A Stunning Vista

Were it not for the 18th-century baroque-period bastions within view, we might think we were in Hollywood instead of Malta. A lively, open-air cocktail reception and decadent dinner kicks off an evening filled with lavish entertainment and gala celebration. Even big names are in attendance: Emmy Award-winning food personality Giada De Laurentiis, Grammy and Emmy award-winning Harry Connick Jr., and Dancing with the Stars pro dancer and choreographer Britt Stewart among them.

But the real star on this glittering evening is the ship itself. This is the christening ceremony of Vista,  the first vessel in Oceania Cruises’ 67,000 ton, 1,200-guest Allura class, and the line’s first new ship in more than a decade. A Connick concert, Stewart performance, and even Vista godmother Giada’s release of the giant ceremonial bottle of Veuve Clicquot to shatter against Vista’s hull and officially name and christen her are all peripheral. 

Owner’s Suite

A Masterpiece by Design

In terms of design, Vista is a masterpiece of dramatic flow and soothing lighting. Throughout the ship, neutral colors with touches of gold predominate, creating a relaxing backdrop that is energized by wondrous artwork and marvelous attention to detail. 

Nowhere is this more obvious thanVista’s atrium, the entry point to the ship, with its dramatic curving staircase alongside an illuminated, floor-to-ceiling, crystal sculpture, the piece’s gleam changing color so gently that one wonders if it’s a trick of the eye. And the “wow” factor continues throughout the ship, whether it’s through a remarkable piece of artwork on a staircase landing, the playful light fixtures that adorn the ceiling of the Grand Lounge, or the shimmering glass partitions that grace the popular pre-dinner cocktail favorite Martinis. The result is interior spaces that are striking, but timeless, sophisticated, and elegant.

Dazzling design continues even when you pass through the automatic sliding glass doors on deck 14 to gaze out over the pool deck. Again, curves replace the typical rectangular deck design and, instead of white steel, we view an artistic composition of materials, shapes, and forms. Even the staircase leading to the pool deck curves downward, arriving at a flowing arrangement, from its rounded-corner swimming pool bordered by two hot tubs and circular shaded sunbeds to the circular sunbeds that snake around the edge of the deck, a fence of timber creating privacy. 

Staterooms and Suites: Pure Comfort…and Space!

Owner’s Suite Bathroom

“We want it to be better than home.”

These words come from Greg Walton of Studio DADO, the Miami-based boutique firm that, four and a half years ago, took its first creative steps toward designing the ship that would become Vista.

A pop of color from a framed floral print interrupts the neutral tones of my 291-square-foot Concierge-Level Veranda Stateroom, a category that entitles me to access the nearby Concierge Lounge which offers snacks, soft drinks, coffee, and tea 24/7. USB ports are located beside a bed topped with 1,000-thread linens and a seventh-generation ULTRA Tranquility mattress that incorporates a new fabric that reduces body temperature by 2 degrees C (1.111 degrees F) for a refreshing feel. Carpeting composed of natural fabrics with no dyes or chemicals to trigger allergies covers the floor. A desk and sitting area lead to a balcony outfitted with cushioned chairs and a cocktail table.

But it is the bathroom and shower that are the real showstoppers! A new layout with medicine chest and three-drawer cabinet tucked neatly into a corner creates blessed space while ingenious angles and shelves transform the typical cramped cruise-ship bathroom into a roomy oasis, even with the addition of a full vanity beneath a large, circular mirror that adjusts from traditional lighting to make-up mirror. 

A cramped shower? Not any longer. Aboard Vista, showering is a pleasure in a unit that could easily accommodate three people — three tall people, in fact — under a choice of rain shower, hand-held, or stationary spray. Skipped your pre-holiday leg wax? A metal rod propped in the lower corner of the stall makes shaving a breeze. 

Always Taste-ful…Now Even More So

Oceania Cruises has long touted “The Finest Cuisine at Sea®” and any Oceania fan will tell you that the line’s dining program is the main reason they return again and again. With one chef for every 10 guests aboard Vista, and 11 culinary culinary venues (three of them new), that trend is bound to continue.

Oceania’s familiar restaurants — the Italian Toscana, Polo Steak House, pan-Asian Red Ginger, magnificently re-designed Grand Dining Room, and casual spots Terrace Café and Waves — continue to entice diners with inventive menus, exciting new designs, and no surcharges. Vista also debuts three sumptuous new dining experiences for those who are hungry for more.

Ember offers American classics against an elegant backdrop of wood and brick, a faux-flame shadow box creating a warm and inviting environment. This is the place to indulge in potato soup with bacon, sour cream and cheddar, New England lobster roll, grilled marinated double-cut Kurobuta pork chop, or grilled beef tenderloin … and to top off the meal with a sinful triple-chocolate brownie dessert.

The wellness-inspired Aquamar takes the pain out of virtuous eating with a breakfast and lunch menu filled with delectable fruit-topped energy bowls, four varieties of avocado toast, and a vast selection of fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies; The Bakery, conveniently located adjacent to the popular Baristas coffee bar, is the place to go for fresh-baked croissant, tender donuts, and muffins along with savory snacks like mini-quiches and maybe the best tuna salad sandwich at sea. 

Sip Ahoy!

From Macallan Whisky and Brugal 1888 Doblemente Anejado Rum programs to a new and decadent wine-pairing lunch where each sumptuous course is paired with an exquisite vintage, to the intimate Dom Pérignon Experience dinners at Privée, Vista introduces an intoxicating new focus on wines, spirits, and mixology.

For a little theater with your cocktail, head to Founder’s Bar, tucked away within the ship’s casino and offering a menu of nearly 30 craft cocktails. Expect smoke, bubbles, and a delicious result, like my Italian, a cocktail consisting of Bulleit bourbon, Amaro Averna, Aperol, lemon juice, and old-fashioned bitters, swirled together and then placed in a chamber which fills with applewood smoke to lend additional flavor and aroma. 

With Vista, Oceania Cruises has succeeded in combining the new with the familiar to create an astounding ship. It’s bound to excite the line’s existing fans while drawing a shipload of new ones! 

By Judi Cuervo


This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine. To continue reading, click above for a digital or print subscription.

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.