Sharon I have spent several hundred days at sea on Oceania Cruises. On some recent cruises we have had a stateroom with butler service. We have come to enjoy having a butler. While reading Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby I was reminded of the butlers we have met while cruising.
As shown in the photo above they are formally attired at all times.
As I read the book I thought about how some of the butler skills set out in the book were carried out upon the ship.
1.) “One of a butler’s main jobs is to make everyone comfortable” - Our first cruise ship butler, Akshay, came to see us 2 days into the cruise. He made a friendly inquiry asking “don’t you like me, you never call me”. We said we had never had a butler in our lives. He smoothly advised us what he could do for us and made us very comfortable with calling upon him.
2.) Her butler friends, Gavin and Murray, pack Helen’s suitcase perfectly - Sharon and I have not had a butler pack but our butler skillfully and efficiently moved us to another stateroom and back when there was a waterline leak in our room during a cruise.
3.) Butlers can stand so still with a peaceful air - The ship butlers have a special stillness about them and radiate calm.
4.) They never appear to be standing in judgment - The butlers are completely professional in not projecting judgment.
5.) “Gavin and Murray chose a round table in the corner of the lodge. Murray draped it with a freshly ironed white tablecloth. Then she covered that with a smaller pale gray tablecloth. There was something reverent in the way she and Gavin worked.” - When eating in our stateroom the butler would float the table cloth over our round table, precisely place the cutlery and glasses, add a flower, arrange the napkins and then set the first course exactly before each of Sharon and myself. It was a ceremony.
6.) Gavini has a small notebook for jotting down tasks - The ship butlers equally have notepads.
Oceania butlers also provide pre-dinner delights. Each
Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey would appreciate that the Oceania butlers are consistent in maintaining standards.
Where they differ from Mr. Carson is that there is not a hint of haughtiness about them.
What real life Oceania butlers have is equanimity, which is described in the book from Buddhist principles as:
“Equanimity is based on the knowledge that everything changes and will always change and that is okay. We find equanimity only by paying close attention to what is happening in the moment.”
Should you be inspired to become a butler The International Butler Academy in the Netherlands has a 10 week course for €14,500.
Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby