To celebrate the inaugural neoCollection season in the Mediterranean, Costa Cruises is bringing local cuisine and wines to the neoRiviera with a Mediterranean Food Festival.

On the first five sailings of the Mediterranean 2014 season, guests will have the opportunity to savor delicious dishes and enjoy the Mediterranean ingredients through seminars, cooking demonstrations, specialty menus and shore excursions.

The Mediterranean Food Festival will take place on sailings departing from Savona, Italy, April 11 and 22 and May 3, 14 and 25. During the 11-day voyages, Costa neoRiviera will call at Toulon, France; Salerno and Livorno, Italy; Valletta, Malta; Porto Empedocle, Sicily; with an overnight call at Barcelona, Spain. The May 3 departure also includes a visit to Genoa, Italy.

"Our new neoCollection cruises are about incorporating immersive experiences on every voyage, and the Mediterranean Food Festival will enable guests to learn about and taste the exceptional local flavors," said Scott Knutson, vice president sales and marketing for Costa Cruises North America. "As Europe's number-one cruise line, it's important to make guests feel like they are a part of the European culture no matter where they come from."

The cruises will feature exclusive food and wine options, chosen in partnership with the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo in Italy. The university is a popular and successful cooking school and home to the most important cultural food center in Italy.

The seminars will cover a variety of topics including "The History of Pasta and its Shapes;" "Wines of the Sea" featuring wines of coastal areas and Mediterranean islands; "The Mediterranean's Extra Virgin Oils" showcasing oils from Spain as well as the Italian regions of Liguria, Tuscany, Campania and Sicily, Italy; and "Typical Desserts of the Mediterranean."

At Salerno, Italy, natives of the Amalfi Coast will come aboard to host a cooking demonstration for guests on how to prepare handmade fusilli. Those interested in a shoreside culinary experience can book a tour in Barcelona or Salerno to a carefully selected local restaurant.