The complimentary service is available only to those passengers booked in the line's top suites -- the Grand, Royal, Rossellini and Owner's Suites -- so it's fairly exclusive (applying to just five suites on Silver Cloud and Silver Wind and eight suites on Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow).
Silversea's ships are the smallest in the luxury cruise industry to offer the butler service (others that feature butlers include Crystal, which pioneered the concept in cruising's modern era, and Radisson Seven Seas, which offers it on a broader basis than most). With ships less than half the size of its luxury competitors (and an already high passenger-to-service ratio), we wondered why Silversea would need to add that extra touch. We wanted to know not only that ... but also, why introduce butlers now?
Brad Ball, Silversea's spokesman, responded, "Over the last few years, we've noticed an increase in more and more guests entertaining in our larger suites. As a result, we wanted to have dedicated staff members (i.e., butlers) that can handle this and other functions." He notes that the trend toward in-cabin entertaining is growing in popularity. "People in our big suites seem to want to 'cocoon' while onboard," he notes. "Instead of going to the party every night, they want the party to come to them."
SeaDream Yacht Club and Seabourn Cruise Line are the only other major North American-oriented small-ship luxury lines that are butler-service holdouts. Seabourn spokesman Bruce Good was feeling frisky when we asked him why. "We don't have butlers," he notes, "because those things that butlers handle for guests on larger ships are not a hassle on our little yachts. Our suite stewardesses will definitely help with packing, unpacking and handle getting your shoes shined if you'd like. And for private in-suite dining, you get a real waiter from the Restaurant on Seabourn. Oh -- and that's every guest on Seabourn, not just the top categories."