While you may come across these ships steeply discounted in the Caribbean, keep in mind that food and service may not be up to your standards. While Costa is based in Italy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find Italians working aboard the ship. A number of years ago, Costa replaced its all-Italian crew with South Americans – largely Peruvian – and service was affected. In January 2003, Costa opened a Hospitality Training Institute in La Romana, Dominican Republic, in association with the prestigious American culinary and hospitality school of Johnson & Wales University. The school will train service personnel for the expanding Costa fleet. This should lead to an improvement in service in the future.