The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry welcomed Oceania Cruises’ VISTA to the fleet on 28 April 2023. Several members of the Registry’s Cruise Team, including President Bill Gallagher; Chief Commercial Officer Theo Xenakoudis; General Manager- Roosendaal Hans Krijger; and Maritime Administration Liaison Angela Plott were on hand as VISTA sailed out of Genoa for a pre-inaugural voyage before the ship’s christening ceremony in Valletta, Malta on 8 May 2023.
The RMI Maritime Administrator has been involved with the project since it was announced by Oceania, supporting the build and delivery – from ship design and alternative design approvals that included visits to the shipyard during construction – oversight and coordination with the classification society, Lloyd’s Register, and finally registering the ship.
Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente delivered the vessel to Oceania during a brief ceremony at the shipyard in Genoa before VISTA sailed out under the command of Captain Luca Manzi. The pre-inaugural voyage stopped in Monaco and Livorno before ending in Rome. While in Monaco, the Cruise Team took the opportunity to visit with Alexander von Stein, Advisor to the Registry, and Captain Ashley Cooper, Marine Director at Scorpio Ship Management.
The first newbuild vessel for Oceania Cruises in 11 years, VISTA represents the future – the dynamic and dazzling Allura class, built for the upper premium market. Its name was chosen to honor the forward-thinking officers, staff, and crewmembers serving aboard and incorporates new technologies and reimagined guest spaces VISTA joins what has grown to a seven-ship fleet for Oceania, all flagged in the RMI Registry.
At the star-studded christening ceremony in Valletta, IRI’s Angela Plott joined honored guests, many of whom paid tribute to company founder Frank J. Del Rio for creating and developing the Oceania brand. It was a grand finale for Del Rio who will retire as President/CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH).
Newly appointed NCLH President/CEO Harry Sommer welcomed attendees while Oceania Cruises President Frank A. Del Rio reflected on the evolution of Oceania Cruises since it was founded by his father. Oceania Cruises Co-Founder Bob Binder and former President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises Jason Montague were bestowed with the honorary title of Commodore. The Archbishop of Malta, Monsignor Charles Jude Scicluna and Miami-based Rabbi Marc Labowitz blessed the vessel before the champagne was smashed across the ship’s bow.
VISTA’s godmother, Giada De Laurentiis, Italian-American chef, author, restauranteur, and Emmy Award-winning food personality headlined the ceremony, which featured an exclusive performance from Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Harry Connick, Jr., and concluded with a finale of fireworks shot over Valletta’s historic harbor.
Built at a cost of $656 million, the VISTA is 67,000 gross tons, and 791 feet (241 meters) long, and holds 1,200 passengers and 800 crew, offering a staffing ratio of two crew members for every three guests. VISTA represents a growing number of new and innovative passenger vessels whose companies have chosen to flag with the RMI. VISTA began its maiden voyage on 13 May 2023 and has a sold-out inaugural summer season in the Mediterranean. In September it will sail to Canada and New England before repositioning to Port Miami for winter 2023-2024.