1. Learn to love life at sea“I went into the industry with a greater interest in travel than I did beauty because it was, honestly, something I never saw myself doing long term. My dream was to make some money and experience the world, but now I don’t even get off the ship that often. The sea becomes your home, and there are so many interesting things that come with living on a ship because it’s a little, floating world of its own. I don’t know if I could be a therapist or a spa manager on-land because my soul is out here.”
2. Work for the right team“I have absolutely hated some of the places I’ve worked for before. You could set up your treatment room and go to get your guest, only to return and find someone had stolen your chair or nail file. There was also a lot of pressure to retail. I would say that previous cruise lines expected it to be about 30% of my revenue. “With Viking, I honestly have no complaints about my team or head office. They’re happy if we maintain 8% revenue and morale is always high. We stick together to ensure that the spa is clean and our duties are done.”
3. You need to be patient“The biggest challenge of running the operation on a ship is that things like the hot water tap can break and they take time to fix. It’s not like I can just phone a plumber and wait for them to knock on my door. They try to get these things done as efficiently as possible but, when you’re working on a 24-hour operation, it’s almost like nothing can be fast enough. On my previous contract, there was a power outage in the restaurant and it affected the connection to our steam room. There’s little things like that that go hand in hand that I’ve learned over the years.”
4. Adjust to a flexible schedule“There is no set pattern. It completely depends on scheduling, where we’re docked and what time we arrive or set sail. I often don’t care to know because it’s probably going to change.
“It’s a lot of hard work and the hours are long, but we make sure everyone is rested and happy. We don’t count hour for hour, and we really do believe in give and take. When someone opens the spa early, they get a three-hour lunch as opposed to the normal hour. There’s plenty of time to get off the ship and explore or spend their breaks in nice cafés or restaurants if they want.”
5. Be sociable and understanding“You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make the guests happy. If that means working half an hour overtime, then you do it. Be sociable and accepting, because you work with people from so many different nationalities and people that can’t really speak English.
“It’s also great working with staff that come from all over the world because they bring so much experience and knowledge. You’ll say goodbye to people then end up seeing them again a year later, it’s like a family. I think socialising and joking around with your team helps with the overall vibe. As long as we’re sticking together and making sure everything is done then the team is happy, I’m happy and most importantly, the guests are happy.” PB