Celebrity Cruises is one of the three distinctive cruise lines owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. As the brand’s luxury cruise line, Celebrity prides itself on its ability to deliver warm, “contemporary design” and “attentive, highly-personalized customer service”.
To introduce their new Edge Class ship – a beautiful vessel that challenges the industry with its innovative take on design and architecture – Celebrity tasked us with creating an event that focuses on what cruiseline.com reports is the most important aspect of cruising to consumers: the food.
The event needed to reinforce their belief in culinary and introduce the latest dining innovations onboard the Edge, while generating buzz amongst the press. We needed to push the boundaries of a traditional press event or sit-down dinner, and create an experience that would truly engage eyes and taste buds.
With food tourism on the rise, land-based tourism agencies around the world have started organizing food tours to “promote certain cuisines in certain countries.” But the cruise industry is rarely included in this discussion. To that end, Celebrity had an opportunity to promote a truly world class food tour in one location that literally travels around the world.
According to the World Food Travel Association: This, combined with the knowledge that journalists have also become more reliant on social media, informed our execution strategy to be truly visual in our approach to accommodate the social media needs of today. And to truly capture the attention of the press, we needed an idea that would invite the media to “release their inner foodie” allowing them to experience the food tourism journey that Celebrity is offering to the world.
Replicate the on-ship dining experience by transforming a 70,000 square foot space into a stimulating experiential environment allowing attendees to see, feel and taste the award-winning dining experience that awaits travelers aboard Celebrity Edge.
We designed physical vignettes of each restaurant, drawing inspiration from the food, the culture and the actual Edge Class design. Guests first entered our contemporary theater – a design inspired by the warm spaces and modern architecture of the Celebrity Edge. Here they learned about the brand’s passion for culinary and how they plan to elevate the dining experience within the category.
Next, we split our audience into small groups and invited them on an immersive culinary journey where we introduced them to Celebrity’s four new main dining rooms and five specialty restaurants.
- Finecut Steakhouse
- Le Grand Bistro
- Roof Top Grill
- Raw on 5
For the design of the culinary environment, we drew inspiration from the cuisine and its fresh ingredients, the place of origin, and the actual aesthetic design of each restaurant. Then constructed our 9 unique “mini restaurants” which served food in a cocktail type setting so that guests could freely move around the space and sample Celebrity’s culinary delights at their leisure. All food was provided by Celebrity’s Michelin Star Chef, Cornelius Gallagher, Celebrity’s AVP, Food & Beverage.
To incentivize photo opportunities and drive the creation of social media posts, our design for each vignette was incredibly detailed and highly visual. For example, our Normandie vignette featured a backdrop of lavender fields along with actual batches of lavender to make guests feel like they were actually roaming around the lavender fields of Normandy, France. Our Tuscan restaurant featured actual cheese and sausages strung, giving guests the sights and smells of Tuscany, Italy. A larger-than-life replica of Celebrity’s pasta making machine provided a fun photo opportunity for guests, as well. After walking through our immersion area, guests entered our sit-down dining area where we introduced Celebrity’s newest dinner entertainment, Le Petit Chef. Using skull mapping, this digital experience featured a tiny animated chef that plated the dish they were about to consume in a fun and unique way. Our guests were surprised and delighted by the show.
Lastly, guests returned to our Celebrity inspired theater where they witnessed a theatrical show from Celebrity’s other entertainment partner, The American Ballet Theater. They also enjoyed a beautiful dessert with artfully designed displays.
Our creatively immersive tactics for the Celebrity Culinary Experience were a hit with the media receiving high praise in 48 articles from top consumer, travel and F&B publications featuring exceptional comments:
- “OMG, what sorcery is behind this magical dessert?” – Delish commenting on the delightful Le Petit Chef experience.
- “When Celebrity Edge makes its way to Florida, it promises to offer the most dining options ever for the cruise line.” – Orlando Sentinel + Florida Sun-Sentinel
- “Celebrity Edge is extraordinary in every aspect and the culinary offerings are just one reason to book a cruise on this ship.” – Hi Class Magazine
And our highly visual designs prompted guests to take loads of pictures, just like the food tourists that Celebrity hopes to engage in the future. The media’s numerous social posts garnered us an impressive 225 million earned media impressions along with exciting Instagram comments:
- “Literally in Culinary Heaven at the Celebrity Culinary Reveal Event.”
- “There are bartenders and then there are BARTENDERS. But can he do it on the open seas?!”