My husband and I were celebrating our 25yr wedding anniversary. My husband chose the Costa Pacifica ship for its itinerary and price. Shore excursion desk and customer service not at par with other cruise companies such as Celebrity (see comments on Egypt below). Shore excursion locations are good if you are able to get in english-speaking ones. We talked to British, Americans and other english-speaking cruisers - found this company not amicable to english-speaking people.
We liked the food - it is a Mediterranean fare with small portions in the sit down restaurants. A food theme is available almost everyday. Restaurants are very clean. We visited the kitchen - spotless. If you have diet restrictions or concerns, they help you and follow strict guidelines. Drinks are expensive out of happy hour - however they have happy hour two times a day.
We found the European cruisers in this ship rude. They reach over your shoulders and cut you in line as if the food was going to be finished or too famished to wait. Do not know if this is normal behavior or not for Europeans.
Room was good. We had a handicapped room - bathroom was palatial. However, if you are in a wheelchair and/or have mobility problems this is not the cruise company for you. They have NO handicapped transportation to/from the port or shore excursions.
Since ship is new, the surrounding were nice and clean. A bit whimsical but perhaps due the theme of the ship - music.
Entertainment was a mediocre compare to other cruise lines we have been. I would have expected a fabulous programming given their ship's theme - music.
Beware - the ship keep your passport at all times except in Egypt for which you need to show it personally to Egyptian custom agents. Once you return from the excursion in Egypt, they must get it again.
On disembarkation, it was efficient and fast. Luggage was easy to find. Bus drive back to airport was efficient.
By the way, on our return we stay one night at a Best Western called Hotel Riviera. Great price for this little hotel. Great service, great transportation to/from airport and Rome city center. Hotel is nearby the old city port with a nice boardwalk you could stroll during the day. Restaurants nearby, on the ocean side, are EXPENSIVE but it was the best risotto I have ever tasted. We went to the Il Pescatore restaurant. Breakfast in the hotel was fantastic!
We had a handicapped room. Bathroom was BIG. Kept spotless at all times. Room was inside and small - but cozy for two people. Closet space was very small. Except for formal wear, we kept all our clothes in the luggage which was pushed under the bed. Our room was on the back of ship. You could hear the engines roaring. The bed felt like a rocking chair - you could feel every movement of the ship and more so during rough sea days.
The experience at the Rome airport was good. We were greeted by the Costa personnel and escorted to the meeting point for port transportation. Highly suggest you pay the cruise line for transportation to/fro port as the individual price to go to/from the port is expensive by taxi (over a 100 euros each way). There is an option via train but if you have a lot and/or heavy luggage it is cumbersome.
The port personnel was very customer oriented. However, Italian port authorities had only one customs officer at the Costa terminal. This one officer had to process over 3000 passengers. It takes forever to board - over 5 hours!! If you are boarding with children, seniors, etc.. bring food with you - as they only offer water and tea. There are junk vending machines - expensive and you need to have euros - no place to exchange monies in the terminal.
On the second day of cruising we were in Savona where more passengers got in. Savona is beautiful from the ship. It was raining that day - decided not to explore outside the ship.
Port was expedient. We loved the Mediterranean - so every port was beautiful. The shore excursion visit to Olympia was fantastic. We felt such Olympians ourselves. Highly recommend this visit.
Beautiful port! Yachts galore! The views from the ship were spectacular. During our visit Dec 2009, civil unrest and demonstrations were by the port - we had to walk a long distance when we came back from the excursion due to closed streets. We have been to Athens before (Parthenon, etc...) Decided to visit the Corinth Canal and City with the ship shore excursions. Wonderful visit! Highly recommend the location to see!
Quite frankly the most beautiful port I have ever seen. The port city is surrounded by a medieval wall. We did not have a chance to explore it in detailed. Decided to go to LINDOS instead. Gorgeous little city! The views are spectacular. The excursion guide was EXCELLENT!
We decided to go with a shore excursion to Omodos and Kurion. Omodos is a wonderful village. Wines and Raki (Greek brandy) galore! We got a bit dizzy from the tastings :) Kurion a must see greek-roman excavation. The mosaics and italian baths are spectacular.
Unfortunately this was the highlight of the cruise (in our opinion) and the most TERRIBLE and SCARY experience of our lives! First, the Costa Costa Shore Excursion desk cancelled our excursion to the pyramids without telling us (not enough english-speaking cruisers signed up - they claimed). We found out all this the night before the excursion at 11:45pm. When we consulted with customer service that night, they told us we could attend the meeting point of a german or italian spoken excursions. But we do not speak any of these languages. As we demanded to speak with the shore excursion desk reps, no one seem to have the authority or able to solve our problem. We went to bed without a solution. In the morning of the excursion, we offered a solution to place a english speaking staff member as a translator for us. The shore excursion rep accepted our solution and presented Ilaria as our translator for entire shore trip. At the first stop she abandoned us claiming she need to be at the other buses as well! We were a abandoned with a bus full of italian speaking people and a guide who spoke no english whatsoever. We had to fend for ourselves for the rest of the shore trip. At one stop point, we realized we needed tickets to the outside Saqqara museum. We asked the guide for them by pointing to the fellow bus riders tickets. The guide gave us one used ticket and pocketed the other. My husband was stopped by police. On our return back to the ship, there was an explosion on the road. Had there being any unrest on the road and we had to abandoned the bus, it would have been an extremely dangerous situation for us due to the language barrier. When we came back to the ship and asked to speak to the Excursion Manager, the woman refused to talk to us. We spoke with the Cruise Director, Stephania, who told us it was not their policy to work this way and to make an appointment with the excursion manager for the next morning. During our meeting, my husband asked for a 50% discount on the excursion after much aggravation - we felt the least they could do. After our meeting, the excursion manager said she will get back to us - never did. After trying to get with customer service, we found a 10% discount in our account and the manager never contacted us. We were furious to say the least. That night we were having dinner at our designated sit down restaurant and the manager of the 'paid' restaurant asked us to join them for a complimentary dinner for which we did not know about. We refused! It felt like a buyout for their unprofessional and unethical behavior.
The customer service and shore excursion desk personnel seemed very anti english-speaking customers. Very young, untrained and consequently unprofessional excursion and customer service personnel. If you choose Costa, beware of this behavior. We highly suggest you monitor your excursions daily with this company as they care less what happens to you. It is all about the money!!