Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hairdressing on cruise ships.

How can you get an interview?

The most important thing I can tell you is NOT to part with any money. You do not need to pay agencies to get on their “books”, you do not need to require an illusive list of companies, no No, NO! This goes for all cruise ship jobs not just hairdressing.

If you are a hairdresser, beautician, fitness instructor, masseuse then you need to contact the companies who run the on board health spas directly. Steiner and Harding Bros are well known and operate on the majority of ships but also there is a South African company that was up and coming, but I’m not sure of the name.

It is pointless contacting the shipping companies direct as they have nothing to do with the hiring and firing of concessions (spa, casino, shop etc).

The information here is regarding Steiner, as that is where my friend worked (who supplied the information). She worked for 3-4 contracts (eight months in length) on the Seabourn Cruise Line.

How to take the first step.

Obvioulsy you need to be fully qualified in your field. But that alone is not enough. One of the most important factors for getting a job on a cruise ship is how much of a team player you are. That and a friendly disposition. If you are not a team player then you won’t last long on a cruise ship. Your references will need to be good and back up the facts that you are more than capable of doing your job and that you are indeed able to work well in a team. Your reference will also need to say what a lovely person you are. Anything negative from your bosses and you won’t even get to the first stage of interview!

So if you're confident that your boss (and your previous bosses) would give you good references (and yes; they will be asked...Steiner are very thorough), then it might be time to apply for the job.

What happens next?

After you have filled in your application form, you will be probably be invited to a seminar You will be shown a DVD about life on board, and the representative will give more information about working onboard. Working in the Spa Will not be your only duty...more of that later!

You will also have a "mini-interview" which if successful you will be invited to a second interview in London. To increase your chance of getting to the second stage try to wear long hair back, look smart and tidy, have natural make-up, don’t wear to much jewellery and if you are a man be clean shaven. Also make sure you smile a lot.

What happens in London?

Here you Will need to show your technical ability. You will be asked to do a minimum of a cut and blow dry and also a hair-up for which you will need models. When you create the hair up style use lots of hairspray and pins. Remember if you get the job you will be doing this on a ship so any styles you do will need to be able to withstand a sea breeze. Aim to do this in under 30 minutes.

When doing your cut and blow dry think glamour with a capital G. Aim to create a lot of body and make it smooth. The time frame for this is around 45 minutes, under that is even better.

Afterwards, you will be given a colour exam (written) so make sure you know your theory.

You may think that the “thank you for coming” after all of the above is the end, but in fact that is the last interview. Again make sure you seem friendly, smile a lot again (good practice anyway for the ship life). Be prepared to answer questions such as, "I don't think you're ready for this kind of position yet. How do you feel about that?" simply give a good answer, whilst smiling.

After London

If you don get the job you won’t be jumping onboard just yet. You’ll need to get your passport sorted out, buy uniforms, have medicals all at your own expense. You will also have to spend some time in the hostel preparing and training so take some money with you. You’ll also need money for when you're in the hotel abroad awaiting your first ship. Usually one night. Many people ask why do I need to go to the hostel, well in a way it prepares you for ship lie. There are certain rules to follow, you are away from home much like living on a ship, so this is a good practice to see if you can really be away from your friends and family.

It can be hard, because you will be staying at the YMCA, sharing a room, getting buses everywhere - but if that makes you think twice, have a serious re-think about going on the ships because you will be sharing a cabin much smaller than the room at the YMCA for the next 8 months!

Always take a pride in your appearance whilst training, buy new make up, handbags and shoes and use them. How you look whilst training Will decide which type of ship you will go to work on. If you look messy then for sure you will not be send to a 5 star luxury liner. You have to look good and take pride in yourself at all times other wise you will probably end up on a cheap cruise line with boring itineraries. But your appearance is jut the tip of the iceberg in deciding where you will go.

Quite a lot of the training will be spent learning about the products used in the Spa, from the hair products to the skin products, even to the slimming tablets. Of course, you will also have to learn about every service offered on the salon/spa menu inside out. You will be expected to be able to sell all of these products and services to the passengers once you on board, and you will be targeted to do so. If you don't sell products (and lots of them), well I guess that all I can say is that I hope you enjoy the Fort Lauderdale-Bahamas run, and don't mind being pictured on a tug boat rather than a cruise ship.
So make sure you can demonstrate while you are in London that you are not only good at doing hair, but than you can retail too.
They'll pick a ship for you based on what they see.


Once you have been placed on a ship, you will fly out to meet it wherever it next docks. When you arrive on your ship, you will be told your working hours. These are likely to be 1 full day off each week, and 2 half days (i.e. you will be at work for 6 days per week). Your working hours will be this - start at 7.45AM, have one hour for lunch at around 1PM and then continue working until 8.15PM. That's correct, you will be working 11 hours each day. No-one said it was going to be easy!

When you have a half day off, one of those days will be in the middle of the week where you will start at either 7.45AM - 2PM or 2PM - 8.15PM. Your other half day off will always be in the same place, and that is the place where the passengers get off to go home (I know New York and Miami like the back of my own hand thanks to that).
Be warned though, the second half day off is preceded the night before with what's called "Port clean". Port clean is named because it is the deep clean you do before arriving in the home port. It's to make sure that the entire ship looks brand new for the next set of passengers. This is not a normal salon clean by any standards. When you have finished your working day at 8.15pm (this will have been a full working day where you started at 7.45AM), you will get something to eat, get changed into your jeans and t-shirt, return to the spa for around 9.30pm and begin cleaning EVERYTHING...every roller, every drawer, every chair foot, every top of every mirror, every floor tile...and try as we did over the 2 years I did the job, we never once finished as a team before 1AM.

Now the scary bit...for all this work, you will be paid the princely sum of around $45 per week (£25). That's not a typo. Fourty Five US DOLLARS or Twenty Five UK Pounds. Each week. There is no such thing as minimum wage at sea but on top of that, you will be paid 10% of everything you do or SELL! Thats why if you can sell you will If you do a blowdry for $30, you will get paid $3 in commission. But if you can find a problem that the client has, to which you can offer a solution e.g. a skin cream for $60, while you are styling her hair, the bill will now be $90 and you commission tripled to $9 for doing no extra work (just 2 minutes of conversation). With the average hair product commission at $1.50 and skin care product commission $5 you can see where you are going to make money. Many hairdresser fill their station with skin care items and let the clients ask ... "What's that?"

If you are good at selling you can easily be looking at earning $500 a week. You have no tax, bills or food to pay for so you can soon save quite a sum....or spend it!

Is it worth it?

Ship life is a very young life, full of parties but also full of rules. You have to eat what is given to you, there are usually 3-5 choices and it’s not always great food. But the atmosphere is usually very fun. There are a lot of chances to see amazing places and of course you can save a lot of money. Returning to reality can sometimes be a big bump down and most people that worked on ships have only good memories about it. Try it, if you don’tlike it you can always go home.

Some information taken from


Anonymous said...

Hairdresser Job London is offering very competitive prices for hair care and hair dressing with years of experience, and also great after care support, please book a consultation online today.

Anonymous said...

It is not that easy to get on a cruise ship employment even though there are tons of jobs, different ones, that are available on a cruise ship. Luckily there are lots of articles and guides out there that can help us get a cruise ship job faster and more effective.

Unknown said...

hi there
i really do want to do this!! i am a very good hairdresser .. and have bee top stylist at every salon i worked at . and i have a big clientelle ... i am a good salesman and a hardworker ... i have been in the hairdressing industry for over 5 years now but not fully qualified because of a unsertified college ... so in my 3rd year i went to another college and did everything over but then my money kynda dryed up .. i won western provence hairdressing championships and got 2 1st places in gents hair. the reson i want to do this is because i want to enjoy life and i need something more challenging if you do understand . what do you surgest i do pleae e-mail me hope to hear from you soon

thank you
christian kruger

Anonymous said...

hi i know its quite late on to ask questions as you posted this a few years ago, but if you still look on here i would be delighted for you to answer my question. I was wanting to know what the age group is toapply for tyhe hairdressing job on he ships. I am 18 years old of age and have been wanting to do this for a while. please get back to me thankyou Emily x

Tracie said...

Hello, I know these posts are years old but like the lady said earlier....IF ANYONE still looks at this post. I would love to talk to someone with a lot of information about doing hair on cruiseships. If anyone could help me out with some true heartfelt answers please email me at. Thank you & I look forward to hearing from someone please.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

im edwin r gesulga from phillipines working as a hairdresser in maputo mosambique wants to work for a cruiseship, my account

Unknown said...

I have been doing hairdressing for ten years, i have only ever had one job and thats been in the same salon that i started as soon as i left school.
I do basically everything from colours, foils, cuts both ladies and gents to hair up for all occasions.
The reasons i am looking to do something like this is because i feel i now need a change not in my career but in the enviroment and this would be perfect working on a cruiseship meeting new people. I will leave my details incase:

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