Crystal Symphony Dining

5.0 / 5.0
6 reviews
Cuisine in Waterside main dining room on Crystal Symphony (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Casual bites can be found at Taste aboard Crystal Symphony (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
The Waterside Restaurant, on Deck 5, is Crystal Symphony's main dining room (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
Osteria d'Ovidio is Crystal Symphony's new Italian restaurant (Photo: Aaron Saunders)
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Editor Rating
Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

Dining aboard Crystal Symphony is a real treat. For a ship that carries just over 600 passengers, there are more dining options than you might expect, each representing a sumptuous array of cuisines from around the globe.

Specialty restaurants aboard Crystal Symphony typically do not carry a surcharge, except for the ultra-exclusive Vintage Room. Reservations for specialty dining venues are required, however, and are limited per voyage. Typically, passengers get two free reservations at either Umi Uma or Osteria d'Ovidio (or both), and additional reservations can be had at a surcharge of $50 per person.

However, the food at Crystal's complimentary venues is certainly good enough that you'll never feel forced into trying one of the specialty restaurants -- though we do heartily recommend it as part of the full Crystal Cruises experience. And, if money is no object, we hear The Vintage Room, with its chef-led degustation dining, is well worth the extra cost.

Free Restaurants on Crystal Symphony

Waterside Restaurant (Deck 5): Crystal Symphony's main dining room serves up breakfast and dinner daily and is open for lunch on sea days. Spanning the entire width of the ship on Deck 5, it features a menu of Crystal favorites along with a selection of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desserts that changes nightly. Of note: the fabulous cheese menu available for dessert is not to be missed.

Umi Uma Restaurant and Sushi Bar by Nobu Matsuhisa (Deck 6, Reservations Required): Crystal's partnership with acclaimed Japanese chef Nobuyki (Nobu) Matsuhisa continues aboard Crystal Symphony, where a sumptuous menu of sushi and sashimi is accented by a wide array of menu selections like Rock Shrimp Tempura, Spicy Seafood Soup, Grilled Australian "Waygu" Beef Fillet, and Nobu's signature Black Cod. Bring your appetite; dinner here is a veritable feast of Japanese fusion cuisine.

Osteria d'Ovidio (Deck 6, Reservations Required): Osteria d'Ovidio replaces the former Prego Italian restaurant that used to take up this space aboard Crystal Symphony. Where the latter used to offer more Americanized Italian comfort food, Osteria d'Ovidio is designed to offer authentic Italian dishes in an elegant setting, like Risotto Agli Scampi, Tortello di Stracotto di Manzo, and classic Minestrone. What really sets this restaurant apart, however: separate menus are available for vegan and vegetarian guests that don't skimp on the Italian deliciousness.

The Bistro (Deck 6): The place to go for casual, light breakfasts and lunches, The Bistro benefitted from a complete makeover under the new Crystal management, emerging as an elegant space for lighter fare and a wide array of coffees by Julius Meinl, teas, juices and wines by the glass. Currently, The Bistro is open from early morning until 6 p.m.

Trident Grill (Deck 11): Crystal Symphony's upscale pool grill offers a menu of burgers, sandwiches and wraps, along with a daily special, in a sheltered location just off the pool deck.

Tastes Kitchen and Bar (Deck 11): Open for lunch and dinner, Tastes Kitchen and Bar offers up globally-inspired cuisine and small portions that make meals here perfect for sharing. From fresh-made pizzas to quesadillas and salads, this is the place to go for casual fare that won't be heavy on your waist.

Marketplace Buffet (Deck 11): Calling Marketplace a buffet is a bit of a misnomer: while it's true that you serve yourself buffet-style, the quality of the cuisine here is far better than your standard cruise ship buffet. Breakfasts have everything from Chinese-style congee to European cold cuts and cheeses to American-style eggs, bacon and hashbrowns. Lunches see equally varied fare, from seafood and meats to lighter sandwiches and stir-fry creations. And, when conditions allow, sitting outside on the open deck overlooking the stern is a must.

Scoops Ice Cream (Deck 11): Despite its rather bland name, Scoops offers up fabulous Italian-style Gelatos, sorbets and even soft-serve ice cream, all with your selection of toppings.

Room Service: Available free of charge, 24 hours a day, room service on Crystal Symphony comes with great flourish, as trays are delivered by butlers with full silverware and tablecloth setups. Passengers staying in Crystal Penthouse suites or higher can also order off the ship's specialty restaurant menus for in-suite delivery. An optional caviar menu is available, though this carries an additional cost.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Crystal Symphony?

The Vintage Room (Deck 6): Crystal Symphony's ultra-exclusive degustation dining experience is available for just 12 people at least once per cruise, and offers guided dinners paired with vintages from the ship's extensive cellar. An advanced insight into wine and cuisine, dinner here starts at $220 per person and rises to an eye-popping $1,100 per person for a celebrity chef-led meal.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Crystal Symphony

We're going to buck the trend here and go with the Waterside Main Dining Room, which consistently offered amazing food and service on our short Eastern Mediterranean voyage. While all restaurants aboard Crystal Symphony are delicious, Waterside impressed thanks to its menu of ever-changing specialties, warm atmosphere and row after row of picture windows and ocean views.

Dietary Restrictions on Crystal Symphony

Guests with special diets will find their needs catered to aboard Crystal Symphony. Vegetarian and vegan selections are available in most restaurants, and allergies are treated with great seriousness. Those with special dietary concerns should still inform the maitre'd and inform their servers, most of whom prompted us for allergies before we even ordered.

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