Cost – Included in the price of the cruise (April 2014)
Background – Queen Victoria is my favourite cruise ship. She is so elegant inside and out. The ship is one of the three ships owned by the Cunard line.
Afternoon tea is a Cunard institution. It happens on all of their ships, everyday at three in the afternoon in the elegant Queens Room.
The tables are all laid with tablecloths, linen napkins and white china with the Cunard logo on. At three o’clock precisely the waiters all appear wearing white gloves. They carry trays loaded with either sandwiches, cakes or scones or with a teapot. The waiters move constantly around the tables, refilling teacups or serving food, whilst music is being provided by either a pianist, harpist or string quartet.
What could be nicer than having an elegant Afternoon Tea served to you whilst the sea passes by outside?
Contents – Your choice from around 6 different fillings of finger sandwiches, which vary from day to day (commonly cucumber, tomato, ham and cheese, tuna, egg, coronation chicken, beef and mustard, fish). Your choice from around 8 different cakes and pastries, which again vary from day to day (typically mini fruit flan, strawberry flan, pineapple upside down cake, apricot cake, chocolate cake, chocolate Swiss roll, Battenberg cake, lemon cake, etc.). A fruit scone with a very small amount of strawberry jam and whipped cream. A constant supply of tea from a china teapot with UHT milk from a jug on the table.
Comments – The first trays to come out are the sandwiches. The waiter asks you to choose which type you want. You can have as many or as few as you want and you can ask for more later as required. The sandwiches are usually quite thinly filled but are all freshly made. Crusts are all removed.
Secondly, the cake trays are brought around. Again, the amount and variety is up to your personal choice. There is usually a good variety to choose from.
Finally the scones are brought out. They can be fruit or plain but usually only one variety is available at a time. The waiter also serves you with a small china pot containing a slug of strawberry jam and a slug of whipped cream. There is never enough of either but I have never tried asking for a second pot. I am fairly sure it would be provided if requested.
Waiters constantly re-fill your tea cup from teapots which they carry. Tea is usually piping hot and not stewed but the milk has a slight taint from being UHT. The waiters will also top up your cup if it is half empty. I don’t actually like this and ask for refills only when my cup is emptied.