If there’s one thing that a captain of a cruise ship owned by British line Cunard needs to know, it’s the etiquette of afternoon tea. That is precisely what the captain of the line’s iconic Queen Mary 2 learned about onboard his ship during the UK’s Afternoon Tea Week.

Afternoon Tea Week, the UK celebration of one of the nation’s best-known traditions, is an annual event held the second week of August. To mark the occasion in 2023, the UK’s top expert in all-things-afternoon-tea, Grant Harrold, was onboard Queen Mary 2 and offered his guidance to the ship’s captain.

The master class was recorded in a cheeky video, in which Harrold and Captain Aseem Hashmi compare notes on etiquette, service, and protocols attached to the formal presentation and enjoyment of afternoon tea. You can watch the video below:

Cruisers who have sailed on any of the Cunard ships will know that afternoon tea is a celebrated daily event, where formal white glove service lends a truly elegant atmosphere to dining on finger sandwiches, scones and other pastries, and, of course, a wide selection of teas, all served on the finest of china.

Harrold is at the top of his game when it comes to protocol. He was, after all, a member of the Royal household of Their Majesties King Charles III and the Queen Consort at Highgrove House in the Cotswolds for seven years. And he continues to advise royal households across the globe.

It was a real pleasure to join Captain Hashmi for Afternoon Tea, and as expected, he conducted himself like a true gentleman – he certainly doesn’t need my help. It was a pleasure to share my unique perspective on the British monarchy and its traditions with Cunard guests, especially on ships that boast Queen Elizabeth II, and the Queen Consort, as their godmothers,said Grant Harrold, UK etiquette expert.

Tea on Queen Mary 2 (Photo Credit: Cunard Line)

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As the Cunard captain finds out, there are proper ways to stir tea, and an official order for eating the delicacies that are served with it. Harrold also advises on what not to do when serving afternoon tea.

The Queen Mary 2 cruise was not Harrold’s first onboard a Cunard ship. Earlier this year he joined guests sailing on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, regaling them with tales working for the royal families. His lectures, titled The Life of The Royal Butler, provided insights into the British royal family.

Harrold’s presence on the various Cunard ships enhances the line’s reputation for luxury and glamour, and comes as the line, which is a Carnival Corporation brand, is preparing for the delivery and launch of its newest ship, Queen Anne.

Queen Anne Cruise Ship (Image Courtesy: Cunard Line)

Due to enter service in May 2024, the 3,000-guest ship is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy. The Pinnacle-class vessel will homeport mostly in Southampton, UK, with several cruises scheduled to depart from Hamburg and Kiel, Germany, and Rome, Italy.

Grant Harrold’s sailings aboard Cunard ships and his lectures were part of Cunard’s Insight Speaker series, one of many special events that are featured programs on the line’s vessels. The line recently announced several new onboard events and themes for 2024.

On Queen Mary 2, an 8-night eastbound transatlantic from New York to Southampton on June 15, 2024, will offer a “London Theatre at Sea” musical theme. Guests on the sailing can participate in acting workshops, lectures, and performances.

Another special event cruise, aboard Queen Elizabeth as she sails roundtrip from Melbourne, Australia, in January 2024, is touted as the “Great Australian Culinary Voyage.” The 7-night voyage will feature Chef Karen Martini, and departs on January 5.

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