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Costa Pacifica

Itinerary

Take a look at a map, and you'll instantly see why Guadeloupe (Gwahd-loop) is called the Butterfly Island -- though its "wings" are actually two separate islands joined by bridges. Smaller surrounding islands, including Marie-Gallant, La Desirade and Iles des Saintes, are also part of this French overseas region in the Lesser Antilles.

The archipelago was originally settled by the Arawak people but later taken over by the Caribs. Christopher Columbus stopped there in 1493 and named the main landmass Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura after a statue of the Virgin Mary housed in a Spanish monastery of the same name.

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  • Day 2

La Romana ranks as the Dominican Republic's youngest, smallest and most wealthy province. The Dominican Republic lies on the eastern side of Hispaniola, an island it shares with Haiti. The D.R., as it's known, stretches over two-thirds of the island and is about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. It also claims the West Indies' highest mountain peak -- rising some 10,415 feet from the Cibao Valley. Christopher Columbus founded the first permanent European settlement in the D.R. in 1493.

The 7,000-acre resort village of Casa de Campo, which is like a town itself, is located in La Romana and features lots for cruise passengers to do and see. It's definitely the main draw during a day in port. Most of the more interesting options (particularly golf, tennis, skeet-shooting and horseback-riding) are available only through ship excursions, and a limited range of activities exist for independent-minded visitors. In addition, some ships don't even call on this port until mid-afternoon or later, which limits outdoor activities.

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La Romana ranks as the Dominican Republic's youngest, smallest and most wealthy province. The Dominican Republic lies on the eastern side of Hispaniola, an island it shares with Haiti. The D.R., as it's known, stretches over two-thirds of the island and is about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. It also claims the West Indies' highest mountain peak -- rising some 10,415 feet from the Cibao Valley. Christopher Columbus founded the first permanent European settlement in the D.R. in 1493.

The 7,000-acre resort village of Casa de Campo, which is like a town itself, is located in La Romana and features lots for cruise passengers to do and see. It's definitely the main draw during a day in port. Most of the more interesting options (particularly golf, tennis, skeet-shooting and horseback-riding) are available only through ship excursions, and a limited range of activities exist for independent-minded visitors. In addition, some ships don't even call on this port until mid-afternoon or later, which limits outdoor activities.

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  • Day 4

In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Since its discovery, St. Christopher (later shortened by British sailors to St. Kitts) has been fought over by the British and French who, tragically, made it a center of the West Indian slave trade. Pirates, including the notorious William Kidd who was marooned on Nevis after his crew mutinied, enjoyed lucrative careers in Basseterre Harbor.

St. Kitts and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain. In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister. While British holdovers such as cricket and driving on the left side of the road remain, the Kittitians are extremely proud of their history and how far they've come on their own.

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Antiguans like to boast that they have 365 beaches -- one for each day of the year. And while no one counts to ensure the accuracy of this catchy marketing claim, the squiggly shaped island indeed is full of beachy gems, each with its own unique appeal.

Part of the West Indies, Antigua was first occupied by the peaceful Arawak Indians around 200 B.C. They stayed until the arrival of the Caribs, an Amazonian tribe, whose name was derived from the Spanish word "caribal," meaning "cannibal." Then, the island was known as Wadadli until 1493 when Columbus, who never made landfall, sailed by and named the island in honor of Maria de la Antigua, a saint he worshipped in Seville.

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Martinique is one of four French overseas territories in the Caribbean. (The others are St. Martin, Guadeloupe and St. Barts; collectively, they're known as the French West Indies.) French is the first language, and most locals do not speak fluent English; you'll find that signs and menus generally aren't meant to accommodate anyone who isn't French. This can make a visit challenging, especially in the quick time of a day's call, but it's also part of what makes this island so intriguing.

Martinique is one of the few islands that still grows sugarcane and bananas in the rolling fields of its central section, and it has an enormously respected reputation for producing unique and refined rums. Head north to Mont Pelee to experience its rainforest or see the ruins at Saint-Pierre, which are remnants of a volcanic eruption in 1902. Beaches range from the St. Tropez-style of those at the resort town of Pointe du Bout to the naturist-friendly Pointe des Salines and Sainte-Anne, on the south side of the island.

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Take a look at a map, and you'll instantly see why Guadeloupe (Gwahd-loop) is called the Butterfly Island -- though its "wings" are actually two separate islands joined by bridges. Smaller surrounding islands, including Marie-Gallant, La Desirade and Iles des Saintes, are also part of this French overseas region in the Lesser Antilles.

The archipelago was originally settled by the Arawak people but later taken over by the Caribs. Christopher Columbus stopped there in 1493 and named the main landmass Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura after a statue of the Virgin Mary housed in a Spanish monastery of the same name.

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118 reviews
Why Choose Costa Pacifica?

Two-deck Samsara Spa is beautiful

Two-deck Samsara Spa is beautiful

Music theme creates jazzy onboard ambience

Music theme creates jazzy onboard ambience

Two covered pools make ship a good winter choice

Two covered pools make ship a good winter choice

Costa Pacifica Overview

First Impressions

Big, bold and brash, the ship will also be relatively familiar to fans of Carnival's Conquest class; the layout's basically the same, and Costa Pacifica's interiors have been decorated by Joe Farcus, the long-time Carnival designer (and now a stalwart leader of the Costa new-build team).

All of Farcus' ships are designed around themes, and Pacifica's is music. It's amply represented in the ship's decor -- artwork, from antique violins to prints of scores, is simpatico, and decks are named after music styles. What's interesting here is that the theme is also carried through in ship activities. Unique to Costa Pacifica are cruising's first-ever recording studio (more on this below) and a "music maestro," who oversees the unusual-for-Costa enrichment opportunity. In this case, passengers can learn how to play piano, guitar and drums during their time onboard.

Beyond music, Costa Pacifica, which (like its Concordia-class siblings) is one of the largest in the Costa fleet, will appeal to travelers who want numerous entertainment options (from the rollicking two-deck Disco Fever to the elegant Wien Wien, a Viennese-inspired lounge that offers classical performances), an elaborate spa and excellent facilities for kids, all at extremely good value-for-money fares.

Mealtime

The New York, New York and My Way restaurants (clearly a nod to Frank Sinatra) serve as the ship's main evening venues. Seating is prearranged at set times and with set tablemates. The ship attracts lots of passengers sailing with groups of friends and family, so most tables in the restaurants are large; there are only a handful of two-tops.

Breakfast and lunch, which are both open-seating affairs, are offered in New York, New York, every day.

Deck 9, home of the pool deck, is the locale for the vast lido buffet venue. On your first few visits to La Paloma buffet (particularly at lunchtime), take a few minutes to walk around the entire eatery, which features different themed sections like French, Italian, Mexican and Asian (including sushi). The lunch buffet also has hot entrees, cold sandwich fare and pizza. (Oddly, given Costa's Italian roots, other lines, such as Carnival, have much better pizza.)

Other lunch options include the Ipanema Grill and the Lido Calpyso. Adjacent to the Deck 9 pool areas, both offer steam table grill items (no cooked-to-order food here), such as chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries that are invariably lukewarm.

Breakfast is more pedestrian, offering the usual mix of European staples (cold cuts, cheeses, yogurt, fruit) and the American breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon). A late riser's breakfast is set up in the Ipanema Grill.

The Club Blue Moon is the ship's gourmet venue and, like others in the Concordia family, is overseen by Ettore Bocchia. Bocchia is highly regarded as the innovative executive chef (and Michelin-starred restaurateur) at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como. His claim to fame is establishing Italian molecular gastronomy, a trendy food movement that experiments with chemical reactions to ingredients by cooking at different temperatures. Bocchia's molecular dishes had been introduced on earlier Costa ships, but at our dinner at the cozy Blue Moon, we were told that the line is actually trying to downplay the trendy culinary approach. Only one ice cream dish on our menu was prepared according to the molecular tenets -- and the only noticeable difference was that it didn't freeze your teeth like normal ice cream.

Reservations are required to dine at the Blue Moon, which is open only for dinner. Rather than paying a per-person service charge to dine there, passengers pay a la carte prices for menu items. Plates of antipasti were priced between 6 and 7.50 euros, mains were 6.50 to 8 euros, and desserts ranged from 4.50 to 6 euros.

The Samsara Spa restaurant, primarily limited to passengers who've booked the ship's spa cabin packages, was not yet open on our pre-inaugural voyage. Cuisine served there is prepared healthfully. Regular passengers are invited to book on a space-available basis; a service fee of 20 euros per person, per visit, is levied on passengers who are not residents of the ship's spa facilities.

Bedtime

Of 1,504 staterooms, there are 70 suites and 521 verandah cabins. The rest are standard insides and outsides. If so much of Costa Pacifica feels innovative, its staterooms are pretty traditional and, frankly, sport rather bland decor. If you've cruised on a more contemporary Carnival ship, you'll feel quite at home; these cabins are essentially identical. Their only unique touches are flat-screen televisions with interactive systems that allow passengers to book shore tours on-screen.

Beds come in two configurations: twins and queens (and can be converted from one arrangement to the other). Sofa areas and vanities/desks with bureaus (and hair dryers tucked into the top drawers) finish out the cabins.

Adequate storage space is found in three-door closets and in the desk drawers.

Bathrooms are shower-only and feature the dreaded, clingy, film-like shower curtains (rather than shower doors, which are popular on other lines). The only toiletries provided are stingy-sized bars of soap and in-shower dispensers, offering combination shampoo/body wash.

Bathrooms in suites and spa cabins are outfitted with mini-bottles of a Costa brand of soap, shampoo and shower gel. Spa cabins are equipped with the same basic facilities as standards, verandahs and suites, but have a soothing color scheme and mini-bars that are stocked with healthful drinks.

Grand Old Favorites

Some Costa Pacifica features and amenities that may seem pretty avant-garde and exciting to first-time Costa travelers are already cornerstones of Costa's newer ships. Among them? The Grand Prix driving simulator offers more options than a similar Formula One-inspired ride on MSC Cruises; you can choose from more courses and also pick manual or automatic controls.

Costa's creation of a spa-oriented cruise experience -- by giving certain cabins special decor and offering a dedicated restaurant -- was the first of its kind in the cruise world. And, though lines like Holland America and Celebrity Cruises are attempting to replicate the concept, Costa's is still the best executed. On Costa Pacifica, 91 cabins (mostly on Deck 10) are dedicated to wellness cruise packages. (Though furnished similarly to standard cabins elsewhere, these staterooms feature streamlined decor, using natural color schemes.) The spa facility itself features a gym, exercise room (where classes in yoga and aerobics are held), thalassotherapy pool, sauna, beauty salon, Turkish bath and UVA solarium (sun beds).

The Squok Club, the cruise line's kids' program, offers a dedicated tots-only pool area for Costa Pacifica's youngest passengers.

We love the way the entertainment district is centered on Deck 5; here you'll find easy access to the Grand Bar Rhapsody (the primary venue for dancing), the casino, a cigar bar, the Route 66 sports bar, Piano Bar, Rock Around The Clock for country and soft pop, and Wien Wien. The ship's wee-hours disco (and, indeed, it's open almost until breakfast) is two decks high; you enter on Deck 4, but it's possible to look down on the action from the casino on Deck 5 through glass walls.

New and Nifty

The state-of-the-art recording studio onboard is truly a magnificent new feature. It's tucked away in the back of the ship's main theater. For 35 euros, passengers can book one-hour stints in the specially created facility. Technicians are on hand during your recording session, and afterward, they mix and edit your CD. The finished product is delivered to your cabin. This is much harder than karaoke; a member of the tech crew said it's important to really know your song before you start.

The ship's two main pools are both equipped with magrodomes -- glass roofs that can open or close, depending on weather -- and that makes the ship an ideal choice for winter cruising in the Mediterranean.

Playstation World, in a small room off the casino, offers passengers a chance to play various games in a public setting. On nice evenings, there are even Playstation events in the Calypso pool area, which has a huge television screen.

Skip the lines at the purser's desk (or shore excursion counter) by using electronic kiosks, or "totems," set around the ship. There you can find information (such as activities listed in the daily program), browse spa offerings or book reservations for the Grand Prix simulator, recording studio, tours and restaurants. Next door to some, though not all, of the totems is another clever device: a machine that allows you to link your credit card to your onboard account so you don't need to queue up at the purser's desk.

Kid-Friendly Factor

Costa continues to enhance its Squok Club offerings, but the program doesn't compare, in facilities or activities, to uber-family-friendly lines like Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Costa Pacifica merely offers a playroom for kids ages 3 to 11 (a pretty broad age span) and a teen center for ages 12 and older. (American-based lines typically break children into smaller groupings: 3 to 5 for the youngest set and 15 to 17 for the oldest.) But it's important to note that European families tend to spend more time hanging out together, rather than signing up for activities and events, than do North Americans, who are more kid program-oriented.

Huh?

The coffee and chocolate bar is unique to Costa Pacifica, and the smells wafting outward are tantalizing. The chocolate selections, at least on my visit, seemed pretty paltry. (There's a fondue option, but I didn't see much else.)

I was truly appalled to learn that spa-treatment rooms are equipped with flat-screen televisions on which Costa shore tour and spa service promos ran throughout my massage. Is nowhere sacred?

Bottom Line

After spending a few days onboard Costa Pacifica, my first cruise on Costa in five years, it was clear that the line continues to deftly balance European cruise traditions -- such as the set-seating scenario in dining rooms, a solid if unflashy kids' program and vibrant entertainment programs -- with a healthy dose of contemporary amenities like Playstation World, a giant poolside movie screen, the recording studio, the Samsara Spa complex and new enrichment activities in music. The ship primarily targets those who seek a lively nightlife, enjoy a European interpretation of cruising and travel in packs (whether as family or extended groups of friends). The crucial caveats for non-European travelers intrigued by Costa Pacifica are these: There are lots of smokers, announcements are given in five languages (crewmembers, mostly from the Philippines, speak excellent English), and the onboard ambience is a bit more big-city than cozy-village -- meaning that having such a multi-cultural blend of passengers definitely makes meeting new friends somewhat of a challenge.

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Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise in October was my 65th birthday present to myself and also the itinerary had great appeal, embarking in Barcelona. Interestingly , there were new passengers on a daily basis, so there were new faces most mornings at ... Read More
The cruise in October was my 65th birthday present to myself and also the itinerary had great appeal, embarking in Barcelona. Interestingly , there were new passengers on a daily basis, so there were new faces most mornings at breakfast.I noticed at least 8-10 wheelchair bound passengers during the seven day trip, fantastic to have such provision for disabled people.For once , the British speaking passengers were the minority, which added to the fun we had. large Italian families travelling together in addition to other folk from all over the world.Offshore shuttles, for those of us not wishing to join booked excursions were punctilious and well organised.The office"staff' went to so much trouble to assist us on disembarkation day, we hade a late evening flight to Dubai, so they kept our luggage in the office and let us stay on Board until 15h00, they phoned the taxi company to change our collection time, all with a smile and such efficiency (Laura and Miekle) World Class Service indeed. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
First of all Good prices - Wifi was too expensive and not properly received - The ship cleaned all day long and the pool well kept Our Cabin was properly done every time we needed by Ian Magdaraog - Astonished entertainment ... Read More
First of all Good prices - Wifi was too expensive and not properly received - The ship cleaned all day long and the pool well kept Our Cabin was properly done every time we needed by Ian Magdaraog - Astonished entertainment by people singing different languages - Good and various food for all tastes - Hospitality Service well managed with the help of foreign languages - Mainly Rodrigo with his smile - Very good and warm bar services - with smiling and friendly bar maids - mainly Remy and the blonde girl (forgot her name) The everyday shows were very good with different teams and the show delivered by the various people (non entertainment team) on the day before our departure was great- can't imagine such good talents behind the scene We bought various good excursions - value for money - To end : Very Good cruise to be renewed every time now and then when in need of rest Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Sail Date: 08 September 2017 Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean Embarkation: Kiel Just returned from a cruise, the Costa Pacifica.We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed every port ... Read More
Sail Date: 08 September 2017 Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean Embarkation: Kiel Just returned from a cruise, the Costa Pacifica.We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed every port of call, stunning scenery combined with history and beautiful buildings. The Costa Pacifica is a lovely ship with lots to offer My husband and I are cruising enthusiasts. this was my first cruise. Being both retired we have chosen cruises to have the opportunity to visit different country but most of all to discover all the entertainment on board and to meet such wonderful and charming people on board. My husband is already a Costa Club member , the last time it was on Costa Victoria. The staff was as usual fantastic and really did all what they could to keep up the hospitality of Costa. It was an excellent and very amusing experience. We dined in the New York restaurant and the food was excellent as was the waiter service. We had a fantastic wine waiter called Boaquina Santos II who was excellent at his job. The food was really good and the service was amazing. The show in the evening was good. We have been so lucky to meet people such as Beautiful Cynthia Bulka, very good and warm bar maid services with the smiling and charming Lalremruati (Remy) (Cocktail Waitress), the very beautiful friendly blonde from Portugal, Zaenal Mustopa F& B server. These persons have really touched our heart with their kindness, great devotion and most of all with the communicating friendly smile, a great thanks to them who have make our day and night a real dream. I wish them all the best in their professional and personal life. Do not change anything, be always the same .You are wonderful persons. We watched all the dance shows in the theatre and the lounge bar, the Afro Arimba dance productions were brilliant. A big thank and applause to the beautiful fantastic singer Julia & the great and talented Saxophonist Roberts for their romantic song. The everyday shows were excellent with different teams and the unforgettable show delivered by the various people (non entertainment team) on the day before our departure was just fabulous, talented and surprising Just can't imagine such good and hidden talents behind the scene. Hospitality Service well managed and very helpful with different foreign languages - Mainly the smiling Rodrigo and the charming Laura Sini. A big kiss from Costa Pacifica Boutique to the beautiful and smiling waiter 407 Michele Pereire, excuse us for not writing well the name. We will not forget our two Francophone Hospitality Service Senior Specialists namely the charming and smiling Lisa Coppola and Julia Fouquet with their unconditional devotion. They were more than helpful A big thank to the very talented photographer Alexandre Bega and his team. We did various good excursions - value for money - A big thanks for the hospitality and animation team, the fantastic and talented Josuah. Wish him Good luck VIGO City Tour Visited a city in Spain and then Portugal. Was an interesting tour. CHERBOURG The trip to Normandy was our favorite excursion of the cruise. It was very moving, our guide well informed, and the museum at the graveyard very well done. Overall it was a fantastic cruise with great values. Read Less