Cruise Ship Massage Etiquette

Cruise Ship Massage Etiquette Explained (How to Have the Best Experience)

Being on a cruise is relaxing, having a massage while on a cruise is even more relaxing!

If you’ve decided you want to have a massage on your cruise, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts and proper etiquette.

To help you out, here is a list of cruise ship massage etiquette 101!


Cruise Ship Massage Etiquette

Always Be on Time

This is just common courtesy wherever and whatever type of massage you’re having, but honestly, it’s harder to have a valid excuse for being late on a cruise ship!

There are plenty of things to do on a cruise ship, but your massage therapist has a schedule to keep.

If you’re more than 15 minutes late, your therapist may have to shorten your massage so they can stay on schedule.

Being late also means that you’re taking away time from another person who may have wanted or needed that slot.

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Remember; Taking Off Clothes Is Normal

Massage therapists are professionals and have seen it all before.

You will be given a sheet or towel to cover yourself with, but don’t be surprised if your therapist asks you to remove more clothing than you’re comfortable with.

They need to be able to massage the areas that are giving you pain or discomfort.

You can always say no, of course, but the best thing you can do is leave any embarrassment at the door and immerse yourself in the full experience.

Ask Any Questions Beforehand

Have any questions about the massage or the process?

Before you turn up is the time to ask!

Your therapist will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

This is also a good time to mention anything they should know, such as if you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure, etc.

It’s not ideal trying to talk about things during a massage, you want to be able to lay down, relax, and enjoy the experience.

A Tip of 15%-20% Is Normal

Your therapist will usually have a tip jar at the end of the massage table or in the room.

It’s good etiquette to leave a tip, and 15%-20% is about average.

Of course, you can always tip more if you had an exceptional experience!

Some cruise ships might add an automatic gratuity to your bill. This is usually around 15% and goes to the therapist, so it’s worth checking this before if you’re not sure.

Don’t Try to ‘Help’ The Therapist

Your therapist is the professional, so let them do their job!

Don’t try to help by moving their hands or arms to where you want them to go.

It might seem like you’re helping, but really you’re just making it harder for the therapist and taking away from your own relaxation.

Just lay back, relax, and let them do their job!

Never Proposition the Therapist or Make Lewd Comments

This should go without saying, but don’t proposition your therapist or make any lewd comments.

They are there to give you a professional massage and that’s it!

Not only is it inappropriate, but it’s also grounds for them to stop the massage immediately and report you to the cruise ship staff.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone

This is just good manners in general, but especially when you’re getting a massage.

You wouldn’t answer your phone in the middle of a meeting or during a movie, so don’t do it during your massage!

Your therapist will usually ask you to turn off your phone before starting the massage anyway.

If you must keep it on for any reason, at least put it on silent.

If you really want a couple of pictures for your Instagram, and I can’t blame you for that, then I’m sure if you ask your therapist that’ll be fine.

Don’t Wear Strong Fragrances

This one is for the benefit of your therapist.

They will be close to you for an extended period, so it’s best if you don’t wear any strong fragrances.

This includes things like perfume, aftershave, and deodorant.

A light fragrance is fine, but anything too strong might irritate or distract them – not to mention that they don’t want to end up smelling of your perfume.

You should also avoid eating any strongly-scented food before your massage like garlic or curry.

Don’t Turn up If You’re Sick

I appreciate that your cruise might be coming to an end and you really want a massage, but you shouldn’t turn up if you’re not feeling well.

This is for your benefit as well as the therapist.

You really don’t want to be getting a massage when you’re sick, and your therapist definitely doesn’t want to be massaging someone who’s sick.

If you have a cold or flu, it’s best to reschedule your massage for another time or give it a miss altogether.

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Shower Beforehand 

Basic hygiene is just good etiquette, especially if a massage therapist is going to be putting their hands on you.

You should shower before your massage to make sure you’re clean and smelling fresh.

It’s also a good way to start relaxing and getting into the right mindset for your massage.

By following these simple tips, you’re sure to have a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Just remember to be courteous and respectful, and you’ll be all set!

Do you have any other questions about cruise ship massage etiquette? Let us know in the comments below! Happy cruising!

Header Photo by Georgy Trofimov on Unsplash

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