All posts by cathyttg

Rome meets NYC at Scarpetta in the Ambasciatori Palace

Scarpetta Restaurants started in New York City and recently opened in Rome at the Ambasciatori Palace l, the former home of the US Embassy library and around the corner from the Embassy. It’s a natural fit and we loved the great warm and welcoming service with fabulous food.

Ravioli Cacio E Pepe

Cacio E Pepe seems to be a dish that’s hard to perfect, sometimes too salty, sometimes too peppery, and yet I always want it. At Scarpetta the sauce was perfectly balanced but then the pasta was elevated to these little bundles of cheese and charred leek. Beautifully presented at the table under a clear glass tagine top that kept them melt in your mouth hot.

In Italy we learned that Scarpetta means to sop up the sauce on your plate with bread. Our plates were very clean.

Even the Caesar salad was taken up a couple of notches with a soft egg and a cheese crisp.

Caesar Salad

There was a great bread basket. With these toppers it was hard to save some for scarpetta.

Olive Oil, Mascarpone Whip & Eggplant

We had a peek at Charlie’s rooftop bar. I’m betting it becomes a hot spot.

Good Time Charlie’s
Charlie’s Rome Ambasciatori Hotel

I highly recommend Scarpetta Rome and the Intercontinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace.

Oceania Vista Inaugural Cruise in Summary

Lobster Medallion Salad with Citrus Sauce Avocado Cream and Lobster Croquet

Oceania’s Vista inaugural was my first time on a ship with more than 700 passengers in more than 20 years, believing that I just wouldn’t like anything bigger.  But many of our Oceania clients love the 1,200 passenger, Marina and Riviera and argue that all the additional dining and entertainment options make for a better experience.  I have to agree that as a foodie I loved all the dining options and the variety of live entertainment was super fun. 

Then there’s the enrichment program that I’d never even considered before.  The culinary centre offers very popular, hands-on cooking classes.  I did a photography class at the new LYNC learning centre and have been using the tips I learned ever since.  I even went there for some help with an app on my phone and the tech wizard there was incredibly helpful. 

I asked everyone I talked to onboard about their favourite experience and Ember, exclusive to the Vista featuring Inventive American food was most often mention. And we agreed.  I loved the Sashimi Tuna Salad and my travel partner brought up the Lobster Mac N Cheese every day after. 

Speaking of lobster, I ate it every day in some form.  The lobster bisque is outstanding.  For the christening party, all 1,100 guests had dinner at the same time and they pulled that feat off very well.  One of the 3 appetizers served that night was the Lobster Medallion Salad with Citrus Sauce, Avocado Cream and Lobster Croquette.  It was my fave dish of the trip.

Two other foodie things came up when I asked around; one was Toscana on previous sailings that had been my top pick too, the other was Sunday Brunch and with good reason.  It was amazing. We never got past the seafood table but the options were endless.  It’s a regular thing on Oceania cruises not to be missed. 

There were 1,100 people on board and it was lively and fun with just the right amount of buzz.

Staterooms are luxurious and start at a very comfortable 290 sq ft.

The bathroom was also excellent with the best shower I’ve ever had on a ship.

What didn’t I like?

The bar team were showing off their really fancy complicated cocktails, so pre dinner service was sometimes a bit slow and although I love the idea of a solo cabin, the shower in there is just too small.

In conclusion, I loved this ship and have decided that 7 days is just not enough for me.  In future I want a minimum of 10 days from now on.  12-14 would be even better.

Day 7 on Oceania Vista Saying Goodbye

Testing Martinis

For our final night on Vista we were invited to dine at Toscana. On both Nautica and Sirena, Toscana was my favourite. I was keen to see how the meal on Vista would turn out.

Martinis Oceania Vista
Anthony on Piano at Martinis

We started the night at Martinis. Anthony had us tapping our toes nightly and the bar team were cheerful and professional. I was going to miss this. On to Toscana.

Mosaic Toscana Oceania Vista

I love the tables and the view from the large aft windows as you sail out of port. No carpet means it’s a bit louder and more boisterous but the room is small enough so it isn’t too loud and the chairs are easier to move.

Toscana Oceania Vista

A visit from the olive oil cart is a nice part of the Toscana experience.

Olive Oil Cart Oceania Vista
Fritto Di Calamari

Giada De Laurentiis is Godmother of Vista 2 of her creations, featured at Toscana were the talk of the ship. And it was excellent, pasta al denté, prawn fresh and crisp, sauce light and bright.

Godmother Giada De Laurentiis’ Signature Capri-Inspired Lemon Spaghetti
Trio Toscana – Tagliolini Carbonara, Lobster Risotto & Pest Gnocchi

Shirley judged the pesto the star of the pasta trio and she’s a pesto nut.

But seriously the Branzino with fennel and pomegranate was inspired.

Godmother Giada De Laurentiis’ Branzino Pomegranate
Aragosta Fra Diavolo Con Tagliolini

Another perfect dinner at Toscana.

Day 6 Oceania Vista. Jacques Pepin’s Signature Lobster

Lobster w’ Mushroom Cream & Parmesan Crisp

I’ve had lobster in some form every day. Dinner in the Grand Dining room and I had this dish, a Jacques Pépin special creation. Delicious!

We closed the dining room after a long wonderful dinner with friends.

We learned a lot about the beverage program on board Vista today in a Mixology presentation.

The Men Behind the Wine Program on Oceania Vista
Something for Everyone
Mixology Smoke Devices

Day 5 Oceania Vista. Ember, the new dining option on is a Huge Hit

Sashimi Tuna Salad with Mango, Avocado & Cilantro Ginger Vinaigrette

Ember offers elevated American comfort food and we loved it. The menu has something for everyone; burgers, fish and chips, ribeye steak, crab cakes, lobster rolls and more. I’ll crave the tuna salad for awhile. The lobster mac and cheese was a huge hit. The chicken plates left our table with nothing but a clean bone left, ribeye too. Sea Bass makes a fine F&C.

Blackened Crab Cake, Corn Salsa & Roasted Tomato Sauce
Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese
Chilean Sea Bass & Fries
Herb/Crusted Chicken, Muhammara & Couscous

Day 4 Oceania Vista. Bacalao Fritters Hit the Spot

Bacalao Fritters with Lime and Salsa

Pretty sure there is bacalao in my Newfoundland DNA because I can never pass it up. I wasn’t disappointed.

We were back in the Grand Dining Room last night. I had Chiron sauce on salmon. I’d never heard of it before but it’s a béarnaise with tomato.

Also discovered a new deliciously dry rose. Hoping I can get it back home.

Atlantic Salmon with Chiron Sauce
Rose from Provence

Day 3 Oceania Vista Christening Celebration. In the Grand Dining Room.

Lobster Medallion Salad was unforgettable.

Lobster Medallion Salad with Citrus Sauce Avocado and Lobster Croquet

The night of the Oceania Vista christening ceremony all 1,200 people on board dined at the same time on a menu with 3 starters, a choice of fish or meat and a dessert. It was impressive. The food was delicious, the presentation and service exemplary. You could feel the positive, nervous energy of the staff. It was truly an achievement.

Langoustine Tarama with Caviar and Blinis
Parma Ham Leek and Smoked Ricotta Ravioli with Black Truffle Sauce
Lemon Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Sea Urchin Sauce
Passion Fruit & Chocolate Cube with Raspberry Champagne Sorbet

Day 2 Oceania Vista. Polo Grill for Dinner.

Mosaic Floor at Polo Grill

Walking into Polo Grill the beautiful mosaic floor greets you and sets the mood of luxurious comfort.

Classic Oysters Rockefeller, Onion Soup au Gratin and Caesar Salad served table side recall days of formal dining supper clubs.

Steaks include Porterhouse, Ribeye, New York Strip and Filet Mignon are offered with traditional toppings and sauces.

Options like lobster, lamb and fish ensure there are options for everyone.

Oysters and lobster bisque got a Yums Up at our table. The lamb didn’t do as well. Halibut was a perfectly cooked, excellent piece of fish but overwhelmed by the sauce. The Porterhouse got a big Yums Up.

Oysters Rockefeller
Halibut with Firecracker Sauce
Rack of Lamb
Porterhouse Steak

Hits and misses on the main courses were made up for with side dishes and excellent service.