?

How To Apply!

Go to and fill in the online form. A recruitment consultant will be in touch with you asap to set up a confidential interview. Your first step to a new life of excitement on board has begun!

Interviews are done online or in person every first Saturday of the month. Our next face-to-face interview and presentation information session date is 2 December 2023, so start planning as soon as possible!

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