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Tea Time on Carnival Cruises: Carnival’s Free Afternoon Tea

Tea Time on Carnival Cruises: Carnival’s Free Afternoon Tea

Tea Time on Carnival Cruise Line takes place on sea day afternoons. Here’s everything you need to know about afternoon tea on Carnival.

On my Transatlantic sailing aboard Carnival Pride, I attended afternoon tea service on many of our sea days (we had nine sea days in total!), and it was always a fun way to break up the afternoon.

With all the food options on Carnival ships, you might think that adding yet another meal would be overkill. But after eating a Sea Day Brunch midmorning, I always felt a little hungry by the middle of the afternoon!

Especially if you have a late fixed dining time, Tea Time on Carnival is the perfect option to tide you over until dinner.

When and where is Tea Time on Carnival cruises?

Carnival holds their free afternoon tea every sea day afternoon from 3 PM to 4 PM. On most Carnival ships, Tea Time happens in one of the main dining rooms.

Once you’re on board, check the HUB app on your phone to verify the time and location on your ship. Although you might think that afternoon tea would be listed in the “What’s Happening” section on the app, it’s actually shown in the “Dining” tab.

The afternoon tea table setup on Carnival Pride in the Normandie Main Dining Room

Unlike most other meals served in the main dining rooms, you don’t need to make a reservation on the app to head over to afternoon tea. You also don’t need to get there right at 3 PM—though I’ve found that you get a much better table and selection of snacks if you show up right at the beginning.

The tea selection at Carnival’s afternoon tea

Once you’re seated, a server will bring you your own mini teapot with hot water, and another will come along with a selection of complimentary teas. On this cruise, I had the choice of Twinings Everyday and Green teas, along with Lipton decaf tea.

Each guest has their own mini teapot with hot water for Carnival’s afternoon tea

If you’re picky about your tea, Carnival also offers specialty teas at $2.50 per sachet. On this cruise, the offerings included English Breakfast, Egyptian Chamomile, French Lemon Ginger, White Coconut Crème, Earl Grey Crème, and Mint Green, all from Art of Tea.

You could also pack your own favorite teas from home to enjoy at tea time on the ship!

I drink my tea black, but I noticed there wasn’t any milk or lemon on the table—just a sugar dispenser. However, I overheard other tea drinkers asking the servers for lemon or milk without any issues.

Not a tea drinker? You can ask for free coffee or ice water instead to enjoy along with your snacks.

Related: Cunard Partners With Etiquette Expert Grant Harrold for the Ultimate Afternoon Tea Lesson

Food at Carnival’s free afternoon tea

Although the food at Carnival’s Tea Time is mainly of the sweeter variety, there are also some savory finger sandwiches, like salmon on toast and cucumber.

When the dining room staff asks if you’d like to try something, they generally default to giving you just one piece at a time. But you can absolutely ask for more!

By day two, the servers knew how much I enjoyed the salmon and would often give me three or four mini-sandwiches without having to ask!

My two fave finger sandwiches at Carnival’s tea time: Salmon on toast and cucumber

The same goes for the strawberries—they’ll give you one unless you ask for a few. Who can eat just one strawberry?

Waiters pass out fresh strawberries at tea time

If you have a sweet tooth, Carnival’s afternoon tea is the place for you. Each day they serve up a mouthwatering selection of cakes, pastries, and desserts for you to sample.

You can choose from frosted cakes, pound cake, scones with clotted cream, and lots of other tea-time specialties.

The scones and clotted cream at Carnival’s afternoon tea are delicious!

On the Carnival Pride, waitstaff came around with each individual selection on a platter. However, on some ships the servers use carts with a variety of items for you to choose from.

Raspberry cake at Carnival’s tea time

Once I realized that getting to afternoon tea a few minutes early is key, the dining room staff offered me an even more varied selection of treats, including mini apple crumbles and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate macarons. Trust me, if you get there late they’ll be gone!

Mini apple crumbles at tea on Carnival are a sweet treat!
Get to Carnival’s tea time early to snag some yummy macarons

Dress code for Tea Time on Carnival

There’s a lot of variation in how cruise lines do afternoon tea—for some, it’s a more formal affair with white-gloved waiters. Other lines just offer a selection of tea bags and sweets for a casual, DIY tea time.

Carnival’s tea service falls somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. That goes for the tea time dress code as well!

Just like at any meal served in the main dining room (except of course for formal nights), the dress code for tea is Cruise Casual.

On Carnival, this means:

  • Men: sports slacks, khakis, jeans, long dress shorts, and polo shirts
  • Women: summer dresses, casual skirts, pants, capris, dress shorts, jeans, blouses, and tops
  • Not permitted: cut-off jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, t-shirts, gym or basketball shorts, baseball hats, flip-flops, and swim attire

Note: Carnival occasionally tweaks its Cruise Casual dress code. You can check their current dress code here.

FAQ about Carnival’s afternoon tea

Is afternoon tea free on Carnival?

Carnival’s afternoon tea includes unlimited complimentary hot tea (regular or decaf), finger sandwiches, cakes, and pastries. Specialty teas are also available for a charge of $2.50 per tea bag.

When is tea time on Carnival cruises?

Tea Time is usually held each sea day from 3 PM until 4 PM. Check your HUB app on board for exact dates and times.

Where is tea time held on Carnival cruises?

Tea Time is usually held each sea day in one of the main dining rooms. Check your HUB app on board for exact locations.

Where can you find the time and location for afternoon tea on Carnival?

Tea Time on Carnival cruises is posted on the HUB app, accessible once you’re on board and connected to the ship’s free Wi-Fi. Afternoon tea times and locations are listed in the Dining section of the app.

Is there a dress code for afternoon tea on Carnival?

The dress code for afternoon tea on Carnival is Cruise Casual, meaning that cut-off jeans, men’s sleeveless shirts, t-shirts, gym or basketball shorts, baseball hats, flip-flops, and swim attire are prohibited.

More resources for your Carnival cruise

Have you tried Tea Time on Carnival? Did you enjoy the free afternoon tea? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Carrie Ann Karstunen