Massage Therapy Degree Sends Graduate Port-Hopping

Posted by on February 14, 2013

Recent graduate goes down non-traditional career path as cruise ship massage therapist

Massage therapy degree

Massage Therapist Nicole Johnson in the Caribbean.

Sure, the life of a massage therapist traveling port-to-port along the Caribbean sounds like a glamorous job, but according to a recent massage therapy degree graduate, living and working aboard a ship has its ups and downs.  

“In the beginning of my contract I was very homesick,” said massage therapist Nicole Johnson, “But I learned to adjust to my current living situation and the ship became my home and my fellow spa employees and cruise coworkers became my friends and my family.”

The Minnesota School of Business graduate grabbed the cruise ship gig shortly after completing her degree, and after rising above the competition in a grueling three-hour interview process with 40 other massage therapy applicants.

Johnson said that during the interview the applicants were shown a presentation talking about the ins and outs of living aboard a ship, which caused several people to just walk out.

“I figured I am young, single, no children, no house—why not,” Johnson said.

With a “why not” attitude, Johnson found herself visiting London for modality and product selling training, and five weeks later in Galveston, Texas, setting sail for nine months throughout the Caribbean.

“The weather was almost always sunny and nice,” Johnson said.  “However, I would have to say that the hardest challenge for me was the working hours.”

According to Johnson, she would work 14-hour shifts, seven days a week with just two half days off.

“On sea days we were expected to do anywhere between 8-10 massages,” Johnson said. “My body became exhausted towards the end of my contract.”

When Johnson’s nine-month contract was up, she chose to head ashore for a new adventure; however, she said she wouldn’t trade her time at sea for anything in the world.

“You never know what experiences you will have and how many amazing people you will meet,” Johnson said. “I know I will never forget my adventure of a lifetime!”

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