I've sailed twice with Princess, in both standard inside & outside cabins. Yesterday I called Princess to inquire about sailing in a suite in Fall 2001, Panama Canal cruise. The agent told me that amenities were changing, and said they are doing away with the butlers. She went on to say the cabin steward would be acquiring the responsibilities previously carried out by the butler. Makes me curious if they will reduce the number of cabins each attendant is responsible for in order to compensate for the additional duties?? Or is it just plain downsizing??
There has been no official announcement from Princess about doing away with butlers in suite accommodations, so I have no idea where your travel agent got this piece of information. In my experience, some travel agents are better informed than others -- and there are quite a few travel agents who will spread any convenient rumor if they think that it might sway a customer to book on another line which has a lucrative promotion.
I personally don't believe anything that a travel agent tells me regarding possible changes in service until I have confirmation of it from a trustworthy source.
I'm somewhat confused about Princess's butler service. When it first started, it seemed to be only on ships that sailed in Europe for part of the year. I don't know whether it was an experimental program that didn't work out as expected (in which case it does make sense that it would be dropped) or if it's being extended fleet-wide. It's possible that your agent was misinformed about the extent of the program and incorrectly assumed that Princess was dropping it when a client took a cruise on a ship to which it had not been extended and reported back that it didn't happen.
In any case, other premium lines such as Celebrity have added butler service to their suite accommodations. From a competitive prespective, it does not make sense for Princess to drop it unless the other premium lines are doing likewise.
The conversation I had was directly with a Princess reservations agent. No travel agent was a part of the conversation! Throughout the course of the call I asked her to explain to me all the amenities that come (or don't come!) with the suites. It was at this point she explained that they were discontinuing the butlers.
We returned Sunday from Ocean Princess category AA Suite and there were NO BUTLERS...actually, there were no amenities like those we have become accustomed to on other cruiselines. On Princess, when you book a suite, all you are buying is a bigger room.
On other cruiselines, we have gotten tender passes to allow us to board without picking up a number; priority disembarkation; private cocktail parties and dinner with captain; complimentary laundry and dry cleaning etc. ec. etc. Not so on Princess...nothing!