Afternoon Tea Ma’am?

All-inclusive cruises

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered this grand old British tradition of afternoon tea. A friend of mine had been pestering me to experience it for months, so to shut her up I did. I went to a local hotel, sat down not really expecting much and patiently waited until a waitress brought over a tiered cake-stand full to the brim with sandwiches, scones, patisseries, cookies, strawberries and cream.  Not to mention an incredible selection of teas and coffees that comes with it. It was safe to say after such an indulgent experience, I was hooked and I have been kicking myself ever since that I didn’t listen to my friend sooner.

Take a cruise aboard a modern liner today and you’ll almost certainly find a great selection of afternoon tea delights to enjoy. And the best thing about being on a cruise ship is you can pop along every day and indulge till your heart’s content. From Celebrity and Crystal to Cunard and Disney, here’s a look at the afternoon tea options you can expect on-board a cruise ship…

Afternoon tea began in 1840’s when the Duchess of Bedford Anna Russell couldn’t possibly wait until 8pm for dinnertime so she requested that she had a cup of tea and a cake at 4pm, and there was born the afternoon tea tradition.

Celebrity Cruises

You can expect the best of the best when it comes to afternoon tea on-board the Celebrity fleet. The main restaurant is the place to go and help yourself daily to a spot of tea and cakes, or you can treat yourself to a $25 Champagne High Tea in one of the speciality restaurants. You’ll find the tables lavished with the finest linens, Wedgewood china and Riedel crystal. Sit back and relax as in the Celebrity afternoon tea establishments you’ll be able to enjoy listening to the sounds of the string quartet. Expect a selection of premium champagnes, teas and coffees, a great mixture of sandwiches, patisseries, scones, truffles and fruits.


Of course Cunard make the list. They embody everything needed to be traditionally British. The tea session are held each day unless its embarkation day. Guests will be able to find afternoon tea served in a whole range of venues including the ballroom and the Grill lounges. There is a great variation of teas on offer including mint, jasmine and orange pekoe, plus you’ll be able to enjoy salmon cream cheese, roast beef or shrimp salad sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, black forest cake and éclairs! And the best thing about afternoon tea with this cruise line is that it is completely complimentary.

Oceania Cruises

This is a cruise line that knows how to put on a spread. You’ll be able to find it every day without fail at 4pm in the venue of Horizons. The menu is constantly evolving but you can enjoy finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, an array of teas and coffees and even champagne, all included in the price of your original cruise fare. There will be a string quartet playing in Horizons and you’ll be able to watch the ever changing scenery outside as the floor-to-ceiling windows help you do just that.

Holland America Line

On this cruise line guests will be able to find that they in fact offer three different tea events to choose from – Royal Dutch Tea, Indonesian Tea and Cupcake Tea. If you are looking for traditional afternoon tea then Royal Dutch Tea is the one for you. You will be served finger sandwiches, pastries and desserts, all in a buffet-style service. Indonesian Tea is a little bit more exotic with Indonesian green, black and jasmine teas up for offer and the waiters dress in traditional outfits with regional Indonesian music playing in the background. Alternatively you could opt for the more light-hearted cupcake version in which you will be able to choose from 10 different flavours of cupcakes, chocolate and strawberry milkshakes and teas and coffees. Each of the afternoon tea offerings on Holland America is complimentary and children will love the cupcake one!

P&O Cruises

This is another fantastic British cruise line so it comes as no surprise that they serve up an excellent afternoon tea offering. The main dining room is the place to find it, served daily at 4pm.  Guests will be able to indulge in finger sandwiches of all flavours, traditional homemade British cakes, biscuits and fruits, scones with jam, toasted tea cakes and tasty English crumpets smothered in butter. The tea that you can choose from including Twinings, Earl Grey, English breakfast, Assam, Darjeeling and Lapsang Souchong. The afternoon tea is complimentary and this includes champagne, prosecco and Pimm’s.

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Jenni Fielding
Jenni has been working in the travel industry for over 10 years. She fell in love with cruising on her first-ever cruise, a Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas, during her honeymoon in 2013. Nowadays, Jenni enjoys cruising with her husband and two young children. Her favourite ships are family-friendly megaships which are packed with exciting facilities. She loves sea days and had been known to skip port visits to spend more time on the ship!

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