The Crystal Symphony dining options and cuisine are two of the main reasons why this cruise ship (and cruise line) are consistently ranked among the best in the world. I had read and heard from various sources about the high quality and diversity of the cuisine and dining venues on the Crystal Symphony, and I was delighted with every dining experience we had on the ship. The dining venues are as follows:
- Crystal Dining Room
- Prego Italian Restaurant
- Silk Road Asian Restaurant
- The Sushi Bar
- Lido Cafe
- The Bistro
- Trident Grill
- The Vintage Room
Passengers on the Crystal Symphony can also enjoy complimentary 24-hour room service at sea or in port, and meals are served with the same attention to detail and quality as in the dining room and other venues. During regular lunch and dinner hours, guests can have the same meal served in the Crystal Dining Room or select from the room service menu.
Crystal Symphony - Crystal Dining Room - Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony
The Crystal Dining Room is the main dining room on the Crystal Symphony. It features open seating for breakfast and lunch, and two seatings for dinner.
Normally, the first dinner seating on the Crystal Symphony is at 6:15, and the second is at 8:30. On our southeast Asia cruise, the ship was only about half full, so we had open seating time from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Most of the large tables got together and agreed on a set time to eat so they would be finished with dinner in time for the 9:30 show.
The Crystal Dining Room is one of the most elegant rooms at sea, with beautiful table settings and large windows. I loved the china patterns, and the ancient map motif and chef's plates were perfect for travelers. Tables are set for 2, 4, 6, or 8, and passengers can request the table size and seating time.
The menus in the Crystal Symphony Dining Room should suit anyone's taste. The left side of the menu always listed the following options:
- Chef's suggestions
- On the lighter side
- Vegetarian selections
- Low-carb choices
- Head sommelier's suggestions
The right side of the menu listed the standard menu -- appetizers, soup and salad, pasta special, salad entree, main fares, traditional main fares, and side orders. There was always an appetizing fish, beef, and chicken dish.
The dessert menu was a much anticipated delight, with
- interesting sweet concoctions
- ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, or
- the cheese trolley
An excellent selection of wine is available by the bottle or the glass, with most at reasonable prices.
Crystal Symphony Prego Italian Restaurant - Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony
Prego is the Italian specialty restaurant on the Crystal Symphony. Prego is available at no charge and by reservation only. It features classic Italian dishes served in an intimate setting.
Probably the most famous dish served in Prego is the creamy mushroom soup--full of several different types of Italian mushrooms served in an oregano bread bowl. Very yummy, and it lives up to its reputation. Anyone sailing on the Crystal Symphony has to try this dish, even those who don't normally like mushroom soup.
Crystal Symphony - Silk Road Asian Restaurant
Silk Road serves exquisite Asian cuisine designed by Nobu Matsuhisa.
Silk Road is the specialty Asian restaurant on the Crystal Symphony. It is open to guests at no extra charge on a reservations-only basis. Silk Road is a great complement to the Crystal Dining Room since reservations are available from 6:30 to 10:00 each evening. For example, if you have early seating for dinner, book a reservation at Silk Road on a night when you would like to eat later or vice versa.
Crystal's parent company is Japanese, so expectations for the cuisine in the Asian Silk Road restaurant are high. Adding to these high expectations are dishes from famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. I think the Silk Garden lives up to its reputation.
Crystal Symphony Sushi Bar - Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony
The Sushi Bar on the Crystal Symphony is located inside the Silk Road specialty restaurant.
Crystal Symphony Lido Cafe - Buffet Dining
The Lido Cafe offers buffet dining with a good selection of choices for breakfast and lunch.
The Lido deck buffet on the Crystal Symphony is much like that found on other cruise ships. Many passengers eat breakfast in the Lido deck buffet so they can get ashore quickly. We especially enjoyed dining outside on the aft deck behind the Lido Cafe when it was not too warm. There's just something about eating outside that makes the dining experience even more enjoyable!
When the weather is not perfect for dining al fresco, the Lido deck buffet's picture windows still provide a good backdrop for dining. The Crystal Symphony also offers a good buffet lunch in the Lido Cafe for those who didn't want to eat in the dining room or in one of the other casual options such as the Trident Grill.
Crystal Symphony Trident Grill Outdoor Cafe
The Trident Grill is poolside on deck 11 midship. It serves hot dogs, hamburgers, wrapped sandwiches, salads, and delicious gazpacho.
Crystal Symphony - Bistro Cafe - Crystal Cruises' Crystal Symphony
The Bistro overlooks the Crystal Plaza from deck 6. It offers late continental breakfast (9 am to 11 am) and snacks for lunch or a mid-afternoon break.
Crystal Symphony Vintage Room
The Crystal Symphony Vintage Room promotes wine appreciation and features dinners that pair gourmet foods with complementary wines. Sample Vintage Room Menu
The Vintage Room is an excellent dining option for those who want to learn more about pairing foods and wines. Guests may partake in a variety of wine "themed" dinners on any evening of their choice during the cruise. By special arrangement with the Crystal Symphony Head Sommelier, private parties of up to 12 can be arranged. The Executive Chef works with the Head Sommelier to match wines from the Symphony's Reserve Wine List with the perfect dishes to enhance this special dining experience. During the dinner, the Head Sommelier offers complete wine tasting notes.
Dinners in the Vintage Room carry an all-inclusive charge of $210 per person, which consists of the food, the reserve wines and gratuities.
Crystal Symphony - Viennese Tea Time in the Palm Court
Tea is served each afternoon in the beautiful Palm Court observation lounge. One tea time is a Viennese tea with all the staff in costumes.
The pastries, scones, sandwiches, and other food delicacies served at afternoon tea on the Crystal Symphony are delicious.