Our primary reason for booking this trip was the itinerary and it did not fail us. It hit all the places we hoped to see someday all in one trip. While you really can't see a country in one day, you can get a feel for it and the desire to return to see more, which is what we hope to do.
We absolutely loved their itinerary. For us, it made up for the food in the dining area.
The second reason for booking this trip was that the price was very good, about half the going rate at the time of booking. I know a lot of others on the ship must have done this for the same reason. I was told by someone on the ship that they usually cater to Europeans and that there were a lot of Americans on that cruise.
The ship itself was beautiful and clean. Our room was wonderful, probably about 20 or 25% bigger than other balcony rooms that we've had on other cruise lines. The man who took care of our room was extremely helpful.
I think there's a few things they could do to make the ship 'better', by maybe redoing some of the things they have. It would be great if they had another specialty restaurant on the ship. How about a seriously Italian restaurant? And please, boot up the entertainment. There's a 'disco' room that I saw consistently empty. How about a small theater (like maybe use the lame disco room) with large screen and do really recent movies for a fee? How about doing a wine tasting room, come in and do a 'tour of Italy' (or a tour of France, etc.) wine tasting for a price? I think that would be a good money maker.
LOVE their chocolate bar! It was the only spot on the ship to get decent hot chocolate. Wish they would start serving that yummy hot chocolate before 9.
My husband's favorite was Rick's bar. Very attentive and stocked.
Here's the bad. The food in the dining rooms is not up to what we've had on other cruise line dining rooms. Not even close. We were told that it's because we're American and are not used to what Europeans eat. This is what the young woman from Costa told us when we were all given the review sheets to fill out. I found that comment to be very condescending. We can't figure out what they eat in Rome? We've been to Rome and loved their restaurants and the ship dining rooms don't hold a candle to that. Dining room staff also seem to not remember requests or maybe they didn't always understand them, not sure. If you got there 15 minutes before they are scheduled to shut down, they don't hide trying to rush you.
We had also heard that Costa had cut crew (this was obvious in the dining rooms), plus they had deleted the chefs that did the sauces and the salads. Not sure if THAT was true, but the salads (and choices of dressings, salad add-on's) were pretty sad. IF this was true, it was a bad choice. A hash cook cannot compete with a saucier.
Costa Pacifica has two specialty restaurants, Blue Moon and Samsara. Samsara is supposed to be ONLY for the Samsara Spa guests (not sure if that is a big money maker for them. Why not just do a 'spa package' separately like their drink packages?). However, it is possible to eat at the Samsara Restaurant and pay the $20 extra without being a Samsara guest. Wow, what snobs in there. Definitely got the whole, 'And what are YOU doing in here?' vibe when we had dinner in there, so we didn't return.
Blue Moon was wonderful. And the maitre d', Samuel, had a lot of class without being a snob. He made sure everything was fine; his customer service skills are excellent. After being told by someone that we should try dinner at the dining rooms because the formal nights food would be better, and found that they were only barely better, we spent most of our dinners at the Blue Moon. They use 'molecular cooking' to make fresh ice cream on the spot within just a few minutes. That was always fun to watch and tasty to eat. Again, $20 extra per person and well worth the expense. (A caveat: meat tended to be overcooked; please consider only ordering medium rare to rare) The rack of lamb (just a half-rack) was my favorite.
The buffets were acceptable and we ended up eating our day food there instead of the dining rooms. The only downside is that the buffet has hours of serving, not like other cruise lines who basically have no hours on their buffets.
The excursions were fine and competent, if not spendy; but the truth is that excursions are ALWAYS spendy on cruises. This is a way for them to make up money that they didn't receive by getting people to book with lower rates. I get that.
Overall, a good cruise, a great ship, and fantastic choices for ports of call.