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The above is myself and my wife and our Norwegian Cruise Lines butter on the EPIC. We had booked a Haven Spa Suite that not only included access to the Mandara Spa but also the amazing Haven restaurant, bar and Posh sun deck.
As a perk of booking a “real” suite (I say real because club suites don’t count) we also were provided with a butler to make our trip that much better. Now just what can a butler provide for you above and beyond your room attendant? I mean since most of us don’t have a butler at home (or travel with one) we need to know what we can request.
Your butler’s job is to make your cruise as special as possible. For example, we always bring caviar on our sailings. Now this caviar is NOT ultra expensive but one we have found for our palate a completely acceptable flavor on a budget. All we have to do on our cruise is bring this and then the ship, and our butler, will provide the rest.
We also save the “free” provided day one sparkling wine for this event and thus don’t have to pay the upcharge (even with a drink package) for the bubbles with the treat. Sometimes we enjoy this just the two of us and sometimes we meet guests we hit it off with or have sailed with before to join us for the fun. Either way the point is your butler can help make it special.
What else? The list is somewhat long and since you have a butler I encourage you to utilize them during your cruise.
Escort you where you want to go. You will be escorted onto the ship either by one of the butlers onboard or the concierge (or his/her assistant – who is sometimes a butler). But if you wish to have an escort to shows, special events, tenders or departing the ship – just ask ahead.
Unpacking / packing. I personally have never used this service but it is available. If you want to maximize your fun time and don’t want to have to be burdened by such things just have your butler take care of this for you – and then go hunt around where they put all your stuff! 🙂
Special requests. Do you want a bowl of M&Ms in your room each day? We do. We go for the M&Ms with nuts inside but maybe you would rather have gummy bears? Or the afternoon snack (often rather boring) you can have them bring you something more fun like you see above. For me the one thing I hate doing before I sail is taking the time to shine my shoes and having my butler do this is something I simply love (and they always do a fantastic job).
Extra Cabin Items. Want more hangers – no problem. How about pool towels (maybe a number of them) – will be provided. Softer or different pillows – you bet. Maybe, if they have it, even a foam mattress topper if you want an even softer bed. Anything you want or think it would be nice to have can likely be provided.
Help with booking things. While you can ask your concierge for help with specialty restaurants and shore excursions you can also have your butler help with these and / or work with the concierge to get your request done.
Breakfast in bed / in room. If you want to be pampered and not have to go to a restaurant for breakfast or lunch or dinner – your butler can bring and provide it for you including white linen table service in the room. Depending on what you have planned for the day this can be a real time saver as you know exactly when your meal is coming.
Things to just expect. While your butler is not the same as your room attendant (but will work with them) to make sure your room is perfect day and night. Expect turndown service and restocking of anything you use as well as clearing plates and such from the day. They just take care of you.
Also keep in mind about tipping. While your room attendant, dinner servers, cooks and on and on are included in the daily service charge – your butler is NOT covered. Yes, they are paid a base salary but please consider $5-15 per day on top of this for their services. The same goes for the concierge if you use them to help you. As we have posted about we not only tip but tip on day one and even bring gifts!
So just what is the “official” job description of your butler? CruiseShipJob.com has a recent post for the butler position and take a look what they say:
BUTLER – Description – POSITION SUMMARY / ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:
The Butler’s position is designed specifically to cater to guests booked in The Haven, Villas, Owner Suites & Penthouses. Focus is placed on giving these guests individual, personalized and impeccable in-room attention and service. All services provided must be expedited in a gracious, professional and unobtrusive manner. Attention to detail and a timely response in every respect is a requirement. He/she works closely with the Concierge to maintain the integrity of our best staterooms and provide in-room dining and valet service, as well as to coordinate set-ups for private cocktail parties or other special requests in accordance to standards established by the company.
- On call to expedite guest requests. An off-duty Butler’s phone must be forwarded to another Butler during the day and to the Bell Captain or Night Shift Butler during Night Shift.
- Responsible for the Villa, Suite & Penthouse set-ups on embarkation day ensuring deliveries are expedited in co-ordination with relative department heads.
- Escorts guests onboard and if their room is being prepared, escorts them to the VIP Lunch. Otherwise takes them directly to their room and for Garden Villa and Owner Suite guests offers them champagne and warm (or cold) face towels.
- Trained in Housekeeping set-up of Suites & Villas and works in tandem with Stateroom Stewards and reports deficiencies to Deck Supervisors. Responsible to make corrections on Housekeeping set-ups and to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness, neatness and maintenance inside and on balcony and deck areas.
- Prepare cocktail parties including proper set-up; and serve in-room canapés and drinks when requested. Should take the initiative to offer guests the opportunity to host their own in-suite cocktail party and advise associated costs.
- Offers to escort guests to onboard events such as evening shows or to a dining reservation, and also to the gangway in port, especially if the vessel is tendering. This is done in collaboration with the Concierge and the rest of the Butler team to ensure time efficiencies.
- Performs Valet service, which includes but is not limited to, assisting guests with un-packing and re-packing of garments, expediting laundry, dry cleaning and pressing services, and offering shoe shine service.
- Records twice daily in the temperature log for the dishwashing machines and refrigerators. Performs regular cleaning and sanitation of refrigerators, bread warmers, ovens, toasters, juice and coffee machines, etc.
- Performs other related duties as assigned or as directed. The omission of specific duties does not preclude the supervisor from assigning duties that are logically related to the position.
- Must be familiar with the Safety and Environmental Protection Policy and the SEMS, and carry out the policies and procedures appropriate for his/her position.
That is quite a list of things they are expected by the company to do but it also gives us a good overview of what we can expect and request.
Now it’s your turn. Have you had butler service on NCL or another cruise line? Did they provide outstanding service or did you not know what they can do for you so simply did not use their service beyond saying hello each day? – René
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