Review by Katie, Luxury Account Manager
Earlier this month I flew to Genoa, Italy, to join Oceania Cruises onboard their brand-new luxurious ship, Vista. I’ve sailed on many different cruise lines, but I was intrigued to see whether Oceania’s promise to discover the world ‘from a new perspective’ lived up to the hype.
Boasting 15 decks accommodating up to 1,200 passengers in its 629 staterooms and suites, Vista promises to deliver The Finest Cuisine at Sea®, exceptionally personalised service with two staff members for every three guests, a warm and welcoming ambiance as a result of the ship’s captivating residential furnishings, and introduce several unique firsts for the brand in the realms of dining and guest experiences.
Day 1 – Genoa, Italy
After a very short 20 minute transfer from Genoa airport to the port, we were soon boarding Vista and greeted by smart, friendly staff. We immediately entered the atrium on arrival and what an entrance! Its iconic, grand staircase glistened with a floor-to-ceiling pillar of crystal and lights, and the neutral, stylish decor oozed sophisticated glamour. We soon found our Concierge Level Veranda Stateroom on deck nine, and we were delighted to find a bottle of Champagne on ice waiting for us. I can’t express how relaxing our Tranquility bed was. The whole ambience, from the cool, stylish decor, and spacious private balcony were bliss. The over-sized bathroom with rainforest shower was by far the biggest I’ve personally experienced at sea, with oodles of drawer space and complimentary fluffy bathrobes and slippers.
Vista Concierge Staterooms offer additional benefits such as:
- Room service from The Grand Dining Room
- Free laundry services
- Dedicated Concierge
- Private Concierge Lounge access
Having unpacked and eager to explore the ship, we soon found our way up on to Vista’s Pool Deck. The whole area was heavenly and showcased why Oceania are a luxury brand. The main differences being the plush sunbeds with fluffy towelling covers, private cabanas for sunbathing, whirlpools, double day beds, some right by the water’s edge! There were ample towels so no need to bring your own. There was so much space, no fighting for a sunbed… lots of room for everyone. The atmosphere here under the Mediterranean sun was just divine, music played in the background and the friendly poolside staff were on hand to make sure your glass of favourite tipple was never empty. When we’d had enough of lounging around poolside, there was also a crazy golf area, golf driving range, and pickleball court too (I hadn’t experienced pickleball until now, it looked great fun!).
Keen to explore some more, we discovered the Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center on deck 15, a purpose-built, holistic wellness centre. The focal point of this luxurious sanctuary was the Aquamar Spa Terrace, an open-air deck of loungers, whirlpool spas, and a huge plunge pool, all with mesmerising views of the sea from the forward of the ship. This is THE place to relax on the terrace before or after a spa treatment.
After working up an appetite we were soon dressed for dinner and headed to Martinis lounge, a glamorous bar to sip a signature cocktail and chat with fellow cruisers. The shimmering canopy of crystals, decadent décor and plush velvet seating set the mood for the evening ahead (this was to become our favourite haunt for evening drinks).
We were invited to dine in The Grand Dining Room this evening, a beautiful and bright restaurant with high ceilings and spectacular chandeliers. Here you’ll find exciting choices and a wide spectrum of global flavours. Menus change daily, and the all-new Executive Chef ’s Tasting Menu promises multiple courses of the chef ’s most exquisite creations. It was here I discovered perhaps the most indulgent chocolate brownie dessert I have ever tasted. Our dedicated sommelier was on hand to offer wine pairing suggestions with our meals.
On an evening there was plenty going on… from a sophisticated bar with piano music to a west-end worthy show performance in the theatre.
Day 2 – Monte Carlo, Monaco
On waking this morning, I opened our curtains to be greeted with the spectacular sight of Monte Carlo right outside our balcony doors! With super yachts glistening in the harbour right in front of us, and the colourful buildings spread across the landscape we sat on our comfortable balcony chairs to soak it all in. We couldn’t wait to head off the ship to explore, so headed for breakfast in the Terrace Café, which offered the luxury of casual dining, at any time of day, whether inside the plushily adorned dining room or alfresco at one of the shaded tables on the stylish terrace.
Vista docked so close you could walk straight into Monte Carlo, which was a hive of activity as they were setting up for the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, so we walked along the race track and got a feel of the excitement this event would have. Further into Monte Carlo we came across beautiful historical buildings, hotels and the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. There was a haze of perfume in the air as we neared the designer shops, a real shoppers paradise!
A short walk from the ship along the coastal path brought us to the Oceanographique museum and then on to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Near here you’ll find a myriad of tiny streets offering food stalls and souvenirs. We fell upon the beautiful St Martin gardens which took us to some dramatic scenes of Monaco-ville with its pretty orange pastel fronted harbour buildings.
Back on board Vista we were excited to have a reservation in Red Ginger for dinner, offering Thai, Korean, Japanese and other Asian specialities. The service was once again excellent and the recommendation of caramelised King Prawns with chilli for starters, the Chefs special sea bass (recommended by Jaques Pepin), and coconut and almond tartlet with chocolate sauce for dessert was spot on! I noted this restaurant had some larger tables great for parties wanting to dine together or perhaps for an occasion.
We were invited for drinks in the aptly named Horizons lounge, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and 180 degrees of panoramic ocean views it was the perfect place for pre or post-dinner drinks, some of us staying to party with late-night DJ Steve until the early hours!
Day 3 – Livorno, Italy
Today we had pre-booked a full day Cinque Terre shore excursion prior to sailing, so I’d ordered room service breakfast the evening before, and this was promptly delivered as promised, with steaming hot tea and coffee, a feast of hot and cold choices including omelettes, pancakes and fresh fruit.
Our excursion tickets were already delivered to our suite, with clear joining instructions which was so easy and well organised, no queuing in the lounge at check-in – the beauty of a smaller ship! After five minutes our excursion group were invited to disembark where the coach was waiting alongside the ship. The tour included travel by coach, boat and train, and the Italian scenery was remarkable. Our tour guide lived locally and was full of knowledge and humour, she pointed out lots of interesting facts; the silhouette of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the distance, mountain tops which were white from them being marble, not snow-capped! We visited three of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre; Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso. We had two-hours of free time in Monterosso where we had a leisurely lunch, there was even a little time to hit the beach!
We’d had a busy and exhilarating day, arriving back on board around 5.30pm, so this evening we decided to have a more casual affair for dinner and ate in the Terrace Cafe. The food here was no less impressive and our wine waiter was on hand to refill our glasses when required. There are no formal evenings on Oceania, just a country-club casual approach which resonates throughout the ship. We’d also learned of an alternative dining venue – Aquamar Kitchen – which offers wellness-inspired dining (think guilt-free smoothies, energy bowls, yellow-fin tuna tacos, alcohol-free drinks and so much more!). There really were so many dining options we simply didn’t have time to sample them all.
This evening we hit the theatre to see Vista’s inaugural cast put on a fantastic production. The theatre was so spacious with plenty of seats offering a great view.
Day 4 – Rome, Italy
We were homeward bound today and had an early transfer to Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci airport which was about an hours drive away. We really didn’t want to leave!
If I were to summarise our short time onboard, Vista definitely exceeded our expectations. The amount of space, the variety and quality of dining options, the sophisticated and stylish interiors and just the whole relaxed and friendly ambience, for me will really take some beating. I for one can’t wait to board an Oceania ship again, and I really must emphasise the value an Oceania cruise offers. Here’s a recap of what you can expect on an Oceania cruise:
THE OCEANIA DIFFERENCE
- The Finest Cuisine at Sea®
- A variety of distinctive open-seating restaurants, all at no additional charge
- Gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin
- Award-winning itineraries featuring more than a 600 alluring destinations
- Spectacular port-intensive voyages featuring overnight visits and extended evening port stays
- Small, luxurious ships catering to no more than 1,250 guests
- Exceptional personalised service
- Elegant casual ambience, no jacket or tie required
- Aquamar Spa + Vitality Center
- Epicurean enrichment programmes, including immersive Culinary Discovery Tours™ in the world’s most fascinating destination
Vista offers 18 Inaugural Season voyages spanning more than 24 countries across four continents, from the ancient sands of Asia in the east to the glittering hills of Hollywood in the west. Click here to view the cruises >.