Oceania Vista Dining

5.0 / 5.0
106 reviews
Editor Rating
5.0
Excellent
Dining
Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

Oceania Cruises has always made cuisine a staple of the cruise experience across its entire fleet, and Vista is no exception. The ship offers 12 different venues, ranging from a casual but oh-so-tasty Bakery to the small-table private dining experience offered to just 10 guests in Privee.

What's more, Oceania doesn't charge for any of its specialty restaurants (excluding Privee), meaning passengers have the ultimate choice in deciding what they want to eat, and where. While reservations will need to be made for most of Vista's specialty restaurants, this can be done either pre-cruise via Oceania's cruise planner, or once onboard.

Oceania Cruises proclaims its cuisine to be the finest at sea, and to be sure, it does not disappoint. You'll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant, menu or dish that you don't fall absolutely head over heels for, and the quality of food and ingredients used is excellent across the board.

Little moments of "surprise and delight" are scattered throughout the dining experience onboard Vista. It could be the superb olive oil trolley that's rolled out at dinners in the Italian-themed Toscana restaurant, or the amazing Sea Day Brunch that is offered in the Grand Dining Room on longer sailings, complete with a tower of jumbo prawns, caviar and cheese stations, and selections like fresh crepes made to order.

Cruisers who have sailed with Oceania in the past may notice that Vista lacks La Reserve, the exclusive extra-cost venue present on the line's other vessels that offers multi-course meals paired with exquisite wines or glasses of bubbles. Another Oceania signature, Jacques, is also missing aboard Vista -- but dishes by chef Jacques Pepin have been worked into the menus in The Grand Dining Room. And, with so much other choice available onboard -- including the new venues -- passengers are not hard done by for choice.

If there's one area where Oceania's cuisine fell a little flat, it was in the relative lack of vegan and vegetarian options in select dining venues. Some, like the Aquamar Kitchen and The Grand Dining Room, offer more than others -- the selection in Toscana was noticeably lacking.

Complimentary room service is available across all cabin categories.

Free Restaurants Oceania's Vista

The Grand Dining Room (Deck 6): A rotating menu of reimagined cruise favorites graces this elegant and opulent dining room, which ranks as one of the most architecturally-interesting we've ever seen at sea. Clad in white and separated into three distinct sections, The Grand Dining Room is adorned with murals hand-painted by Canadian artists that reflect trees and landscapes. The effect is so subtle, we nearly missed it. On the cuisine front, this venue -- open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on most days -- offers all the cruise staples you'd come to expect, along with selections from chef Jacques Pepin and lighter fare from the Aquamar menu.

The Terrace Café (Deck 12): Oceania's answer to the standard cruise ship buffet is an elegant affair, with high-quality furnishings and a spectacular outdoor terrace overlooking the ship's stern. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served here, with menus rotating each day.

Red Ginger (Deck 5): Tucked away on Deck 5 just past the high-end boutiques is Red Ginger, a superb Asian-themed restaurant that offers plenty of flavor -- and spice -- for those who want their meals on the more adventurous side. Starters like Tuna Tataki and Vietnamese Spring Rolls did not disappoint, while entrees reflect the breadth of Asian cuisine, from Lobster Pad Thai to the Salmon Claypot and Thai Vegetable Curry. Open for dinner, reservations required.

Ember (Deck 5): Oceania's take on a contemporary and upscale American restaurant, Ember features accessible cuisine and draws inspiration from the rustic elegance of tasting rooms in California wineries. Food options range from fancier fare like prime rib, Korubuta pork chops, beef tenderloin to casual offerings like cheeseburger, lobster roll, fish and chips, and lobster mac and cheese. Ember is also a brand-new restaurant for Oceania -- replacing French cuisine standard Jacques. Its unassuming nature stands in contrast to the other dining venues across Oceania’s fleet. Open for dinner, reservations required.

Waves Grill (Deck 12): A pseudo-companion to The Terrace Café just aft, this semi-indoor/outdoor dining venue functions as a sort of buffet overflow area during the breakfast hours, but at lunch and dinner offers its own take on Oceania's casual selections. A wide variety of burgers and sandwiches are offered here by lunch and dinner, along with two varieties of hot dog (classic and Mexican) -- plus made-to-order pizza and starters like fresh-made burrata -- an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and fresh cream. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Aquamar Kitchen (Deck 12): Located on the port side of the ship directly opposite Waves Grill, the Aquamar Kitchen is a brand-new venue for Oceania cruises. On the menu are healthier alternatives, like avocado toasts, muesli, smoothies and fresh-made power juices by breakfast, with bowls, wraps and plant-based dishes making their appearance at lunch -- along with a section of great mocktails made with Lyre's de-alcoholized spirits (booze is, of course, available too.). Open for breakfast and lunch.

Bakery (Deck 14): Situated as part of Baristas coffee bar that surrounds the forward-end of Vista's funnel casing, the Bakery aboard Vista is an indulgent pit-stop. Fresh-made croissants (using ingredients imported from France), macarons, beignets and more reside here. Opening hours tend to mirror daytime hours for Baristas, and may change depending on itinerary and ports of call.

Toscana (Deck 14): Oceania's ode to all things Italian, Toscana rockets up the experience meter thanks to a superb olive oil cart that is rolled out early on in the dinner. That sets the tone for some superb antipasti, pasta and entrée dishes. But while Toscana offers a healthy dose of all the Italian favorites you've come to expect, new dishes -- like Vista godmother Giada de Laurentiis' Signature Capri-Inspired Lemon Spaghetti topped with jumbo shrimp -- transform the dining experience. Open for dinner, reservations required.

Polo Grill (Dec 14): In contrast to the more casual Ember, Polo Grill is Oceania's signature, upscale (some might say 'Old School') steakhouse experience. Food here is rich and filling, from hearty bisques to steaks cooked to perfection, or the equally-classic Surf & Turf combinations. Slathered in butter and complemented by décor that feels equally rich, the cuisine will satisfy meat-atarians. Open for dinner, reservations required.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Vista

Privee (Deck 14), $$$$: Sandwiched into a small but visually fascinating room at the stern of the ship between Polo Grill and Toscana, Privee is focused on small-group degustation and pairing dinners. Guests can choose between two distinct menus: the Dom Perignon Experience that pairs champagne vintages alongside elevated cuisine; or the specially-curated Odyssey Menu that offers exciting wine pairings along with dishes custom-crafted for the occasion. Open for dinner, reservations required.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Vista

We found it tough to go wrong with breakfasts in Aquamar Kitchen. The superb views, the light and airy décor, and the healthier fare here kept us coming back for more, as did the smoothies, power juices, and fresh-brewed coffee.

For a classy dining experience, however, it's hard to beat The Grand Dining Room, which recreates all the elegance and opulence of the classic transatlantic ocean liners with a menu that is every bit the room's equal. That's not to say you should avoid the specialty restaurants; just know that The Grand Dining Room is, by no means, a step down affair.

Dietary Restrictions on Vista

Allergies are taken seriously aboard Vista. Preferences can be communicated beforehand during the booking process, and passengers can then visit the Restaurant Manager for a full briefing. Menus are handed out the evening before for those with intolerances or allergies to make selections for the next day, but the fact that most passengers will want to jump around between restaurants sort of defeats the purpose.

However, all wait staff we interacted with took our allergies seriously and diligently checked to ensure we could have the requested dishes.

Vegetarian options and plant-based options are present in nearly every restaurant, though their variety and abundance can vary wildly. The Grand Dining Room and Aquamar Kitchen offered the best selection, in our unscientific opinion, while Toscana had just a handful of dishes suited for vegetarians and vegans -- and no entrees.

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