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Costa's New Pacifica: Music On The High Seas

June 9, 2009 By: Sharri Whiting De Masi Travel Agent

Costa Cruises has taken the themed cruise idea to a new level by designing an entire ship – its new Pacifica, which debuted June 5 – around the motif of music, the universal language. The company has cleverly figured out that music is the key to bringing together multi-cultural passengers, as well as multi-generational families.  A Costa Mediterranean itinerary is a good choice for Americans or Latin Americans who want to experience a cruise that actually feels like Europe on board, as well as on land.

Costa Pacfica's Stardust Theater

Costa Pacfica's Stardust Theatre

A part of the Carnival group for nine years, Costa Cruises is still strongly Italian in spirit, and this ship has a 100 percent Made in Italy label.  Costa top management is Italian also: Chairman & CEO, Pier Luigi Foschi,  dynamic young President Gianni Onorato, and President & CEO of North America Maurice Zarmati. Check out the ship’s details at

Costa Pacifica has 1504 cabins and expects to draw passengers from Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. for cruises around the Mediterranean. The staff is a mix of Italians, Asians and other nationalities, all of whom know enough Italian to say “buon giorno” or “buon appetito,” as well as speak good English. And, of course, if you don’t speak the languages of the other passengers (or your own teenage children), there is always the music to bring you together.

Who on earth can’t sing along with a Beatles’ song – try the bar dedicated to the Fab Four.  What rock star wannabe (pre-teen or grandmother) can turn down the opportunity to make a demo in a state of the art recording studio for a cost of about 50 bucks? A teen pick-up band is playing at one end of the ship, while Mom and Dad chill with the blues two decks away. The big shows in the Stardust Theatre are edgy and European in feel, with clever costumes that morph as the music changes from 17th century minuet to punk rocker garb.

Music fills the senses on Pacifica– classical, jazz, rock, Latina, Italian, New Age – melody is not only in the air, it imbues the ship’s décor and provides audio cues for those of us who are directionally impaired when aboard big ships. (Every floor is dedicated to a different composer – ours was called Ludwig and, in case we got off the elevator wondering where we were, Moonlight Sonata reminded us that this was the Beethoven level).  Violin designs cover every door, while treble and bass clefs and musical notes accent just about every other surface – somehow Costa has avoided creating wild discord and managed what the Italians would call an atmosphere of allegro, a musical term that literally means happy or cheerful.

There’s a concierge of music, the Music Master, whose job it is to organize recording sessions, music lessons and pick up bands for passengers, who may also sign up for appointments by using the electronic kiosks located around the ship.

Other activities on board include PlayStation World, where passengers can play video games utilizing the new versions, PlayStation 3. Up on Deck 11, guys (and some women) hang out at the Grand Prix Driving Simulator – you climb in the racecar and drive off into visual realityland over some of the most exciting racetracks in the world.  Like on other Costa ships, there’s a kids’ club.

We loved Costa’s signature Samsara Spa, 64,000 square feet (6,000 square meters) of treatment rooms, Thalassotherapy pool, Tridosha Sanctuary (Turkish bath, tepidarium, and laconium) and much more.  The gym is stocked with state of the art Technogym machines and a personal trainer is there to design individual programs. For the ultimate spa cruise, book the Samsara cabins and suites, which open directly into the spa on the two highest decks on the ship.  Specially created wellness menus are available in the Samsara restaurant.

Other food on board the Pacifica, as on other Costa ships, is primarily Italian/Mediterranean, good seafood, and a taste of Latin and Asian offered on the main buffet. The pizza is worth taking the cruise for – it’s really Italian and really good.

Menus in the New York, New York and My Way restaurants routinely offer Italian-style dinners, with antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce courses.  Just the aroma of the cioccolateria, with its decadent chocolate fountain, makes it impossible to pass without stopping. Along with cappuccino, espresso and chocolate drinks, there are divine cakes and tortas. In fact, there is espresso offered in bars all over the ship, plus Italian pro secco and grappas. 

The Club Blue Moon, where executive chef Ettore Bocchia welcomed us, is definitely worth the modest surcharge of 25 euros each. Chef Bocchia, whom we met at Grand Hotel Villa Serbolloni in Bellagio on Lake Como, is known for his innovative molecular gastronomy. A favorite dish is the ice cream made at table with liquid nitrogen, which is a novelty that also tastes good. We also enjoyed late afternoons sitting by the pool watching vibrant Cuban dancers, eating Japanese sushi and drinking Italian wine.

Costa’s new Pacifica is a fun ship, with a friendly atmosphere. What sets it apart from other ships are Costa’s use of music as the key to pleasing just about everyone and its approachable international atmosphere.  

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