When boarding the 3000-passenger Costa Pacifica, it's impossible to miss the musical theme of the ship. Musical sounds are everywhere, and many of the over 6000 pieces of contemporary artwork feature musical instruments and musical symbols. The furnishings and wall coverings continue the musical focus. Joe Farcus, who is best known for his work with Carnival Cruises, designed the interiors of the Costa Pacifica, and the effect is both entertaining and comfortable, ranging from over-the-top disco party to quietly elegant.
Let's take a tour of the beautiful Costa Pacifica, the ship of music and peace.
Costa Pacifica - Exterior Views
I sailed the Costa Pacifica on a five-night preview cruise prior to the christening in Genoa. The ship was filled with travel professionals, and the atmosphere was exciting and charged with anticipation. We all love new ships, especially one as lovely as this!
Music moves with you as you walk throughout the ship. You can experience Rhapsody in Blue in one room, and quickly move to an R&B hit in the next. Not all the music is taped. The ship features at least 22 musicians, 12 singers, and 12 dancers in the entertainment venues.
The Costa Pacifica caters to both international and North American guests who enjoy traveling on an international ship.
Costa Pacifica - Interior Common Areas
A tour of the Costa Pacifica starts with the interiors and the music that is the inspiration. Twenty-nine pieces of music--including 9 original compositions--are used as the themes for various public areas and hallways.
In addition to music being heard throughout the ship, guests are invited to make their own music (for a small fee) in the professional recording studio on the ship. Guests can choose a piece to record from hundreds of selections and then receive a CD of their performance. It's a great activity for aspiring singers and even family groups. Other onboard activities include an area on the ship dedicated to PlayStation 3, a Grand Prix racting simulator, and a luxurious Samsara Spa.
Costa Pacifica - Outdoor Common Areas
Continuing our tour, let's move outside and breathe in the wonderful sea air. The Costa Pacifica has four swimming pools, two of which have retractable roofs. One of the other pools is at the bottom of an entertaining water slide, and the fourth is a pool for kids. The retractable roofs allow guests to use the pools year-round. The outdoor decks have a walking track and plenty of space for sunbathing for those who want to relax with a good book. For those who like electronic entertainment by the pool, one of the swimming pools has a giant video screen (18 square meters) with movies and programs shown both day and night.
The Costa Pacifica has has 1,504 cabins; including 521 veranda cabins, 70 suites with balconies, and 79 cabins and 12 suites in the Samsara Spa. None of the cabins have obstructed views and all have a clean, modern look.
The 91 Samsara Spa cabins and suites have convenient access to the Samsara Spa, and passengers staying in these have higher grade bath amenities and unlimited spa access. Guests staying in the spa cabins also can dine in the spa restaurant.
The Costa Pacifica has five main dining venues--two main restaurants, buffet, spa restaurant for the spa cabin guests, and a specialty (reservations only and extra fee) restaurant. The main dining rooms are elegant in decor, with beautiful crystal and table settings. The cuisine is mostly Mediterranean, with an Italian slant. Costa prides itself on its use of Italian products, and I thought the food was quite good on our short preview cruise, especially in Club Blu Moon, the specialty restaurant.
About 200 chefs and staff work in the galleys and another 160 work in the dining areas. Guests can dine on traditional cruise fare, or choose light menus, vegetarian, or even special diets like for those with diabetes or celiac disease.
Costa Pacifica - Lounges and Bars
The Costa Pacifica has 13 diverse bars and lounges, so there's a venue for every musical taste. Some bars like Wien Wien feature classical music and quiet tables that are perfect for a drink and conversation with new or old friends. Others like the Welcome Bar in the lobby are great for people watching and a variety of live music. Those who love dancing and partying to a lively beat are usually found late at night in the Fever Disco.
Smokers even have their own bar--the Amapola Classic Bar--with fine cigars, leather chairs, and a (fake) fireplace. It's very cozy. The Grand Rhapsody Lounge has a large dance floor and some very interesting violin sculptures.
Costa Pacifica - Entertainment
Like most large cruise ships, the Costa Magica has terrific entertainment venues. In addition to the bars and lounges noted above, the 3-deck Stardust Theater seats more than 800 guests and has Dolby Surround Sound and the latest technology. The theater has Las Vegas-style production shows with a dozen dancers, two singers, and four international artists performing in the evenings.
As might be expected on a ship with a musical theme, there's lots of live music on the ship, with 22 musicians playing in orchestras, trios, duos, and in the piano bar. In addition, 10 singers perform in the lounges and the ship carries 9 pianos.
Costa Pacifica - Activities
Guests will love all the onboard activities on the Costa Pacifica. Kids have their own areas and their own programs, which is good, because many adults will head for the sun deck, the well-equipped gym or the beautiful Samsara Spa. The spa and fitness center are spread over two decks and feature a large workout room, steam rooms, separate saunas, solarium, 10 treatment rooms, thermal suite and relaxation area, and pool.
The Grand Prix racing simulator, PlayStation, and video arcade will keep adults and kids happy on rainy days.
Costa Pacifica - Summary
The Costa Pacifica is a beautiful new ship with a fascinating musical theme. The lively, casual lifestyle is definitely Italian, and more of the passengers will be European than on most other mainstream cruise lines. Family groups will love the Costa Pacifica, but I think it is also an excellent choice for couples or adults looking for a cruise ship that provides good value for their vacation dollar.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.