What is it really like to be a luxury cruise ship butler?

What is it really like to be a luxury cruise ship butler?

Katie McGonagle speaks to Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Premkumar Gajapathy about the life of a butler on board


Regent Seven Seas Cruises is known for its exemplary butler service, but what goes on behind the scenes? Katie McGonagle speaks to head butler Premkumar Gajapathyto find out what a typical day involves. 

Connecting Travel: How did you come to work for Regent Seven Seas Cruises? 
Premkumar Gajapathy: I’m from Chennai, where I worked for the Oberoi and Marriott. Joining Regent was an accident. I was sharing an apartment with four friends and one morning woke to find them getting dressed formally. I asked where they were going, and they said they had an interview with RSSC. I joined them and they didn’t make it, but I was selected. I owe this career to my friends, and now I’m in my 12th year. 

CT: What does a typical day involve? 
PG: It starts with a big smile for my team in the galley, who are serving breakfast. I help where needed, complete some admin and look after my guests, then I have a team meeting and training in the afternoon. This is followed by cocktail hour, when we provide canapés and cocktails in suites, before escorting guests to the speciality restaurants, all before evening turndown service. Once my shift is over, I socialise with the team in the crew bar or mess room, and connect with family back home. 

CT: How challenging is it trying to anticipate what guests want? 
PG: A butler’s job is unique. Every guest is different in their own space, so the service must be tailored. We observe guest habits in their suite – such as how they arrange their personal things or the drinks and foods they gravitate towards – and follow their preferences.

Celebrity Cruises | Explora Journeys | Hurtigruten | Norwegian Cruise Line | Oceania Cruises
Royal Caribbean

CT: What is your favourite part of the job? 
PG: Travelling and meeting people to learn about different cultures, traditions, cuisines and lifestyles. I also enjoy speaking to guests from around the world and learning about their countries.

CT: How does it feel to have repeat guests each year? 
PG: When a guest remembers one of the crew, there’s a feeling of pride. Likewise, when we remember a guest and know their name, that person immediately feels at home.  

CT: Do you get time to explore? 
PG: I often go ashore on my afternoon break. Favourite places so far are Alaska and Norway, in terms of natural beauty and landscapes. For modern city life, I love Melbourne, New York and Dubai.


Share article

View Comments