What Is It Like To Work For Steiner, On A Cruise Ship?

Everything will start with you applying online to whichever company you decide to work for.
The main 3 companies that hire spa staff for cruise lines are called:
-Steiner- www.theonboardspa.com
-Canyon Ranch- www.canyonranch.com

The biggest difference between Steiner and Canyon Ranch is the selling factor.  Steiner is very sales driven. You will be given targets and expected to hit them.  This comes from the expectation that you will sell something to every guest that you have.  Because of this, working for Steiner can be very stressful. Canyon Ranch is more focused on guest experience rather than selling.  Both will require you to work long hours. This post is focused on Steiner.

Steiner Interview
If you live in the UK you will be expected to travel to the Steiner Academy in Watford, London.  Here you will be taken to a conference room along with other hopefuls. The first stage of the interview will be a presentation explaining the job and what it’s like to live on a ship. After this, you will all take it in turns to stand up at the front of the room and tell everyone about yourself.   As the job requires a lot of public speaking, they are looking for confidence.

A trade test will complete the day.  You will pair off and massage one another.  Whilst giving the treatment the interviewer will ask you questions about massage techniques and the anatomy.

Job description
There are a few different job descriptions within the spa

Spa Therapist- massage and facial
If you work for Steiner, Elemis is the brand that you will be using.  Elemis have a range of massages and facials to offer and what you will specialise in will depend on your training and your manager.  If you come on board as an Elemis trained massage therapist, then that’s what you will do, but there may be two other massage therapists already onboard which will mean you will be booked after the other two therapists are fully booked.   The way to make sure you are booked with guests first is to exceed in selling.   You will be trained in selling at the Steiner Academy.

The same rules apply if you go on as a facial therapist.  You will be expected to sell products to the guest after the treatment but it’s a little easier when doing facials, as guests who have facials are usually eager to try a new product that will improve the look of their skin.

Salon therapist hairdresser and nail technician
Working in the salon means you are either a hairdresser or a nail technician.  A hairdresser will, of course, do all the regular things, cutting, colour, up do’s and in some cases, you will be trained in barbering and men’s cuts.  Also whilst delivering these services you will be expected to sell to the guest. 

Nail technicians will do treatments using regular polish, gel and acrylics.  You will be trained in these when you are at the Steiner Academy.  Nail technicians usually get the most tips because the treatments cost less than a message, so guests are normally more willing to tip. 

There is a teeth whitening treatment Steiner offer, and usually, the person that sells the most in the salon will do this treatment as well, to give them the opportunity to earn more money.

Ionithermie specialist
Steiner offers a treatment called Ionithermie with is a french detox inch loss treatment.   As it is a detox treatment, more that one treatment is required to get the desired effect, so the therapist has to encourage the guest to have as many treatments as possible and then aim to sell the home care detox package to the guest.  As this treatment is not a well-known treatment the way to promote it is by doing educational seminars for the guests.  Hopefully, after listening to you speak, they will want to book in for a session.  It is very important to be a confident public speaker if you are an Ionithermist.

Fitness Instructor
Now, being a fitness instructor is probably the hardest job to do within the spa because you have to constantly have a smile on your face and be full of energy.  You will be expected to run classes throughout the day and when you’re not doing classes, you will be giving seminars to up to 50 people to try and entice them to have a personal training session or a consultation, which is where you will make your commission.

Assistant Manager
This job is about helping the Manager carry out his/her tasks. That can be anything from helping members of the team, helping the manager with paperwork, writing reports and being able to step into the managerial position if for any reason the manager isn’t able to come to work.

The highest position you can get within the spa onboard would be Manager.  You will be there to organise the team and make sure treatments run-on time.  Also, you must help them improve their selling techniques and product knowledge.   You will report to the Head Office in Watford who will set the spa targets, which you must hit.

The best thing about the job
The best thing about working for Steiner is the relationships you build with your colleagues.  As you will spend so much time together you become very close.  You will form relationships, unlike any others you have. 

The worst thing about the job
The worst things about the job are the hours. Working in the spa means working long hours for a nine-month period.  You will be tired, but the team that you work with make it fun.

A typical day at work

Sea day
You will most likely start at 7.30am and have a meeting till 7.45.   You will then have 15 minutes to set up for your first treatment which will be at 8 am. A sea day is usually when you are at your busiest, so most likely you will have ‘back to back’ guests all day, but if you do not have many people booked in, you will go around the ship to promote the spa with the aim of getting guests to book in for treatments.  During the day there will be two one hour breaks.  One for lunch and then one for dinner.  The day will end at either 8.30 or 9.30 depending on what the Manager decides and how busy you are. 

Port day
You will work the same amount of hours on a port day as you would on a sea day.  The one difference is that you probably won’t be as busy. 

How much time off
I believe the contract states you must have a day and a half off every 7 days.  This is usually split into 3 half days so if you have the morning of you will start at 2.30pm, or if you work in the morning you will finish at 2.30pm and have the rest of the day off.  It is nicer to have the afternoon off, but usually, you will have the morning as guests are more likely to book treatments in the afternoon, so your manager will want you in work. 

All the money you earn whilst working for Steiner is commission based, so the harder you work the more you earn.  There is a clause in the contract that says if you earn less than $800 in a month they will bump it up to that, but most likely you will make more than $800. 

I would recommend you go to The Steiner Training Academy with enough funds to keep you going for 2 to 3 months, as you could be training for up to 2 months and then you won’t get paid for the first 4 weeks that you are onboard. If you have some savings, it will stop you stressing,

How long is the contract
The minimum amount of months is 9.  If you are enjoying the contract then you have the option to the extend to a maximum of 10 months.

How long is the leave
This is completely up to you. It all depends on how tired you are at the end of your contract and how much money you have saved.  I had 3 months off in-between contacts. I felt this was just enough.

Second Contract
Towards the end of your first 9-month’s onboard, you will have the option to apply for a second contract. You have to fill out a form selecting 3 cruise ships you would like to work on next, and the company will try and place you on one of the three ships on your list. I always chose my ships based on where they were going and this information can be found on cruisett.com

Cabin status
Everyone who works in the spa except the Manager will share a cabin.


I really hope you have found this post helpful and it has given you a better idea of what to expect when working for Steiner on a Cruise ship. If you have any more questions please send me an email or ask in the comments. 


Hello, my name is Lucy, welcome to my little space on the internet! Through this blog, I hope to answer all of your crew-life/ cruising questions so, feel free to send me something you would like me to write about. I really hope you find this site useful and enjoyable!
Love Lucy xx

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