Oceania Vista, a reassuringly mid-size ship for 1,200 guests, a calm yet invigorating experience that spins outward from the twirling glitter of the work of art in the atrium. It’s Oceania’s first new ship in nearly a decade and has combined the class of the past with more contemporary touches.
Modern art fills the walls, the stairwells and even more unlikely places such as the men’s spa. The decks are a cool mixture of woody tones and gleaming white, with pool, big enough to take a few short lengths in, coloured with pale green tiling.
Who is Oceania Vista for?
For those who want a calm, stylish cruise with a world of good food included (rather than the pay-as-you-go speciality restaurants of many cruise companies). Clientele is younger than many cruises, with a good American content. Trendy, too, without moving into the super-glossy look found on some small, super-luxury ships. It’s not adults only, but there are no children’s facilities.
Cruises head to destinations to explore the length and breadth of the Med, from Monte Carlo to Istanbul, but also to the Caribbean from Miami, where she was on display at the end of October.
What’s on board
The pool deck is impressive, the decently-sized pool surrounded by shallows and a long bench so the crowds who tend to sit and dangle their feet over the side don’t get in the way of actual swimmers – a collection of circular sofa beds means they can laze waterside without even getting their feet wet.
On the top deck there’s an 18-hole putting green, a sophisticated take on crazy golf. There’s a netted court for pickleball, the easy-going tennis alternative, spots for games such as shuffleboard, croquet and bocce, and a walking track.
The Aquamar Spa with its outdoor area with hot tubs is free for travellers in certain levels of room, $25 a day for others. Men and women get separate seaview saunas and steam rooms. There’s also a sizeable gym with glass wall.
The Culinary Centre, where cookery lessons are available (at a cost) has greatly expanded in size from earlier ships. There also cocktail-making demonstrations from bottle-twirling bartenders with the chance to join in the stirring if not the juggling – and then sup the results.
In the Artist Loft an artist in residence offers cruise-long art courses (at a cost) while there are social media lessons in the LYNC Digital Centre.
The library, dark and cosy, comes in Ralph Lauren fabrics and furnishings and contains a wealth of books, from thrillers to travel essentials such as The World’s Great River Journeys
Your stateroom or suite
Oceania likes to think of its accommodation as ‘residential’ and there is the feel of a smart apartment, roomy and a delight to be in, white backdrops enriched with contrasting shades and colours. Our Panorama Suite, one of the main accommodation levels, featured a queen-size bed, sofa with coffee table, a table large enough to eat at with two chairs, walk-in wardrobe and a very pleasingly-sized shower room. The balcony had two comfy chairs. In a first for Oceania, there are also rooms for solo travellers but if you really want to feel like you’re living in luxury, go for one of the three opulent Owner’s Suites with foyer, living room, dining room and two balconies.
Oceania prides itself on food and that fact that all its restaurants are included in the price – not least Polo Grill, a fabulously elegant steak house where even a 20oz porterhouse is on offer, alongside a whole Maine lobster.
But despite the number of options, don’t ignore the Grand Dining Room. It’s a gorgeous spot, all in white with chandeliers, like something from the Deep South, the areas divided by arches and walls of glass panels, some opaque, some clear, giving an ever-changing light show as you move. Food’s as good as the surroundings.
Vista’s answer to the classic buffet is the Terrace Café, a smart black and white tiled retreat with a soothing outdoor area at the rear of the ship. Food is everything from roasts to pasta, salads to fish and chips for lunch and dinner with a big breakfast offering too. Just outside is Waves Grill, a made-to-order burger bar (classic, wagyu, Texan, Alaskan salmon) also serving hot dogs, grilled fish, even a surf and surf (lobster/filet mignon) panini.
Ember is a mix of steakhouse (less formal than Polo Grill) and posh diner with cheeseburgers, lobster mac and cheese and crab cakes alongside sashimi tuna salad and a porcini-dusted ribeye. There’s also the classy Italian of Toscana and the Asian mix of Red Ginger.
For a coffee bar, Baristas is exceptional, high up with curving views down on to the pool area. Not just coffees, it has a small bar and free offerings of cakes, cookies and snacks throughout the day. At the rear of the room is Oceania’s first Bakery with delights such as apple beignets (posh mini doughnuts), caramel eclairs and more.
Aquamar Kitchen is a healthy option for breakfast and lunch – gaily-coloured juices, avocado toast, salad bowls and pita bread and dips.
Bars and entertainment
There’s goodly selection of eateries. Of an evening the Founders Bar is the most colourful, a place for extravagant cocktails but the on-deck Waves Bar, open from 9am to midnight, is the place for an al fresco glass, particularly at sunset. Other venues include Horizons, with its panoramic sweep of windows, the Grand Lounge, Martinis and Aperitivo, the latter what Baristas turns into each evening.
The main spot for entertainment is the Vista Lounge, midway between lounge and theatre, with music and dance variety performances. A couple of bands play in Horizons and on deck – you might catch an open-air late night Abba party – while a string quartet does sessions in the Grand Lounge.
Fabulous ship filled with style and sophistication, from the décor of the corridors to the boundless art to the stunning food. Great service, too, and a feel of cruising without the rush of so many other options.
*Oceania Vista (oceaniacruises.com) is wintering in Miami before arriving in Europe in April 2024 for a summer in the Med. The seven-day Athens to Istanbul voyage, June 12, 2024, starts at £3,519, with a Simply More deal that includes not only flights and transfers but also excursions, drinks with meals and wifi.