Thursday, March 31, 2011

Itinerary Change- Going to Nassau

Just announced today- We will be docking in Nassau instead of Half Moon Cay.

BSB Beach Party
Due to a scheduling conflict, we are excited to announce that our new port of call for the 2nd Annual BSB cruise will now be an overnight stay in Nassau, Bahamas.
Your exclusive, private beach party will be held on beautiful Cable Beach. The Beach Party is still included in your cruise price. The beach party includes admission, transportation to and from, full Buffet and selected non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages and soda will be available for purchase with cash or credit card. Our overnight stop allows you plenty of free time to shop and play in Nassau.
Remember, it’s better in the Bahamas!

I’m still trying to figure out what I think of the change. I find it very interesting that they will be making this an overnight stop. That is pretty rare for cruises to do. I guess we could look at this as a good or bad thing. I think more people will be off the ship in the evening hours- either at the beaches, shopping, or enjoying the night life. It’s certainly nice to have the option to check out some clubs or bars in Nassau. Plus it will be nice to have a few less people on the ship. My only fear is that the Backstreet Boys may also take advantage of that option and not be on the ship- causing us to have even less time with them.

As for Nassau, it’s definitely a port with a lot of things to do. Most notably, the Atlantis resort. I’ve been there a couple of times, and the place is just spectacular. Even if you don’t buy access to the water park, it’s still fun to walk around and see the resort. Im not sure how much time we will have to see Atlantis or other sites since we have our beach party, which will now be held at cable beach. I’ve heard good things about this beach. The pictures also look gorgeous.

Cable Beach

Given the choice between Half Moon Cay and Nassau, I'd still probably choose Half Moon Cay. But I think we will still have a great time at Nassau. I can't wait to get more info!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

8 Things I Plan on Doing Differently for Cruise 2011

Looking back on the last cruise, I don’t have too many regrets, but none of us really knew what to expect since it was the first ever BSB cruise. Were they going to eat with us? Would they show up to the theme parties? What do you wear?

As we start to prepare for the next cruise, I learned a lot from the first trip that I'm going to try to do differently for the next one.

  1. Get a New Camera: And plenty of extra batteries. I got so camera happy last cruise that I would drain my camera’s battery midway through an event. When I got home and finally looked through all of my pictures, I was slightly disappointed with the quality of some of the pictures so I’ve decided to invest in a new camera for this trip so I will have some nice pictures to share.
  2. Take More Pictures without a BSB in it: I got so focused on the Backstreet Boys that sometimes I would forget to take pictures of the ship, me just hanging out with friends, everyone in their theme outfits, etc. There will be PLENTY of pictures of the Backstreet Boys at all of the events. So while I obviously want to take pictures of BSB, I dont want to stress about it and forget to take pictures of me and my friends.
  3. Don’t go to Bed: Okay, I obviously have to allow some time for rest, but I felt like so much was going on from like 12-6am that I don’t want to miss. Not all of the Backstreet Boys were awake, but I know AJ made great efforts to hit up the club, knock on cabin doors, etc and I don’t want to miss out because I’m sleeping. I'm still kicking myself for leaving the club early that one night when AJ was still there. So moral of the story, I’ll worry about sleep when I get home!
  4. Relax: At times I was so preoccupied with the Backstreet Boys and where they might be on the ship that I couldn’t always let loose and enjoy myself. I plan on relaxing a lot more and just having a good time, and who knows who might stroll by if I’m lucky.
  5. No Expectations: While tough, I don’t think we can necessarily compare the first cruise to the second cruise because this cruise will be a full charter which I anticipate will completely change the dynamic of the whole trip. So I’m trying not to get my hopes up and assume it will be just like last year, because it will not.
  6. Meet even more People: One of my favorite parts of the first cruise had nothing to do with the Backstreet boys, but rather with all the friends I met. I’d like to continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I also plan on asking for contact info this time because I forgot to do that last cruise and couldn’t find people after the fact. Oopsies! Hopefully some of those people will come again this year.
  7. Plan for all Weather: After last year’s black and blue night, I realize I need to have a Plan B outfit in the event that its cold or rainy. Last year I had to throw on a sweatshirt over my meticulously planned black & blue outfit, which was disappointing.
  8. No Gym Clothes: I was really just kidding myself on the first cruise and it took up too much space

So, anyone else plan on doing anything differently for the next cruise?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cruise Map 2011

Don't forget to add yourself to the cruise map if you're going!

Friday, March 25, 2011

We're taking over the FULL boat

Much to my displeasure, we will be getting a full charter this year. They did tell us on last year’s cruise that they wanted to do a full ship, but I was hoping it was only conjecture. I did do a previous post on the full vs half argument but now that I have experienced the half, I can say with 99% certainty I’m very pro- half charter. I reserve that last 1% because I have never done a full charter, and I suppose its unfair to judge something I've never tried. But here are some pros and cons that I can think of for a full charter:

  • Lots of energy. I'm excited for the deck parties with a full deck full of fans. I suspect it will blow last years' deck parties out of the water (pun not intended)
  • Less door vandalism. I'm hoping that by not having ‘non-fans’ on board there will be a level of respect for all of the door decorations
  • We’ll hopefully get a sail away party. Fans who went on the NKOTB cruise said this was one of the best events, and we couldn’t do that on the half charter last year
  • No non-BSB fans and significantly less kids. I think it will be neat to know everyone on board is as excited to be there as I am and we all have something in common
  • I suspect more decorations, posters, etc around the ship pertaining to the BSB cruise.
  • Hopefully less issues with weather ruining deck parties because we will have the whole ship, allowing them flexibility to move events around if needed
  • Give more fans the chance to go and us the opportunity to meet more fans

  • Bottom line: More fans = more craziness and less possible face time with the boys
  • Along with my first point, there will be less of a chance to have your special moment with one of the guys. Last year AJ made great strides to knock on fans’ doors and only made it through 2 decks. This year there will be twice as many fans and even less of a chance for moments like that.
  • BSB will have to do all events twice. This mean that you will have to miss events when its not your group. I’ll be so upset if I found out the other groups concert/games was better.
  • There is no ‘non-fan’ buffer to maintain a sense of normalcy.
  • More crowded and less chance to get into events not hosted in the main lounge. Last year many people were denied access to the club on the last night due to room capacity. With 2X the numbers of fans, there will be that many more disappointed fans
  • Possibility of less events all around because they have to do everything twice and only have 3 days to do it in.
  • Events may be more rushed
  • People will miss out on being able to eat dinner in the main dining room with them. I know not everyone was able to last cruise, but I think the majority of the fans did get that experience. With a full charter, a lot of people will not be able to eat with them and enjoy some of their interactions in between courses. And this is assuming they will even have the luxury to join us for dinner at all. I could see them being too busy since they now have to do all events twice.
  • I suspect that they will be more drained all around due to the sheer amount of people, number of events they have to do, and lack of time spent with their family
  • Due to my prior point, I'm worried that they will not be around the ship as much for a potential chance encounter. And those are the best! I loved standing innocently in line for some french fries and chicken fingers and then I see Howie walk by. And try not to judge me on the fried food, but I cant help that its delicious, free, and available practically 24/7.
  • With 2 groups there’s a good chance your friends may be in a different session for the events, photos, and even dinner.
  • Too much estrogen on board. This scares me a little. lol

I’m trying not to be too biased here, but its hard not to. As I said, I haven’t experienced the full charter yet so hopefully I won't be too disappointed. I sure hope I'm wrong! What do you guys think? I need someone to help me come up with some more pros!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Traveling Alone?

This time last year when they announced the cruise, I was scrambling to find someone... anyone who I could convince to go with me on on this trip. This was quite a struggle. I had a few friends who I had a slight chance of convincing to go, but I had to find people who could either take off work/school right before finals, were willing to go on a cruise, willing to go on a cruise with the Backstreet Boys, and then pay two to three times the price for it. I quickly realized that was a lost cause so I decided to do the roommate match program and hope for the best.

In terms of booking the roommate match program, it was incredibly easy because I did not have to give my credit card info to someone I didn’t know, nor did I have to be responsible for another person trusting me with their credit card. Plus I didn’t have to coordinate really anything with anyone, making it that much easier . I also had very few choices- interior room or exterior room. Being the indecisive person I am, it was probably a good thing I only had 2 choices last year. The only real downside for booking the roommate match program is that it costs about $50 more for the same room as opposed to if you booked it with someone you know.

In terms of how the roommate panned out when I met her on the ship, lets just say I didn’t have the greatest experience. But I won’t get into that. I think that was a very rare, most people I know who did the program had a positive experience. It turned out fine though because I had met so many people through the BSB fan club so I had plenty of other people I could hang out with.

Would I recommend the roommate match program? Yes, I think it’s a great way to meet new people and as I mentioned, most people had a good experience. One other thing to keep in mind is that you will not know who your roommate is until 1 month before the cruise. Thus it can be stressful if you want to decorate your door because you don’t know what your roommate wants to do. In my case, it worked out because she did not have any desire to decorate the door.

Overall, I really enjoyed ‘traveling alone’. I met so many people that I have continued to keep up with months after the cruise, and consider them good friends. I don’t think I would have met all of these people if I was booked with someone I knew. It forced me to be proactive meeting people in the fan community and even approach random people on the ship and introduce myself. Plus I found everyone I met was just as big of a fan as myself, which is hard to find. Another advantage I found to traveling alone is that I could do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. It allowed me so much flexibility.

I'm happy to say that this year I will not be traveling alone as I met so many great people on the first cruise to room with. Now I find myself having the opposite problem...too many people who I want to room with and too many room options! I guess I shouldn't complain though ;) But if you are traveling alone, don't stress! You'll make plenty of friends along the way. I for one would love to meet anyone who wants to say hi.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cabin Fever

I know I'm not the only one stressing over which cabin I want to get. There are just so many things to consider! I thought Id share a few things I've been debating over in hopes it may help you decide.

Interior vs Exterior- If you get seasick, or fear that you may get seasick, I’d recommend an exterior cabin so you can look out at the horizon. Exterior rooms also have the benefit of sunlight, which is helpful trying wake up (that is if you plan on sleeping at all ;) ) But interior cabins are far cheaper and the reality is, you will not be spending much time in your cabin anyway.

Balcony vs no Balcony- No decision necessary as the Carnival Imagination does not offer room with balconies. That makes one less decision for us!

Suite vs non Suite- Aside from the fact that there is more room in a suite and the cabins are nicer- If you book a suite, you are guaranteed one of the first 6 rows to the events. This is a huge perk. If you buy a suite, you will also have a greater chance of being on the same floor as the Backstreet Boys or at least closer to them. While the perks are fantastic, the cost is obviously a lot more for a suite. You’re looking at an additional $1000+ per person

Which deck do you want?- I didn’t realize until rather recently, but you can select your deck and placement on the deck. For example if you are looking at an inside room for 2 people you could decide you want deck 2 midship or perhaps deck 7 Fwd/Aft. The higher up you go the more money you’ll pay. In my opinion, you gain nothing by being higher up, well, except you will be closer to the buffet. Another factor to consider is that the Backstreet Boys will most likely be staying on Deck 6 in the suites. So if you wanted to be closer to them, you can try your luck there. Just note that there will be security blocking off their hall, so I’ll leave it to you to decide if the extra money is worth the extra potential glimpse.

# of People in the room- You can get a room for up to 4 people, which I’ve done and it can be cozy but it does cut costs. If you decide to go with any more than 2 people per room, those people will have to sleep in a bunk type of bed that retracts from the ceiling. Also consider the fact that you will have to coordinate getting ready, and make room for everyone’s suitcase. Plus, there’s the inevitable drama that comes with too much estrogen in one room.

To room with friends or not? – Well, this could probably be a whole separate post in itself. But really think about this before deciding to commit. Its great to room with someone you know and trust, but it might be fun to meet new people. You just want to think about if your living habits will be compatible. I have this same philosophy outside of the cruise. Its just not worth ruining a friendship over.

Handicap accessible rooms- Be sure to ask for handicap accessible room if you need it. They are typically larger and equipped to handle a wheelchair.

I’m still debating which type of cabin I want. I'm so tempted to splurge on an ocean-view or suite, but the reality is my budget is causing me to stick with a good ole interior cabin. I'm just going to wait until the full price list is revealed before I decide how many roommates I want to have.

Happy cabin shopping!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Itinerary/Beach Party

Now that I’ve been able to digest the fact that we there will actually be another cruise, lets start diving into the fun stuff!

Invitation from the Backstreet Boys

If you are a member of the fan club, you should have received an email yesterday around 1:00 with the official invite. In case you missed it, you can access the email here. My favorite part was where they say "Please block off Dec 2 - 5th. Let your friends and family know you won't be answering their calls because you'll be too busy hanging with us as we play, eat, dance and drink the nights away!" I immediately forwarded this email to pretty much everyone I know, even my grandparents. Figure I'd spread the word early in case anyone didnt know what to get me for my birthday or the holidays :) Most people were excited for me, but I think my dad is just sick of hearing about this cruise already haha. I'll have to try and scale back on how much I bring this up around him...

Anyway, here is an accompanying video with the Backstreet Boys inviting everyone to attend the cruise.

"Spring Break Ain't Got Nothing on us"


Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 Miami, Florida- Boarding at 12:00pm and we set sail at 4:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011- Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. Arrive at 10:00am and depart at 6:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011- Fun Day at Sea
Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 Miami, Florida- Debark at 8:00am

First thing that obviously stands out is that it’s a 3 day cruise so we’ll have to do our best to pack all of the fun in during the shorter time frame. The next thing that I noticed is that there are no public ports of call and really no time for excursions. Since the beach party is included, I would assume most cruisers want to participate in that and shouldn’t need to do any excursions. Plus, I doubt they will even offer any, but I could be wrong.

I'm very excited about going to Half Moon Cay. I’ve been, years ago, and I really enjoyed it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Half Moon Cay, it is a private island owned by Carnival. We may also see Holland America ships there as well, because Carnival owns Holland America. Personally I prefer a private island as opposed to other ports because I feel like its exactly what you would envision traveling in the Bahamas to be. Beautiful beaches, pristine waters, and white sand. Its gorgeous. Plus there’s no commerce and dirty buildings, just beaches.

Another thing to note with Half Moon Cay, we will have to tender in. This means we cant just walk off the ship, but have to take little boats over. This will be time consuming, just so something to factor into your timing. These boats can also be pretty choppy, so if you're prone to sea sickness, be warned.

Beach Party

Well the good news is that not only will they be doing another beach party, but it will be included in the cruise price. In my opinion, this was a wise move by Rose Tours considering last year’s debacle. Its nice that they are not charging extra, but I imagine it will be quite chaotic with probably 2-3x the number of people as last year considering not everyone went last time. We will be getting a buffet, but I wonder if we will get an open bar again? One can hope, but I doubt it since we are not paying extra and since they didn’t indicate we would.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Backstreet Cruise 2011 Officially Announced!

Very exciting news! Today the Backstreet Boys officially announced that the second annual Backstreet Boy cruise will be December 2-5th, 2011 on the lovely Carnival Imagination. Tickets will be going on presale to 2010 cruisers Monday April 11th at 12pm EST. Second presale for fan club members is Wednesday April 13th at 12pm EST. Tickets will be going on general sale to the general public on April 15th at 12pm EST.

My initial thoughts, to be honest, are a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that they are doing another cruise, especially this year. But the other half of me is a little bummed that it is only 3 days as opposed to 4, and a full charter as opposed to half. I guess they spoiled us last time!

That said, watching the video below got me super excited again. Assuming I can get tickets, I will most likely be going, so you can expect plenty of updates in the months to come!

Promo video for 2011 Cruise

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rumors of 2011 Cruise

Well there have been a lot of rumors flying around that suggest we will be getting another cruise announcement soon. Nothing confirmed at this point, but there have been a few tweets from Jenn and the Backstreet Boys hinting that it is in the works.

Brian has also supposedly been telling fans that the cruise will be Dec 2-6th and will be a full charter. These are just rumors at this point, but I'm getting very hopeful and anxious that we will hear something official soon!