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The 5 Best Coffee Shops at Sea

Celebrity Cruises, Cafe Al Bacio
Café Al Bacio | Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises

Whether grabbing a quick latte en route to work or savoring an espresso at a charming street cafe in Italy, coffee remains a staple in many people's daily routine. In the United States, 67% of adults drink at least one cup of coffee per day, while globally, nearly 15% of the world's population enjoys a daily cup of joe. Unsurprisingly, within the cruise industry, having a high-quality coffee shop is an important onboard feature for many cruise guests.

Starbucks has partnered with many brands, offering their coffee onboard dozens of ships. Given the widespread popularity of Starbucks among millions of Americans, this option is consistently well-received. But which cruise lines go beyond Starbucks in creating a cozy spot onboard where guests can relax and enjoy expertly crafted cappuccinos, macchiatos, and americanos? At Harr Travel, we have seen 5 brands that have successfully curated the ideal coffee shop experience onboard.

But what are the elements that contribute to an exceptional cafe experience? Some may argue in favor of the quality of the coffee beans, the expertise of the baristas, the relaxing environment, or the delightful aromas. Others may emphasize the social interactions or the personalized service where baristas remember your daily order. The following 5 cruise brands have perfectly combined all these attributes to deliver an outstanding onboard coffee shop experience that guests have fallen in love with.

Arts Café | Photo Credit: Silversea

1.) Arts Café - Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises offers a luxury product, designed for elegant relaxation, and the Art's Cafe at the heart of the ship truly promotes that lifestyle. In the mornings, here guests can enjoy coffee alongside delicious pastries and fresh fruit. Afternoons you will find small sandwiches and individual charcuterie boards, as well as afternoon tea options promptly at 4 o'clock. Throughout the day you can stop by and grab a little sweet treat such as a cookie or slice of cake, which you can enjoy at any of the surrounding sitting areas, or even take back to you suite to enjoy on your veranda. The Arts Cafe is a very social setting, set in the bustling atrium, with lounging spaces where you can enjoy time with your fellow passengers are you sip you latte and watch the wold go by.

The Bistro | Photo Credit: Crystal Cruises

2.) The Bistro - Crystal Cruises

The Bistro on both Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are modeled after the famed cafes you see on the streets of Paris. Serving light bites and drinks from dawn to dusk, this is the spot to stop by with friends to enjoy your morning coffee, afternoon pick-me-up, or after dinner espresso. It is a casual space with an elegant feel, and this is where you can find delightfully authentic french pastries while the world-class baristas perfectly craft you a crema-topped latte to enjoy at a table with beautiful ocean views.

Café Al Bacio | Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises

3.) Café Al Bacio & Gelateria - Celebrity Cruises

Inspired by the cafes of Europe, Café Al Bacio offers your favorite Italian style coffees alongside a wide array of constantly changing pastries that are included. This venue is one of the most popular spaces in the entire fleet, and guests use is as a relaxation spot and social outlet. I addition to the delightful coffees and teas, there is an attached gelateria that is open all afternoon and into the late evening. Guests can stop by and enjoy an array of creamy gelato flavors, as well as gelato cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Holland America Line, Explorations Cafe
Explorations Café | Photo Credit: Holland America Line
4.) Explorations Café - Holland America Line

This multi-purpose space is a coffee shop, lounge, library, and game room all in one. At Explorations cafe you will find expertly crafted coffee drinks made from Holland America's exclusive Rotterdam 1873 blend. Relax at the table or the sitting areas and enjoy a good book from the library as you sip on a delicious latte or cappuccino. For a bit of fun there are many games to enjoy here as well- making this a very social space onboard. In addition to the exquisite coffee, there are light bites and pastries served throughout the day.

Virgin Voyages, The Grounds Club
The Grounds Club | Photo Credit: Virgin Voyages
5.) The Grounds Club - Virgin Voyages

Just like your favorite cafe back home, Virgin Voyages offers a delicious onboard coffee shop- the Grounds Club. The beans are Intelligentsia's direct trade coffee, and the highly-trained baristas can make a variety of different espresso-based drinks with dairy and non-dairy milks! This is the perfect stop for your morning coffee, or a mid-day pick-me-up when all you need is a creamy cup of joe in a relaxing atmosphere.

NCL, The Haven, the Haven Restaurant
The Haven Restaurant, Joy | Photo Credit: NCL
Honorable Mention: The Haven by Norwegian

While not technically a coffee shop, so it does not make the top 5 list, The Haven by Norwegian's breakfast has to be highlighted. If you are staying in a Haven suite onboard an NCL ship, you will have access to the Haven Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At breakfast you can request a French press be brought to your table- a huge perk, especially for the French Press coffee lovers out there!

Booking Your Cruise

Now that you are ready to book your cruise, reach out to the experts at Harr Travel. We know the ships inside and out, and have an amazing relationship with many of the cruise brands in the industry. Our advisors will help craft the cruise vacation of a lifetime for you, your friends, family, or group at an exceptional rate, and give you the Harr Travel signature service every step of the way.

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