Pursuing the Dream Cruise Ship Life

Pursuing the Dream Cruise Life

Find out how using a qualification in the beauty industry can help you land a job on a luxury cruise liner.

Working and living out at sea on a luxury cruise liner is a dream for lots of people. It is the ultimate gap year, and for some, a long and rewarding career. Working on a cruise ships means you will only have one true job: looking after the passengers.

There is no doubt that if you work on a cruise ship, you are working in a customer care industry. Looking after passengers can come in many different forms – you could work as a masseuse, an activity instructor or one of many other positions. Getting a job on a cruise liner can be a challenge, however there are methods and institutions that can make scoring a job that much easier.

Life on a Cruise Ship

When I think of working luxury cruise liner, images of sandy beaches and tanning on the ship’s deck tend to spring to mind. While those images are not totally false, working on a cruise ship is more than a paid holiday.

Typically, crew members work 8-10 hour days, 7 days a week. Yes, you heard me right. I know this sounds like a lot of work. It is important to remember the nature of your work generally includes lots of time interacting with customers and being active. This has been known to help make those long hours more interesting and enjoyable than a conventional job in the city.

Not only do you get to interact with many new people from different cultures and backgrounds, but you also get the opportunity to travel around the world while earning some bucks. With regards to the pay (the question everyone wants the answer to), international cruise ships typically pay crew members between $500 (or roughly R6000) and $1000 (or roughly R12000) per month. This may not seem like a lot, but you will be tipped like crazy if you work in departments like the restaurants or spas. Hello dollar bills!


Situated in Cape Town, Dermatech is a specialised training institute in hair, health and skincare. Dermatech makes use of new technologies in the beauty industry to provide thorough practical training, supplemented by theoretical knowledge. International diplomas are offered for Health and Skincare or Hairdressing. People trained in these areas are frequently employed on cruise ships as different therapists, hair stylists and managers. To get either an international or national diploma in Health and Skincare, the student (that would be you) must complete a 2 year full-time course, or a 3 year part-time course. To qualify as a hairdresser can take 3 years, however you can start to earn an income after 18 months of on-land training.

Entrance Requirements for Health and Skincare:

  • Grade 12 certificate (or equivalent)
  • Life Science (recommended but not necessary)
  • Physical Science (recommended but not necessary)
  • Consumer Studies (recommended but not necessary)

Entrance Requirements for Hairdressing

  • Grade 10 completed
  • Grade 12 certificate (recommended but not necessary)

How can Dermatech help get me a job?

Whilst studying a diploma through Dermatech, students are introduced to a large variety of job placement agencies in the beauty industry. These agencies will aid the students in finding jobs after completing their qualification. With respect to getting onto a cruise ship, recruitment agencies from international cruise liners visit the Dermatech campus during the second year of your studies to help you get a job on one of the cruise ships. Students from Dermatech can follow careers in the following occupations (and others):

  • Therapist or manager onboard a luxury cruise liner
  • Therapist or manager within worldwide spa’s
  • Therapist or manager/entrepreneur of SA-based Clinic or Health Spa (private or hotel-based)
  • Cosmetic House Representative
  • Lecturing at training institutions in the industry
  • Hairdressing Salon Management
  • Hair Salon Practitioner
  • Hair Stylist
  • Hairdresser Consultant or Advisor
  • Image Advisor

Having an internationally recognised qualification in an occupation that cruise liners regularly hire is the first (and largest) step towards achieving the “Dream Cruise Life.”

There is little doubt that finding a job on a cruise liner is a fantastic way to get out and see the world and gain some valuable international experience with a large diversity of people. Whether you’re looking to take a year or two to travel, or if you plan on pursuing a full-time career aboard a cruise ship, an internationally recognised qualification in the beauty industry is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door.

EduConnect 2Cents

Try to stay fit! Working on a cruise ship is an active lifestyle, so it is definitely worth keeping in shape. Especially since it’s mostly unhealthy food available to staff.

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