Studio DADO was there for Oceania Cruise Line’s Vista inaugural sail. Read on for a sneak peek, some pics from our trip, and our six biggest takeaways.
A few words came to mind when we boarded Oceania’s Vista for the first time in Malta. For one, spectacular. This was the first time we saw our years of design work in person, and it didn’t disappoint. After speaking extensively with the press, other guests on board, three generations of the Del Rio family, and amongst ourselves, we walked away from the experience with a few takeaways.
Oceania has had a strong brand since its inception. But times change and Vista is helping the brand move with the times. Vista is the first new build for Oceania in over a decade and based on the comments we heard, it feels like the next next thing. We captured the essence of the brand, but made it feel more contemporary, bridging the ten-year gap and pushing the brand forward for a new group of travelers.
Giada De Laurentiis, Vista‘s Godmother, christened the new ship followed by a performance by Harry Connick Jr.
When we work on cruise ships, we typically design many or most of the spaces on board, but rarely all of them. Vista marked the first time that we designed an entire vessel as a new build. Even for those who aren’t “in the business,” it was clear that there was “one brush stroke,” and that one practice had honed the design. Moving from one space to another, in the colors, the lighting, the furnishings, everything just seems to flow, even though each room looks different. We got to see a careful choreography come to life and everyone else on board noticed too. They may not understand why the ship feels so cohesive and unlike other ships, but they feel it. And they told us.
Yohandel and Deivis tuck into an incredible meal in Vista’s Grand Dining Room.
Storytelling is at the heart of many of the restaurants we design. Through research, materials and a meticulous attention to detail, we create an experience that goes beyond food. We spoke to staff, chefs and even Bernard Klotz, the Senior Culinary Director for both Oceania and Regent. They were all blown away by the restaurants on board Vista. They mentioned the design, atmosphere and layout, but it was especially gratifying to speak with them about the stories we created with our work. In the Polo Grill, for example, the materials we used are so much more than aesthetics—from the Persian “rug” in the entrance to the Polo memorabilia lining the shelves, the space recounts the history of Polo. We took this approach across the ship’s dining venues. The restaurant staff in particular were keen to learn more because they said it gives them a powerful connection point to share with guests, allowing them to provide even better, more personalized service.
L: Yohandel pauses beside the Atrium’s glass and light sculpture by LASVIT, a Czech-based artist. R: Greg and Marcos looking dapper before an evening of fun.
We saw it first-hand in our own suites but after speaking with other guests, it’s official—the bathrooms are a major “wow” space on Vista. The spaciousness, the size of the shower and the accessible, roomy storage were all frequent refrains in the feedback we heard. Guests also picked up on the specific materials we chose and how they all came together to create a cohesive whole.
We don’t talk as much about operations and back-of-house elements, because it’s not something we want guests to even notice, but they are absolutely fundamental to making sure our ships function and flow. We make a point to consistently engage the operations team throughout the design process—to map out and plan every step. It makes a huge difference to their comfort and their ability to do their jobs which, in turn, helps them give guests the best possible service.
Greg, Javi and Yohandel all made the most of their time on Vista. Enzo says he enjoyed his “staycation” at home.
The idea of “sense of place” has, in the past, been reserved for permanent, civic landmarks. But we know that creating unique spaces and giving them a deep sense of authenticity is part and parcel of any good design. We take existing venues and enhance the way they function and flow. We take “themes” and bring them into the realm of subtle luxury. As we’ve said before, the tendency these days is to make hotels and resorts a sea of sameness, but by rejecting that, we create deeply memorable experiences that can last a lifetime for guests.