Oceania Cruises celebrated the launch of its first new ship in over a decade in Valletta, Malta on Monday evening, with the christening ceremony of Vista.
The event also served as a platform for Oceania Cruises to welcome the promotion of Frank Del Rio Jr to the leadership role as President, which came into effect on 1 January 2023, and the passing on of the operational baton for the overarching company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, from Frank Del Rio Sr to Harry Sommer, as President and CEO.
Addressing an audience of 1,200 NCLH executives, founders, investors, friends, family and hundreds of travel partners, Sommer said he was “blessed to take the mantle” from Del Rio Sr – “a true industry icon who has set the bar for excellence to new heights”.
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Emotions ran high in Frank Del Rio Jr’s speech centred around his profound honour to continue the legacy of Oceania Cruises’ founder, Del Rio Sr, who himself honoured a promise he made back in 1998 to his then 20-year-old son on the pier of Chantiers de l’Atlantique in France when taking delivery of the future Insignia, vowing one day he would run his own cruise line.
“We’re here to celebrate our spectacular new Vista – the pinnacle of our 20-year history to date,” said Frank A Del Rio. “She’s elegant, she’s stunning, contemporary, while maintaining the classic Oceania DNA that we all love.”
“From her gorgeous staterooms and all-class balconies – which is a first within NCLH’s luxury fleet – to her grand staircase, stylish and sophisticated dining venues, she is both grand and cozy. Every detail, every embellishment has been attended to with utmost care and attention.”
The 241-metre-long Vista has been billed as one of the most anticipated new ships to join the global cruise fleet this year. Accommodating 1,200 guests, Vista boasts the most spacious standard staterooms at sea, and three brand-new dining concepts, building on the brand’s core focus of destination-rich itineraries with world-class service and The Finest Cuisine at Sea.
There are 11 culinary venues onboard, three of which are new – Ember, a signature restaurant featuring elevated American cuisine; Aquamar Kitchen, which brings wellness offerings to a new level; and The Bakery at Baristas, an expansion of popular coffee bar Baristas, serving freshly baked French and Italian pastries.
Del Rio Jr continued, saying: “To put it simply, Vista represents the future of Oceania Cruises.
“She’s the launching pad to our dazzling and dynamic tomorrow.”
Celebrated Italian-American chef, author, restaurateur and Emmy Award-winning food personality, Giada De Laurentiis, performed the time-honoured tradition of christening Vista, pulling a lever that triggered the release of a bottle of champion that smashed on the hull of the 67,000 tonne vessel.
Italian-native Captain Luca Manzi boasted of the ship’s capabilities, power and handling, saying Vista operates comfortably at a speed of 22 knots.
“It’s a thing of beauty, but we should not be surprised ’cause she was made in Italy,” Captain Manzi quipped.
After her summer season in the Mediterranean, Vista will sail to Canada and New England before heading to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.
Attending the gala were several dozen Australian travel adviors, with LATTE capturing these photos from the ceremony.