Crystal takes its dining approach from its ocean and river vessels and makes it work beautifully on Crystal Endeavor. Food is creative, with excellent options no matter where you choose to dine. You'll never get bored, and you won't get repeats, either. There's no doubt: Dining is a highlight on Crystal Endeavor.
The approach is a far-cry from other, more traditional expedition ships, where your choices are limited to just a couple of meal options. Luxury expedition has introduced restaurant variety into the expedition cruise game, a great option especially for foodies or those who have specific dietary requirements.
The closest Crystal Endeavor has to a main dining room is Waterside, which is the largest restaurant onboard. It's open for breakfast lunch and dinner, offering multicourse options no matter the time of day. Marketplace, in the ship's Solarium, is the buffet option, open for breakfast and lunch only. Other casual options include Bistro, a grab-and-go spot where you can get hearty snacks, or The Pantry, which is really a self-serve coffee and tea station located in the Library. Room service is offered 24/7.
No matter the restaurant, waitstaff will make suggestions based on your tastes, pointing out favorites, specialties and can't-miss dishes.
Virtually all dining preferences can be accommodated, though it's wise to visit with the maitre d on your first day to make sure they've noted allergies and requirements.
Tip: Guests can eat at any restaurant as many times as they wish, including Umi Uma and Prego. This is different than the cruise line's approach on other ships, where one visit is included, but multiple visits come with a cover charge. We enjoyed the extensive menu at Umi Uma and wanted to dine there again and again. Also on our sailing, several guests created what they called "progressive dining," eating a sushi appetizer at Umi Uma every night before heading to Prego or Waterside for dinner.
You want variety
Waterside is the place to go if you want choice. The restaurant has several options for starters, from soup to salad and hot appetizers, as well as several entrees from which to choose. These change each day.
Tip: Crystal encourages guests to get to know their dedicated expedition guides, so it's permissible -- and encouraged -- to invite a guide to join you for dinner.
Let someone else decide
If you love a big menu that includes Japanese delicacies as well as a boatload of sushi, Umi Uma is your spot. We visited several times and asked our server to guide us through the menu, which she did beautifully, picking highlights from the menu, creating a sushi platter for us and giving us a little taste of virtually everything.
Tip: It's tempting to stick with the sushi and sashimi dishes, but the Wagyu beef filet is not to be missed.
Visit Marketplace, where even the a la minute items come quickly. Everything is hot and fresh there, and options change a bit from day to day, so it's great for a fast bite between shore excursions.
You want to go all out
The only restaurant you'll pay extra for is The Vintage Room, which isn't really a restaurant at all but more a dining experience, which takes place in Prego on select nights during your cruise. The Vintage Room is a multicourse wine-pairing dinner that includes premium wines and perfectly portioned courses that will have you enjoying a long dinner with new friends.