How to Become a Butler: Cruise Critic Goes Back to School with Azamara

June 3, 2010

Deluxe line Azamara underwent a massive transformation in April, from a name change (to Azamara Club Cruises) to upgrades and improvements in four major areas, including destination immersion, food and wine, wellness, and service -- the last of which involved a major change to the line's butler programme.

Prior to April, all passengers, in any cabin type, had access to a butler -- but following the transformation of the line, only cruise travellers in suites on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are now entitled to butler service.

"Before, the butler service was glorified stateroom attendants in tuxedos," Azamara's vice president of sales and marketing, Edie Bornstein, tells Cruise Critic. "I came on as a guest in October, and I was confused. This change makes it simple and clear. Not everybody wants the butler service, either."

So how has this now more exclusive perk been fine-tuned? The line hired consultancy company, Triple S, which specialises in butler preparation programmes, to bring its butlers up to snuff. Triple S is also accredited by the Guild of Professional English Butlers, which oversees training for personal and professional butlers across the globe.

Triple S Managing Director Peter Vogel and Director Lesley Philpott spent a total of five weeks on both ships training six butlers (three per ship). With experience on super yachts and in top-of-the-line hotels and private residences, this team knows its stuff -- and now, we do too.

Yesterday, we boarded the 30,277-ton, 694-passenger ship Azamara Journey, sparkling in the sunshine in Greenwich, London, for our very own Triple S "masterclass" to find out what it really takes to be a butler -- and what a butler on Azamara will do for you. Check out the highlights of our day in our slideshow -- and see Cruise Critic's U.K. Editor Kelly Ranson get put through her paces!

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