Fine cuisine is a very important part of the Crystal Cruises experience

Menu from sushi bar
Menu from sushi bar

ABOARD THE CRYSTAL SERENITY – No question about it, food … rather, make that “cuisine” … is a very important part of the Crystal Cruises experience and a major reason that people choose this cruise line and usually become loyal passengers.

During my earlier Crystal Cruises, dating back 15 and 20 years, there really were only two options: The main dining room and the Lido. However, even then Crystal was known for fine dining.

They have only improved over the years and today, although the ships are considered “small, ” there are plenty of options and the food is universally good.

One item I love: They offer fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices at breakfast!

Here is what Crystal now offers on its two ships, the Serenity and the Symphony:

Our waiter Marcin, from Poland
Our waiter, Marcin from Poland, was excellent

The main dining room: There are still two set seatings, one at 6 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. and these still remain popular. However, you can now choose to make reservations to dine at a specific time of your choice. (I will say that the maître d’s are very flexible about seating. If there is space available, they will accommodate almost any seating request.) The menu is varied and the choices excellent.

The specialty dining rooms (3): Passengers are limited in the number of reservations they may make at no charge. After that, there is a charge of $30 per person…very reasonable.

Prego is the Italian dining room with a menu designed by Piero Selvaggio of the Valentino restaurant in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Specialities include osso bucco, lavender-roasted duck breat and risotto “limone” with scallops. Desserts include affogato – espresso-flavored lady fingers layered with mascarpone cheese and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Mussels...an appetizer portion
Mussels in a lovely sauce

Silk Road features Asian fusion food inspired by the famed Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. Here you will find grilled Washugyu beef, lobster spring rolls, black cod with miso, lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce and the “Nobu Box” – a sampler of Nobu’s signature dishes. Desserts include a Suntory whiskey cappuccino with buttermilk ice cream.

The sushi bar in Silk Road is extremely popular and serves an extensive menu incorporating snow crab, squid, tomago, octopus, tuna, yellowtail and much more. Twelve different sushi rolls are offered – soft shell crab roll, anyone? There are no reservations for the sushi bar and if you dine there it is counted as one of your “free” specialty restaurant meals.

Avocado soup with tomato coulis...delicious!
Avocado soup with tomato coulis…delicious!

Tastes is a rather new offering. Dining is in the covered courtyard that used to be a pool area. For dinner, a tapas style menu is offered and some are quite unusual offerings. We particularly enjoyed the California Street Tacos, the Chimichurri Steak, oven-roasted cauliflower and the crispy tostado ceviche. There are 16 dishes offered and they recommend you order 5-6 for a meal (for two). Desserts include a Bananas Foster bread pudding.

Casual dining options for breakfast and lunch include the usual: The main dining room, the Lido buffet, a shorter menu in Tastes, and burgers and sandwiches from the Trident Grill near the pool. There is also the Scoops Ice Cream Bar where Ben & Jerry’s chunky monkey is the favorite. The Bistro is a coffee bar/café that serves light snacks, fancy coffees and exotic teas on porcelain designed by celebrated artist Guy Buffet. A lavish afternoon tea is served daily in the Palm Court.

Asst. Maitre 'd Augusto de-bones Dover sole for Chet
The assistant maitre d’ Augusto de-bones dover sole for my husband Chet

There is also one other special offering called The Vintage Room (which is actually its own room). This usually features very special menus with wine pairings. This is limited to 14 participants for a charge of $210 each. For this cruise, they are doing something different and offering Premium Beer Pairings.

Room service: In-room dining is available 24 hours a day. You may order either from the in-room menu or from the Crystal Dining Room menu during serving hours.

Grand Lunch Buffet in the ship's atrium
Grand Lunch Buffet in the ship’s atrium

As I have mentioned before, the theme for this cruise is the “Wine and Food Microbrew” festival and today there was another cooking demonstration by Jon Ashton and today for lunch is the Grand Gala Buffet in the Crystal Plaza and then there is a galley tour later in the afternoon.

Food is definitely important on the Crystal Serenity!

November 12, 2014

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