Perfecting luxury: How Studio DADO designed Oceania Cruises' Vista

Greg Walton and Yohandel Ruiz explain to Rebecca Gibson how Studio DADO has helped Oceania Cruises to set a new standard of luxury onboard Vista, its first Allura-class ship

Perfecting luxury: How Studio DADO designed Oceania Cruises' Vista
The design of the atrium was inspired by a nautilus shell and features a two-deck-high chandelier by Lasvit as its centrepiece

Touted as a ship with a “captivating beauty and stylish design”, Oceania Cruises’ new ship Vista will offer guests a “dramatic new way of seeing the world” when it debuts in Rome, Italy, in early April 2023.  

The vessel, which will be the first in the Allura class, will boast several new dining concepts, luxury residential-style accommodation for up to 1,200 guests, extravagant yet intimate and cosy spaces, and much more. 

Most of the vessel’s interiors have been designed by award-winning Miami-based firm Studio DADO, including all the guest accommodation (aside from the Owner’s Suite), multiple dining venues, lounges, the pool deck, outdoor areas and the public corridors, passenger elevators and stairwells.  

“We developed the macro-level design concept and narrated the whole guest experience, ensuring a thread of continuity and an organic flow throughout the vessel,” says Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner of DADO. “We’ve created spaces that have their own distinct identities but still fit harmoniously into the overall design concept to ensure the ship feels cohesive rather than disjointed.” 

Oceania Cruises asked DADO to create a fresh, contemporary design that would fulfil the needs and expectations of both the current and future generation of travellers.  

“The culinary experience and the destinations are pivotal on an Oceania cruise, so we’ve put them front and centre of our designs,” says Greg Walton, founding partner of DADO. “Vista will be sailing to amazing destinations around the world, so one of our key priorities was to capture the essence of these locales in the onboard spaces as a way of enhancing the culinary experience and deepening the guests’ cultural enrichment.” 

Vista’s new signature restaurant Ember, for example, is designed to evoke the modern, yet cosy, eateries found in California’s Napa Valley. It boasts soft white wood panelling, split-face stone walls, custom-seeded glass and iron lighting, a vaulted brick ceiling, photographs of California landscapes and wooden tables with the butterfly joints that are typically found in traditional American woodwork. 

Meanwhile, the Grand Dining Room was inspired by the great glass conservatories in Europe and features design highlights including a hydrangea-inspired chandelier, hand-painted weeping willow wallcoverings and custom-designed parquet flooring. And in Pan-Asian restaurant Red Ginger, DADO has reflected the French-Indochina era by incorporating elements such as French Colonial-style caning, two birdcage chairs, pagoda-inspired lamps, chinoiserie pottery, wallcoverings with hand-painted landscapes, and a custom wall art installation comprising hand-blown glass and metal pieces inspired by the hanging lanterns of Hoi An in Vietnam.  

“We’ve taken this approach in all the public spaces we’ve designed across the ship,” says Ruiz. “For example, the pool deck is reminiscent of a private beach club at an exclusive Saint-Tropez resort, while a wall of windows in the Artist’s Loft will make guests feel like they’re immersed in a New York studio.  

“We carried out comprehensive research to enable us to carefully layer together little unique design details that capture the true essence and atmosphere of each destination or bygone era. This will add authenticity, so guests genuinely feel like they’ve been transported elsewhere.” 

DADO also extensively researched Oceania Cruises’ guests to fully understand their preferences and build a picture of the types of amenities and experiences that would be most meaningful to them. 

“Like Oceania Cruises, we’re laser-focused on perfecting all the little details that may seem insignificant on their own but come together to elevate the design and deliver a truly luxurious guest experience,” says Ruiz. “This was a particular priority in guest accommodation, where we’ve maxmised every inch of space to optimise storage and carefully considered how to use elements such as lighting and colours to invoke relaxation. We’ve also incorporated all the creature comforts that will make staterooms and suites feel like a home away from home, such as soft linens, comfortable pillows and power outlets by the bed.” 

Paying such fastidious attention to detail has also enabled DADO to make its designs as sustainable as possible.  

“Protecting the environment is crucial for both DADO and Oceania Cruises, so we’ve approached sustainability from multiple angles,” says Walton. “For instance, to improve air quality and prevent people from breathing in the volatile organic compounds emitted by dyed carpets, we’ve chosen Dansk Wilton carpets made from natural, undyed wools for the guest accommodation areas.  

“In addition, we’ve considered the cradle-to-cradle impact of the furniture, fabrics and other materials, sourcing them as locally as possible to the shipyard to minimise shipping emissions. We’ve chosen durable materials and pieces of furniture that will age well so they don’t need to be replaced every few years.” 

According to Walton, DADO’s focus on creating timeless, detailed designs that prioritise sustainability and longevity has led to a ship filled with innovative spaces that will stand the test of time. 

“Guests will be impressed from the moment they board – even walking into the atrium is like stepping into a piece of art,” he says. “There’s a sculptural staircase that winds its way up to the next deck with an incredible, floor-to-ceiling Lasvit chandelier at its centre. It’s a breath-taking sight that sets the tone for the other spectacular spaces guests will discover as they explore the rest of the ship. These small details will set Vista apart from other cruise ships.” 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door. 

Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
06 April 2023