On Site: Top Advisors "Sound Off" About New Oceania Vista

Setting sail from Rome on Saturday, Oceania Cruises' new 1,200-passenger Vista is the first of the line's new Allura-class vessels. Scheduled for christening Monday, May 8, in Valetta, Malta, Vista is the seventh vessel in Oceania's fleet.

"Vista—and her sister Allura, debuting in 2025—mean a dramatic increase in itinerary diversity as we add the seventh and eighth ships, plus continued evolution for the brand," says Nikki Upshaw, senior vice president, global sales, Oceania Cruises. "Both of these new ships feature new culinary concepts and new enrichment activities, and they showcase how we are continuing to elevate the experience for our guests."

What do top travel advisors and trade executives think of the new vessel? Here's a "first impressions" snapshot look from the trade. 

First Impressions

“From the stunning lobby, elegant pool deck and the beautiful staterooms, which are designed very thoughtfully, I think this ship is the perfect size and choice if you are looking for a luxury cruise experience,” believes Adam Martindale, independent franchise owner, Cruise Planners, San Diego, CA. Simply put, he says: "The ship is breathtaking.”

Ken Heit, owner, Luxury Cruise and Tour, a Frosch company, Fort Lauderdale, FL, told us Sunday that Vista is a “very classy ship with elegant finishes and colors.”

From the perspective of Grace DeVita, president, Post Haste Travel, Hollywood, FL, a Virtuoso member agency, "the design changes on the pool deck—the use of wood and curved walls—makes it feel as though you’re at a wonderful beach resort, with the sea replacing the beach.”

Cindy and David Locke, owners of Seize the Seas, an independent agency in the Avoya Travel Network, also from South Florida, say that Vista is more spacious and beautiful than Riviera, that they'd recommend the new dining venues, including Ember and Aquamar Kitchen, and that they've discovered plenty of shopping, activities, a larger Artist Loft and a large culinary platform. 

Extensive Culinary Options

Aquamar Kitchen is a new space on Oceania Vista
Guests are greeted by crew members at Aquamar Kitchen, a new dining venue on Oceania's new Vista. Advisors like the indoor-outdoor ambiance and healthy, tasty cuisine.  (Photo by Brad Anderson, Avoya Travel Network)

Vista offers 12 culinary venues, four new. Similar to the Lockes' comments about the culinary side, the other trade experts responding also love the new Aquamar Kitchen. "The Aquamar Kitchen is my favorite new space—awesome ambiance and food choices that are healthy and delicious," says Brad Anderson, co-founder and senior advisor, Avoya Travel Network.

As a luxury food-and-wine group specialist, Cruise Planners' Martindale savored breakfast at Aquamar—ordering the avocado toast with salmon and poached eggs. Elsewhere on the ship, he recommends the grilled lobster and lamb chops at Terrace Cafe. 

Heit, too, likes the "expanded dining" on Vista including Aquamar's "beautiful inside/out-type dining room and new Asian choices."

More Dining Venues

Surf and Turf sandwich on brioche at Waves Grill.
Surf-and-turf sandwich on brioche at Vista's Wave
(Photo courtesy of Cindy and David Locke, Seize the Seas)

As for the Grand Dining Room, "the entrance is breathtaking," says Cindy Locke. "The lights are totally exquisite. It felt like being in a fairy tale wedding."  That dining room offers signature Jacques Pépin classics, global flavors and an all-new Executive Chef’s Tasting Menu. 

One recommendation? "Don't miss the surf-and-turf sandwich at the Waves Grill," recommends David Locke, noting that it's "filet mignon and prawns on a brioche" 

Other advisors also say that Ember, one of the new specialty dining venues, is also getting positive reviews from guests. Among the savory dishes to order are braised short ribs on polenta, grilled swordfish with asparagus, crab cakes with spicy aioli and a Cobb salad with smoked chicken. 

Upshaw says that the three ship spaces she's most excited about are Ember, Aquamar Kitchen and the enlarged culinary center with the new Chef’s Studio.

One interesting statistic? Anderson attended a travel advisor and media briefing on the ship this past weekend and learned this: "They said that they have one chef for every 10 guests, which impressed everyone in the room." 

Upscale Accommodations

After just two nights aboard, Anderson, who's staying in an A1 Concierge Class stateroom, No. 9129, likes the layout and large balcony. In addition, he finds that "the bed is very comfortable with 1,000-thread-count sheets," plus "the bathroom has a large shower and vanity, and exceptional lighting."

#9129, A1 Concierge accommodation, Oceania Vista
Stylish and comfortable, this category A1 Concierge stateroom, No. 9129, also offers a soothing color palette.  (Photo by Brad Anderson, Avoya Travel Network)

He particularly likes the bathroom towels that "utilize single twist cotton for a soft and absorbent feel." 

Large Shower

Lovely bathroom of a Concierge Class stateroom on Oceania Vista.
Concierge Class stateroom bathrooms have a large
(Photo by Ken Heit, Luxury Cruise and Tour)

Also staying in a Concierge Class stateroom is Heit, who believes that "Vista has much larger and nicer veranda staterooms than Oceania's other ships. Check out the luxurious bathroom within Heit's stateroom (see photo at right). "The shower is huge and fantastic," he explains

From Heit's perspective, Vista's veranda staterooms are "the best cabins in the premium cruise ship class."

More Drawer Space

Also noticing a few improvements in Vista's accommodations from previous Oceania ships, DeVita tells us about two things she noticed right away: 

  • “The bathrooms now have much better use of space— bigger showers, more drawers."
  • Overall, there is "more drawer space throughout the cabin,"  as compared with other Oceania ships.  

Explaining that in the accommodations,"we’ve done a few things differently," Upshaw says "the decor is lighter, brighter, sexier than before. We’ve also done a brilliant job in the design of the storage space onboard—all of the drawers, closets, USB ports, plugs, reading lamps" and so on.

In addition, "we’ve really 'amped up' the comfy, homey, residential feel," Upshaw tells Luxury Travel Advisor

Favorite Spots Around the Ship  

We asked a few advisors to tell us what their favorite spot is on Vista. Certainly, the dining venues rank high.

Horizons Lounge is Ken Heit's favorite space on Oceania Cruises' new Vista.
The Horizons Lounge on Oceania Cruises' new Vista is a great venue for dancing, cocktails and soaking in the views.  (Photo by Ken Heit, owner, Luxury Cruise and Tour)

But the Horizons Lounge is Heit’s “favorite spot so far, as it's “great venue for dancing and having a cocktail with great views.” 

In contrast, DeVita’s favorite place aboard is the Library (see photo below), especially since Barristas, the ship's coffee shop, is on the same deck.

“They’ve added a patisserie,” DeVita says, asking what could be better than coffee and a good book? “It’s the perfect place to nap or watch the world sail by on a rainy or windy day,” she adds. 

Vista's library is Grace DeVita's favorite spot on the ship.
The library is Grace DeVita's favorite spot on the new Vista; she also likes that Barrista's is on the same deck..  (Photo by Grace DeVita of Post Haste Travel)

Parting Thoughts

It's a "shake down" period right now for Vista, so, as expected, there are a few service nits here and there, as can be expected early in any inaugural season. For example, several sources told us that more attentive service was needed at a brunch buffet one day. On first blush, though, our advisor and travel executive feedback reveals that Vista is garnering high marks overall.

"The ship is a grand slam home run," says Avoya's Anderson. While the new upscale ship still reflects that "country club casual aura" that Oceania is known for, it does have a bit different style, according to DeVita. She puts it this way: "They took the best of the O-class ships, listened to guests, and made those small improvements that are really noticeable."

Sales Opportunities

We asked Upshaw about how Vista is selling? For instance, is the ship sold out this year?

"Vista is very well sold for 2023 and while we have availability on her transatlantic crossing, yes, the majority of the season is sold out," says Upshaw. But she adds that "there's tremendous opportunity for sales with her winter Caribbean season and her 2024 European season."

Stay tuned for more coverage of Vista this week. 

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