Afternoon Tea is, without a doubt, the consummate English experience - and Afternoon Tea at sea, aboard the historic British ocean liner Queen Mary 2, should be at the top of every tea lover’s to-do list.
Mr. Tea and I recently returned from a 10-day cruise to Spain and Portugal aboard Queen Mary 2. This was our first trip to the Iberian Peninsula, and our second cruise with Cunard, having previously sailed from America to the UK on their transatlantic voyage. We fell in love with Spain and Portugal (I’ll be blogging about Lisbon’s English tea connection later), but first I thought you might enjoy seeing the the Afternoon Tea experience on Queen Mary 2.
A bit of history: The Cunard Line was founded in 1839 by Samuel Cunard. The first Cunard ships carried transatlantic mail. In the dark days of war, troops were transported around the world on Cunard, and for a very special moment in time, immigrants rode the waves with Cunard on their way to a better life. (In 1914, my grandfather emigrated to America from Austria aboard a Cunard ship.) Cunard eventually became the name in prestige transatlantic passenger travel – Queen of the ocean liners.
Getting there is half the fun. – Cunard’s motto
I’m not sure how long Cunard have been serving Afternoon Tea aboard their passenger ships, but they certainly know how it’s done. And although they are now British-American owned, Cunard believes that retaining the Afternoon Tea tradition reinforces their British heritage.
Afternoon Tea is served at 3.30 every afternoon on Queen Mary 2, with the exception of embarkation day, and there are three location options: 1) Kings Court: a casual, buffet style tea; 2) Queen’s Grill Lounge: for passengers traveling in the suites; and 3) the Queen’s Room – which is where we enjoyed our teatimes.
The Queen’s Room is the largest ballroom at sea and can hold 562 people. It is formal, but comfortable and relaxing.
When everyone is seated, white gloved waiters emerge carrying pots of tea and silver platters with sandwiches, scones, and cakes. Bottomless cups of tea? Endless sandwiches, scones, and cakes? Bliss!
Wedgwood china on the table and Twinings tea in your cup further emphasize Cunard’s strong British ties. Speaking of Wedgwood, my mother-in-law purchased a Cunard teapot (below) for me as a surprise birthday present. (Yep, you can buy them onboard.) What a lovely memento of our trip and time together!
We had a wonderful holiday sailing with Cunard on Queen Mary 2, even if we did overdo it a bit with daily Afternoon Tea. But I suppose indulgence is what a holiday is all about – and what could be more indulgent than Tea with the Queen?
(See the Tea in England Facebook fan page for more Queen Mary 2 Afternoon Tea pictures)