OCEANIA’S “VISTA” THROWS A HOUSE PARTY ON THE HUDSON
“VISTA”, OCEANIA’S NEWEST SHIP, MAKES HER MAIDEN CALL IN NEW YORK
Last week, Travel Media and Agents and VIP Past Passengers boarded Oceania’s spectacular “VISTA” docked at New York’s Passenger Ship Terminal. She is the first “ALLURA”-class ship for Oceania and will quickly be joined by her almost-identical twin, ALLURA herself. “VISTA” joined a fleet that now numbers seven luxury ships that sail to more than 600 ports in over 100 countries on all 7 continents. “VISTA”s Maiden Call was a cause for celebration aboard a ship that prides itself as having The Finest Cuisine At Sea. But before we get to that, here’s what to know about this brand-new ship launched just last May.
“VISTA” IS THE FIRST OF OCEANIA’S NEW ALLURA CLASS VESSEL
At 791 feet long and just over 67,000 tons, “VISTA” can entertain 1200 passengers at double occupancy. To serve those passengers there are no fewer than 800 crew members. That’s two crewmembers for every three passengers virtually guaranteeing great service. If the ship seems ‘big’, she does so compared to the four identical ships that launched the line—Nautica, Insignia, Sirena and Regatta. Once aboard, it’s immediately apparent that “VISTA”’s size is not about how many passengers “VISTA” carries, but an indication of how much space there is aboard this ship. And a lot of that space is given over to a phenomenal range of accommodations.
“VISTA” BOASTS THE MOST SPACIOUS STANDARD STATEROOMS AT SEA
That day, every Oceania guest was invited to “sleepover”. I was assigned a Concierge Level Veranda Stateroom on deck 9. Aboard “VISTA” every single stateroom has a veranda– even those set aside for solo passengers. First impression: Comfort and calm, truly beautifully put together. Even the throw pillows on the sofa were beautifully crafted. And all the bells and whistles were in place—from makeup mirrors to marble shower, from stocked mini fridge to flat-screen television with dozens of entertainment options. Into our schedule were cabin tours to see VISTA’s range of accommodations. Of particular interest were the Oceania Suites on Deck 12. I can’t remember ever seeing a separate glass-walled study cum guest studio with its own guest bathroom integrated into any suite on any ship. The belle of them all is the Owner’s Suite. On Deck 9 overlooking the stern, this elegant extravaganza spans the entire width of the ship. There are vast terraces—two of them, one off the bedroom and one off the living room. And then there’s the Wardrobe—I don’t think you can call a Mahogany-clad room a closet—that features glass cases for madame’s jewels.
OCEANIA PRIDES ITSELF ON COMFORT AND RESIDENTIAL-STYLE LUXURY
Aboard “VISTA” your house is spectacular—a showcase of marble and cut glass, of plush carpeting and supremely comfortable seating everywhere you look. It starts with Oceania’s signature Grand Staircase, a feature aboard all 7 ships. Aboard “VISTA” this iconic wonder is a floor-to-ceiling pillar of crystal and light welcomes you to the ship and leaves a lasting impression. And so do so many places aboard “VISTA”. There’s a Library that’s nothing short of magnificent. The Aquamar “Spa+Vitality Center” has its own outdoor therapy pool and 11 treatment rooms. Or opt for The Pool on Deck 12 where, on this partly cloudy New York Sunday, sunbathers lounged and dipped into not one but two Spa tubs. And then there are “VISTA”s enrichment programs—including an Art Studio to unleash your inner Rembrandt, LYNC Digital Center to improve Computer, Photo and Social Media skills and last but certainly not least, the knockout Culinary Center.
“VISTA” REACHES FOR A HIGH BAR: THE FINEST CUISINE AT SEA
When your godmother is none other than Giada De Laurentis, of Emmy award-winning fame and your menus are influenced by none other than America’s favorite French Chef, Jacques Pepin, you’ve got a head start. Aboard “VISTA” There are no fewer than 11 onboard restaurants—including three introduced on “VISTA” and new to Oceania. The Bakery at Baristas on the Pool Deck serves likely the best chicken salad ‘slider’ on brioche I’ve ever eaten and pastries that are made before your eyes. There’s Ember which prides on American cuisine. And there’s Aquamar Kitchen which offers wellness-inspired dishes (if you must…) and promises “a hint of indulgence”. Of the 8 other choices, I have to make mention of the Dining venue that gives away VISTA’s luxury credentials. It’s the Terrace Café. For those of us with experience with “all-day’ dining venues, this one wins hands-down not only for its food but also for its style both indoors and on its outdoor deck.
Sunday’s Main Event was held in the spectacular Grand Dining Room which more than lives up to its name. This chandeliered space is broken up into more intimate spaces. And then there’s the food. It’s simply wonderful. At a table for 8, 6 of us opted for both Caviar and Lobster while the sommelier poured excellent wines and generously. The Culinary piece-de-resistance has to be the 24-station Culinary Center. Offering hands-on cooking classes and a variety of immersive culinary experiences, it’s part of Oceania’s mission to see the world “through a lens of food and cooking” wherever “VISTA” sails. And when she does, “VISTA” extends the adventure in eating on its chef-led “Culinary Discover Tours” ashore.
AND BECAUSE IT’S IN NEW YORK, “VISTA” CAPPED THE EVENING WITH A SHOW
Choreographed by none other than “Dancing with the Stars” own Britt Stewart, “Headliners” was performed by the onboard vocalists and dancers. Performing music made famous by Cher, Celine Dion and the Bee Gees. And just to prove songs have been written after 1968, Adele made the cut. “Headliners” is one of three shows Britt Stewart has orchestrated for “VISTA,” “Into the Night” and “The Anchor Inn” take guests on a musical carpet ride nightly.
TO BED AND TO DREAM…
The supreme comfort of our Stateroom was a great draw at the end of our wonderful stay aboard “VISTA”. And to dream of exploring the world on this great new ship.
Cover photo: VISTA POOL DECK -Oceania Cruises
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