Everything negative that I read & worried about never came true. We are Canadians & after Oasis of the Seas last year, Costa did not disappoint. There was lots of water ( jugs of it ) at the dining room table. We could get free water any time in the buffet. I even bought a light that sterilizes tap water for the cruise after hearing the nightmare reviews but never needed it. Our daughter had the room attendant provide 2 wine coolers of ice twice a day to have hers cold. The produce was fresh, always ripe, plenty of it & great the last day same as the first. I have followed a raw diet in the past & it would be easy to do on Costa.
Good bang for our buck ...Dec 2013 we paid less than $50 a day per person & got $50 ship credit each besides being upgraded to 4th floor balcony with clear view. The staff totally, absolutely knocked themselves out to be accommodating. Especially at our table we were entertained by magic tricks, jokes & pranks for the kids ..always things like like putting 4 extra desserts in front of them or hiding requested strawberries under piles of ice cream for the preteen. She loves hot chocolate & got all she wanted, made in front of her without asking during every meal for 9 days. Three cakes with names came for father & son birthdays in our family. One lunch we didn't get back in time & at supper the several of the diningroom staff showed emotionally how they had missed us & lots of hugs. Our daughter has lost count of her cruises & after back-to-back cruises all winter her family are quite demanding & accustom to the best of service. It was her first time with Costa as well & she was continually impressed in the dining room. For food, Costa topped my experience with Carnival & Royal Caribbean hands down.
Our family during embarkation brought fruit, a lg bottle of soda pop, & electric hair straightener as well as other food through security. They gave each room a good sized fruit cake as gift (Xmas) to take home. One couple didn't know of the room service fee & had a surprise at the end because it is $7 per person even just for coffee or 1 thing. We just carried drinks from the buffet for our room. The moral of the story is if you do room service once in a while at least choose wisely to make it worth while. Mini golf was $5. for 1/2 an hour. 3 D movie with special effect sensory & moving chairs is $8. There was a built in charge of $11 US gratuities per day per person but my daughter & her family had no problem arranging to pay staff on their own. They told Costa on the 2nd day & just signed a waiver.
I have Celiac & those passengers on gluten free diet sit with their families in the front of the dining room getting very special treatment. The ship being Italian has great homemade pastas, sauces & pizzas even for me & homemade warm breads, buns, cookies, croissants, cakes & turkey stuffing. Lots of butter. Two complimentary big fruit bowls waiting for me in the room including papaya the first day, also free meal plates delivered to the room & bagged lunches on port days. The food on my special menu was delicious, flavored & presented just so. We all felt as if we were treated very special. Celiacs get free snacks from room service. Breakfast had all sorts of tasty juices, eggs done every possible way with all you can eat bacon & smoked salmon every day. We got some very exotic meals like all you can eat truffles, (mushrooms), foie gras. My family enjoyed plenty of seafood, shrimp, calamari, all you could eat lobster, steak, lamb, ribs etc. There was free wine -all you wanted served twice during the trip to all adults who wanted it & this was aside from any art auction or
The only challenge was language barrier but as Costa gains more English speaking passengers cruising the Caribbean, this will pass. For now most people spoke Italian & French with other European languages with some Spanish. Less than 1/5 spoke English but crew & passengers smiled & laughed at our jokes & attempts to communicate with them. This was not because of the wheelchair but when I was off on my own as well. Passenger courtesy was good & no one ever butted in front of me. Our grand kids (12 & 14) were downloading language translators & making friends.
Wheel chairs were available & we were allowed to take it on tender & off at ports & even out of the terminal to taxi last day. Very often when crew saw us they took over pushing the wheel chair. Our room was large (we didn't ask for handicapped but, the regular size was plenty large & comfy) The chair folded up fit in the room but it was allowed stored in the hallway as well. We had use of the frig from the first day onward.
We didn't do the night shows much but did a craft project on board...they gave us T shirts to paint. My husband & i were greatly satisfied with everything & will recommend Costa & will likely sail Costa again. Thanks Costa for our wonderful vacation !!