ニシタイ 西葛西駅前タイムズ

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unique venue 2017.05.08 Visiting Unique Venues in Tokyo! Sealine Tokyo Symphony

I walked into the room, and a feeling of spaciousness struck me so suddenly I laughed. “This room, believe it or not,” my gracious guide smiled, “actually has a lower ceiling than the one we were just in. It’s the wider windows that give it this openness.” Sure enough, the windows were long and wide, showing an expanse of blue sky and sea.
I was in a ballroom of the Symphony Moderna, the larger of Sealine Tokyo’s two Symphony cruise ships.

(Moderna docked)

As unique venues in Tokyo goes, this luxury company provides some breathtaking atmospheres.
“Our cruise ships are here to meet needs that might not be met by other venues. A space that combines view and movement is not something you can always get at a hotel,” explained Mr. Yonemoto, Acting Sales Manager of Symphony Tokyo Bay Cruise.
His associate, Ms. Koike from the Planning and Public Relations department, elaborated. “You can think of our ships as moving banquet halls. Or, even call them escape venues. You head out to sea and take break from the everyday. It’s a great way to reset.”

(Overlooking Rainbow Bridge from the 3rd level deck of Moderna)
Indeed, taking a tour of the ships, I could see what Ms. Koike meant. The sea breeze, sunlight, and famed Tokyo sites around me combined into quite the refreshing treat.
Climbing to the 3rd level deck of Moderna, I took a moment to pivot. Tokyo Gate Bridge, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, Odaiba's Ferris wheel, and Rainbow Bridge came into view, one right after the other. I could even make out hints of 2020 Tokyo Olympics Village construction. 

(View of the planned site for the Olympic Village from Moderna's deck)
“Because of the view, we have already started receiving requests for Olympics-related events. As the Village site progresses, so the possibilities seem to grow.”

Symphony Tokyo Bay Cruise is a short walk from Hinode Station, at Hinode Pier. Tokyo International Exhibition Center is only minutes away, turning these cruises into convenient relaxation after a long day of exhibitions.
Symphony has two cruise liners, the Moderna and the Classica. Moderna is the larger, weighing in at 2,618 tons with passenger space for up to 600 people at a time. Classica, which has a chartering service, is 1,084 tons with space for over 450 passengers. Altogether, both cruise ships offer over 15 distinct rooms of various sizes for event hosting.

(Moderna’s largest banquet hall, "Emperor")
I asked Mr. Yonemoto and Ms. Koike what kind of things you can do on ship. I grew up far from large bodies of water, so I was not altogether familiar with what kind of venues cruise ships make.
Mr. Yonemoto’s answer was, surprisingly, “We can do anything.”
“There really is no limit to how our rooms can be used. We will meet the client’s needs. For an exhibition, we can roll out a red carpet. We can laser messages onto the water’s surface to be read. We can also arrange fireworks, so there’s no need for guests to be shy about asking for what they want.”

("Open Deck" of Moderna)
But what about business events?
“For business, we see a lot of product unveiling events or press conferences. Because our ships are unique, they work well for public relations. With readymade VIP and meeting spaces, and rooms equipped for sound, they are also practical. We can easily set up projectors for presentations, and have a banquet hall ready for when those presentations finish.”

(Moderna's "Fantasy" opens on one side to sea and deck)

I asked my guides what kind of memorable business events they’d had recently.
“We hosted an animation premiere event recently, where new content related products were presented. For that event, we rotated guests for the best effect. Half the guests participated in a viewing of premiere content while half ate in the banquet hall. Then they switched.
We also hosted the afterevent for an automobile company’s car unveiling. It can be arranged a couple of times a year for our cruises ships to leave harbor, so we were able to meet participants at Osambashi Hall in Yokohama. When the afterevent ended, the ship had arrived back in Tokyo, so we lit up the warehouses near the dock with projection mapping for everyone aboard. It was quite a welcome to shore.”

(Cozy and elegant "Aria" in Moderna)
“We also had an event that turned the cruise into a kind of art showcase,” Ms. Koike continued. “We inserted panels all along the walls, and people came together, some famous, to look and bid on what was on display for charity. It was like a moving art museum.”
I was impressed. I had been mostly unaware of the opportunities to be found on the sea for the typical business person in Tokyo. But I was also curious: Isn’t there anything difficult about a ship venue?

 (Moderna's expansive "Polonaise" has wide windows and a door that leads outside to an expanse of deck)
“Many people think that seasickness would be prevalent, or that there may be problems for guests who have difficulty climbing stairs. That’s not the case at all. When the ship moves, it stabilizes, and Classica has a fully operational elevator. Saying that,” Ms. Koike relented, “I do think a ship poses a problem in one area. That is, for late-comers. There’s no sneaking into an event ten or fifteen minutes in when it has sailed away from shore!”
I laughed and stepped into the next room on the tour. We had boarded the Symphony Classica, and I was already falling for its refined intimacy. 
“This room connects to the main deck. If you look over there, the wall on the far side is actually a series of doors which open entirely to create one big space. It combines the inner room with the outside. Since you can see the connecting deck from the top of the ship as well, this space becomes a perfect place to grab everyone’s attention for a speech, or for select entertainment.”

(Classica's "Shiokaze Terrace" doors open to create a free-flowing space)

(Classica free space deck/"Shiokaze Terrace")
Select entertainment? What kind of entertainment?
“Outside of wedding ceremonies, we’ve had rakugo, bands, and orchestral performances. We’ve also released balloons here. It’s a flexible space, really.” And beautiful, I thought. My guides smiled when I said so and teased good-heartedly that Classica could be chartered if I was interested. I was tempted.
Changing the topic slightly, I asked what kind of customers were received. Where there often people like me, from overseas?
“Our customers are often from within Japan, and it’s always with happiness that we think on our many long-time clients who continue with us year after year. But, a surprising amount of individuals from all over the world, some quite well-know, do choose to host their events with us. I think the reason for that is that we offer something special here.

("Menuet" on the 3rd level of Classica)
For many people who travel on business, I think time is a difficult thing to manage. And that is where our services shine. You can gaze upon famous sites of Tokyo, enjoy traditional Japanese fair, like sushi and tempura, all within a couple of hours. We offer a full, yet timely experience that would be hard to find with other venues, especially juggling professional responsibilities.”

(Deck space off the VIP-like "Heroica" in Moderna) 
“Not to mention,” Mr. Yonemoto added, “Tokyo viewed from the sea has its own beauty.”
It was hard to deny that.

With sunlight and ocean breeze teasing, I definitely felt the lure of lounge chairs and drinks calling. Vast ships and far-off sites, I thought, the possibilities of a venue on the sea do indeed seem endless. 

~Ado with AD!Venture

For more information please visit the Symphony Tokyo Bay Cruise website HERE.

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