Credit: Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises’ managing director, Bernard Carter, on new ship Vista and OceaniaNEXT

Author: Gary Peters

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Oceania Cruises' EMEA senior vice president and managing director, Bernard Carter, discusses the line’s ongoing OceaniaNEXT project and how luxury cruising is evolving.

Can you talk us through some of the latest OceaniaNEXT enhancements?

The US$100+million programme of enhancements continues apace. Nautica restarted sailings on April 1, 2022, which completes the rebuild of the four 684-guest Regatta-class ships and marked full return to service with all six ships sailing with guests once again.

The next phase sees the re-inspiration of our two larger ships, Riviera and Marina, which will make their debuts in December 2022 and November 2023, respectively.

In addition to the full transformation of the fleet, we are introducing new solo staterooms on the four smaller ships, plus two new series of excursions, Go Green and Beyond Blueprints, which offer a more immersive experience with Oceania Cruises.

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What makes this project different to other renovation concepts we see across the sector?

OceaniaNEXT is all about taking our product to a whole new level, better than it ever has been before, as we always strive to find ways of improving the guest experience.

For example, Oceania Cruises is renowned for the finest cuisine at sea, yet we do not rest on our laurels.

Over the past two years we have introduced a wide range of new menus and culinary offerings in all on-board venues, including the expansion of options for stateroom dining.

Oceania Cruises: Discover more on and off board. Credit: Oceania Cruises.

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How is work progressing on Vista, your new ship?

We are so excited to welcome Vista to the fleet in April 2023, our first new ship in more than a decade.

Work is progressing well and we are looking forward to her inaugural season, with plans underway for a series of trade events to showcase her to our travel partners.

How are cruises selling at the moment?

We have seen two 180-day Around The World launches fill in a single day (one in 30 minutes), we had a record booking day, both globally and in the UK for Vista’s sales launch – and most recently we have created another new record booking day for our double-season launch on May 4.

Demand is also strong for 2022 sailings. We kept our powder dry for some time, with high booking levels and a stated desire to concentrate on lower guest numbers to ensure that even the first returning guests would receive the signature Oceania Cruises experience.
Oceania Cruises is keeping up with ever-evolving luxury demands. Credit: Oceania Cruises
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It seems that luxury cruising is always evolving – what do you think is the next big innovation?

Choice. Put simply, people want choice more than ever – over everything they buy or do.

Our needs are evolving faster than ever, spurred on by the pandemic. Cruising is by virtue a luxury and inclusive experience and what everyone sees as most important, as more special to them, is diversifying rapidly.

Cruise will continue to evolve. The next five to 10 years will be the most exciting yet.

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About Gary Peters

Gary is an experienced cruise journalist and editor who has been at the helm of Cruise Trade News since 2019. In that time, the brand has focused on investigative journalism and long-form feature content. Gary has also overseen the launch of new digital publications. Prior to joining Cruise Trade News – initially as deputy editor in 2018 – Gary worked in music and sport journalism, and as a senior editor for B2B magazines in the transport and environment sectors.