The sky is the limit for a new massage therapist. If you’re simply looking for some part-time work you can easily find a job in a chiropractor’s office, salon, or spa – or even in your own setting. If you want to work full-time, you’re not limited to working for others. You could start your own practice or, if you’re daring, you may want to consider spending some time working as a massage therapist on a cruise ship.
The Advantages of Working on a Cruise Ship
There are a couple of distinct advantages of working as a massage therapist on a cruise ship. The first is that you will get tons of experience in a wide variety of modalities. As a therapist, you’ll end up trained on how the ship conducts not only regular massages, but some of the spa-type wrap services as well. These skills will be incredibly valuable when you decide you no longer want to work on a ship.
While your free time may be limited, you’ll get to see more of the world that you otherwise would. As long as you have your immunizations and a passport and can pass basic first aid courses, you’ll get to see a little bit of each port of call. Who knows, you may even get to experience African safari trips or dive in the Great Barrier reef. You have no idea where you’ll end up!
The Disadvantages of Working on a Cruise Ship
Sadly, I find that the list of disadvantages of working on a cruise ship far exceed the advantages.
First, the pay is rather limited. While you will receive a small base pay, the majority of what you make will be from tips and commissions for products sold. Yes, you will be expected to push spa products, like lotions, to your customers. The more you are able to sell, the more you’ll make. Remember, one of the perks is that you’ll receive free room, board, and meals, so the ship doesn’t feel compelled to pay you a huge salary on top of that.
Second, the commitment can be rather lengthy. Many of the companies running spas on cruise ships Will ask you to sign a contract committing you to work for 4-8 months. If you’re a parent or have close family ties, this may not work for you. If you’re single and don’t mind not seeing family and close friends for a while, this may not matter as much. You’ll also find that the regular shifts are pretty strenuous. Most therapists work 10-12 hour days and have very little time for breaks.
Finally, privacy is lacking for cruise ship employees. You can expect to bunk with someone from your department and you’ll likely have a small room. You won’t spend much time there, and there are other common areas for employees, but don’t expect to have a place to retreat to in silence whenever you’d like.
Cruising seems glamorous, but it’s usually more exciting for those enjoying the cruise – not working it. Make sure you carefully weigh the pros and cons of working on a cruise ship before you contact a placement agency!