What 10 things can you expect a cruise butler to do on-board a ship?

What 10 things can you expect a cruise ship butler to do? Thierry Fnu, Head Butler, MSC Preziosa tells me!
Thierry Fnu Head Butler MSC CruisesOne of the main questions I am asked about cruising is “What exactly does a butler on a cruise ship do”? In this article I share what Thierry Fnu, the Head Butler on the MSC Preziosa, told me in answer to this question.

I do not have a butler at home. Like many people I tend to think of  Downton Abbey’s butler Mr Carson when the topic comes up! Saying that, I have been on many cruises where I have had a butler. I always feel uncertain about what I should be expecting, or asking, them to do. Cruise line brochures talk about their butlers, but I am still not sure exactly what they should be doing for me as a passenger. So I asked to interview MSC Preziosa’s Head Butler when I was on-board to help me get the answer.

Thierry Fnu is well qualified to answer the question as he has been working on cruise ships for almost 20 years, starting in housekeeping and working his way to Head Butler. All at MSC Cruises.

The 10 main things a butler will do:

  1. Greet passengers on embarkation and show them to their suite.
  2. Explain the ship, facilities and how to access them. On MSC Preziosa this involves also explaining the Yacht Club (ship within ship), dedicated Concierge, restaurants, and deck.
  3. Unpacking (and later packing) of luggage if required. He says that many people prefer to unpack themselves so they can decide where to put their clothes and other pieces of luggage. However, you should just ask if you want it done.
  4. Daily services such as keeping their suites tidy, delivering daily newspaper, answering queries and giving advice and tips
  5. Passenger grooming services like shoe shine and pressing clothes, as well as organising laundry to be done.
  6. Arranging meals, such as breakfast, when passengers want to eat in their room,
  7. Escort passengers around the ship when they want to go to a particular area and unsure how to get there (e.g. A restaurant, excursion meet point etc)
  8. Arrange and book private excursions.
  9. Arrange parties in their suite, for example of a passenger wants to invite people for drinks and snacks in their cabin.
  10. Problem solving. The Butler will help solve problems. For example, one of my travel mates suitcase had broken and her butler whisked it away and managed to find someone on the ship to fix it. Another had a problem needing some adaptors and cables, which her butler managed to track down.

I think the key thing I learnt was that you need to just ask! The butler role will be as responsive as you want it to be. They seem to be very resourceful and actually enjoy doing the more unusual!

To read, listen to and watch all of my content about MSC Preziosa visit tipsfortravellers.com/MSC

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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