March 7, 2018: Ritz-Carlton Wants to Change the Cruise Ship Experience, A Cryptocurrency Conference Served Unwitting Attendees Weed-Infused Dishes, How Nickelodeon Is Expanding into Live Events

By Ian Zelaya March 7, 2018, 8:30 AM EST

1. RITZ-CARLTON WANTS TO CHANGE THE CRUISE SHIP EXPERIENCE: Since Ritz-Carlton announced its cruise concept last year, the Marriott hotel brand has been aiming to change people’s perception of the usual cruise ship experience. Bloomberg: “Its ships will offer luxuries largely unheard-of on cruise lines: airy, open-flow common areas, intimate restaurants that offer around-the-clock dining, and guest suites with high ceilings and twin bathroom sinks. It’s not just design that aims to set the brand apart, says Doug Prothero, managing director of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, in an exclusive conversation with Bloomberg. It’s what guests will be able to do when they reach them. Cruises will go on sale to the public on June 11. The still-unnamed maiden ship will ply the waters of the Southern Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Latin America, Canada, and New England starting in November 2019. Rarefied spots include Capri, the Greek isle of Kythira, and Canouan, Bequia, and the Tobago Cays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These port calls are enabled by the size of the line’s three future ships—190-meters-long (623-feet), with space for 298 passengers in 149 suites. They are about three times bigger than the largest superyachts, but more intimate than typically small cruise ships, which carry around 650 passengers. The Ritz’s vessels are comparable to the smaller luxury ships from Silversea Cruises. … The programming is distinctive, too. The Shore Collection, as it’s called, has five segments to cater to guests’ varying moods and tastes: Active experiences, for example, can be more physical—snorkeling, diving, mountain biking, rappelling. Others are geared toward more sensory experiences, Prothero says, from food to museums to ‘stepping into a field of lavender’ in Provence. The Shore Concierge program caters to guests who want a completely custom-tailored journey, and can book anything from a private museum tour to a helicopter trip.”

2. A CRYPTOCURRENCY CONFERENCE SERVED UNWITTING ATTENDEES WEED-INFUSED DISHES: A cryptocurrency conference called the Crypto Sanctum, which was held at Beneville Studios in New York last week, served its attendees a menu filled with weed-infused dishes—but many attendees were unaware of what they had eaten until after they left the event. Wired: “Organized by a group called 'The Decentralists' and a crypto project called IOVO, the Crypto Sanctum promised to 'connect people with right opportunities in the fast moving crypto and blockchain space.' Tickets cost $500. At the event the Cindicator employee ate lunch, which included sushi and tea, and chatted with a few attendees before leaving for a nearby meeting with her boss. An hour into that meeting, she could barely speak. She noticed the room was spinning and it was a struggle to stand up. The Cindicator employee remembers walking home, but doesn’t remember the route she took. In subsequent days, several of the event’s 200 attendees discussed similar experiences on Telegram, the crypto world’s preferred messaging service. One attendee said he thought he’d gotten food poisoning. Another said she’d experienced panic attacks. A third reported he had heard the food was infused with marijuana but felt the dosage was 'certainly heavy.' The Crypto Sanctum’s menu, viewed by WIRED, subtly noted that some of the condiments served were 'infused.' But some attendees said they did not see the menu or understand its message. A few menu items explicitly stated that they contain cannabis—cocktails, cannabis-marinated olives, and sugar for coffee and tea—but others simply say 'infused' without explaining what the infusion is. ... As cryptocurrency—once a fringe technology—forges into the mainstream, it has struggled to shake its association with nefarious activity. Attendees of the Crypto Sanctum expressed frustration at the food situation for that reason.”

3. HOW NICKELODEON IS EXPANDING INTO LIVE EVENTS: Ahead of its upfront event on Tuesday, Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami and Viacom C.E.O. Bob Bakish announced the network will be delving more into live events—specifically with a new family-friendly music festival. Adweek: “Nickelodeon is the No. 1 network this year for kids 2-11 and kids 6-11, and has been the top-rated kids basic cable network for 22 years, but Bakish admitted during an earnings call last month that the network has had some ‘ratings softness.’ He said it is addressing it by ramping up its marketing and social video strategy, and expanding into live events. For starters, Nickelodeon will bring the Nickelodeon SlimeFest music festival to the U.S. for the first time, after holding the event in the U.K., South Africa, Australia, Italy and Spain. The two-day festival for kids and families will take place in Chicago on June 9 and 10, and feature performances from Zedd, Liam Payne, Flo Rida and JoJo Siwa. Several other Nickelodeon stars will also be in attendance. The expansion into live events also gives brands new opportunities, both on-air and on-site, said Sean Moran, head of marketing and partner solutions for Viacom. The movie studios category has been a major part of the Kids’ Choice Awards. ‘We’ve really helped launch a lot of shows there, not the least of which was Wonder Woman last year,’ Moran said. ‘And the reaction that we had with SlimeFest when we started talking about that in last year’s upfront was huge.’ Moran said Nickelodeon will be announcing its SlimeFest sponsors ‘in the not-too-distant future.’”


LOS ANGELES:  Hilarity for Charity's 6th annual charitable variety show will take place at the Hollywood Palladium March 24. The nonprofit, which is led by Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen, is dedicated to raising awareness and accelerating progress in Alzheimer’s care, research, and support.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Women of Tomorrow, a mentor and scholarship program designed to help at-risk young women, will celebrate its 20th anniversary at its black-tie gala March 10 at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. 

NASHVILLE:  Global DMC Partners has acquired destination management company Nashology Events. 

NEW YORK:  Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 30th anniversary gala will take place April 18 at Frederick P. Rose Hall. 

AC Hotel New York Times Square, which is slated to open this spring, has appointed Benjamin Britton general manager and Joanna Buiza director of sales. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Free For All Marketing, a company that specializes in conferences and events, has rebranded as Proof Experiences.  

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Knightsbridge Restaurant Group will open Israeli restaurant Sababa this month in Cleveland Park. Located in the former Ardeo and Bardeo space, the restaurant will seat 90 guests in a main dining room and 40 guests in an upstairs dining room. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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