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.
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.
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 :)
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!
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.
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.
Brian and Howie get low for the limboOnce 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
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 :(