The 8 Best Afternoon Teas at Sea

by Kayla Becker

The 8 Best Afternoon Teas at Sea

by Kayla Becker

Whether you’re in it for the social hour or the warm buttery scones (guilty as charged!), there’s nothing like an afternoon tea as you sail toward your next port. We tracked down the best teas at sea, where it’s all about the fine china, the ambience, or the tasty finger food. So, whether you reach for Earl Grey or Darjeeling, these eight afternoon tea services on cruise ships will be just your cuppa.

8
Cunard's afternoon tea service / Cunard
Teatime on Queen Victoria
1 of 8
1. Cunard

No one does tea like the Brits, and these traditional English ocean liners pull out all the stops. A parade of white-gloved butlers circulate the ballroom with a special mix of Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan — crafted specifically for Cunard by Twinings — while a live string quartet or harpist plays in the background. The fresh warm scones, topped off by airy clotted cream and jam from Essex, are something to write home about. Before you’ve finished your first cucumber sandwich, the white-gloved butlers will return to fill your bottomless cup.

The Details: Passengers start lining up outside of the Queen’s Room long before the popular event starts at 3:00 p.m. each day. The tea is complimentary, but you can also pay $26.50 for a Veuve Cliquot Champagne tea in a more intimate setting.

No one does tea like the Brits, and these traditional English ocean liners pull out all the stops. A parade of white-gloved butlers circulate the ballroom with a special mix of Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan — crafted specifically for Cunard by Twinings — while a live string quartet or harpist plays in the background. The fresh warm scones, topped off by airy clotted cream and jam from Essex, are something to write home about. Before you’ve finished your first cucumber sandwich, the white-gloved butlers will return to fill your bottomless cup.

The Details: Passengers start lining up outside of the Queen’s Room long before the popular event starts at 3:00 p.m. each day. The tea is complimentary, but you can also pay $26.50 for a Veuve Cliquot Champagne tea in a more intimate setting.

Tea and pastries
2 of 8
2. Holland America Line

In addition to a daily service, this sophisticated line hosts an Indonesian Afternoon Tea that includes a selection of tropical bites from the region.You can sample mango fritters and coconut rice crepes — all served by staff members who are decked out in traditional batik and headdresses.

The Details: The complimentary Indonesian tea is usually scheduled once per seven- to 10-day cruise.

In addition to a daily service, this sophisticated line hosts an Indonesian Afternoon Tea that includes a selection of tropical bites from the region.You can sample mango fritters and coconut rice crepes — all served by staff members who are decked out in traditional batik and headdresses.

The Details: The complimentary Indonesian tea is usually scheduled once per seven- to 10-day cruise.

Royal Tea
3 of 8
3. Disney Cruise Line

Just 40 people get to participate in the line’s kid-centric Royal Tea, an elaborate event designed with a dramatic flair. Children are announced and crowned as they enter the Royal Court dining room and are seated by court guards. Throughout the tea, Disney princesses tour the room and the little ones are served apple juice and cupcakes.

The Details: The cost is a whopping $210 per child and $69 per adult, but the kids get an autograph book, a doll, tiara, and — most importantly — one on one time with the princesses. Spaces go quickly, so book in advance online.

Just 40 people get to participate in the line’s kid-centric Royal Tea, an elaborate event designed with a dramatic flair. Children are announced and crowned as they enter the Royal Court dining room and are seated by court guards. Throughout the tea, Disney princesses tour the room and the little ones are served apple juice and cupcakes.

The Details: The cost is a whopping $210 per child and $69 per adult, but the kids get an autograph book, a doll, tiara, and — most importantly — one on one time with the princesses. Spaces go quickly, so book in advance online.

Finger food
4 of 8
4. Crystal Cruises

It’s no surprise the afternoon tea is decadent on a cruise line that’s known for its luxurious touches but we especially like the Mozart Tea and the Chocolate Tea. During the Mozart Tea, 18th-century Viennese music fills the room and Austrian pastries are served by butlers dressed in velvet and brocade. The Chocolate Tea includes an array of sinful cocoa-laden desserts, including ganaches, ice cream, chocolate crème brulée, éclairs, and fudge cake.

The Details: Teatime takes place on all Crystal ships in Palm Court each day at 3:30pm and is complimentary, and these themed afternoon teas take place at least once per sailing.

It’s no surprise the afternoon tea is decadent on a cruise line that’s known for its luxurious touches but we especially like the Mozart Tea and the Chocolate Tea. During the Mozart Tea, 18th-century Viennese music fills the room and Austrian pastries are served by butlers dressed in velvet and brocade. The Chocolate Tea includes an array of sinful cocoa-laden desserts, including ganaches, ice cream, chocolate crème brulée, éclairs, and fudge cake.

The Details: Teatime takes place on all Crystal ships in Palm Court each day at 3:30pm and is complimentary, and these themed afternoon teas take place at least once per sailing.

Seven Seas Explorer's Culinary Arts Kitchen
5 of 8
5. Regent Seven Seas

Sure, this luxury line has a great afternoon tea, but we're especially taken with the Downton Abbey Tea Class on Seven Seas Explorer. Held in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, it’s a hands-on cooking class inspired by the hit PBS show. You'll learn how to make both savory and sweet teatime treats, how to brew a proper cup of tea, and master the recipe for English scones.

The Details: Afternoon tea is complimentary, and the Downton Abbey tea class costs $89 per person.

Sure, this luxury line has a great afternoon tea, but we're especially taken with the Downton Abbey Tea Class on Seven Seas Explorer. Held in the Culinary Arts Kitchen, it’s a hands-on cooking class inspired by the hit PBS show. You'll learn how to make both savory and sweet teatime treats, how to brew a proper cup of tea, and master the recipe for English scones.

The Details: Afternoon tea is complimentary, and the Downton Abbey tea class costs $89 per person.

Wintergarden
6 of 8
6. Viking Ocean Cruises

The setting of this line’s afternoon tea service, Wintergarden, is half the charm of the event. The airy, bright space, which is filled with Scandinavian furniture, is a serene atmosphere to snack on scones, pastries and crustless sandwiches, and to sip hand-selected tea.

The Details: Teatime takes place daily and is complimentary.

The setting of this line’s afternoon tea service, Wintergarden, is half the charm of the event. The airy, bright space, which is filled with Scandinavian furniture, is a serene atmosphere to snack on scones, pastries and crustless sandwiches, and to sip hand-selected tea.

The Details: Teatime takes place daily and is complimentary.

Silver Spirit's Panorama Lounge
7 of 8
7. Silversea

The best thing about teatime on this luxury line? You can order a full tea service right to your suite. Or, if you prefer a more traditional social hour, there’s a daily teatime with live piano music and the usual tiered tray of treats. The line offers 12 teas to choose from, including greens, blacks, oolongs, and whites from the Frankfurt-based tea company Ronnefeldt.

The Details: The complimentary teatime takes place at 4 p.m. in Panorama Lounge on most ships.

The best thing about teatime on this luxury line? You can order a full tea service right to your suite. Or, if you prefer a more traditional social hour, there’s a daily teatime with live piano music and the usual tiered tray of treats. The line offers 12 teas to choose from, including greens, blacks, oolongs, and whites from the Frankfurt-based tea company Ronnefeldt.

The Details: The complimentary teatime takes place at 4 p.m. in Panorama Lounge on most ships.

Teatime at Horizons
8 of 8
8. Oceania

These traditional ships, with their dark woods and elaborate furnishings and carpets, look as if they’re made for teatime in 19th-century England. A string quartet plays soft classical tunes as white-gloved staff members circulate Horizons with four-tiered pastry towers, filled with all sorts of teatime favorites, including finger sandwiches, petit fours, and scones with clotted cream.

The Details: The event takes place every day at 4 p.m. in Horizons lounge.

These traditional ships, with their dark woods and elaborate furnishings and carpets, look as if they’re made for teatime in 19th-century England. A string quartet plays soft classical tunes as white-gloved staff members circulate Horizons with four-tiered pastry towers, filled with all sorts of teatime favorites, including finger sandwiches, petit fours, and scones with clotted cream.

The Details: The event takes place every day at 4 p.m. in Horizons lounge.

Up next...

10 Best Ports for Fun Fall Activities

Koblenz, Germany
Go Back
Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices