High Tea is served in Horizons on Deck Ten at 4 p.m. every day and though I don't intend to eat that much on a regular basis, I went yesterday to this lounge ("dedicated to cocktails and conversation") to sample and compare with Raffles. Insignia wins hands down. Instead of a three-tier épergne holding an indifferent assortment of sandwiches (level one), dry cakes (level two) and dull pastries (level three), a three-tiered oblong oval table on wheels is driven to your table by a white-gloved waiter who delivers your choice with tongs on a small plate (either removed or stacked as you proceed). The choices are delightful, although there were no cucumber sandwiches ("not even for ready money"): finely minced watercress in a filling I couldn't identify. The scones, strawberry preserves and clotted cream were comparable, I mean, how can you go wrong with a classic Devonshire Cream tea? But after that...Let's begln with the tea, still not as good as leaf tea at home with a traditional tea strainer, but in Horizons, a choice was offered from a treasure box of tea bags (!). My companions in conversation (from New Zealand) and I chose Earl Grey and made it at table in individual teapots, supplied with pitchers of boiling water. At Raffles, we were given a "silver" pot pre-filled with tea, no leaf, no choice. I asked what it was and it was English Breakfast.
I didn't eat any more. One must be careful on a hedonistic cruise ship. But I examined what was on offer and questioned the waiter and my companions about the goodies. The strawberry tart had while raspberries instead of one strawberry cut into three slivers and the base was custard instead of strawberry pudding. The tart container in both places left something to be desired. The fruit cake was cut into generous slices instead of minuscule squares. There was a gluten-free something or other none of us wanted to pursue. Who wants gluten-free tea time? That's almost an oxymoron. The gentleman at our table tried a meringue- too large, I'm afraid, and sticky. In Canada one does not attempt to bake a meringue unless the humidity is low.
I was plunged into darkness I will return .