Tea With the Brits

cruise ship afternoon tea

afternoon tea on P&O Arcadia

Afternoon tea is much bigger in the UK than it is in America. We expected more of a crowd at the tea on the Arcadia the first time we went, but then again we went on the afternoon of the first formal night so perhaps more people come on other days – or they just find their afternoon snack at the buffet.

waiter serves afternoon tea

waiter with bread baskets serving random people at tea time

The tea cart we’re used to on American ships was absent. Instead, the table had a tray of sweets at either end and waiters came by serving tea sandwiches, tea breads, and scones. I keep hearing how wonderful clotted cream is, traditionally served with jam on the tea scones. The cream here had kind of a buttery texture and the English chap next to me said it was not proper clotted cream at all. Perhaps that doesn’t keep well enough to serve it on a ship. Especially one on a long cruise with just a few port stops.

jam for scones

different jelly flavors to choose from

They did have cute little jelly jars with different flavors of jelly though and whatever the cream substance was tasted fine with those. There’s no cows on the ship of course so fresh cream is not available. Not that I know whether or not that is an essential ingredient for clotted cream since I’ve never actually had any.

tea time

crumpet, egg salad tea sandwich, and scones

After getting scones, I noticed the other basket with the tea breads had crumpets in it. It’s been years since I had a crumpet so I had to have one of those too. It came out of the basket still warm.

pick a tea

tea menu

The waiters came around with little pots of tea which they filled the cups from. They didn’t leave the pots, but came by often and kept the cups full. They just had one kind, but there is a tea menu you can select other flavors from. If you pick one of the flavored teas then they leave you a little teapot.

English tea cakes

I neglected to take photos of tea cakes so I had to find one online

The next time we went to the P&O Arcadia’s afternoon tea I discovered tea cakes. They look something like a cross between rolls and American style biscuits. They are a bread rather than a cake, but so light and fluffy and excellent with the questionable cream substance and jam. After one taste I was hooked. Unfortunately I’ve never seen them anywhere else. Then again I’ve never been to England.

Lido deck tea

tea sandwich and other afternoon tea snacks on the Lido

Arcadia also offers tea-time fare in their afternoon snacks in the Belevedere buffet on the Lido deck. Which explains why the dining room wasn’t as crowded as we thought it would be – more people had their tea at the buffet. Tea time there is available for a longer time period and you can take what you want without waiting to be served. They also have some other afternoon snacks so you can supplement the tea sandwiches, tea cakes, and sweets with small hot food items like mini quiche.

English crumpet

crumpet and tea

If you want crumpets you have to go to the dining room though because they didn’t have those on the lido.

cruise ship afternoon tea

tea sweets in the dining room

Copyright My Cruise Stories 2017

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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