A new vista for Oceania Cruises: Cruise line boss reveals secrets of new ship
Oceania Cruises Senior Vice President & Managing Director, EMEA, Bernard Carter, reveals in an exclusive interview the secrets of Oceania’s new ship Vista and why cruising has come back with a bang.
Bernard Carter is in an ebullient mood. Bookings for 2022 and 2023 are looking good for Oceania Cruises and he is excited about the launch of the company’s new ship Vista in spring 2023.
Tickets for Vista go on sale on September 15 and he’s advising guests to pre-register their interest from September 9 to avoid disappointment. Here he talks about this exciting new ship, Oceania’s amazing cuisine and why longer cruises are so popular.
All about Vista
"We’re very excited about Vista – she will provide an evolution of what Oceania Cruises has been developing over the past 20 years. Oceania Cruises isn’t just a brand – it’s a story. What we are doing with Vista is taking our story further.
"The great thing is that we like to listen to our guests and see what they want from a ship. We have very discerning travellers onboard our ships and we welcome their input.
"We know our customers always love something new and with Vista, we have taken the best of our existing fleet and added a bit more."
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Exciting new restaurants
"We’re very excited about our two new restaurants onboard Vista – Ember and Aquamar Kitchen.
"Ember will celebrate the best of American cuisine – for example, lovely beef ribs on polenta. Ember will provide hearty comfort food and some American favourites like grilled swordfish and crab cakes.
"Aquamar Kitchen is the chance for guests to enjoy healthy dining choices onboard. So it will be great for smoothies and salads. We think the avocado on toast will be very popular and also the roast salmon that can be cooked to your liking. The dishes aren’t just healthy, they are tasty too.
"We do have a couple of indulgences – tuna tacos and crunchy chicken sandwich – but both are healthy at heart. Health and wellbeing centre of our ethos and great food onboard so to match those together is perfect.
"I am also looking forward to our new Bakery which will be situated next to our coffee shop Baristas. The thought of fresh bread and pastries being made all day is making my mouth water!"
Old favourites reinvented
"We want to continually impress our guests, some of whom have cruised more than 70 times with us. So in lockdown we encouraged our chefs to come up with some ideas. The result is over 300 new dishes across all our different restaurants. Across the fleet, you will see a lot more new dishes in the Grand Dining room.
"We know the Culinary Center is very popular with our guests and onboard Vista, we have gone one step further with this and will be offering you the chance to eat the food you have prepared at the Culinary Center at a separate dining room so you can eat what you have made with your friends and family."
Food for thought
"We have always been renowned for our culinary expertise. When we introduced the O-class ships we created new restaurants and new dining experiences – just look at the success of the Culinary Center.
"Since the pandemic, people are taking longer cruises – often journeys of up to 180 nights - so they want their culinary experience to be as good or better than they have at home. Oceania Cruises are now competing with Michelin star restaurants.
"The quality of food onboard our ships is amazing and of course, these dishes are all included within the price. And if you want to enjoy two lobsters, you can have them.
"We love hearing what dishes our customers enjoy and the dish with the stand-out reviews is our miso-glazed sea bass we serve in Red Ginger. This is a Chilean sea bass so it's larger and meatier. We cut it into steaks, cook it at a high temperature with a miso glaze and serve it on a banana leaf. It comes with a wedge of lime which cuts through the sweetness.
"The majority of our guests are epicureans but some don’t realise they are until they have taken an Oceania cruise. They really enjoy the food onboard and particularly love the grilled lobster, crab cakes and osso buco.
"Our guests are well travelled so they like to try out different dishes. They have open minds and open palates. We always encourage guests to try out whatever they like the look of on the menu so we will bring them a small taster portion."
Staying safe on board
"We have healthy protocols on all our ships with our ‘Sail Safe’ programme in place and a 100 percent vaccination policy on the ships.
"On our first few cruises on Marina we are also going to have reduced capacity and social distancing on board. Our philosophy has always been about service and space and this is something we take very seriously."
How Oceania keeps ahead of the game
"We believe in evolution and we know what we do well so we just focus on that. Our culinary food experiences onboard our ships are amazing. The finest cuisine at sea is our tag and when I joined the company I thought it was quite a boast. But when I tasted to food on board I realised it was a fact.
"The great thing is that the cruise industry has enough demand from travellers to sustain a lot of brands and they all sit happily alongside each other. The trick is to know what you’re good at – and constantly deliver it to happy customers."
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