Fodor’s Expert Review
Best For People Who Want
An Italian carnival atmosphere; Plenty of deck parties, loud music and a wide range of facilities, including a large children’s facility and a water slide; All the options and activities that come with a megaship, including a large fitness area, plenty of balconies; lots of entertainment options.Read More
Though Costa assures prospective passengers that they will be “cruising Italian style,” beyond the decor, less than ten percent of the actual crew are truly Italian, with most of the Italians in the navigation, deck and engine departments. The majority of the crew come from the Dominican Republic where Costa has established a school to train crew-members.
Though the interior design is impressively logical and easy to navigate, the signage does not measure up, as the public thoroughfares lack the “You Are Here” deck maps. Get used to carrying the deck plan you find in your stateroom with you for the first few days.
Two main dining rooms each of two decks. About 80% of cruisers opt for open-seating anytime dining. Service can be slow and inconsistent depending an how you time your dinner. Try to go early if possible.
These ships try very hard to present variety shows that a person of any native language can enjoy. This means puppeteers, acrobatic displays and other visual forms of entertainment.
Any songs are generally sung in English – since most popular music is recorded in English, but if a hit song has ever been made in a foreign Language it will probably be in the show: an example 99 Luft Balloons by German artist Nena. Also expect to hear “I love Paris” by Gershwin, because all Europeans know the words.
Carnival-designed ships have long been known for their spacious cabins; from the Destiny-class builds forward (Costa Magica is on a Destiny-class platform) cabins have been as comfortable as spacious. Of the 1,358 passenger cabins on Costa Magica, 843 are outsides, and 62 percent have verandahs. Standard rooms, both insides and outsides, have ample closet space, deep vanity/desk combos, mini-fridges, and leather seating areas. Baths are spacious, with a vanity and shower (suites have tubs, some higher-level ones whirlpool tubs). Outside cabins have a large single-pane window with no ugly bar down the middle.
Bath amenities are simply non-existent on the European cruises, but you do get a tall, sleek ice bucket filled in the morning and again at night for turndown. All cabins and suites have large televisions with programming in many languages, but while Italian gets four or five stations and French, German and Spanish three each, there is only BBC World for us English-speakers. Lighting and storage options are terrific in all of the standard cabins, with little bedside lamps, vanity lighting and a low-light Murano glass art piece affixed to the large mirror opposite the bed.
The beds and pillows can seem extremely uncomfortable and hard, however. Ask your room steward if he can provide something to make the mattress softer.
Verandah cabins are identical to the standard outsides, with the addition of a nice-sized balcony framed by Plexiglas. Instead of the usual sliding doors, these ships’ open out, the result being constant noisy slamming of balcony doors at all hours.
Try to secure a cabin that is under other cabin space, rather than under public rooms or the Lido Deck area, as soundproofing is not very good.
Special suite amenities include whirlpool tubs, terry cloth robes and slippers, additional toiletries, sparkling wine and cold canapes on embarkation day, daily fruit baskets, an additional Captain’s cocktail party, complimentary dinner at Club Atlantica, and personalized butler service. Do note that your butler may be very much on a par with your server in the restaurant, which is to say distracted borderline organized. Be sure to double-check requests and take nothing for granted.
There are no self-service launderettes or ironing rooms.
Many “provincial” Europeans who speak little English gravitate towards Costa because they offer their cruises in their native European languages.
Do not expect the locals to strike up a conversation with you – they prefer to stick with their native tongue (that is why they are there). This can make things a trifle uncomfortable for Americans – listening to thousands of people laughing, shouting, arguing, etc, in languages you do not understand can get a little old.
Costa Pacifica is the third Concordia-class ship for Costa. Launched in 2006 at 105,000-tons for 3000 passengers
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Tranquility; great food and service; not to be in a place where English is not the first language.
That Italy has some of the world’s greatest cuisine should not be taken to mean that Costa serves the world’s best food. Indeed, menus appear to be designed to appeal mostly to an Italian audience, and should you order a selection from another continental derivation, you will probably end up thinking, “I should have gone Italian.” You would suppose that they’d get pasta dishes right every time, but pasta depends upon fast service before it gets cold and rubbery. At the buffets, you will be presented with what Europeans are used to as “fast food” including beans for breakfast, and cheese, hard sausage and rolls for lunch.
But behold the exception, the alternative restaurant Club Fortuna where for around $23 you can not only savor a delicious meal, but also escape the clamor of the main dining room.
In the Caribbean, Costa has implemented 24-hour food service with extended breakfast, lunch and tea time hours, plus a Late Night Buffet from 1:30 to 6:30 a.m. Complimentary gourmet appetizers are available daily in Club Atlantica from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., and new entrees have been added to the menus of the specialty dining room, purportedly supervised by two of Italy’s most renowned chefs.
We’ll say it plainly: on a Costa ship you are an American in Europe. The company is expanding rapidly (undergoing a cruising renaissance in Europe similar to what the U.S. experienced years ago), so the staff can be surprisingly slow, and sometimes seemingly impolite, including the cabin stewards. You can always count on the bar staff to cheer you up, though.
There is a large Spa and Fitness Center run by Steiner Leisure.
On the two ‘gala’ nights, a casual jacket and tie are standard, while many men wear an actual suit. In the European style, ties are optional, especially on younger men. In the Caribbean, there is also a theme night on which many passengers wrap themselves in sheets and call them togas. Europeans tend to dress fancier for daytime activities than Americans, so don’t expect not to feel underdressed in cutoffs and a T-shirt on European sailings.
Launched in 2009 as a Concordia-class ship, Costa Pacifica celebrates music throughout her interiors from the main atrium where musical symbols and instruments play a part in the décor to the ship’s theater with its perfect acoustics. European sailings are on tap in the Western or Eastern Mediterranean and Baltic.
The largest ships built for an Italian cruise line are larger versions of identical sister ships Costa Magica and Costa Fortuna, which were derived from parent Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Triumph and Carnival Conquest. But Costa has pulled out all the stops with these vessels.
The Samsara Spas are far from ho-hum, both in facilities and amenities. Some of the largest at sea, they span 20,500 square feet. Luxurious, Samsara staterooms and suites are located adjacent to and one deck below the spa itself. A health-conscious Samsara Restaurant is reserved for their dining pleasure on deck 3. Other cool features are not one, but two swimming pools with retractable roofs, a huge outdoor movie screen, and a Grand Prix racing simulator—just like the ones Formula One race car drivers use for training.
Europe’s number-one cruise line combines a Continental experience, enticing itineraries, and Italy’s classical design and style with relaxing days and romantic nights at sea. Genoa-based Costa Crociere, parent company of Costa Cruise Lines, had been in the shipping business for more than 100 years and in the passenger business for almost 50 years when it was bought by Airtours and Carnival Corporation in 1997. In 2000 Carnival completed a buyout of the Costa line and began expanding the fleet with larger and more dynamic ships.
An ongoing shipbuilding program has brought Costa ships into the 21st century with innovative large-ship designs that reflect their Italian heritage and style without overlooking the amenities expected by modern cruisers. Acknowledging changing habits (even among Europeans), Costa Cruises has eliminated smoking entirely in dining rooms and show lounges. However, smokers are permitted to light up in designated areas in other public rooms, as well as on the pool deck.
- 13 passenger decks
- Specialty restaurant
- 3 dining rooms
- 3 pools (2 indoor)
- children’s pool
- Fitness classes
- hot tubs
- steam room
- 13 bars
- 2 dance clubs
- show room
- video game room
- Children’s programs
- Laundry service
- Internet terminal