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OCEANIA CHRISTENS NEW SHIP: And Frank Del Rio retires as president CEO of NCL

When Oceania Cruises christened its newest ship Vista against the ancient walls of Valletta, Malta on the evening of May 8, the glittering ceremony celebrated more than the line’s first Allura Class vessel, its first new ship in the decade. With auspicious timing, marking 20 years since Frank J. Del Rio founded Oceania with visionary ingenuity, Del Rio is retiring as president/CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

His son, Frank A. Del Rio, Jr. is taking the helm as president, Oceania Cruise Lines. With emotion tinging his voice, Frank Jr. (as he will likely be called for a while) paid tribute to his family, the original founders, investors, financiers, shipbuilders, advisors, the incredibly loyal crew members, and international travel advisors who “took a chance in sending clients to a new cruise line with a little known reputation.”

Acknowledging future commitment to support advisors in many ways, Frank Jr. quoted the old adage: “Some say: ‘It’s not personal, it’s just business.’ I say, ‘This work isn’t just business, it’s personal.’”

Citing “Oceania cruises as the best culinary- and destination focused cruise line in the world,” Del Rio proudly praised Vista to rousing applause from the audience, including a small contingent of media and hundreds of elite travel advisors from around the world. At 241 metres (791 feet) long and more than 67,000 tons, the 1,200-guest Vista offers a market-leading staffing ratio with two crew members for every three guests, including a ratio of 1 chef per 10 guests.

Vista sets new standards for upper premium class luxury, offering a decidedly luxurious yet residential ambience that is evident from the first impression of the atrium lobby to the all-veranda accommodations, including new Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms for solo travelers. Watch for complete details of the vessel – including new dining venues, amenities, luxe shipboard lifestyle, and its facilities for corporate/incentive groups.

After blessings by Monsignor Charles Jude Scicluna, Archibishop of Malta and Rabbi Marc Labowitz of Florida, the Christening ceremony commenced as Frank J. Del Rio called his wife, godmother of Oceania’s first ship, Regatta – affectionately acknowledging workplace prowess with her nickname “Port Bitch” – to introduce Giada De Laurentiis as Vista’s godmother. The celebrated Italian-american chef, author, restaurateur and Emmy award-winning food personality pulled the lever, smashing Champagne against the bow. Dazzling celebrations capped off the evening with a performance from Grammy and Emmy award-winning musician Harry Connick, Jr. and fireworks over Valletta’s historic Grand Harbour.

First published at Travel Industry Today

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