Mention the word butler and landlubbers probably conjure up an image of Downton Abbey’s Mr Carson. Yet these days butlers are no longer the preserve of British stately homes and palaces. It’s enough to give the grand Dowager Countess of Grantham an attack of the vapors, but their presence on cruise ships is becoming increasingly commonplace.
The question is: Do you ‘use’ your butler, or does his presence make you feel a bit awkward?
My first butler encounter resulted in a polite metaphorical tug-of-war over unpacking my suitcase. I relented and was later mortified – knowing he must usually deal with much classier clientele – to find he’d arranged my aging department-store undies into some semblance of sequential and colored order.
So what exactly should you expect from an onboard butler? It’s often discussed on our forums, here by lucky Gempro2758, who’s getting ready to cruise in style in a penthouse suite.
However much we love Downton, we know that ships’ butlers are not personal servants, constantly on hand to iron a copy of The Times, wait on passengers hand and foot and deal with a myriad of unreasonable diva-like personal whims. But judging from our feedback you can certainly expect to be spoilt – and maybe have a few surprises en route.
KweezyCruiser said: “In addition to the daily snacks, our butler brought the chocolate chip cookies, gummy bears and peanut M&Ms requested by my daughter. He also asked what we would like waiting when we returned from an excursion (we had no idea) and he showed up with some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and brought my daughter the cheesecake brownie that she loved.”
Over to Cabincop who added: “Your butler can also arrange parties in your suite if you like. They set up for drinks and appetizers or dinners in your suite. My butler also gives me info on the ports I was going to. In Europe I ran into my butler on the shuttle bus and he showed me the train and sat with me as we were both going into Rome. They have also helped me with my iPod and what outfit to wear.”
Of course, there will be some of us who can never quite get used to letting the butler do it. Lex_n_saph wrote: “We actually felt so bad about not using the service that we had the butler serve us breakfast one day, as he has kept telling us that we could do this at any time.”
How do you feel about butler service? Let us know in the comments below!
Got a butler at home? Then you’ll want to read our 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ships feature!