Gary Buchanan pays testament to Explora Journeys incredible service

If the cast of Downton Abbey had been assembled for a saga about high life on the high seas, Karthik Nallaiya would most definitely have been cast in the role of Carson. As a Residence Host on board EXPLORA I, this genial retainer from Mumbai takes care of the whims and caprices of guests cruising the seven seas in the sublime comfort of a Residence.

Karthik Nallaiya of Explora Journeys

Morning coat aside, Karthik is not some repressed Edwardian ogre stuffed with gravitas, upholding the feudal law of life below stairs, but rather a super-valet, fully empowered and full of joy. He’s always present, ready to personalise and streamline the fulfilment of guests’ needs. At breakfast, he appears at the Emporium Marketplace to ensure their smoothies have plenty of fruit; he then escorts his charges to the gangway and ascertains their tour departs on time; by mid-afternoon, he's ready to welcome them back with a cool towel and iced water. Cocktails are mixed to each resident's specifications before Karthik calls in at the Marble & Co. Grill to check that the reserved table meets his exacting standards. Residents might think his day is done, but not for this factotum, who visits each Residence one last time to ensure the pillows are primped, negligees draped across the bedding, and televisions set to the right channel.

This Majordomo had a colourful career before joining the team of hosts at Explora Journeys in June 2023. Having trained as a butler in Mumbai, he secured a job at the St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi thanks to a friend who was also a butler. “This is where my life changed,” explained Karthik. “I worked there for eight years and looked after high-profile guests, including the former Prime Minister of India. I also took care of celebrities such as Rihanna and Sir Lewis Hamilton.”

Royalty also benefited from his ministrations. “I took personal care of Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of former United Arab President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and part of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family. His palace is a 1½ hour drive from the hotel, so when he visited, I took care of his entire family. On other occasions, I looked after Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, also part of the Ruler's family, whose palace is just five minutes from the hotel. The wealth of these people is beyond measure. Chauffeuring them in their incredible cars was a real privilege. I took the family to the beach, as well as assisted in planning and managing events and dinners. Guests seem to confide in me; this is something that goes way beyond the duties of a butler. I'm pleased that guests on EXPLORA I are taking me into their confidence,” said a proud Karthik, who shares a cabin with his wife, who is a therapist at the Ocean Wellness Spa.

Call Panache Cruises on 0161 513 8200 if you want to learn more about Explora Journeys.

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