As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.
Where Can I Get a Good Cup of Coffee on a Cruise Ship?
Starting with coffee, you will never be too far away from your daily buzz of caffeine on a cruise ship. When you are dining at one of the restaurants aboard your ship, you can simply request a coffee.
In the buffet, you will have access to self-serve coffee, though what kind you get varies between cruise companies; for example, Carnival offers self-serve coffee machines (think push-button, automatic machines), whereas Royal Caribbean will simply have big, steaming tanks of brewed coffee available. (Watch out for the brewed coffee if you aren't used to it—it can have a bit of a kick.)
I usually try to figure out where the tea and hot chocolate options are as well. These are usually pretty easy to find. A lot of cruise ships have coffee bars or cafes where you can avail yourself of a freshly made coffee of your choice. My personal favourite is an iced coffee on a hot day.
Do I Have to Pay for a Tea or Coffee on the Ship?
It depends. All ships offer basic coffee and tea (and even hot chocolate packets) as part of your cruise ship fare. But as a rule, you will have to pay for the fancier stuff, other than the automatic coffee machines that you see on the likes of Carnival cruise ships.
Posh tea and coffee—including espressos and cappuccinos, etc. that are made individually—will attract a fee, but that fee is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. Higher-end cruise lines are the best of them all when it comes to coffee and tea, because they tend to offer all of their coffees and teas for free (i.e. they're included in the cost of your passage).
Some cruise companies will offer drink packages or pre-cruise purchase options, so it pays to keep an eye out for those options, as you might be able to get a bit of a discount if you can't live without coffee. (I know I can't!)
Can I Get a Latte or Something Fancy?
Yep! You will find all kinds of coffee drink options at the dedicated coffee bars (like in the serenity bar area on Carnival Spirit) or the cafe on board. Usually, these cafes are not too far away from the main traffic areas on board.
The most popular versions of coffee drinks are usually available, like espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. They can usually whip up a really yummy iced coffee, iced chocolate or milkshake too. They are so good!
Note: If you decide to go for a splash of alcohol, just be aware that some of the boozy coffee drinks can be quite sweet as they tend to use a coffee syrup to get extra bang for their buck.
Can I Bring My Own Coffee or Tea on a Cruise?
You are certainly welcome to bring your own tea and instant or pre-ground coffee. Just be sure that you can use them without employing electricity, as you cannot bring any electrical appliances like coffee machines or kettles on board; they are banned by cruise lines due to fire safety concerns.
Also keep in mind that once open, some things will need to be used up prior to you leaving the ship on the last day, as they are unlikely to be allowed back through customs. I tend to leave stuff like that for my stateroom steward (especially if unopened), as it can save them a lot of hassle having to get off the ship to purchase those kinds of things.
Will There Be Tea and Coffee Facilities in My Cabin?
From my experience, a lot of cruise ships don't offer tea- and coffee-making facilities in your stateroom, especially ones catering to Australian and American clients.
UK-based cruise lines, on the other hand, do tend to offer that option (at least from what I've seen). Certain high-end suites on non-UK liners might offer facilities for you to make a brew, but these kind of upgraded options are relatively new.
Where Can I Find Tea on a Cruise Ship?
If you are after tea (including chai lattes) the cafe and coffee bars are your best option, as buffet options are usually just limited to Lipton tea bags, etc. Basic coffee drinks and teas can be ordered from bars and restaurants and general waiters.
Is There a Good Tea Selection on Board?
Most cruise ships serve basic tea (e.g. Lipton tea or something similar) in the restaurants and buffet. There is usually a choice of black, green and herbal teas.
Luxury cruise lines and onboard cafes often have the best types of tea on the ships, but you will be paying for it. I often get the peppermint tea from the Carnival Spirit Cafe, as it is very tasty and enjoyable to sip on whilst watching the passengers walk by.
It is worth noting that your usual favourites may not be available, so if you like a particular kind, you might have to bring it on board yourself; just make sure to check that it is allowed. That kind of thing is usually fine as long as the product is in a properly sealed packet.
Do Cruise Ships Serve High Tea on the Seas?
Yes, most cruise ships will offer a tea service with your usual pastries and sandwiches. They vary from those that you find at the buffet in the sweets section to the more special experiences where you are served by a waiter and get the full high-tea experience.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Paddy Michelson
Nella DiCarlo from Guelph, Ontario on January 29, 2020:
Great tips for coffee lovers like me!
Liz Westwood from UK on January 12, 2020:
I laughed when I read about tea and coffee being provided in cabins on UK based cruises. The Brits are known for our love of tea. This extends to provisions in hotel rooms too.