Managing a spa onboard a cruise ship

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the LivNordic spa onboard Viking Star. Michael Simoes is the Spa Director for this beautiful spa and I took a chance to ask him about LivNordic and how it is to work onboard a cruise ship. Is it any different from managing a spa on land?

Maria: What is your background? Have you always worked with spa- and wellness?

Michael: I have a degree in Kinesiology and a Diploma in Massage.  I have been working as a therapist for 16 years, 12 years of it as a rehabilitation/therapeutic/sports therapist.  I have always worked in both rehab clinics and spas throughout my career.

Maria: Why did you choose to start working on board a cruise ship?

Michael: I have wanted to work for Raison and the opportunity presented itself with the opening of the LivNordic brand aboard the Viking Star.  I enjoy that I am in a different city everyday, as I love exploring new cities.  I am a big fan of travelling and being aboard a ship allows me to do that.

Maria: After working 8 months with the brand LivNordic, what do you find unique with the spa and the concept?

Michael: I find the Nordic Bathing concept extremely unique.  This is one thing that I have not experienced in any other spa that I have worked in. I think the contrast bathing is a fantastic idea and very beneficial for the guests who visit.  Incorporating Sauna nights for guests has been a huge success. Guests are able to participate in a true Nordic bathing experience and leave feeling amazing.

Maria: What is the main difference in managing a spa on board a cruise ship compared to managing a spa on land?

Michael: I feel that when managing a spa on board a cruise ship you must be even more organized than on land.  As you are only able to receive products in certain ports you must make sure that ordering is done in a more structured fashion.  If something is forgotten you may not be able to receive it for a while.

The schedule also needs to be organized better to accommodate the guests and their excursions.  At times a majority of the guests are off the ship on tours, therefore it makes sense to limit the amount of therapists during those times.

I say goodbye to the spa team onboard. As I get off the ship in Palma I see her sail away for the next destination; Valencia. Yet another exciting city to explore… and I think what a unique opportunity it must be to work onboard a cruise ship. Waking up in a new city every day…

Michael Simoes and therapist Lovisa Petri

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Maria about to board Viking Star in Palma, on a very windy day…

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