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4 Costa Pacifica Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

We travelled as a family of 6, my parents, my husband and I and our 2 children aged 8 & 3. We arrived into Barcelona airport on an early flight, and took a pre-booked transfer to the port with resorthoppa. Well worth the money as it ... Read More
We travelled as a family of 6, my parents, my husband and I and our 2 children aged 8 & 3. We arrived into Barcelona airport on an early flight, and took a pre-booked transfer to the port with resorthoppa. Well worth the money as it was only 53€, where as two cabs would have set us back near on 70€. Arrived at the port (terminal D) around 10:30, where our luggage was taken from us by Costa crew and we were able to check-in at the desk straight away. This meant that we could go off for the day and then come straight back to the boat and board later that afternoon, fantastic! We hopped on the local authority provided shuttle bus (just to the right of the terminal), 3€pp round trip, which drops you at the foot of the Ramblas, perfect. It runs every 20mins or so and is much cheaper than the Costa shuttle bus at 9.75€ per person. When we returned at 4pm we got straight onto the ship, our pictures were taken for our Costa Cards and we were told where to find our cabin and instructed to take part in the emergency drill at 5pm (they will come and find you if you miss it!). Our cabin, a Balcony, was great. Clean, comfy big bed, sofa bed for the little one and a wall bunk bed for the eldest, she was more than happy. There was also enough room in the wardrobe (there are 3) to store the pram. Only down fall was that it was above the Starlight Theatre, which could be very noisy from 5pm when they started to practice that evenings shows. I would imagine that it would also be noisy at night during the show, but we were always watching it, so never bothered us! Shows end by 10:15/30. We found the food to be good and varied. We always tried to eat our breakfast in the New York restaurant, as it is waiter service and we found the La Palomera buffet to be some what chaotic! Pancakes, poached eggs and smoked haddock and salmon, yummy! Lunch, when we were on board, we ate from the Grill by the lido pool or had pasta from La Palomera, once again a tad chaotic but good. My mother is a slightly picky eater, so dinner in New York (or My Way depending on what one you are assigned), which is a 5 course dinner and very Mediterranean style food, was sometimes a little too "exotic" for her tastes, but we loved it. Carpacchios, soups, salads, pasta, risotto, roast leg of lamb, monkfish....I found them all delicious. Our evening waiter was BRILLIANT. He learnt our kids names off by heart, kept them entertained with games and riddles and made them different serviette animals every day. He remembered our drink choices and I NEVER had to ask for more wine or water as he constantly topped it up, BRILLIANT. Entertainment (cough) in the theatre, was OK. The shows, IMO were dated, lots of out of time dancing and ballad/duets, but the kids really enjoyed them. The magic show with Connie Boyd made a nice change, shame it was so dated. The Circus show was good, very impressive. Again, the KIDS loved it, so we were happy. The guys that sing the music in the chocolate bar were great and the Brazilian guy in the main lobby had a lovely voice, same songs night after night though...... Kids went to the Squock club, eldest loved it, little one not so much. You can leave your kids in the club and go off boat, but remember to book them in for lunch before 10am, otherwise they won't get a place. Pools were heated, but not the tiny (and I mean tiny) kids pool on the upper deck. No under 16's in the Jacuzzi's, pool guard kept on top of this in the lido pool, but not the others, and yes I'm sorry to say our kids did use the adult pool, but it was empty and they were nearly drowned by the big kids bombing in the other pools!! The bars are SOOOOOOOOOOO busy at night, sometimes it's difficult to get a table, but when people clear out for the 9pm dinner sitting, it eases up slightly. If you can find one, sit at a table, the waiters prefer to take your orders than serve you at the bar. Take my advice, get the AI drinks package, well worth it. We had cocktails, wine and GnT's and the kids loved the non-alcho ones. Disembarkation was fine, put your luggage outside your cabin before 1am on the day of departure and they will take it for you (remember to keep a small bag for clothes and toiletries!). You have to leave the cabin by 8:30 then be in the theatre by 9am. Last disembarkation time was 9:15, we were off the boat by 9:45 and in a cab by 10. Would I travel with Costa again, yes for the right price and always with an open mind. It was a winter cruise, so the retractable roofs were kept closed meaning that the noise level in the lido deck could be astonishing. Again, it was winter, it's going to be busy when people can't sit outside. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Firstly I have to say I had a really nice time. I booked the cruise last minute, and read reviews afterwards. This made me nervous, but I actually enjoyed my experience a lot. I have never been on a cruise before, and had no idea ... Read More
Firstly I have to say I had a really nice time. I booked the cruise last minute, and read reviews afterwards. This made me nervous, but I actually enjoyed my experience a lot. I have never been on a cruise before, and had no idea what to expect. I had a week off from work, and wanted to be somewhere it didn't snow and wasn't grey, but didn't have a lot of money to spend. Through last minute booking websites I found this cruise, and thought the ports were really interesting. There was no way i could have traveled to so many places organizing my own transport. Plus it was basically the same price as a last minute deal to Egypt or Turkey. I booked a cabin (single supplement) for £373 which I think was really good value. I booked the flights myself, and had to organize the transfer going myself (coming back i used costa transfer which was great and much cheaper), but otherwise it took very little effort and was pretty idiot proof. Food: I loved the food. I am gluten free, and I don't think I have ever eaten so well. You need to let them know when booking, and also reconfirm when you are on the ship but they can provide gluten free food. For breakfast and lunch you go to New York restaurant, and they have a special gluten free area. They are the same staff each day, so you get to know them quite well. At breakfast you get given gluten free bread and croissants, plus info about what was safe to eat from the buffet (i.e. eggs, specific yoghurts and also the meats/cheeses). At lunch time you were given a gluten free menu with choices! so you could chose what you wanted. At dinner everyone is given a specific table (not necessarily in New York - I was seated in My Way). Here you are given a gluten free menu, and again can chose what you wanted. The menus both had 7 courses, so there would definitely be something you wanted. The pastas were amazing, and generally overall i thought the food was really good. The only slight disappointment were the desserts - it was basically the same 3 cakes and fruit. But they had croissants at breakfast so I don't think I should complain about this at all! Also at dinner you had to order from the maitre'd which sometimes meant your food came at different times to others on the table. But I was a solo traveler so didn't find this too odd. And to be honest its better this than getting ill. There were also various buffets on deck 9. they had no gluten free food here (and the staff weren't sure about ingredients), so they do tell you to avoid. I did try the grill (chips, and salmon and hotdogs were eaten with no ill effects), but they do say you should eat in the restaurants. Entertainment: I went for a quite time really and didn't drink a lot. There were lots of bars, with different types of music and atmospheres. it was quite a party ship, and I think if you want lots of these kind of activities its a good chose for you. I went to the shows in the theater each night and enjoyed them. it wasn't the west end, but all shows were fun enough to be enjoyed. The circus night was amazing, and not to be missed. Unless you are a huge Bee Gees fan, the tribute night is nothing special Ports: the main reason I chose this holiday, was the interesting ports. I loved Barcelona, and Sardinia. In each port their are excursions, and also shuttle buses if you don't want to do an excursion. I just did the shuttle buses and at 9 euros return, I thought this was a very cheap option. The bus took you to the center of the town, so it was an idiot proof way to wonder round Information sheets: Each night, you were given an information sheet in your room about the following day. this included info about temperature, when the ship arrives/left, details of the shuttle bus, and the entertainment activities for the day. it also gave timing for the restaurants. Beware, the restaurants aren't open exactly the same time each day - so check the sheet!!!! Cabin: It was bigger than i expected. I had an inside cabin, and I understand why people say go for outside. The room was fine, but it was very confusing trying to work out the time of day with no outside light. There is only 1 plug, and it is European. So make sure you take an adapter (oddly they don't sell them on board which i thought was weird). Shower was great, and my cabin steward was fantastic. When i arrived on my first day, i found lunch and a big bow of fruit waiting for me (I think it was because i was gluten free and couldn't eat in the buffets) Announcements: there were some in 5 languages, but not a lot. they were mostly the safety ones, which to be honest i would want everyone on-board to understand. It is a Costa rule that everyone in the staff had to speak English. So for the minority on board we were really lucky French were by far the majority of guests. Children: there were children on board (which I am not a fan of) but they didn't bother me. they had children's clubs, and i stayed away from the pool (wehre they seemed to live). What i didn't like: overall i thought information was extremely poor. i booked online, and received next to no information before my trip. The website was useless, and as a first time cruiser I had no idea what to expect. On the ship it was no different, and for example I dragged my suitcase through the embarkation process, not realizing (and not being told) they will take it off you and helpfully deliver it to your room. Also I didn't realize until booking that drinks aren't included. Whilst I understanding not having alcohol indued, I did think it was odd you didn't even get a soft drink with you meal. I have no experience of other ships, so perhaps this is standard. but it was a surprise to me. On this point i have seen discussion about whether the drinks inclusive rate is good value. i wasn't drinking much, and so i spent about 50 euros over the week. this included a soft drink each night, a couple of hot chocolates in the chocolate bar, and a couple of cocktails. if you are going to drink a lot of alcohol each night the drinks package is good value. if however you plan just to drink water (and the 'tap' water is free) and have the odd drink, don't bother. Some of the staff in the restaurant seriously need some common sense help. Most of them were amazing, but my first lunch time experience actually made me want to cry. i walked into the restaurant and a staff member recognized me from the night before. She helpfully sat me in the gluten free section. Another waiter then came and told me I couldn't sit there and i should follow him. i did only to lose him, and asked another waiter where i should sit. he told me i couldn't sit where he was taking me because there was a step and the step would be a problem for me (?????????) and told me to sit somewhere else. i did this, asked for tea and the gluten free menu. the waiter said 'your gluten free?' and walked off. He then got a really helpful waitress (who it turned out was lovely, and in charge of the gluten free area). She took me back to where I was originally sitting. Bloody hell!!!!!!! That kind of thing drives me insane. The Spa i thought was expensive, and I had an average manicure (nothing special, but nothing truly terrible) My entire trip including transfers was around £650. For this money, I had a great time (and would recommend). if however i had paid full price (i think around £1300 for my cabin) I would be very disappointed. Its a good fun resort on a boat, but nothing luxurious or overly special. Nice week away but if i spent £1300 i would expect many more frills. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the Med. We didn't want to be on a ship full of Brits, Americans and Australasians. This cruise appeared to be good value for money, and WAS. Balcony cabins appear much more expensive on most other cruise-lines, and choosing the balcony cabin was the best thing we ever did.A couple of bits of advice from this website, prior to the cruise, are just so true.1. Just go with the flow. The organisation for all the bits and pieces always gets there.2. If you want 5 star food (as so many seem to expect) then you are on the wrong ship. 5 star food can be found on a five star ship. (and for that, your cruise will be twice the price)3. If you want lavish American style breakfast/lunch and dinner buffets, with huge steaks and rich sauces - then again, you are on the wrong ship. Book an American cruise.4. But if you want a true Latin/Euro experience on a large, newish and clean ship, fantastic crew who help you at every turn, excellent activities, heaps to do, lots of space to get away from the crowds, roomy cabins cleaned at least 3 times a day - then this IS the cruise for you.5. "If it's your first cruise - then make sure you get a balcony cabin" - thanks to whoever advised this. The inside cabins looked great, but for a first-time cruiser, it just was so good to be able to sit outside and watch what's going on.With Israel and Eygpt dropping off the itinerary, the stopovers became superfluous really. We just ended up having a great time on the boat. Izmir was the best stopover. Limassol in Cyprus was the worst. A really poor alternative to the deleted ports. Our balcony cabin was just so good. Special thanks to our cabin steward, Kristian who made such a difference. We spent a lot of time just chilling, reading etc. Most importantly, we slept really well. Better than most hotel rooms.Enjoyed level 5 - the entertainment floor. Something for everyone to do. It's a great ship if you've got teenage kids. Tended to spend a few evening hours in the Latin dancing floor area. Entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was very good most nights. Good talent with excellent production values. Good value for the cruise price.Used the gym quite a bit. Is spacious and well run. Suggested at end of cruise, that a small movie cinema would be more than useful. I see some cruiselines are introducing 3D cinemas etc. We sometimes felt like taking in a movie, and didn't use the cabin movie videos available, because the screen was too small. Lots of chatter online about the cost of add-ons - but it wasn't a problem for us. There was no hard-selling going on. If you intend to drink a bit, then the drinks packages are good value. Re water. Many people just re-filled water bottles in the buffet areas, rather than pay for bottled water all the time.We upgraded to the Blue Moon restaurant one night only, and it was fantastic. Worth the 20E each to have dinner alone for one night, with a sea-view table.Food - Breakfast was the same every day, but that was fine. There's an eggs station, which we utilised most mornings, had nice fruit, cereals, hams and cheeses, pastries.Lunch had varied themes, and enjoyed some nice meals.Lots of chat about the absence of an evening buffet, but we always made our 6.30pm sitting in the MDR after excursions, without a rush.Have to say the evening a la carte evening dinner routine just made the trip for us. We had a great table with 2 Polish and Australian families, and enjoyed their company a lot. Great Italian style atmosphere at dinner, which we loved. Wouldn't have been the same, just sitting on our own at a buffet table. Was a classy dinner environment, and I can now see why the cruiseline prefer this system. Got caught out a bit with the formal nights, especially the Captain's formal night. It was really dressy. Next time, I will be packing a nice suit.Now - the a la carte routine - and some advice for non-Euros/Italians to work it to your advantage.1. For some reason, or maybe we just chose the wrong thing, the food for the first couple of nights was nowhere near as good as it became. Serving sizes also increased as the cruise progressed.2. If you're a fan of seafood, then you can't go wrong anywhere on the menu. When in doubt about any dish, have the seafood. There are 4 standard menu dishes at the front of the menu for every night - and the salmon is great.3. Dishes don't have added salt and pepper, so utilise you're salt and pepper shakers.4. Any meat dish that has "wild" in front of its English translation is a must. The wild duck, pork, beef and lamb were the best meals of the trip.5. Ask for your beef to be medium rare. Your waiter will arrange this. Otherwise you may find it too tough. 6. If there's a dish you don't like, just ask something else. They are very obliging.7. If you really need some fries - then just ask them if you can also have some fries. They will provide them.Two unusual, and well documented aspects to the ship's food on offer. The pizza available at the 9pm buffet is really average, and not authentic. I see MSC Cruises have just put a press release out about how they are going to start offering authentic pizza, so I guess Costa will follow. They need to.Also - the pasta in the MDR was average early on, then became great later in the trip. Not sure how that works. However - will always remember our MDR experiences. Just be careful with your selections, and don't hesitate to send something back, and get it replaced. Can't wait for our next Costa cruise. Was really critical of Costa HQ for the poor communication for the itinerary changes. However it's not fair on the great crew, to take this into account for our actual cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
First impression: The ship is huge. Even walking from one end to the other takes time, and this creates a 'village' feel, where numerous people attend any event or activity, be it lunch, darts, aerobics, casino or nightlife. ... Read More
First impression: The ship is huge. Even walking from one end to the other takes time, and this creates a 'village' feel, where numerous people attend any event or activity, be it lunch, darts, aerobics, casino or nightlife. Meals: Breakfast is on par with a land-based good 5-star hotel. Cooked varieties of all types, including custom-ordered pancakes, eggs or sausages. 4 choices of cereal in the normal section, and 2 more choices in the 'healthy' section. 3 choices of milk including soy. Fresh fruits, yoghurts, sweets and pastries. French toast, bread of all kinds and everything in between. The missing component: A good (Italian) coffee. Granted, you can help yourself to unlimited machine-poured coffee or take a sachet of Nescafe's "Grand Aroma" available in sachets, but if you want a proper Espresso or Capuccino, you must pay for it. More about pricing later. Lunch is a choice of the buffet on the 9th floor or free seating on the 4th floor (My Way and New York, New York). We preferred the 9th floor, where the food was simply incredible. At the extreme end of the restaurant next to the pool there was always some cooking station going on, which cooked fresh pasta, fresh fish, spicy beef on the Mexican night, and so many other delicacies which would have cost an entire day of cruising in an equivlent restaurant. Portions are unlimited, and the food quality was excellent. Desserts always included a huge variety of fresh fruit, unlimited ice-cream in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, and a massive variety of mousse or cream-based sweets which were individually presented in bowls. Pizza in 4 flavours was available 24-hours, as was (machine) coffee, ice and water. Water was also freely served during dinner, in jugs which were continuously re-filled. Tea-time was 1 hour between 4pm and 5pm. This offered a huge variety of sweets and fruit. Tiramisu featured regularly, as well as apple strudel, cream cakes, and fruit cakes of all types. Not to be missed! Dinner was based on 2 fixed-seating arrangements. The tables are huge so it is shared with other families. Our table seated 11. Food was a' la carte, with a 7-course meal with choices at each stage. You can also choose 'off-the-menu' dishes, such as spaghetti bolognese, fries, chicken and meat choices .. the meal always included a cheese platter and dessert. Food quality again was extremely high and presentation of dishes was superb. My only complaint would be the cheese platter, where the same 4 cheeses were offered each night, even though the menu stated things differently! If you fancy wine at dinner, a purchase of 6 bottles as a 'pack' will set you back 99 Euro. The wine itself is usually sold closer to 4 Euro a bottle from a normal shop, but I expect you need to pay the premium as in good quality restaurants. We were almost 'conned' by the waiter telling us that the menu we had picked up on deck was the 'old' one, and the 'new' one offered 5 bottles of wine for 92 Euro, but we held firm and got the 6 bottles after all. On deck they were still touting what had been called the 'old' menu. On the 7th night there is champagne served during the Gala dinner anyway. Entertainment during dinner was great with waiters doing their best to dance and sing. Highly entertaining, and very enjoyable. On the Spa/gym side, there is a gym reserved for over-18 although it said over-16 in other places. However, the staff insisted on over-18. Gym is very well equipped, lots of machines, although it can get pretty full at peak times. The view from the gym is incredible while using the treadmill or cycles. On the cruise downside, you feel that there is an element of over-selling. One time during lunch we were approached 7 times or more by waiters selling the drink packages, which we had already bought anyway. Also, several Spa 'informative' sessions are just marketing their products and treatments. No hard selling however - the moment you indicate non interested you are set free :) Pools are crowded as expected with some 3,000 people on board. Of course it depends on timing - the decks get very quite when ashore and during lunch. The water slide is pretty cool, and the jacuzzi was fun too, although kids were uncontrolled, and were jumping the queue to the water slide, or jumping wildly in the jacuzzi. Could have been just the group of kids on our cruise though :) However the crew did nothing to prevent it happening. Excursions were either pre-booked or else there was usually a help-desk at port to help the individual travellers. Usually offering some money-saving advice too, like purchasing the day-card in Rome (Civitavecchia) and taking the public shuttle (rather than the Costa shuttle) in Barcelona! Midnight buffets were especially spectacular. Ice sculptures, carved fruit, staff entertaining .. each night was an event by itself. This was mainly on the deck on the 9th floor. Apart from this, the Stardust theater had a performance nightly - some were absolutely fantastic events, but other nights can only be classified as amateurish. It was all good entertainment, however. On the 'good' nights the place gets crowded, with people even sitting on the stairs and standing all around. After midnight, two areas were heavily attended: The Rhapsody bar with dancing for the older generation, and the Fever disco for the younger generation. On some nights there were parties on the 9th floor in front of the massive screen, with animators leading the way. Incidentally, the animators had an excellent control of english, but this varies in the ship. A large percentage of the crew are either from the Philippines or possibly Brazilian, so both English and Italian were not their native language! The Playstation area was a disappointment, since the consoles were there but you needed to somehow purchase the games to play. On the other hand, the F1 simulator was great. Although it was not as realistic as promised, since there was no 'manual' mode, it was great fun. Euro 10 gets you the sample 3 minute ride, then Euro 20 gets you into the feel of racing. Excellent fun, and the feel of the full-sized car is incredible. Overall, a cruise to remember and recommend! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Costa Pacifica Ratings
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