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Which Cruise Ships Have Butlers?

Butler service on a Norwegian cruise (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)
Butler service on a Norwegian cruise (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

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Looking for the utmost in personal service on your next cruise? Then choose a suite that comes with butler service. You'll need to select carefully; cruise ship butlers aren't available on every line or in every cabin type. However, you can find them on both luxury and mainstream cruise lines. Read on to find out which suites offer butler service on your favorite cruise line. (Read our companion piece to find out what butlers will -- and won't -- do for you.)

Updated April 20, 2018

Azamara Club Cruises

Who Gets It: All suite passengers

Get This: Azamara butlers are trained by the same company that provides butlers for superyachts, like billionaire Paul Allen's Octopus. One day, Azamara had a family onboard who wanted their 18-year-old son, an avid tennis player, to hit balls at a port court. The butler arranged a car to take their son to a local tennis stadium, where a professional Olympic tennis player surprised him with an offer to play a set.

Celebrity Cruises

Who Gets It: Suite passengers on all ships, except in the Galapagos

Get This: Celebrity butlers really tune into their passengers; when one sensed his passenger was out-of-sorts, he learned that the man was unsure how to propose to his girlfriend. The butler reserved the helipad for a private proposal. Afterward, the butler appeared with Champagne, a photographer snapped pics and the captain blew the horn three times to celebrate.

Costa Cruises

Who Gets It: Passengers booking full suites (including Samsara Suites)

Get This: Costa's butlers, chosen from the best, most experienced, cabin stewards, undergo dedicated in-house training. One nice perk for passengers: Butlers provide shopping assistants, who give private personal tours of onboard boutiques and help find exactly what you're seeking.

Crystal Cruises

Who Gets It: Passengers booked in categories PH (Crystal Penthouse), PS (Penthouse Suite), SP (Seabreeze Penthouse Suite), CP (Crystal Penthouse) and SH (Seabreeze Penthouse) on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, and all passengers on the all-suite Crystal Esprit yacht

Get This: Crystal Cruises' butlers hail from more than 40 nations, and rank among the best-trained. One Crystal butler -- so polished, I was awe-struck -- once instructed me, "Never apologize, madam. Only I apologize." Turns out Buckingham Palace was his last gig. Crystal butlers go far beyond the extra mile; one arranged for a World War II veteran and major golf enthusiast to tee off from the Great Wall of China. When the butler gave him a case for that golf club (made with the help of the Vice Captain and ship carpenter) inscribed with his name, date and the event, the passenger teared up with happiness.

Cunard Line

Who Gets It: Passengers staying in Queens Grill category cabins

Get This: Butlers are experts at unpacking elaborate gowns and tuxedos because most Grill passengers bring extensive wardrobes. Queens Grill butlers are a long-standing Cunard tradition; they began serving on the original Queen Mary in 1936 and are revered for their high standards of service. Think Downton Abbey-style prowess, without stuffy posturing.

Hapag-Lloyd

Who Gets It: Penthouse, Grand Penthouse and Owner Suite passengers on Europa 2

Get This: All butlers train in hospitality and service in a European school. They speak fluent English -- good to know on a German-English bilingual line.

MSC Cruises

Who Gets It: MSC Yacht Club passengers

Get This: Butlers greet Yacht Club passengers curbside, guide them through the boarding process and escort them directly to their accommodations. Despite offering many services, such as printing out a favorite newspaper for morning delivery, they don't serve dinner course-by-course in cabins. However, you can order room service from an in-room menu.

Butler Service on an MSC cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line

Who Gets It: Passengers staying in The Haven receive 24/7 butler service. Passengers in a suite outside The Haven enjoy butler service until 10 p.m. daily.

Get This: Norwegian Cruise Line butlers are trained by The International Institute of Modern Butlers for a one-week onboard course; once certified, they receive ongoing training by onboard trainers and concierge staff. One butler, who learned his past passengers had returned to celebrate a 50th anniversary, procured a photograph he took on their previous cruise, and placed it in their Garden Villa to surprise and welcome them -- even though he was not their assigned butler.

Oceania Cruises

Who Gets It: Passengers in Penthouse Suites and higher

Get This: Oceania's butlers are trained by an English Guild of Butlers member, and often move on to ship management positions, such as food-and-beverage director. They're most attentive regarding shore excursions; butlers check if passengers have everything they need before departing, and, on return, they welcome them back with favorite beverages and snacks. If passengers must board tenders, butlers escort them to ensure they board safely.

P&O Cruises

Who Gets It: All suite passengers

Get This: Butlers first meet passengers in the priority embarkation lounge to escort them to their suite. They work between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., although service can be arranged at other times for a specific event or need. Beyond the usual responsibilities, butlers can exchange currency at reception, and provide complimentary newspapers in port when available.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Who Gets It: Passengers in Penthouse Suites and higher

Get This: Butlers study with the head butler, who trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Butlers readily go the extra mile; when one 70-something couple got married in port, their butler placed red roses, bubbly and chocolate-covered berries in their Seven Seas Explorer suite. Later, all 12 ship butlers, wearing tails and white gloves, stood outside their suite to not only congratulate them as they left for dinner, but to also escort them to the restaurant. By the way, butlers present Guerlain, Bottega Veneta and L'Occitane Mer & Mistral bath amenities to passengers -- you get all three. (Penthouse Suite passengers only get Guerlain and L'Occitane.)

Silversea

Who Gets It: All passengers on every Silversea cruise and expedition ship

Get This: Butlers lavish passengers with high-end toiletries, from hypoallergenic Seba Med to posh and pricy Bulgari. In the largest suites (Medallion Suites and up), passengers enjoy exclusive Bulgari white tea-perfumed toiletries versus green tea. The formally clad Silversea butlers, trained by The Guild of Professional English Butlers, take attentiveness to new heights; one overheard a Grand Suite passenger gushing to her husband about her love of tulips on a Northern Europe cruise while he was serving breakfast. When they returned from a shore excursion, what greeted her? A stunning tulip bouquet.

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