In Crystal Cruises®

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CRYSTAL SYMPHONY’S OPEN DINING EXPERIENCE

The anticipation surrounding Crystal Symphony’s grandest makeover in her history is definitely building. We can almost taste it. Which, let’s face it, is one of the best parts of a Crystal cruise – the delectable cuisine prepared by our expert culinary teams. As the dining experience aboard Crystal Symphony is enjoying a dramatic redesign at the moment, we’re looking forward to welcoming you to the proverbial table to indulge in the reimagined journey of flavors that awaits.

But it’s not only what will be served on board that is noteworthy emerging from this dry dock. The when and where are significant, too, as for the first time ever, Crystal debuts Open Seating in its all-inclusive, world-class restaurants. With the abundance of choices of eateries available to you throughout your days and evenings on board, we’re sharing some of the top things to keep in mind while planning your reservations (or lack thereof) for your voyage. We wouldn’t want you to miss one bite…

The entrance to the new Waterside restaurant aboard Crystal Symphony (photo courtesy of Paragon Pixels).

Here’s what you need to know:

“I LIKE TO DINE WHEN I WANT, WHERE I WANT, AND WITH WHOM I WANT.” Indulge with abandon.

Waterside – Formerly known as the Crystal Dining Room. Still the main spot for elegant dining with classic specialties and modern gastronomy, this Deck 5 restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and lunch service will continue in the same schedule previously offered, but for dinner, guests will dine at their leisure from 6 to 9:30 p.m.; no reservations will be accepted.

Marketplace – Formerly the Lido Café, this daytime venue serves up casual ambiance and buffet style breakfast and lunch specialties. Dine at your leisure, as no reservations are accepted.

Churrascaria – The evening transformation of Marketplace, Churrascaria turns up the flavor for dinner, serving tapas and ceviche, traditional Brazilian seafood and grilled meats, and offering tableside carving service. Dinnertime hours from 6 to 9 p.m. will not accept reservations, so indulge as you wish.

“I PREFER TO PLAN.” Reserve your table at these venues via Priority Check-in & Planning Center (PCPC)

Silk Kitchen & Bar – Moving in adjacent to the Trident Grill, Silk Kitchen & Bar prepares the comfort food of the Far East, serving Chinese specialties family style. Breakfast and lunch will offer self-service of traditional Chinese favorites – dumplings, dim sum, noodles, meat-filled crepes and soups. For the dinner hours between 6 and 9 p.m., cuisine is served family style, and reservations are required.

Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa aboard Crystal Symphony

Umi Uma & Sushi Bar – A fresh rebranding of Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant will continue to serve the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and will remain the only Nobu restaurants at sea. Reservations for specialty restaurants (including Prego) are always required.

Vintage Room – These intimate winemaker’s dinners accommodate just 12 guests around the elegant table, serving several curated courses that pair with wines selected by Crystal’s expert sommeliers. Reserve your seat at the table, or book the entire dinner for yourself and you 11 closest wine-loving travel mates.

“BUT WHAT ABOUT…”

Guests who wish to dine at the same table, with the same service staff each evening?

As part of the evolution of Crystal Symphony’s dining experience, the new Open Seating concept effectively eliminates Main and Late Seating, and Dining by Reservation, meaning that no standing table assignments exist. Guests are accommodated on a first come, first served basis, and guest table and service requests will be accommodated whenever possible.

Single guests who don’t wish to dine alone?

We will continue the tradition of offering dining company for our solo guests. An invitation will be sent to all single guests to dine with their fellow travelers at a preset time and restaurant.

Guests who prefer to dine in their staterooms?

Crystal’s 24-hour in-room dining will continue, featuring menus from Waterside for all guests, as well as menus from Umi Uma & Sushi Bar and Prego for Penthouse guests.

Guests who enjoy meeting new travelers over dinner, as it was done when the Maitre D’ assigned guests to tables for eight with other diners?

We will still offer the opportunity for couples and groups to join together at larger tables. Wait staff will identify tables for such occasions and invite interested parties at specific times to join these tables.

Guests who enjoy the Officers’ hosting program?

We will continue the tradition of offering tables in Waterside hosted by Crystal Symphony officers on two to three nights of the cruise, depending on the length of the itinerary. As in the past, assignment to hosted tables will not be permanent.

The countdown is on for the reveal of Crystal Symphony’s evolution! Book your voyage now and look forward to the posh new spaces that await you on board. And make your reservations (or don’t!) to enjoy the finest cuisine at sea. *Dining hours are subject to change.

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32 Comments

  1. Heather Hover
    10 months ago

    Sounds fabulous. Will you be providing this service with Crystal Serenity?

    Reply
    1. Crystal Cruises
      10 months ago

      Hi Heather, Crystal Serenity will undergo her dry dock redesign in fall of 2018, during which she’ll introduce the Open Seating concept.

      Reply
  2. Linda
    10 months ago

    We have been long time cruisers with Crystal. We are not happy about this ‘no reservation’ change. We love getting to know people by sitting at the same table most evenings. We find that if the people keep changing, the conversation never changes. It’s one more night of ‘is this your first Crystal Cruise?’ Where are you from. We have met and made friends from all over the world from assigned seating, friendships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. This change will directly affect our choice of cruise lines.

    Reply
    1. Rod McGregor
      10 months ago

      I totally agree with Linda.

      We have met some wonderful dining companions on a table of eight on many Crystal voyages where the atmosphere is very relaxing possibly to the fact that normal conversation has replaced the ‘introductions and initial fact finding’ on the initial meeting. This has been one of the many highlights of our Crystal sea voyages. We experienced the open seating on the Mozart and it was okay but in no way could it replace the enjoyment of a table of eight.

      The other question for Crystal is that we selected a table of eight when we made our booking almost a year before Crystal announced their open seating. Will our request be honoured ?

      Reply
    2. John leach
      10 months ago

      We agree absolutely, assigned seating was the thing that set Crystal apart from other luxury cruises. Sad.

      Reply
  3. Pete
    10 months ago

    I am taking my first Crystal Cruise after many on other lines. I am disappointed to learn that it is now open seating or nothing…..I still have 2 weeks until final pay…..I need to consider other options…..

    Reply
    1. John Leach
      10 months ago

      I still think Crystal are a fantastic cruise line (we have cruised with them over 50 times) but have found very few “regulars” in favor of the dining change. I think they have been swayed by a few vocal “young people” who want what they want when they want it without really knowing the net consequences. If you decide to go on Crystal I am sure you will enjoy it, just not quite as much…

      Reply
      1. Pete
        10 months ago

        I am going to stick with Crystal and give it a go. I am anxious to sample this line after years on HAL, Princess and X. I am expecting a significant step up in all areas. I am looking forward to my cruise in May 2018

        Reply
  4. Dr. Paul Thomas
    10 months ago

    With open seating in the main dining room, I feel that guests will lose that personal touch provided by the same wait staff who knows your specific tastes and likes. It seems that this open seating concept of sitting wherever a table is located will become a more generic experience. I imagine time will tell how this will pan out.

    Reply
  5. Roy Gurney
    10 months ago

    I concur totally with Linda’s comments. What happens to those of us who have a medical condition that requires medication and meals at a set time each day? Set Dining was perfect,now I am very apprehensive as to how this is going to impact on my health and enjoyment of our cruise from Rome to Port Louis as I am unable to eat at a different time each day without causing problems.
    Furthermore a table for two is paramount due to severe deafness.

    Reply
  6. Georgia Henry
    10 months ago

    I have sailed with Crystal since 1992. I am not in favor of this open seating plan as I travel on my own on occasion. Do not want to have to rush down to dining room at six to be able to get a table. Also like having the same wait staff each night as they get to know your likes and dislikes. Also if there is a singles table for us singles that sound a bit much. There are always more single women than men on the ship. I like to have some conversation with a male once in a while. I also feel that changing tables every night will cause some wait staff to get a bit lax in their service. Just like it happens at breakfast and lunch at times. I do not know who came up with this idea but it really does not appeal to me. Thank you for reading.

    Reply
  7. Liz Blunt
    10 months ago

    I agree with Linda’s comments above. Open seating means you don’t get to know the couples at your table, and conversations are superficial, at best. And, the “line-up” at 6 pm (our preferred dining time) will be horrendous. No thanks, Crystal, this is NOT for us.

    Reply
  8. June Duke
    10 months ago

    I have always felt Crystal offered the best experience. I hope you intend to make more two or three room suites on the ship in your renovation. It so, I would switch back to Crystal.

    Reply
  9. Steven White
    10 months ago

    I hate to anticipate or guess what the results will be, but I am apprehensive that the “open seating” plan will dramatically change the dining room experience and possibly not for the better. All of the comments so far regarding table mates, conversation and consistency of wait staff are germane. I can imagine the line forming at 4 PM to get seats at the windows, whereas with assigned seating it seemed a certain seniority system was in play – the more you cruised the better your table assignment became. All fine restaurants operate on a reservation basis. Shows will still occur on a schedule. How can one be seated for dinner at 6:30 or 7 PM and not be rushed through a fine meal to make the 8 PM show?

    Reply
  10. Carolyn Eckert
    10 months ago

    My husband and I love open seating. It is a major reason we have sailed on other ships over the last few years and not Crystal. We don’t enjoy sitting with just one group. It was awkward when one or more couples decided to eat elsewhere and the table was almost empty. We always ask to eat at a large table to meet other travelers and like to choose when we will eat. We have never had to wait long to get a table on other luxury lines. We always had to wait in line when we all are at fixed times. If you like a specific waiter you can always request to sit in his or her area. I hope others find they enjoy it as much as we do.

    Reply
    1. L. Nussbaum
      9 months ago

      Yes! I agree that Open Seating has many up sides! We have been on ships with this regime and never waited in lines, enjoyed both large tables or a table for two. If we wanted to be with new “friends” there was never a problem arranging a desired time or table. Crystal is the best on so many levels and we “younger” senior citizens look forward to new adventures with like-minded, pleasant, flexible, articulate, respectful and open co-passengers! Yeah, Crystal!

      Reply
  11. David Dell
    10 months ago

    I agree with Linda’s comments above. This is a real downer, and here I had reserved two cruises on Symphony. Why can’t Crystal carve out a portion of the dining room for fixed seating?

    Reply
  12. Agnes Dunphy
    10 months ago

    If a group of 6 or 8 friends arrive for dinner at the same time, how will they be accommodated?

    Reply
    1. Crystal Cruises
      10 months ago

      Agnes, tables for six and eight guests will still be offered, and parties will be accommodated together as they arrive.

      Reply
  13. Jane Rusch
    10 months ago

    I agree with the above comments from people who are NOT happy with the new open seating policy. I will not dine at restaurants on land that do not take reservations, and I do not look forward to having to wait in line for a table or spending a large part of every day trying to set up dinner plans with others (since I travel alone, I will have no other option).

    Reply
    1. Crystal Cruises
      10 months ago

      Jane, thank you for your feedback. Please note that, every night of the cruise, the table for solo travelers wishing to dine together will still be offered.

      Reply
      1. Pete
        10 months ago

        I can’t imagine that solo travelers only want to eat with other solo travelers. How is this going to work? Will table 32 be for solo travelers only at 7pm? Will all people who wish to join large tables be asked to come at a specific time? I would appreciate more details so I can set my expectations and plan accordingly.

        Reply
        1. John leach
          10 months ago

          Pete, we just got off Serenity after a 14 day cruise (great entertainment with a jazz theme) and speculation as to the changes to Symphony was “vigorous”. Management is saying don’t worry, the details will be worked out as things progress. I cannot believe Crystal will not try to make the majority of customers happy- I just think they have not surveyed the right people as to what we want. By the time you get on Symphony things will probably be better (we are on in January and are hoping for the best!)

          Reply
  14. M/M David Haley
    10 months ago

    We would like to add our names to those Crystal Society patrons who are displeased with the
    planned open seating proposal for main dining.
    While we are committed to Crystal for our next cruise, we will consider alternative options in future years.

    Reply
  15. Catherine White
    10 months ago

    I have experienced 29 wonderful cruises on all the Crystal ships going back to the Harmony days and one of the most enjoyable aspects of these trips was getting to know the dining staff–almost like a family reunion. With the new open seating model all this will be gone. I feel Crystal is losing some of its cachet. I’m very disappointed. I hope in time you will see the “error of your ways” and return to what works!

    Reply
  16. Rod McGregor
    10 months ago

    I totally agree with Linda and what the others have said.

    We have met some wonderful people on a table of eight on several Symphony voyages. It has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of our cruises with Crystal.

    We have experienced the open dining on the Mozart which was okay but it didn’t have the same ambiance as a table of eight. It was as Linda described the ‘is this your first Crystal Cruise?’ Where are you from’ routine every night.

    Will Crystal still be able to honour our request for a table of eight at early dining as we made and paid for our booking well before Crystal announced their ‘open dining’ ?

    Reply
  17. Drew & Tina
    10 months ago

    We’d like to echo some of the previous comments. We are disappointed in this change. On previous cruises, we’ve made lasting friendships with tablemates, the wait staff has gotten to know our likes and dislikes and it’s somewhat dynamic when some are at the specialty restaurants and we get to greet a new face. The change seems to foster anonymity and that eliminates one of the joys we’ve experienced on our Crystal Cruises.

    We would encourage you to consider offering the option to choose between Open Seating and seating at the same table with the same wait staff. It seems apparent from these posts that many would prefer the same table option.

    Reply
  18. Barry D. Connor
    10 months ago

    Yes most disappointed in open seating, have experienced it on other ships and me no like!

    Reply
  19. Janice and Jerome
    10 months ago

    We are booking our fifth Crystal cruise and are delighted they are going to open seating. All other luxury lines operate this way. I anticipate groups who want to dine together will still be able to do so. We dine alone or with others as we meet them during the cruise and prefer the flexibility of no reservations or traditional seatings. We are also pleased new dining options will enhance the dining experience onboard.

    Reply
  20. Dick Griffiths
    10 months ago

    Hopefully with the addition of two alternate dining venues the pressure will be off Waterside and open seating will work
    and the advantages will offset the disadvantages mentioned by others. There will undoubtedly be bugs that need to be worked out but lets give it a chance!

    Reply
    1. Sir Eric Dancer
      8 months ago

      I am delighted that Crystal has gone for open seating in the main restaurant. I certainly do not want to sit with the same people for dinner every night for the whole cruise nor do I want to eat in the same restaurant every night. There are always many interesting people to meet, that’s part of the enjoyment.
      Well done Crystal.

      Reply
  21. Gary Mason
    7 months ago

    I am also disappointed with the open seating concept. It was good to see the many concerns voiced here, which exactly matched my thoughts. I took my first Crystal cruise in 2005 BECAUSE of the assigned seating and also the formal nights. Didn’t the recent dual concept of assigned and open seating work well? It was the best of both worlds.

    I’ve cancelled my interest in the 2019 world cruise, since I need to know more before I commit to 85 days…..with all open seating! Just tell me the dinner time…..and I’ll be there…..with my new friends…at my assigned table….. (:>

    Reply

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