Holland America Line's Food Cruises Feature All-Star Chefs At The Helm

When you book a vacation, there's a good chance that food is on your mind. Food tourism has been steadily on the rise, and is becoming more popular every vacation season. According to American Culinary Traveler (via The Huffington Post), the number of leisure travelers who listed "unique dining experiences" as a key reason for travel rose by 10% from 2006 to 2013. In 2012, a World Tourism Organization report found that 88.2% of travelers consider a destination's culinary aesthetics and offerings as a prime factor in the destination's "brand image" (per Venngage).

In recent years, food tourism made a move toward the online world. Earlier this year, in January, Williams Sonoma held a two-day virtual retreat with a cast of celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay. Online platform Cozymeal curated a selection of virtual and hands-on cooking classes at acclaimed culinary destinations across the U.S. Now, it looks like folks are making an in-person return to food tourism in a big way. Every year, hundreds of thousands of global foodies flock to Australia for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. (In 2019, attendance hit over 225,000.) Even The Ritz-Carlton hosts an annual "Cayman Cookout," where guests can learn about and sample foods by some of the most acclaimed chefs in the world. 2023's cookout will be hosted by chef Eric Ripert.

Now, with a new offering from Holland America Line cruises, your vacation meal plans are about to get a massive upgrade.

Set sail and set the table

It's no secret that part of a cruise's appeal is dining, but Holland America Line is raising the bar. The line's "Culinary Cruises" series will feature a "Culinary Council" of celebrity chefs to lead cooking classes and demonstrations, per a press release. One night during each cruise, the dinner menu will feature dishes prepared by the Culinary Council, included in the price of the cruise ticket. Also available is a private, reservation-only dinner with the chef. Wanderlusting foodies can take an Alaskan cruise with James Beard Award nominee Ethan Stowell, or sail the Atlantic Coast with French pastry chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres (aka "Mr. Chocolate"). The lineup also includes Andy Matsuda, David Burke, and Rudi Sodamin.

So, how much does this food adventure cost? Most Culinary Cruises fall around $749 to $899 per ticket for a week-long trip, with the longer 10 to 14 day jaunts landing closer to $1,500. Celebrity chef cruises are becoming something of a hot commodity: French chef Daniel Boulud (whose restaurant, Daniel, has two Michelin stars) recently developed menus for European line Celebrity Cruises. (For comparison, a week-long Celebrity Cruise to the Bahamas costs $786 per person.) But, if you've taken all the cooking classes in your area — or you're simply ready to get a tan during your next one — these food cruises might be the move for your next vacation.