Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recap: Day Three Cozumel

I had another early wake-up call this morning to make sure I didn’t sleep through the beach party. Well early by my standards. But after all, we signed up for no sleep when we booked the cruise, so I shouldn’t have been too surprised.

I moseyed up to the lido restaurant to grab a quick breakfast and tried to eat light since I knew we’d have a Mexican buffet at the beach. After I sat down, my friend across the table whispered to me that Howie was eating with his family right behind me. Sadly, I didn’t even realize this when I sat down. Not sure if I didn’t see him because I was becoming jaded to the fact that I was running into a Backstreet Boys every few hours or if it’s because Howie just blends in so well with the crowd. Nonetheless, a great way to start the morning.

After he was finished eating he stopped and did a few pictures, so I hopped in line. And by line, I mean mass of people. He maybe did 20 pictures or so and I was next up when he decided to leave. I was slightly disappointed but I never wanted to be that pushy fan so I didn’t force my camera in his face. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything about this, though I really wish I was able to get a picture that morning since Howie was the only Backstreet Boy I didn’t get a picture next to from the trip. Oh well…hopefully next cruise.

Next item on the agenda- Beach Party! I went back to my cabin and dowsed myself with suntan lotion so I wouldn’t burn and then headed to the Palladium Lounge so I wouldn’t miss the bus. Based on how full the lounge was in Group A (and assuming Group B was the same size) I would estimate that there were around 900 people who did the beach party excursion, which seemed to be the majority of people. So I’m not really sure how “limited” the space to this event ever really was.

While I was walking to the bus, I heard that Nick was in Three Amigos at that very moment. I was so tempted to ditch the group and run for the bar! Alas, the practical side of me realized that if I missed my bus, I wouldn’t know where I was going. That in addition to the non-stalker side of me urged me forward to the buses.

Beach Party

When we arrived at Playa Mia, it was so nice to see the beautiful beach and the clear water. Far nicer than the crummy beaches I’m used to on the Eastern shore. I grabbed a table with a few friends- grabbed a drink, grabbed some food, and just relaxed. Overall a great atmosphere at Playa Mia. Even without the Backstreet Boys I'd go back... just not for the food.

Me and the Gals

Not too much time to relax before their crew arrived at the beach to start setting up the stage. The crowds quickly started to grow around the stage and I realized if I wanted any chance in hell to see, I’d better start waiting myself. After the crowd was maybe 5 rows of people deep, one of the crew members tried to send us back to our seats because it would still be a while before the stage was set up and the Backstreet Boys would come out. Apparently he didn’t know just how long us fans would be willing to wait for our Backstreet Boys. I still didn’t really know what to expect from this event as the only thing promised was “an appearance by the Backstreet Boys” But when I saw them set up 4 microphones I was hopeful that we might be in for more than just an appearance.

A few hours has passed since we arrived and still no Backstreet Boys. I was starting to get a little antsy, but they finally showed up on normal Backstreet time around 4:00. This gave me 2 wonderful hours to share the beach with BSB. They all stayed up in the VIP area for a bit. Nick, clad in his ‘I’m on a Boat’ T-Shirt, started squirting us with a water gun and it was so cute to watch Howie play with his son. I got a little nervous seeing him run around up there, afraid he might fall off. To clarify, I’m talking about James, not Howie. I don’t think Howie had that much to drink :)

Howie and James

Nick and his water gun

When they finally made their way to the stage, they did a round of twister. The winning girls received Platinum VIP tickets to a concert of their choice. What a fantastic prize!

Howie having fun with twister

AJ and Brian having fun

At some point during twister, Nick rather suddenly decided to go for a swim. Before I could blink he printed towards the ocean. I was so conflicted…I had a semi-decent view of the stage so I was unsure if I should stay put or follow Nick. Silly question- I opted for the latter. AJ was also quick to follow.

AJ and Nick on the water trampoline

AJ trying to get out of the water...
...Nick having a slightly easier time

The rest of the afternoon was fun-filled with Brian and Howie hosting limbo; AJ and Nick hosting tug of war; and the guys playing volleyball (though I unfortunately missed that) Guess you can’t be everywhere at once. Overall, a fantastic excursion with some memories I will never forget.

Howie Playing Limbo


Brian and Howie get low for the limbo

Once I made it back on board, I had another lovely dinner with a view of Brian out of the corner of my eye. No exciting antics in the dining room that night, probably because AJ didn’t show up. He was definitely the life of the party on the ship, and I loved him even more for it. Nothing else horribly exciting happened in between dinner and the karaoke. I did catch Nick and Howie in the casino playing some black jack and craps. I like how they had caution tape around the table to block them off from the public. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that, but no cameras allowed in the casino.

Shining Star Karaoke

I would have to rate this event as the most unexpected fun I had on the trip. I was really expecting drunk fans to get up on stage and butcher BSB songs, but that was far from the case. It turned out that the Backstreet Boys were up on stage hosting karaoke, and they would occasionally get in on the act as well. Fans got up and sang 10,000 promises, I Want it That Way, Larger than Life, We’ve Got it Going On, as well as a few non-BSB songs as well. One highlight for me was AJ and his friend Madonna Mark singing like a Virgin. AJ just got so into it! However the clear favorite of the evening from the Backstreet Boys and fans alike was Baby Got Back. Not much more I can say beyond sharing the video:

I love how embarrassed Nick gets

Hearing Howie rap made me smile

The Backstreet Boys at Karaoke

Karaoke ended around 2:00 am, but the night was far from over. After I freshened up, I went back to the casino probably around 3:00 and saw a crowd of people around the black jack table. Gee, I wonder why? Turns out AJ was there playing. However I would almost call it more of a mini-show. Unlike Nick and Howie in the casino earlier who couldn’t really be bothered by the fans, AJ was chatting and interacting with us, telling us funny stories, etc. I so wish I could have taken pictures/videos of this, but the memories will have to suffice. He talked about his Halo photo shoot, was playing with a doll of himself that a fan made- deeming it his good luck charm, and just having a great time. He also talked about the beach party earlier that day and how he was so out of breath when he ran into the water after Nick to go swimming. He was joking how out of shape he was. The casino finally kicked him out at 4:00am, so he told us to all meet him in the club.

I had a blast at the club with him! He continued to be so great with the fans, I don’t know how he didn’t get sick of us. At one point he was on the dance floor dancing with us and had about 3 layers of girls around him. Meanwhile there were a few other guys off to the side who looked so disappointed that it wasn’t them in the middle of all those girls. AJ also DJed for a while, really getting the crowd going. I unfortunately left the club before AJ decided to do a meet and greet with everyone there. I found out the next day and I’m still kicking myself over that. This is my one and only regret of the cruise…so I’m just going to move on before I make myself too upset :(

DJ AJ getting the party started at the disco

Friday, December 24, 2010

Recap: Day Two Key West

I woke up on Friday still unsure of whether or not I wanted to get off the ship to see Key West. Figuring I could decide over breakfast, I grabbed my bacon and eggs and sat near the pool under the beautiful Key West sun. Somehow that quick breakfast turned into an hour just relaxing, chatting with friends, making a few phone calls, etc. Thus I decided to stay on the ship and skip out on going to explore Key West. I just needed the time to unwind do nothing.

I turned out to be quite happy with my decision. I took the time to explore the halls and check out everyone’s door decorations. I had put mine up the day prior:

Not going to lie, I was kinda upset that I didn’t get at least an honorable mention.


I had tons of fun making this, even though it took quite a while. It’s basically thousands of pictures of the guys that are arranged to make up one larger picture. I just knew I wanted to do something different than your average collage. Though I probably should have taken my own advice and done some sort of theme as those were the ones that seemed to catch the judges eyes. I really enjoyed walking down the halls and seeing how creative people got. I could have spent 5-10 minutes at each door appreciating all the subtle nuances of each one, but I didn’t have quite that much time or energy.


For future reference, these are the doors that received an honorable mention/won
  • Pirates themed
  • Now Showing Backstreet Boys' movie theater theme going all out with curtains
  • iPod
  • Love Boat
  • 3D Diorama of the I'll Never Break Your Heart Rooms
  • Disco Ball stage
  • And the Grand winner of front row seats to the concert did a locker theme
Here are some pics of the doors that caught my eye:

INBYH door

Everybody themed door

Pirates of the Caribbean Theme

My Neighbor's Door with their concert tickets

Winning DoorInside of Winning Door


Q&A

This was another one of my favorite events (Yes, I realize I say that about all of them, but they were all great!) I was pleasantly surprised how long this event ran and how thoughtful and unique most of the questions were.

I found the Q&A to be quite an informative hour and a half. I learned not to get Howie an ironing board; that Nick has a ‘high crack’; AJ’s drag queen name would be Priscilla Queen of the Desert; and Brian bought his wife 2 cars in the span of a week . I was seriously laughing for the entire time. I just about lost it when Nick got up to pee in the middle of the event.

Here are a few of my favorite clips:

Howie's Ironing Board Story

Brian Emulating Kevin

Nature calls for Nick

After the Q&A, my tummy was grumbling, though I wasn’t nearly as hungry as Nick seemed to be. Unfortunately I was not the only one who had the idea to head to the grill so the lines were crazy long. However, as I was headed across the pool deck to go wait in line, I bumped into Nick and his bodyguard which was absolutely delightful. There were no other fans around, so I shook his hand and had my fleeting moment with Nick. Even though I wasn’t going to ask for a picture, his body guard still yelled “No pictures!” He should just record himself saying “No pictures!” so he can save his voice.

Next item on the agenda- hit up the BSB merchandise store. They had lots of fun goodies- tshirts, hoodies, key chains, shot glasses, tote bags, beach towels, etc. I did some major credit card damage in here. I had always wanted the ‘This is Us’ hoodie , so I decided to splurge on that along with a few other cruise themed items. Toting all my loot, I headed back to my cabin and got ready for the Captain’s dinner.

Waiting for the Captain's Dinner

This night, dinner was slightly more chaotic, and would get increasingly more crazy as the days passed. Once people realized where the Backstreet Boys were sitting, people got pretty agressive and were fighting over where to sit.

We managed to snag another great table near the Backstreet Boys and met some other great fans at our table. The best part of the evening was when AJ came over and danced with our friend Jessica, who happened to be sitting next me.


Masquerade NightThis was my favorite deck party of the cruise. It was nice to see everyone dressed up including Nick in his scary mask. Overall just a great vibe. They were throwing out bead necklaces into the crowd and I was able to catch one from Brian :)

Masquerade night

Nick with his creepy mask
I thought they did a nice mix of their songs, music by other artists, and even some stuff not released to the public yet! They played a new NKOTBSB song- 'Don't Turn out the Lights Now' and a few songs off of Nick's new album. The fact that they played these new songs for us made me feel really special. One of my highlights of the whole trip was when AJ sang London. Something about this song- I just love it!


My absolute favorite song- London


New NKOTBSB song- Don't Turn out the Lights Now
After the party was over, I headed to bed with the anticipation that AJ may come knocking on my door to wake me up. By the way, that's such a fantastic way to head to bed. Wish I could do that every night. And I'm not going to lie, I got slightly dressed up to sleep that night, but unfortunately I didn't have any luck. Though from what I understand AJ did hit a few decks that evening and treated many fans with a surprise. While I wasn't one of the lucky ones, I thought it was just great that he did this. They really do care about us fans :) I don't think I managed to get to sleep until 5:00 that night due to the anticipation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recap: Day One

I got out of bed this morning from another sleepless night of anticipation for the cruise. Our goal was to get to the terminal early so we would be among the first to board, and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Backstreet Boys. So around 10:00 we made our way to the terminal.


After checking in, we plopped ourselves in front of the VIP check in area. No sooner than we sat down and get settled that I saw Nick sneak into the VIP check in area, followed by girls rushing over. Thus would start the pandemonium of the next 4 days. This poor couple in front of me asked what was going on. They had absolutely no idea that this was a Backstreet Boy cruise and had a look of ‘Oh oh, what did we get ourselves into?’. Though we pointed out to the gentleman that there would be plenty of young ladies on board which cheered him up… his wife, not quite as happy. I still can’t believe they didn’t tell the ‘regular’ cruisers that this was going on.

Anyway, it was nice to see all of the Backstreet Boys along with their family members board.

Howie and his family boarding

My memory is a little fuzzy, but I believe it was around 11:30 that they started to let us board. This was probably the most exciting part of the trip for me- finally to step board the Destiny with the whole vacation to look forward to. However there was no time to enjoy the moment, as we were whisked away to the main dining room to check in and get our wristbands. My assumptions were correct, I was in Row D, which in reality was the 6th row. 6th row sounds great, but I was way off to the side so unfortunately I had an obstructed view for some of the events. But I still can’t complain, just to be anywhere in that lounge was an incredible opportunity.


Once I completed check in, it was time for some much needed lunch. On the way to the buffet, I ran into Nick at the elevator. What a great way to start the trip! He was in a rush somewhere, thus I decided not to bother him. So I continued my journey to the buffet- where I saw Howie and Brian both eating with their families in the corner. I was lucky to have some friends who snagged a table right next to Brian, so I happily decided to join them. The only downside eating next to Howie and Brian is that I was too excited to eat much of anything. Nonetheless, it was nice to catch up with these girls whom I hadn’t seen in a few months. For the most part, people seemed to be pretty respectful of their space, though there were a few girls who were taking pictures and would try to grab a picture with him. I waited patiently for them to finish eating, Howie ran off pretty quickly but Brian stayed for a while and took pictures with the fans. I was one of the lucky few to grab a picture :)

Me and Brian :)

Ok, so I was on the ship for not even 3 hours and I’ve already run into 3 of the guys and was able to take my picture with Brian. I knew this would be the trip of a life time! And with that, I made my way to the lounge for the Family Feud and Dating Game Show.


I absolutely LOVED the family feud event. I thought it was so funny, with quite a few references to porn throughout the show. I could tell you about it, but instead I’ll just show you a few of my favorite clips:


AJs alternative career paths


Name something Brian would bring on tour...

The dating game was also a great time, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as family feud. I just think it would’ve been more entertaining to see the roles reversed where the Backstreet Boys answer the questions, and the girls ask the questions. My favorite part of this show was when Brian asked the girls their favorite position, just because you could see how uncomfortable it made him.

Brian at the dating game...

No time to rest after the show…we quickly ran to the welcome aboard cocktail party, hosted by the Backstreet Boys and drinks were on them! I had a delightful blue fruity concoction. I probably should have grabbed more of those when I had the chance.


After the cocktail party up on deck, we headed to the Universe dining room to wait for dinner. They opened the doors and at this point it was still unknown if the Backstreet Boys would be eating with us or not. The dining room was empty, but Cory did catch one of the Rose Tours staff in the corner of the room. So we decided to grab a table by her…..just in case. Boy did we luck into the right table! By the time our appetizers had arrived, all of the Backstreet Boys, their family and friends, crew, etc were all just feet away eating dinner from us. We deemed the table “the princess table” since it was literally overlooking the Backstreet Boys. Unfortunately, they decided to reserve that table the following nights for security, so we were the only ones to have the opportunity to eat at that table. I felt so special.

Me and the gals at the princess table


We were very respectful of their space and didn’t take any pictures except for the one above, thus unfortunately I don’t have any better pictures to share. But I had a great view, great company, and a great waiter- Big D. I was still too anxious from all the festivities, and didn’t eat too much at dinner. By the time dessert rolled around, the dining room erupted with the music of T-Pain and Apple Bottom Jeans. Before I knew what was going on, AJ and Nick were rushing past me to join the waiters to dance on the tables. I’m still heartbroken that I wasn’t able to capture that on film, but lucky for me Cory was able to capture a video. Cory, you saved the day!

Not sure why I enjoyed this so much. Just a lot of fun to be a part of

I was too distracted after this to finish my chocolate melting cake, which was probably for the best.

By the time I got back to my room, I was pleased to find a little goody bag on my bed that contained a rubby ducky, masquerade beads, bubbles, a program, a temporary tattoo, glow in the dark bracelets, and a photo of NKOTBSB. Most of the items were pretty cheap, but I suppose it was a nice touch for all the theme parties. I also realized that channel 36 was my dream channel playing Backstreet Boy DVDs and TV show appearances 24/7. As if I already didn't have enough to do! But I thought both of these were really nice extra touches that I enjoyed. Every subsequent time I was in my room, the first thing I would do is turn on the Backstreet Boy channel.


International Luv Night
What a great way to kick off the cruise! Everyone was in high spirits and I think Brian won the best dressed award. He sure as heck beat me on the US costume

Me in my O's gear

Brian showing his US pride

It was great to see what everyone wore. I played it pretty low key and wore my Baltimore Orioles jersey figuring baseball is about as American as you can get. Brian was obviously showing some USA love, AJ representing Scotland with his kilt, Nick decked out in Japan gear, and Howie with his Portugal jacket (ok this one I dont get lol)

There were so many highlights from this night that I cant possible share them all. AJ and Brian had a hilarious dance off trying to do some of their choreography, but failed after numerous attempts. AJ again referenced how much he loved friends by running through each BSB and deciding which Friends character they were most like. They all came down and interacted with the fans on the deck, or at least tried to before getting mobbed. Nick was handing out free shots. The night was just amazing. This is one of my favorite parts when Nick and AJ were on the bar goofing around:

Shot, Shot, Shot

Figuring the night couldn't get much better, I went to bed probably around 4am or so waiting to see what Key West had in store.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recap: Acoustic Show in Miami

The trip finally started with an early wake up call on December 8th so I could make my way down to Miami. Met a few interesting characters along the way- got to sit next to a pilot on the plane and a scout for major league baseball in the terminal. They both had some pretty cool stories, but my mind was really only focused on the trip ahead.


Once I finally touched down in Miami airport, I could see the palm trees and was ready for the vacation to begin! I knew I wanted to get to the venue as quickly as possible for the show that evening (darn general admission) After a lot of running around and some gross McDonalds French fries, the 4 gals arrived at the venue to see that the line was probably already 100 people long.


Waiting in line for the show to begin

I’ve been to many BSB concerts in my day, but this acoustic show ranks up there as one my favorites. It wasn’t a long set, maybe 9-10 songs, but it was so nice seeing them in a different element and being themselves. They sang a lot of their classics along with Siberia, Undone (LOVED THIS), Drowning, Bigger and a few others. The concert was interspersed with some questions from fans in the audience. One fan asked for them to sing Happy Birthday while another asked them to sing Christmas Time. Hadn’t heard that one in quite a while.


Undone- My favorite of the night (Pardon the shaky camera work)

My favorite question was “If you could be any character, who would you be?” AJ immediately chimed in with ‘Chandler’, which would be the first of many times he referenced Friends throughout the trip.

"Who's Chandler?" Seriously, Howie??

Once the concert was finished, time for the meet and greet! I was so nervous/excited because I had only met Howie previously.


The process was incredibly rushed and at the last moment they decided to add 3 more people to our picture. I know people had it worse than we did, but I was determined to make the best of the moment. So that is exactly what I did. Iwas able to squeeze in next to Nick. I knew he would be a lot harder to track down on the cruise (which turned out to be pretty accurate) so I'm glad I got my picture with him then.


Poor Howie got blocked :(


After the show I was on cloud 9, and I wasn't even on the cruise yet! I didn't think it was possible for the trip to get any better, but it certainly did. I only managed to eke out a few hours of sleep due to all the excitement.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back Home

Well I just made it home and I'm so exhausted after going off of 3 hours of sleep for the past 5 days. Hope everyone makes it home safely and is returning to warmer weather than I am. Its 21' here! Makes me miss the cruise that much more.

Overall I had a fantastic time and everything far exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to swap stories and pictures with everyone. I'll be sharing both after I catch up on work and sleep.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bon Voyage

Well guys and gals, the time has come. I’ll be flying to Miami early tomorrow morning and I should be arriving around 11:00 am or so. *crosses fingers that there will be no delays* I was hoping to escape the cold weather for a few days, but apparently there is a cold front coming into Miami, so I may trying to squeeze a few jackets into the already jammed suitcase. It can’t possibly be colder in Miami than where I currently am so as long as it doesn’t rain, I’ll be a happy camper.

For those of you going on the cruise, I wish you all a happy and safe trip! I’d love to meet any and everyone so feel free to say hi if you see me roaming the ship. You can also swing by cabin 2288 (ask for Laura) though you’ll most likely find me running around.

I won’t be updating the blog while on the cruise, but I promise to post some great recaps and pictures after I get back. If anyone wants to share their stories, pictures, experiences or whatever else they can think of from feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to post it when we return.

Boy Voyage!
Laura

Friday, December 3, 2010

Miami Acoustic Event Overbooked

A few fans received an unfortunate email yesterday from Ground Ctrl basically saying that their tickets for the acoustic show have been refunded. Apparently the fire marshal changed the code and they had to cancel several orders. Thank goodness I haven’t received any such email, but here is a copy of the email in case you’re interested:



We regretfully write to tell you of an unfortunate situation that has recently been brought to our attention. The venue for the Backstreet Boys Fan Club event taking place in Miami, FL next Wednesday has placed a restriction on the capacity of the event that directly affects the quantity of seats that were originally approved to go on sale. Although it is the very last thing that ground(ctrl) wants to do, and we have fought for all other possible alternatives with the parties involved, we are being forced to refund your ticket to this upcoming event.

Order Number Affected -###### - If you have other orders for this event those will still be valid.

You DO NOT need to do anything as the refund will be issued to you via check. If you would like to check the status please feel free to contact us @ support@groundctrl.com or 1.877.GND.CTRL / Monday - Friday between 9:30 am and 5:30 PM PST. If you would like to be refunded via PAYPAL please call us at 1.877.GND.CTRL and we can process the same day.

Although we know that we cannot replace this exact event, we want to make this up to you as best we can. We would like to offer you a complimentary Bronze VIP package the next time Backstreet Boys come to a venue near you, or a credit toward the purchase of a higher level VIP. All you need to do is contact us at support@groundctrl.com or call us at 877-GND-CTRL Monday - Friday from 9:30am - 5:30pm PST whenever the Boys are coming to your town, and we will gladly accommodate you with a Bronze VIP or VIP credit to your show.

We apologize from our hearts about this unfortunate situation over which we have no control, and we thank you for your continued support and loyalty to the Backstreet Boys and the Backstreet Boys Fan Club.



My heart just sank for anyone who got this email. It’s nice that they are offering a VIP package to rectify the situation. However if you’re traveling from overseas I dont think that would do much good. All I know is that I would not be a happy camper if I received this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1 More Week and Sun in the Forecast

We’re actually close enough to the cruise that we can check the extended weather forecast. I asked my brother if I needed a jacket and he just laughed at me. Here's a quick preliminary peak at the weather:

December 8th in Miami: Party Cloudy. Low of 53’ and a high of 69’
December 9th in Miami: Mostly sunny. Low of 57’ and a high of 74’
December 10th in Key West: Mostly sunny. Low of 69’ and a high of 74’
December 11th in Cozumel: Partly cloudy: Low of 64’ and a high of 78’

I can’t believe we’re a week away. I thought the time would never come. I’m just happy that at this point, there is nothing left to do beyond get to Miami and have a great time. I know some people are already on their way but I’ll be heading down early on Wednesday. I can't wait for this vacation to begin!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Tidbits

Group Photo
In the itinerary there is one photo session for the black and blue wristbands and a separate session for everyone else. There was some concern on if you’d be able to take pictures with your friends if they were in a different colored wristband group. Thanks to Ana for emailing Rose Tours and clarifying how the process works! She asked what happens if you have people in your group with different colored wristbands. According to Jeannie (via Ana) “We will allow your group photo since you have already arranged your group.”

Be Prepared for No Sleep
I think we already knew this, but my brother had a staff meeting today. Apparently our deck parties are scheduled to go until 4 AM. In which case I don’t think I’ll be able to make it off the ship by 7:30 to hit up Key West. I was really hoping to do some shopping… and by shopping, I mean shop for key lime pie. I’ve heard great things about this Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. Apparently it’s within walking distance from the port and they have fantastic key lime white chocolate chip cookies.

Repeat Cruiser Party
I’ve been on Carnival twice before, so I was hoping to be invited to their repeat cruisers party in order to score some free drinks. However they do not offer this on their 4 day cruises. I guess we’ll have to stock up on the free drinks at the final farewell party.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rules and Policies

Lots of information was provided in the email that was sent a few days ago. I’m still trying to take it all in.

Autographs
I also thought it was interesting they made a point to say no autographs. This didn’t upset me all that much as an autograph is never something I’ve really wanted. If I did have the chance to run into a Backstreet Boy, I'd much prefer a picture or hug. If I wanted an autograph, I could always buy it on ebay or something. I’ve always felt a picture with them is more personal.

Photo Sessions
While I was hoping the groups would be smaller; I can’t be too upset with 8 people per picture. If they did individual pictures it would take them all day, which would probably translate into one less event. So I get it. I’m just hoping it’s not too chaotic to form groups, particularly with the division amongst the wristband groups. I am happy that they’re doing this on the last day. It should give us all time to meet some new friends, and perhaps have an opportunity to grab pictures with some of the Backstreet Boys elsewhere on the ship. That very well may change my mind on who I want to stand next to.

Cameras
Rose Tours specifies that there is no videotaping at the events, but I’m wondering how strict they will be enforcing that. The last thing I need is my camera taken away, but I wouldn’t mind a few videos. But I’m happy you can bring cameras to all other events, I will be taking lots of pictures. I’m kind of scared at exactly how many pictures I will probably end up taking. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up coming back with over 1,000 pictures…

Seating
First off- seating in the dining room. Looks like we’ll be spread across 2 different dining rooms, one of which will be reserved seating and the other will be open. I wonder how they determine which dining room you will be in. I usually liked assigned seating so you get to know your waiter and table-mates better, but I wouldn’t mind meeting trying open seating as well. It could be a nice chance to meet some new people. I guess the big question, which dining room, if any, will BSB be in? I’d be pretty bummed if I was in the opposite dining room.

There’s also seating in the Palladium lounge for all of our events. I’m happy to see it in writing that seats are assigned and they even tell you not to wait in line before the event. This will free up so much extra time and reduce my stress level significantly. I’m also happy to hear that seats are indeed based on time of reservation as I was lucky enough to get #1007! So if you’re near me, feel free to come say hi. The only thing I don’t think is fair about this system is if we get the same seats for all the events. I almost feel they should switch it up so that everyone gets a chance to sit in the front. But truthfully, the theater is small enough that all the seats are good seats.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Long Awaited Itinerary

It’s finally arrived! I thought it would never come, and its finally hear. Now my head is spinning and I don’t even know where to begin.

You can download the Itinerary here in case you missed it. You can also view the email that Rose Tours sent:

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Backstreet Boys Cruise
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES/ROSE TOURS INSTRUCTIONS

Dear Cruise Guest,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for participating in the 1ST Annual Backstreet Boys CRUISE aboard CARNIVAL'S DESTINY.

Please review below information necessary to ensure a trouble free, relaxing vacation for all.


To View and print out your cruise documents please click on the link below.

https://secure.carnival.com/BookedGuest/

You can also find this information on www.carnival.com under the "Manage My Cruises" tab.

Please note - you might need to use Internet Explorer as other browsers may not work properly

Enter in your Booking Number as indicated above, your Last Name, Date of Birth, Name of the Ship
(Carnival Destiny) and the sailing date 12/09/2010 and click the Submit Box. From here you can access your cruise documents and complete your "Fun Pass" which serves as your Carnival boarding-pass. Alternatively, you can access your "Fun Pass/Boarding Pass" directly from the link provided below. You should complete your Fun Pass/Boarding Pass prior to printing out your document information. All guests in cabin must complete the Fun Pass/Boarding Pass in order to print it:

https://funpass.carnival.com/signin.aspx

Here is what you will need for everyone in your party:

Personal Information
(full name, home address, phone number, etc.)

Citizenship Information
(passport data, permanent resident card number, etc.)

Travel Plans
Guests with independent travel arrangements will need to provide details regarding pre and post transportation arrangements (arrival and departure flight information, hotel arrangements, etc.)

Onboard Expense Account Information (Sail & Sign)
Method of Payment to set up account

Remember, all guests in your cabin must provide the required information in order to obtain a Fun Pass. Online registration is available until the day before sailing. Taking a few minutes now will let you start enjoying your long-awaited cruise that much sooner.

Enter in your Booking Number, your Last Name, Date of Birth, Name of the Ship, Carnival Destiny and the sailing date, 12/09/2010 then, click the Continue Box. Complete Guest Information then click Continue. Complete Citizenship Information and click Continue. If you are flying home on Monday, Dec. 13th, leave the Ground Transportation Box empty and check the flight box in Air Travel. Be prepared to provide your flight details then click continue (leave the fare basis box blank).

Make sure you click on Setup Onboard Expense Account. Click on I accept the terms and conditions (Step 2 of 4). If you are part of the match program or traveling with friends, you will be able to enter your individual credit card numbers. However, if you are the first passenger listed in the cabin, you will need to select "set up account at a later time" for the 2nd passenger. When the 2nd passenger logs in, they will have the opportunity to add their own credit card information please enter just the last 4 digits of your credit. You will need to present the same credit card that you registered with at the pier. If you are using cash, you will open your cash deposit onboard at the Pursers desk. You can now click View/Add Booking on the Cruise Ticket Contract Acceptance Information (Step 3 of 4). After reviewing the Cruise Ticket Contract, you will need to click on I accept and click on Continue. Then Click - Continue again. After you have reviewed the information and everything is correct, click Continue. All information for all passengers in your cabin must be completed. Under each name it must state Complete in order to print fun pass. If incomplete, click on incomplete to see what needs to be done. After everyone is completed, click - Print Fun Pass. Make sure you Print out your Fun Pass and bring with you.

Everyone must check in at the pier. (IMPORTANT - Please remember to fill out your Fun Pass/Boarding Pass and Bring with you to the pier for Check In)

It is suggested that you put all medication in your carryon bag. Your luggage will not be delivered to your stateroom until a later time.

Once you arrive at the Pier, go to the Reception Area to check in. **Please have your proper identification with your Fun Pass (valid Passport or Birth Certificate with seal and official photo ID) for cruise check-in.

You will receive your Sail & Sign /Cabin Key from Carnival at the pier. Once onboard, please proceed to the Universe Dining Room, Lobby Deck 3, where you will receive your Wristband and Beach Party Ticket.

You must wear the wristbands for the entire cruise. Each passenger will receive one wristband, which is non-transferable and will not be replaced.

BACKSTREET BOYS RULES & OTHER INFORMATION

AUTOGRAPHS:
Please note that due to the number of people attending the cruise, we are not able to provide an official autograph session for everyone. No autographs will be given at the photo sessions.

PHOTO SESSIONS:
We will have groups of 8 passengers pose for each picture with the Backstreet Boys. This way we will be able to see everyone, and no one will be left without a photo. We ask that you please respect this group policy. Black & Blue Wristbands will begin at 12:00PM on Sunday December 12th. Orange, Red, Purple & Green Wristbands will begin at 1:15PM on Sunday December 12th. These sessions will be in the Criterion Lounge on Promenade Deck 5. While in line, you will be given a ticket with a number. You must be present to receive your ticket. We will go in numerical order for photos. If your number is called and you are not present, you will miss your photo opportunity. Please arrive at the Photo Session with your group of 8 passengers!

PERSONAL CAMERAS / VIDEO CAMERAS:
Please feel free to bring your personal camera to all events except for the official photo sessions. We are providing an official photographer for your convenience. They will be circulating at all official events and taking photos. All photos, including those taken at the official photo sessions will be posted after the cruise. Photos will be available on a website and a link will be provided at a later time. If personal cameras are brought to the photo sessions, you will be asked to return the camera to your cabin.

Video cameras are allowed only for your own personal events. They are not allowed at official Backstreet Boys Cruise events.

Please note no cameras are allowed in the Casino.

WRISTBANDS:
You will receive your wristband when you check-in. There are 6 wristband colors Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Purple & Green. These colors represent the zones in the Palladium Lounge. Your wristband will have your exact seat assignment. Wristband color and seat assignment number was determined by time of booking. Please note that these wristbands are required for all events. DO NOT REMOVE these wristbands until the end of the cruise

PERSONAL GIFTS TO BACKSTREET BOYS:
Gifts will NOT be permitted at any Backstreet Boys scheduled events.
Gifts can be left at the hospitality desk during designated hours.
Your gifts will be delivered to The Backstreet Boys.

SEATING:
All seating in the Palladium Lounge will be reserved. Your wristband determines which zone you are in and your Seat Number. Please look at the seating charts you received at check in to see where you will be seated. Please respect the seating policy and do not switch seats during the events. Please be respectful of others when entering the Palladium Lounge and do not wait in the line prior to the show.

DRESS:
Dress during the day is casual (shorts, shirts, skirts, jeans, etc.)
Theme nights are as follows:
Thursday December 9th - INTERNATIONAL LUV NIGHT
Show off your Country pride with flags, T-shirts, Countries colors, etc. Let's see how each country represents!
Friday, December 10th- MASQUERADE NIGHT
Let's dress up and dance the night away at our Masquerade ball – feathers, beads and lots of fun!
Don't forget to bring your mask!
Sunday, December 12th – BLACK AND BLUE BUBBLE PARTY
Come ready to party on our final night in black and blue attire.

Beach & Swim Wear, Tank Tops, Tennis Shoes, Flip-Flops, etc are Not Allowed in the Dining Room.

DINING ROOMS:
Our group passengers will be eating in the Universe or Galaxy Dining Room.
You will receive dining room assignment at check in. Seating in the Universe Dining Room is
open except for reserved tables. Seating in the Galaxy Dining Room will be assigned. Please
arrive at your assigned dining room with your party, the Maitre D' will seat you. Other options
include 24 hour Room Service, Buffet on Lido Deck or the 24-hour Pizzeria.

OTHER PASSENGERS ON BOARD THE SHIP:
Please keep in mind that we are joined on The Carnival Cruise Ship Destiny; with passengers who are not participating in the Backstreet Boys Cruise. We ask that you please be courteous to all the Carnival Cruise guests.

ITINERARY:
Please click here to view the Full Itinerary.

Thanks and See you on board!

Hal Roseman, President
Rose Tours & Travel
9 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046
1.215.663-8800
1.888.491.7673
jeannie@rosetours.com

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Let’s start with the new events. I think we knew most of everything on the itinerary except the Shes a Dream Dating Game and the BSB Karaoke.

She’s a Dream Dating Game
I think this should be quite an interesting event, especially considering all of the Backstreet Boys are either married, engaged or in a relationship. I am excited that they’re doing something different. It seems like no other band has done this type of event before, so this event will be a complete surprise for me. I’ve seen video clips of how New Kids did their family feud, so I kind of know what to expect. I can’t say that for this game.

Shining Star Karaoke
My big question- do you think BSB will attend this event, or is it just for the fans? Personally, I don’t think they will be there. If they’re going to get up on stage and sing karaoke, they may as well do another concert. I feel like they may be obligated to show up for at least a little bit. But I’m sure they don’t want to hear us get up and butcher their songs any more than I want to hear it.

Typically they do karaoke in the back lounge, but you wouldn’t be able to squeeze 1300 fans in there. I’m curious as to where they will decide to do this event. Overall, I don’t see this event being the highlight of my trip, but I could be easily swayed if AJ got up and sang London. *Sigh* I love that song. I wonder what it would take to make that happen…


As I said, too much information to absorb in 1 day. I’ll sleep on it and share more thoughts tomorrow. But I leave you with this…whats the deal with this “Black and Blue Bubble Party”?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More than One Concert?

Before you get too excited, nothing has been confirmed. But I’ve been thinking… it’s very well possible they may decide to do more than 1 concert on the cruise. Here’s my rationale:

On the New Kids cruise, they did 2 concerts, and it was only a 3 day cruise. Granted it was the same show, nonetheless they had the time. Meanwhile on the Rick Springfield cruise, they did a lot of concerts throughout the trip. It sounded like 4-5 shows. Some on the lido deck, some in the main theater, and even one at his beach excursion. Apparently the concert at his beach party wasn’t announced either. So perhaps this could be the same case for our beach party excursion. What a great treat that would be- BSB concert on the beach! I’m surprised they wouldn’t tell us, but perhaps it wasn’t confirmed at the time.

I very well could be stretching here and just getting my hopes up, but I feel like they should be able to do more than 1 concert on a 4 day cruise. Just my humble opinion.

Any thoughts?


Speaking of concerts, I was able to confirm that we will have assigned seats for our cruise. I previously speculated that it may be zoned seating, based on the Rick Springfield cruise, but that is not the case. Our group is a little larger than theirs, so they have to do assigned seats for us. Personally, I was quite happy to hear this. I'd rather not wait in any more lines than necessary. I also like to the ability to get up and go to the bathroom without losing my seat.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Non-BSB Entertainment

I have confirmation that there will still be regularly scheduled entertainment from Carnival for our cruise. Not I'm not sure if we will get an opportunity to participate, but it will be offered. We can expect a Welcome Aboard Show, several comedians, 2 main production shows, and even a hypnotist. A hypnotist could be interesting. I actually saw a comic hypnotist last week, its some freaky stuff.

The first main production show is called Voila Paris. This is a singing and dancing show but be warned "costumes in this show are a little revealing in some numbers" Yes, it actually says this in the Fun Times.

The second main production show is called "Nightclub Express" Another singing and dancing show with the same words of caution as the first show. Both of these productions are a Vegas-style revue show if you enjoy that stuff.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

17 Days and Counting

I can't believe we're just 17 days away. Seeing them perform tonight on the AMAs just got me even more pumped for the cruise!

At this point all the logistics should mostly be taken care of and the cruise is paid, so all that's left to do is wait for our itineraries and pack! Speaking of itineraries, we should be getting those next week. I'm also going to assume we'll get those early next week, since I don't anticipate Rose Tours sending it out over the Thanksgiving break. But I guess we'll find out soon enough :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Advice on Door Decorations from the Judge Herself

I have some insight from the judge herself on what she looks for when it comes to the door decorations. The judge, as you probably could have guessed, is a Rose Tours employee. People go all out with the doors and each one is more creative than the last. Some even rigged buttons to their door that played music when you pushed them! However she said that the ones that catch her eyes are the spoofs. For example, on the Rick Springfield cruise this morning, someone did a ‘Rickopoly’ while another door was themed with a Star Wars spoof. After walking down the halls, she will narrow it down to the top 10. At that point they select a winner. Unfortunately she wouldn’t disclose what the prize is, but she said it was a good prize and that’s all I need to know!

After hearing this advice, I’m wondering if I should switch my game plan. With only 3 weeks left, I’m already pretty set on my idea and not sure if I’d have the time to come up with something that creative. But sometimes I surprise myself... perhaps I can whip something up.

Meanwhile this Rose Tours employee also shared that Rick Springfield does eat in the main dining room with everyone else. Not that the Backstreet Boys will necessarily be the same, but a girl can dream! She also indicated that the Backstreet Boys cruise is sold out with 1300 people coming. 90 are coming from Japan, and they even have their own interpreter coming. Another 30 people are coming from Brazil. Thus people truly are coming from all over the world which should make International Luv night really spectacular.

Not to be pessimistic here, but I have to point out that this is yet another discrepancy between the official cruise website and what the Rose Tours staff is saying. It seems like you can still get tickets from the website but they are when you speak to them they say the cruise is sold out. Maybe the website just isn’t updated… Perhaps I should bring my resume in hopes that they can hire me to maintain their websites.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Updates from the Rick Cruise

Apparently Rick Springfield did NOT participate in the sail-away party. Since it is only a half charter, they were not able to take control of the entire lido deck. Thus the sail away party was your typical send off with the lines dances in order to please the general cruise population. While I’m hopeful that the Backstreet Boys may decide to participate in the sail away party, I’m not counting on it.

There is an entire channel devoted to playing Rick Springfield videos including movies, interviews, etc. I understand New Kids did the same for their cruise, so I’m hoping we will get something similar for the Backstreet Boys. Now I’m debating if I should pack a VCR and some old VHS tape. I’d have to go dig those out of the attic first though…

As for the welcome aboard cocktail party, Rick Springfield and other celebrities on board did attend and were supposedly taking pictures.

From what I understand, both the Rose Tour staff and the main acts all have VIP passes, allowing them into crew areas. Rick Springfield and his entourage were hanging out on deck 4 forward, which is the outdoor crew area. Meanwhile, they are tending to use the crew elevators to get around. I anticipate we should expect the same for the Backstreet Boys. After all, they do need some place to escape the crowds for a bit :)

Rick Springfield also did a door decoration contest. Lots of clever ideas from their fans as well including hoses, yellow brick roads, lights, whistles, buzzers, collages, memoirs, stories, rhymes, pictures, etc. I’m really excited to see the creativity from the BSB fans!

He also had a Q&A session. The first person lined up 2.5 hours before the event! While I don’t plan to get in line QUITE that early, I'll brace myself to wait in a few lines throughout the cruise.

Tipping Guide

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m more confused after I started writing this entry than before, but I’ll share with you what I know on the tipping situation.

At first I assumed that tips were not included, as that what it says on the official Backstreet Boy Cruise website. Thus, me being the diligent planner I am, I called Rose Tours to see what we need to do to take care of this. She indicated that gratuities are in fact already included and that we don’t need to worry about anything. Perhaps it was included in the tax/ extra fees that were tacked on from the original price? Regardless, here is a quick tipping guide, taken from Carnival’s website:

$ 3.50 Per Day Stateroom Services
$ 5.50 Per Day Dining Room Services
$ 1.00 Per Day Alternative Services: distributed to other kitchen and hotel service staff

For beverage purchases, fifteen percent of the bill is automatically added to the Sail & Sign charge. Room Service staff may be tipped as service is rendered. Tipping your Maître d’ is at your discretion, based upon the service you receive.


While it appears that tips may already be taken care of, I think it’s important to remember that these people’s livelihood rely on our tips. Thus sometimes I will add more money to the recommended amount, depending on how generous I’m feeling…or how much alcohol I have in me. Though, typically the two go hand in hand.

In case you’re curious, I usually do not tip the Maître d’, but I would recommend that you consider tipping them if you feel they’ve gone above and beyond. For example if they helped switch your table or helped arrange special meals due to dietary restrictions, you may feel it appropriate to give them something extra.

I guess I'll have to swing by guest services once I'm on board just to make sure this was taken care of...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Live Update from the Destiny

Rick Springfield is doing a half charter cruise this week, also run by Rose Tours. Thus I'm hoping we will be able to get more information as the week progresses on what to expect with our BSB cruise.

There's definitely a lot of excitement on board with the banners and everyone walking around in their Rick Springfield T-shirts, CDs, posters and other paraphernalia. It’s funny, among all the planning I’ve done with my outfits it never occurred to me to bring a BSB t-shirt. So obvious, yet somehow I missed it.

So far I've got a little bit of information on how the registration process works. After embarkation, we proceed to the main dining room where Rose Tours is set up for registration. There we will get our wrist bands and other important information for the trip.

Guests are either given gray or black wristbands, which they must wear the entire cruise. The black ones have a letter A on it and the gray ones have a letter B on it. The events are basically split down the middle. The A’s get the lower level for half the events while the B’s get the lower level for the other half. Then the other group gets the balcony seats. Pretty fair way of doing things. Guests started lining up right after boat drill (90 minutes before show). But, as there are 4 entrances (2 A and 2 B), none of the lines are that long. Maybe like 50 people in each one 30 minutes prior to show. I'm going to psyche myself for waiting at least 60 minutes prior to each BSB event. Doors open 30 minutes before show so it shouldn't be too bad at all...I've done a lot worse over the years! So far I'm not sure if the seats actually have numbers on them, but I'm assuming it will be more more like zoned seating. Let’s hope this minimizes confusion and the inevitable crowds.

There was also a small group (~20 people) who apparently won a promotion and were awarded front row seats. They were in a separate line next to the library. I hope the Backstreet Boys have a similar front row promo that we could win. That would be fantastic!

I've also gathered that many of the regularly scheduled Carnival events are still taking place, just shifted around to accommodate the group. Last thing for now is that the welcome aboard brochure is very nice and that it looks like something you would buy at a concert. Its really impressive and professional looking...and I sure hope it would be for the amount of money we're spending!

I’m hoping to have more info soon…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Days at Sea

I find I’m in the minority of cruisers who actually enjoy the days at sea. I’d venture to guess most people prefer the ports. But after having been on 8 cruises, I’ve come to find sea days to be my favorite. I think it’s partially because I’ve been to most of the Caribbean ports at this point, but mostly laziness.

So while we will hopefully have lots of fun Backstreet events going on, I wanted to share how I spend my days at sea. I think the greatest thing about that time is that you can do as little or as much as you want. For me, I don’t feel obligated to get up and rush ashore to sight see or shop, so I tend to sleep in a little longer. I also have a nice leisurely breakfast overlooking the ocean, making sure to grab all the food I don’t normally enjoy at home.

After breakfast, anything is fair game. You can either relax at the pool all day, or take part in any of the various activities taking place all around the ship. If you go the pool, I’ve found the pools in the back tend to be quieter and have fewer children. So depending if I’m in the mood for a belly flop contest or just some R&R, I’ll switch up my location. I also spend a good deal of time at my favorite part of the ship. No, it’s not the bar, but actually the promenade deck. I find it so peaceful to just sit looking out at the ocean. It’s nice and quiet as not too many people hang out there, with the exception of the occasional runner.


If I’m not poolside, I also enjoy taking part in the activities put on by the entertainment staff. Again, I’m slightly biased here, but I still like playing the games and trying to win some prizes. My goal is to win a ship on a stick! One other thing that I would do on a sea day that I might not do on a port day is catch a movie. Plus it’s a lot more enjoyable when you don’t have to pay $11 to go see one.

Last thing I’d recommend for a sea day is to take advantage of the casino. While I personally am not a big gambler, it’s definitely a good time to hit the tables or slots because they’re only open when we’re at sea.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tickets Still Available

Tickets are still available for the cruise if you know anyone who is still thinking about going.

I'm actually slightly concerned that the cruise isn't completely sold out yet. I feel like they would be less inclined to do another cruise if they can't completely sell this one out...and it's only a half charter.

Ok, perhaps I'm getting slightly ahead of myself on another cruise. But the idea of this cruise becoming an annual event makes me giddy with excitement! Keep spreading the word!

http://www.backstreetboyscruise.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advice from New Kids

Not sure if you caught this interview with New Kids and Backstreet, but someone asked a good question. If you go about 2 minutes and 15 seconds in, a fan asks the New Kids if they had any advice for the Backstreet Boys on their upcoming cruise.




I love the advice New Kids gave them. Lets hope they take the advice and not only interact with the fans, but go around knocking on doors as well. How exciting!

Family Feud

Wow, I was so excited to get this email from Rose Tours:

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Backstreet Boys Cruise
2010 Game Show Survey

We are going to have a Family Feud Style Game Show on board with the Backstreet Boys! They will be competing against some lucky fans who will get a chance to prove they know the boys better than they know themselves!

To help us get the best answers to all the questions, please fill out the survey with the first answer that comes to your head! We will tally all the answers, and use them to play during our game show!
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I really enjoyed answering these survey questions. Definitely got me thinking! In case you missed them:

  1. Name something that you associate with Howie.
  2. Name something Howie might have his initials on.
  3. Name something that Howie is embarrassed to admit he has worn.
  4. What is Brian's favorite holiday?
  5. Name something Brian might bring on tour with him.
  6. Name something that Brian can do that the other BSB boys can't.
  7. If Nick could live anywhere, where would he live?
  8. Besides wash, name something Nick does in the shower.
  9. Name something Nick does to pass the time at the venue or on the tour bus.
  10. Name one of AJ's tattoos.
  11. How many piercings does AJ have?
  12. If not a musician, what other career path would AJ have chosen?
  13. Name something that you associate with the Backstreet Boys.
  14. Name something the band gets annoyed at each other over.
  15. Name something that you can always count on happening during a BSB concert.
  16. Name the bands favorite National cuisine.
  17. What video had the best wardrobe?
  18. What video had the best choreography?
  19. On average, how many BSB shows has a BSB fan gone to?
  20. What is the craziest thing a fan would do to meet the BSB?
  21. Where's the best place for a BSB boy to take you on a date?


I don't want to reveal all my answers...but the first thing that I associate with Howie is his winking haha.

While I dont know how they will choose the contestants, I was trying to decide if Id actually like to be a contestant for this. Unfortunately I'm the shy type and I dont like getting on stage. I'd be even more nervous if I was on stage with the Backstreet Boys. But I guess it helps to know the questions they will ask so I could study before hand.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One More Month!

Definitely a cause for celebration! Just think, next month at this time we'll be partying it up with the Backstreet Boys starting International Luv night. Speaking of which...I still need to figure out what I'm going to wear. So much to do in this next month!

Is it December yet?!?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Half vs Full Charter

At first I didn’t know what to make of the Backstreet Boys doing a half charter cruise, as opposed to a full charter. I suppose there are pros and cons to each type of cruise. Yeah it would be pretty cool if everyone on that ship was there for the Backstreet Boys, but I think the half charter will be a lot better than we anticipate. For one, there will be that many less people there to see the Backstreet Boys, thus increasing your chances of running into them. With less BSB fans, that also means the events will be less crowded. So we’ll get slightly more breathing room and can get that much closer to the stage. I’m also hoping we may get more BSB events, since all the activities will not have to be done twice to accommodate a larger group. I also realized that we get more options for activities provided by Carnival. Since half of the ship will be there expecting a regular cruise, they will have to provide all the activities for them. Thus I’m hoping we get the benefit of both worlds.

My only concern with this half charter cruise is that there are still spots available. If they are having trouble selling out a half a ship, I wonder if they would be inclined to do another cruise in the future? Perhaps it’s too soon to think about that, but the thought of this cruise becoming an annual event gets me really excited!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

For Your Information

Straight from the Fun Times- Key information you'll want to know when aboard the Destiny

Smoking Areas
Smoking is permitted in the Casino, The Apollo Bar, the Point After Disco, The Sports Bar and the starboard (right) side of the open deck only. Cigar smoking is only permitted in the Onyx Bar located on Deck 4, Aft.

Sail & Sign Card
Please keep your room card with you at all times. It is used to pay for shore excursions, drinks, photos, casino coins & chips, laundry service, tuxedo rentals, infirmary services and gift shop items. It can also be used to purchase goods and services at art auctions, formalities, Internet cafe, & Spa Carnival. Additionally, your Sail & Sign card is your "boarding pass" to exit and reboard the ship while in port. Again, please keep it with you at all times.

Luggage
Please note that luggage is delivered to your stateroom as soon as possible. If you find luggage in your room that does not belong to you, please contact the Guest Services Office immediately.

Beach Towels
Please remember to return the Carnival Beach Towel or Bathrobe to your Stateroom Steward or your Sail & Sign card account will be billed. If you'd like to purchase one as a souvenir your Stateroom Steward will be happy to deliver a new one. Just ask.

Cellular Phone Service
Stay connected out at sea using your cellular phone. International rates apply. Please remember that your cellular phone may show a different time than most ships time. Please always stay on ships time.

Phoning Home at a Low Rate
Just $.99 per minute when using your stateroom phone! Consult your stateroom directory for dialing instructions. Charges apply to all cards including 1-800 calling cards, credit cards and collect calls.

Towel Hut
Blue Beach Towels, Basketballs, and Volleyballs are available from the Tower Hut located on Deck 10, Midship from 8:00am-8:00pm. Your Sail & Sign Card number will be taken as a deposit.

Medical Center
Hours are generally 8:00am-8:00pm and the doctors hours seem to be 8:00am-11:00am & 3:00pm-6:00pm.

Internet Access- 24 Hours
We are wireless- connect to Carnival WiFi with your own laptop or use our computers int eh Internet Cafe. You can purchase and use your minutes anytime, from anywhere. To Log Out type http://1.1.1.1 in the address bar. Please contact the Internet Cafe Manager during posted hours for additional information.

Movies Galore

As my parents just got off the Destiny, I’m able to share some additional info from their trip. The Destiny not only has the Seaside Theatre playing movies, but they also play movies in the staterooms. Here is a list of movies they are currently playing on the Destiny. I imagine some change by the time we get there, but you can get a general idea.

Seaside Theatre:
  • U2- Vertigo
  • Genesis: Songbook
  • Monday Night football
  • Leap Year
  • Dear John
  • Festival Express
  • Willie Nelson and friends: Outlaws & Angels
  • The Last Song
  • Yes- Yessongs
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Janet Jackson- Live in Hawaii
  • Journey- Live in Manila
  • How to Train your Dragon
  • Invictus

On air in your Stateroom:
  • The Karate Kid
  • Grown Ups
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Toy Story
  • Extraordinary Measures
  • The Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Shrek Forever After
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks 2
  • Prince of Persia
I don't anticipate I'll have too much extra time for movies, but good to know they're there.

5th and Final Message from Carnival Destiny Staff

“I have to say… game shows really are larger than life. See you soon backstreet fans!”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Whats the Difference Between a Ship and a Boat?

Here's a brief list of some cruise terminology you might want to brush up on before the cruise:

Aft - at, near, or toward the stern of a ship(farthest back).
Bow - the very front of the ship.
Bridge - the ship's navigational control center.
Cabin - a private room on a ship, as a bedroom or office.
Cabin Steward - a person whose work is to serve and run errands for the passengers aboard a ship.
Cruise Director- head of the ship’s staff, often emcees events
Deck- Each level (floor) of the ship
Disembark – to unload (passengers or goods) from a ship, aircraft, etc.
Dock - a large structure or excavated basin for receiving ships, equipped with gates to keep water in or out.
Embark – to go aboard a ship, aircraft, etc. To begin a journey.
First Seating- The earlier of the two meal servings (dinner seatings) in the ship’s main dining room- also referred to as the main seating.
Forward - toward the front or a point in front or before; ahead.
Galley- The ship’s kitchen
Gangway - a passageway for entering (embarking) a ship, or leaving (disembarking) from a ship.
Knot- Nautical mile
Muster – to come together or gather; specifically, to assemble as for inspection or roll call.
Muster Station – a specific location on ship to gather, based on cabin assignment.
Open Seating- a dinner seating in which tables are not assigned
Pier – a structure built out over the water and supported by pillars or piles: used as a landing place.
Port - the left-hand side of a ship or boat as one faces forward: opposed to starboard. Port – so named because the side toward the port (dock), since the steering oar (see starboard) prevented docking to the right.
Port of Call - regular stopover(s) on a cruise itinerary.
Promenade- An open deck that encircles a ship, often used for walking or jogging
Purser - a ship’s officer in charge of accounts, freight, tickets, etc., esp. on a passenger vessel. Important to you – a Purser takes responsibility for all money, transactions.
Second Seating- The later of the two meal servings (dinner seatings) in the ship’s main dining room also referred to as the late seating.
Ship – any water vehicle of considerable size navigating deep water, especially one powered by an engine.
Sister ships- Ships built of the same design- sometimes referred to as ships owned and operated by the same cruise line.
Starboard – the right-hand side of a ship or boat as one faces forward: opposed to Port.
Stateroom - a private cabin on a ship.
Stern - the rear end of a ship or boat.
Tender - a boat for carrying passengers to or from a ship close to shore.
Veranda- a private balcony adjacent to the ship’s stateroom (cabin)


So what exactly is the difference between a ship and a boat?

A ship can carry a boat, but a boat cannot carry a ship. You’d be surprised how many crew members don’t know that answer.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What to do Beyond the Backstreet Boys

For you first time cruisers, there are tons of activities that will be going on around the ship outside of our BSB bubble. I wanted to share a little bit more on what to expect during any lulls of Backstreet activity, though I hope there aren’t too many of those.

I also don't know if they will cut back on some of these activities due to us being there. However since it is only a partial charter cruise, the other half of the ship still needs to be entertained so I imagine they will still offer the majority of what they normally do.

Shopping
Lots of opportunities to shop on board from souvenir shops to art auctions.

Spa/Gym
If you want to keep in shape, the gym facilities are available to you along with various exercise classes such as body conditioning, indoor cycling, or yoga. They also have health seminars such as Burn fat fast, Puffy Eyes Seminar, or Eat More to Weigh Less. You may see me at that last class...

Casino
The slots machines and tables will be open as long as we are not in port, however they also have events such as Poker challenges, slot tournaments, or Hold’Em tournaments.

Pool
The Destiny has 2 pools and several hot tubs, which are open until it gets dark. During the day they may have fun events such as a hairy chest contest or belly flop contest. Always good for a fun time and some laughs.

Games and Other Activities
I’m slightly biased on these, as this is what my brother does, but I love participating in these events. Here is just a small sample of what you might expect:

Trivia games- And lots of them throughout the day including general trivia and special themes such as movie music trivia.
Bingo- Lots of good prizes here, but you have to pay to play.
Digital Scavenger hunts- Don’t forget your camera!
Name that Tune- Different themes such as 80’s. Maybe they’ll do a BSB themed one, though I think that might be too easy for us.
Karaoke- Just the place to have a few drinks and belt out some I Want it That Way!

Feature Shows
Now I’m not sure how this will work since the Backstreet Boys will be our entertainment. But they do have two production shows that are normally scheduled on the night of Key West and Cozumel. My brother was looking over the schedule and it currently lists “Partial Ship Charter, show changes” Thus we may not get a chance to see these shows, but you can typically expect singing and dancing.

They also have comedy shows, both PG and adult versions, but according to my brother they are pretty low key on the Destiny.



So much to do in so little time! I don't think I'll be getting any sleep for those 4 days.