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What can your butler do for you on your cruise?

Butler with silver platter-featured image-PP

A few weeks ago I got off my Alaska cruise on Silversea, and today I wanted to share my experience of the wonderful amenity of having a butler…

What can your butler do for you on your cruise?

On my Silversea cruise a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to enjoy the amenity of a butler. There are many cruise lines that offer butler service, but Silversea is actually the only luxury cruise line that provides a butler for every stateroom. Other cruise lines have butlers for a subset of their passengers; mainstream cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean or Norwegian, as well as lines such as Celebrity, Oceania and Regent have butlers for their top suites. Azamara cruise line, which our Footsteps of Saint Paul group will be sailing in October, has butlers for their Club Continent suites and above.

Since we will be sailing on Silverseas for our Antarctica cruise in January, I really wanted to exercise the opportunity of having a butler. While I’ve sailed with a butler before, I didn’t feel like I knew what he could do. So, I didn’t ask much of my butler in the past.

What can a butler really do for you and how could that be a benefit to your cruising experience?

Before my cruise, I did some research – I checked out the comments of past Silversea guests and Googled ‘using a butler on your cruise’ to learn more, and then I asked for more suggestions once onboard. I found some very good ideas and I found having a butler really did enhance my trip.

Meeting Your Butler

I met my butler Joseph shortly after accessing my room. At embarkation, the butlers go around to the staterooms to meet the various folks that they’re going to be taking care of. Since I had a very specific list I wanted to discuss, I went ahead and paged him. On Silversea they have a specific button for the butler, so you just push the button, it pages your butler, and he shows up pretty quickly.
I had typed out my list and gave it to Joseph, so that made it really easy to discuss. I know that may sound a bit over the top, but I had read that butlers like to know exactly what you want so they can provide excellent service, and other guests recommended the prepared list. I found it worked well.
Basically, your butler acts as your primary contact if you need anything – handling service requests, ensuring everything in your room is as you like it, and also managing any issues that may come up.
I wanted to get to Joseph sooner rather than later, because I knew he could have an immediate impact to my time with the first item on the list.
Your Butler will Unpack
One of the things that you will hear is that a butler can unpack your clothes for you. I’ve never done that before when we’ve had a butler, but I figured I would try it this time. I will say it was delightful to be able to say, “please unpack my clothes” and head out the door to go to the cocktail lounge to try some specialty cocktails, rather than stay in my suite for an hour unloading everything and figuring out where to put various clothes.

When I got back to my room, everything was unpacked, and the suitcases were put away. I use packing cubes quite a bit and he had put the packing cubes in the drawers without removing the contents. A lot of people live out of their packing cubes, and I do that for a land tour where we are changing hotels every few days, but I don’t for a weeklong cruise. I did take the items out of the packing cubes and put them in the same drawers. That cost me a total of 2 minutes, versus the normal hour I spend on unpacking. I definitely appreciate that benefit, so score 1 for the butler – I’ll have my butler unpack on future cruises.
Butler Service in Your Room
I had done some reading about how other Silversea guests used their butler and found a wonderful suggestion – the butler can come in early in the morning while you are sleeping and leave your morning coffee in a thermal carafe, so it is waiting for you when you wake up. While they have room service and it is very quick, I love rolling out of bed and immediately pouring myself a cup of coffee.
When I requested this of my butler Joseph, I wasn’t really sure how they would handle that, given that I was a female traveling alone, but I figured I would see what they would do. The butler manager came to talk to me to clarify my request, and then he told me that a female butler would be bringing in my coffee into my room early each day. Perfect solution.
I loved waking up every morning and having my coffee there. Sometimes I didn’t wake up until two hours after the butler left it, and the coffee was still steaming hot, so that was another appreciated service.
Another request for your butler is to have canapes delivered to your state room every afternoon. I will say that was one of my favorite things Joseph did. It was a wonderful surprise every afternoon – I basically forgot about the canapes during my activities of the day, so it was great to come back to my stateroom late in the afternoon, thinking I’m a bit hungry, and then open the door to my spread of canopies waiting for me. It was just enough to tide me over until dinner, and it’s a lovely presentation so it felt very special.

Some afternoons I would be reading out on my balcony, and Joseph would set up my canapes on the table there. It was a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the scenery of Alaska and the luxury of having a butler.
Request Favorite Beverages

On luxury ships you can request specific wine or alcohol that you’d like to have in your refrigerator for when you’re in your room. My request was one bottle of Pinot Grigio, and then Diet Coke and more Diet Coke, nothing else in the fridge.

I also requested a bottle of Frangelico for evening night caps, but wasn’t sure if they had it onboard, so I told him Bailey’s Irish Crème would be second choice substitute. That evening I had my bottle of Bailey’s in the room, but in the meantime, I had seen Frangelico at all the bars. The next morning, I asked Joseph about getting the Frangelico. He told me that the stock they had for the bars was separate from what they had for the staterooms, so Frangelico as not on their list. But he said he would work on it; magically that evening I had a bottle of Frangelico in my bar to use for the duration of the cruise.

Other Special Requests of Your Butler

The Silver Muse has eight different restaurants, some that require reservations and others that don’t. A month before the cruise, I had tried to score a reservation in La Dame, the French restaurant, and it was fully booked. At our initial meeting, I told Joseph that I would like to have a reservation at La Dame at some point in the cruise. A few hours later, I had my reservation confirmed.

Another request of a butler is for him to draw a bath, so I decided I should try this out too. I never take baths, so this would be a treat. I was planning for some shipboard activities one afternoon, so I told Joseph I’d be back to my suite at 5:30pm and would like to have a bath. When I walked in, the tub was filled with hot water with scented bath salts and candles were in the tub corners flickering (not real flames for safety, but very realistic). I added the cocktail I brought from the lounge and my book, and I had a fabulous relaxing time.
I asked Joseph what other things someone might request from their butler. He said they would take care of polishing shoes, which my husband would love. For folks celebrating an occasion, he would arrange a cake or decorations. For folks who just wanted to have their own private get together with a few couples, he would handle arranging canapes and drinks for an in-suite cocktail party.
Your Butler Can Absolutely Enhance Your Cruise Experience
I found that the many little things I asked of my butler Joseph added up to a big impact to the enjoyment of my cruise. While I would usually see him only once or twice a day, his activities were appreciated from the time I woke up until I went to bed. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Silversea, and the amenity of a butler provides an extra level of service. I’m glad I planned ahead to use my butler and explore the various ways he can assist, and I hope I’ve prepared you to truly enjoy your next butler experience.