In the grand scheme of the cruise realm, there are four types of experiences available. At one end is the mass-market sector, where amenity-filled vessels carrying thousands of action-seeking travelers (think floating amusement park and mall) operate, and at the other is the small, all-suite vessels catering to a few hundred in all-inclusive luxury (butler service and Michelin-starred chefs). In the middle is the premium sector of medium-sized ships with elevated offerings, and above that is the premium deluxe category, characterized by smaller ships, fine dining, and more inclusions. It is this latter space where Oceania Cruises has been firmly planted since the company’s inception 20 years ago. The two decades of experience has allowed Oceania to perfect its product offering, and its newest vessel, Oceania Vista, strengthen the pillars of its premium deluxe brand.
Here are five reasons why:
Intimate Spaces and Fewer Guests: I boarded the 1,200-guest Oceania Vista in Los Angeles as she made her debut on the west coast, fresh from her inaugural season in Europe. Upon embarking, I immediately felt like I had arrived at a grand residence instead of a passenger vessel. Vista’s public areas are spacious and tastefully furnished in contemporary décor. At every turn, I came across warm, living room-like spaces with sparkling chandeliers, coffee-table books, art objects in display cases, and inviting armchairs to sink into. Even up on the pool deck, double sunbeds and padded lounge chairs covered with terry cloths were configured in small groups with privacy walls. This is premium deluxe cruising, where space and quietude trump crowds and non-stop action.
Spacious Staterooms and Suites: Premium deluxe cruising also means elevated accommodations and amenities, which Vista perfectly demonstrates. My verandah stateroom was plenty large at 291 square feet, with a sitting area, a writing desk, a spacious bath with a rain shower and ample storage, and a private deck. Topped with a Prestige Tranquility bed, a minibar stocked with sodas and water, a fluffy robe, and slippers, this restful sanctuary has been thoughtfully designed to swaddle every guest in comfort. Those seeking more space can choose even larger accommodations, from a 440-square-foot Penthouse Suite to the house-sized 2,400-square-foot Owner’s Suite furnished by Ralph Lauren Home. Vista also debuted new accommodations with private verandahs for solo travelers.
Culinary Excellence: Oceania’s philosophy from day one was to offer “the finest cuisine at sea”, and the promise comes with a stellar culinary program directed by French master chef Jacques Pépin, whose impressive resumé includes personal chef to Charles de Gaulle, 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, and a Daytime Emmy award-winning cooking show with Julia Child.
Dining onboard Oceania Vista is serious business with meals prepared by a team of 140 chefs using the highest quality ingredients. From the galley tour with Vista’s executive chef, I discovered why I succumbed to the flaky croissants at breakfast daily — the secret lies within the top-quality pastry flour sourced from Minoterie Planchot in the Loire Valley of France. At Red Ginger, I enjoyed a delectable dinner that began with my server presenting a lacquered box with a choice of five types of chopsticks — from traditional wood to stainless steel. The diverse menu featured items from every Asian region. Think Japanese ramen and Korean barbecue steak to lobster pad Thai and slow-cooked Indonesian beef rendang. The star of the show? That would be a miso-glazed seabass, which arrived in a hoba-leaf parcel clipped with a miniature clothes peg, seared with melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Red Ginger, along with Toscana Italian restaurant, Polo Grill steakhouse, and upscale American eatery Ember are specialty restaurants onboard Oceania Vista that serve multi-course, cooked-to-order dinners at no extra charge — a hallmark of Oceania Cruises that no other cruise line in the premium deluxe sector can boast. Also new to Vista is the new Aquamar Kitchen, serving poké bowls, lean proteins, and plant-based selections, prepared in an open kitchen. These fine restaurants, along with the Grand Dining Room, the Terrace Café buffet, and 24-hour room service, provide an unparalleled dining experience that is part of premium deluxe cruising.
Globe-trotting Itineraries and Enriching Experiences: Unlike the big ships that often repeat their itineraries, premium deluxe ships rarely stay put in one place. Oceania Vista and her six sister ships sail the globe with destination-intensive itineraries, including a 180-day world cruise. With more than 100 overnights in ports around the world, Oceania’s premium deluxe clients can immerse themselves ashore with in-depth excursions, many of which focus on historical, cultural, and — of course — culinary elements of each destination. Shoreside events are complemented by enrichment lectures onboard, where guests can learn more about their destinations from historians and field experts. And for those wanting to bring some of Oceania’s culinary magic home, the onboard Culinary Center has space for 24 epi-curious participants, with hands-on classes such as Mastering Heat: Unleashing Intense Flavor, Brunch Around the World, and Classic French Technique.
Inclusive Value with Less Nickel-and-Diming: Guests coming onboard a premium deluxe ship aren’t looking for the lowest price, but they do seek fair value, and Oceania Cruises provides a great balance. Its fares include complimentary airfare from select gateways, airport transfers, and onboard credit towards shore excursions (amount dependent on itinerary length), alcoholic beverages during lunch and dinner, specialty coffees, sodas, bottled water, and unlimited WiFi. In ports of call where the ship cannot dock in the city center, Oceania provides a complimentary shuttle to bring guests into town. I’ve already mentioned the specialty restaurants at no extra charge, so the only additional charges will be crew gratuities, alcoholic beverages outside of lunch and dinner, and purchases in the spa and shops.
With Oceania Vista now sailing her inaugural season and sister ship Oceania Allura launching in 2025, there’s no doubt that Oceania Cruises will continue to excel in the premium deluxe cruising category for decades to come.