The main dining room is also the usual venue for afternoon tea on Eurodam. “On the smaller [HAL] ships, they often do the afternoon tea in another room, for example, the Explorer's Lounge. But our Explorers Lounge is so very small that even if we have low numbers, there is not enough seating in there. So we go pretty much every day to the dining room.”
“We have a few different teas.” On most days, the tea is an English style afternoon tea. “The people sit down and we come around with trays and serve them the tea and finger foods.”
But twice a voyage, Eurodam offers teas derived from other countries - - Indonesia and the Netherlands, to be specific. “We show a little bit about the cultures that we have aboard.”
The Indonesian tea ceremony is “in the Tamarind restaurant because the Tamarind restaurant is an Asian restaurant with Indonesian staff. Therefore, we let them do their own ceremony there. [it also allows] the guests experience the Tamarind restaurant.”
The other special tea is the Royal Dutch Tea. “The royal family in Holland has always been very much around the people. They have always been involved with the people. So in Holland, they love the Royal family.”
One tradition of the Dutch royal family is to hold teas. “The royal family invites just regular people. They don't need to be nobles or high position people or government; just regular people are invited to come to the palace and have tea with the queen. Group of about 200 to 300.”
“They would come in and there would be a beautiful buffet with all kinds of food there. They could take the food items that they like and sit down. The queen would be in there as well and people would sit down and have tea with the queen. That is the Royal Dutch Tea.”
Following this tradition, Eurodam lays out a vast array of sandwiches, cakes and sweets at the entrance to the Rembrandt dining room. Guests select what they like and then sit down at one of the tables in the dining room. All that is missing is the queen.
This model does occasionally cause confusion. I heard one guest complaining sadly that this was just a sign of cut backs as the guests had been served at the Holland America teas that she had been to in the past.
Along the same lines, Mr. Kuppens, who is from historic Dutch city of Nijmegen, confided that guests used to complain that the Royal Dutch Tea did not have such traditional British afternoon tea fare as scones. “In Holland, we do not have scones. There were Dutch things on the buffet. [But] they would say 'it is a royal tea' - - they sometimes forget the word Dutch is in there - - 'and so you should have scones.' That is why we have added that. You'll see the English bits and pieces as well.”
Whether it is the ship's standard afternoon tea or a special tea, they are meals in themselves because no one can say no to so many temptations. Nonetheless, they are quite enjoyable occasions.
Above: A tray of sandwiches from one of Eurodam's standard afternoon teas.
Below: Scones, scones, scones.
Above and below: The Royal Dutch Tea is a buffet.
Cruise ship dining guide - Eurodam - Holland America Line - page two