Cruise Line Hosts Food and Wine Festival ... on Land

Luxury cruise line tries to attract guests by bringing the food to them.

May 16, 2014— -- In a move to show its offerings to travelers who might never consider a cruise, Celebrity Cruises will host a food and wine festival on land.

While it's not the first time landlubbers have been able to sample cruise fare off the high seas, Celebrity said it's the first cruise line to host its own food and wine festival. The festival will be May 31 in Irvine, California. The location was based on research showing that Celebrity has 100,000 past guests living in Orange County and Southern California and most are food and wine enthusiasts.

The cruise line's from-scratch cuisine, as well as its extensive onboard wine collection, is something the line considers a differentiator in a segment of the travel industry not exactly celebrated for its food. It claims the most extensive wine program at sea, featuring 10,000-bottle wine cellars and as many as 23 sommeliers on each ship.

The festival food will showcase “award-winning land-based restaurants" with pourings from many of the same wineries and microbreweries a guest would find onboard. "We saw this opportunity to introduce food and wine aficionados to culinary experiences they can enjoy while on a Celebrity ship, as well as restaurants and beverages they have yet to try."

The cruise line estimates that fewer than 20 percent of people who vacation have ever taken a cruise. The cruise line hopes that bringing the food and wine to such people might turn them into onboard guests.

The Celebrity Cruises Great Wine Festival will feature James Beard-acclaimed chefs, including the line's own John Suley, Celebrity Cruises executive chef. The event will be at Hangar 244 at Irvine's Great Park Balloon & Visitors Center. Tickets to the event are $75.