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tips for butler

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I sailed the Gem on Aug 23rd.  I had 2 penthouse suites - myself and my 6 year old in one, and my 21 year old daughter and her 24 year old BF in the other.  We were a couple doors down from one another.  I was afraid of being judged, so I gave our butler a $50 bill for each room the first time we met him (he tried to decline this but I insisted).  I knew we wouldn't be using him much.  I have to say, he was amazing!  It seemed every afternoon / night when we went out he was there in the hallway,  had a big smile, and asked us if we needed anything.  Brought great treats for us (m&m's, gummy bears, chips, the usual people talk about but that my 6 year old LOVED!).  My eldest daughter did ask for O'Sheehan's to be delivered one (LATE) night and he came through.  I gave him $100/per room at the end (tipped the steward MORE as she was absolutely phenomenal).  I researched this a lot before we left as it was our first time in the "suite life".  I was just happy that he was available if needed.  Though he made it known from the beginning of the cruise that he worked the back of the ship as well, we always saw him around and he was very kind.

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This is funny as on Norwegian the Butlers do not do as much as on Regent, Oceania or Crystal.  We tipped him fairly well.


We had a very long Norwegian Cruise, and I noted that the Concierge did most of the "heavy lifting", i.e. making sure my husband had a suitable seat in the bus (he is VERY tall) and handling what we declared when customs came aboard.  I think she also handled all the specialty reservations as well.  We tipped her very well for all the special services.


The Room Steward did less, but we tipped.  Not so much.


It is up to you to determine what you think has been accomplished for you.

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16 hours ago, BNBR said:


Per cabin.  Think about what the butler does. If you aren't utilizing them for anything extra, then they will do little more than stock coffee and drop off snacks in the evening. $100- $150 is already more than you would tip for room service, all things considered. 


This number is just my opinion, of course.  We gave them $70 on our 7 day cruise. Felt $10/day was more than fair to drop off snacks that we didn't necessarily want and were nothing special. 


Keep in mind, these are NOT butlers just because NCL calls them so.  They are essentially food runners who may do a little extra. "Butler" means something and has specific standards and services that these don't do. It's not the same. They load up a cart with 10 cabins worth of snacks and drop them off.  Maybe setup a table for dinner if you want to dine in... Which food runners do at fine hotels as well.


Your answer makes perfect sense . Those that are needy should tip more. We are very unneedy

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I start my cruise with a stack of crisp Benjamin's, that is a $100 for you peasants.  I give them out to everyone I see along with notes that my preferred snack is peanut M&M's and Kit-Kats.  As they bring me things I usually throw another $50 for each visit.  I usually finish it off with a few more Benjamin's for good measure.

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There was a woman on one of our cruises that had her portable "butler" phone with her and

was also at guest services. She was making some kind of request of the guest services person.

The answer was a very nice"'not possible". I think it was something that is

against policy like can her friend who lives in the port we are stopping at come

onboard and have lunch with her.This person said nevermind I will ask my butler he

will say yes or something along those lines. And walked away while dialing. That person should tip more and someone like me that didn't even know there was a butler phone should tip less. LOL But then again maybe she won't tip at

all because her requests were not within the scope of what a butler can do. I don't think the concierge

can waive rules either so that was probably her next call after her butler.

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On 9/15/2019 at 12:32 AM, NCLetscruise said:

Depends how good (or bad) they are. I have had some good ones that I tipped very well. I also had Ahmed on the Dawn who absolutely SUCKED, and he got a crisp $1 bill in an envelop. 

Out of interest - what made him suck?

I’d assumed the worst a butler could do was their bear minimum of bring the generic snacks. 

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Well, I had the best and worst on my last cruise - the best got off two days before the end of the cruise.  The worst (well, not really, but mediocre) would bring dinner when asked (we always pre-ordered) but it was the wrong thing; first night tepid, second night soup was warm, entree was ice cold, like it had been sitting around or just pulled out of a fridge and not even heated!  #1 got a very nice tip, #2 got more than he deserved but he had brought dinner a couple of times so he got something....

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Hi, cruisin' peeps -


The following info can be found at:



"Who Gets It: Passengers staying in The Haven receive 24/7 butler service. Passengers in a suite outside The Haven enjoy butler service until 10 p.m. daily.

Get This: Norwegian Cruise Line butlers are trained by The International Institute of Modern Butlers for a one-week onboard course; once certified, they receive ongoing training by onboard trainers and concierge staff."


As to some of what they do:

They will also bring you room service or morning cappuccinos and espresso, even serving you dinner course-by-course, in your suite or on your balcony. Take care of your laundry. Butlers will handle laundry, dry-cleaning and pressing requests, and return your clothes expertly folded and wrapped in tissue paper.  (They'll even run your bath for you.)

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Not going to get into the whole tipping opinion.  Tip whatever you feel is right.


That said, I saw a Butler help with an entire party on the Gem in a Haven Garden Villa.  It was the end of a cabin crawl and the very nice folks who had the Garden Villa through a party.  It was SPECTACULAR.  The Butler served the drinks, kept the appetizers full and mingled with the guests, serving them.  I would imagine a tip for that might exceed what you're reading about here.


Me personally, I've rarely used my Butler for anything more than to replenish my snacks and coffees/teas.  I tip him, but not as much as I tip my room steward (BTW, while on the GEM I had an Aft Suite and the room steward was fantastic....female, can't remember her name).  She was always willing and able to work around the times I was/wasn't in my cabin and seemed to get that routine (which it really wasn't as I was pretty scattered about the times I was in my cabin).  Always had a smile and a warm greeting for me.


Elvina, the concierge on the GEM at the time almost forced me to carry the cordless phone with me at all times so she could do whatever I needed done.  I felt guilty about doing that.  But, day or night, she always answered and always did whatever I needed.  She was GREAT!  I tipped her better than the Butler, too.

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We have had good butlers on NCL except for one.

He got off the ship at the end of our cruise for what I hope was a long R and R.

 He hid the whole week and we didn't even get our coffee/tea restocked and he skipped

the snacks a few nights. That said, the worst we had was on the Celebrity Mercury. But not in the way

you would think. He kept bugging us for some reason to go to the Captain's dinner and we weren't planning

on going. Finally when he wouldn't take no for an answer I said that we had nothing proper to wear.

He pushed past me, opened my husband's closet and started putting together an outfit for him. Yeah, not

cool. I  prefer being ignored to that! LOL And we didn't go, just stayed in our cabin. 


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