Friday, September 30, 2011

Vote for the Set List

The Backstreet Boys and Ryan Seacrest just announced that we will be voting for the set list this year. Looks like I called it again (well kind of). Here is Nick revealing that the fans will be choosing the set list:

You can vote for as many of the the following songs as you want:

  • Show me the Meaning of Being Lonely
  • I Want it That Way
  • Incomplete
  • Drowning
  • Bigger
  • Other-___
    I wonder how many they'll let us put in other? Because I have quite a long list. But for now I just voted for Incomplete and Don't Want You Back. So what did everyone else vote for?

    I don't know about you, but I'm getting super excited as we're getting closer and closer to cruise time!

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Cruising 101

    For many of you this is not just your first Backstreet Boy cruise, but this is your first cruise period. So I wanted to put together a list of my most important cruise tips, tidbits, and recommendations. For many of these categories I’ve already given a full run down in previous posts, but here is the cliff notes version of the tips I think are most important. Plus a few new ones as well.

    • If possible, arrive a day early. Too many things can go awry with flights so it’s nice to give yourself a little buffer. That ship will not wait for you if you’re late.
    • Make sure you have all your passports/visas/ID/documentation all set to go as soon as possible.
    • Approximately 2weeks prior to boarding you should get an email from Rose Tours instructing you to “check in” for your cruise and print out your Fun Pass, which acts as your boarding document for the cruise. Don’t forget this!
    • Plan for all sorts of weather. Yes, you’re in the Caribbean but you’re on the water thus it gets chilly at night on the deck or in the main theaters.
    • Think about what you want in your carry on. Similar to a flight, you have the option to check some of your luggage and Carnival will deliver your suitcases directly to your room. If you choose this option, make sure you pack items in your carry on that you will need those first few hours aboard. For example, if you want to get your door decoration up right away, make sure you have everything you need with you. Or if you want to take a dip in the pool right away, take your swimsuit.
    • Despite my massive packing list, my biggest tip is to not over pack. Consider exactly what you will need and want you want to wear for each event. Pack no more, no less.
    • Finally, don’t stress too much about packing! There are shops on board that will contain some of the essentials you may have missed. Plus there are tons of other friendly girls who would be more than willing to lend you a hair dryer should you forget.

    • Get to the port early- While they instruct you to get there between 1 or 2 and don’t set sail until 5pm; they will almost always let you board between 11-12.
    • Bring proof of citizenship and a credit card/cash deposit. Also make sure your name matches exactly with what Carnival/Rose Tours has on file. I’ve seen newlyweds not able to get on the ship because their documents didn’t match.
    • You will be issued a Sail and Sign card which acts as your room key acts, ID while on board, as well as a ship charge card. But like with any credit card, you have to pay it off at the end of the cruise.
    • Tipping- Don’t worry about it! Tipping for any of your cabin stewards or dining room staff is already covered in your Rose Tours fees. And if you’re getting drinks at the bar, Carnival automatically adds 15% to your bill. No need to double tip.
    • Most everything is included in the cost of your cruise EXCEPT for soda, alcoholic drinks, specialty dining, spa treatments, internet, casino (bingo), excursions, and shopping. 
    • Make a budget so you don't overspend.
    What to do first
    • You can’t go to your room until 3:00 or so thus keep this in mind when deciding what to do because you may have your bags with you.
    • Stepping on the ship can be daunting especially if its your first cruise so I recommend you get a lay of the land and take a quick tour of the ship when you get on board.
    • Lifeboat drill- You are required to do this the first afternoon, no way around it. Only lasts about 15 minutes though.

      Just as much fun as it looks
    • Expect a small room, even if you booked a suite. Cruise cabins are not comparable to a hotel room.
    • If you have an interior room, remember you won’t have any natural sunlight. I like to change the TV to the channel that is a live stream of a camera from the bridge so I have some resemblance of sunlight.
    • Be prepared for the fact that there aren’t many outlets in the room.
    Contacting Home
    • There are computers/internet available on board but at a very steep rate.
    • Cell Phones- Typically you won’t get a signal when at sea, but once we are in port you should be okay. Just check with your cell carrier about roaming rates before you leave, so you are fully prepared. I typically turn my cell phone off the entire trip to avoid roaming charges.

      Internet Cafe on the Carnival Imagination
    • Food is free and plentiful. The quality is debatable, but personally I enjoy it. I’d recommend you take advantage and try new foods. If you don’t like anything, you won’t be going hungry.
    • Take advantage of the free beverages. They include lemonade, ice tea, water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate. During breakfast they will also have cranberry juice, orange juice, apple juice, and grapefruit juice.
    • There are usually specialty bakeries or coffee shops that will charge extra, but I find there are plenty of good free options.
    • If you drink a lot of soft drinks, buy a soda card. You pay a flat fee for the entire cruise and can get unlimited drinks.
    • Room service- Its free on a cruise so why not order some pancakes to be delivered to your room as a wakeup call? I wish I could do that at home.
    • Talk to the maitre d if you have any special dietary restrictions.
    What to do on Board
    • Backstreet Boys, duh! Though I don’t think we really need a tip for this.
    • There will also be shops, a casino, a spa, a gym, night clubs, pools and more.
    • Ugh, my least favorite part. Be prepared to leave EARLY! They typically want you off that ship around 8am. There is usually time to squeeze in a quick breakfast though.
    • Review your bill before you leave. Last year they accidentally charged me for my roommates expenses. It’s easier to take care of when you’re still there.
    • You have 2 choices for disembarkation. Self-debarkation is when you bring your luggage off the ship yourself, allowing you to leave when you want. Your second choice is assisted debarkation, which is where Carnival will carry your luggage off the ship for you. With this option, you need to place your luggage out the night before and you are also at the mercy of when Carnival calls your section to leave in the morning. I always do and recommend self-debark unless you need assistance carrying your luggage. And if you have an early flight to catch, definitely do self-debark.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    More Cruise Giveaway Contests

    It seems like every time I turn I around there is another cruise giveaway contest being announced. Here's a few more contests that you can enter in case you're not already registered. And if you are already registered, pass them along to a deserving friend.

    Ticketmaster has a contest through facebook and they are giving away an ocean view cabin for 2, meet and greet with the Backstreet Boys, round trip flight to Miami, hotel and $300 spending money.

    Sign up for the Ticketmaster Cruise Contest

    Ryan Seacrest is also doing a similar contest except they are giving the winner the ability to take 3 guests in 2 cabins, an exclusive meet and greet as well as access to the sound check party.

    Be sure to read all those Ts and Cs. Good luck to those entering!

    On a more selfish sidebar, as someone who signed up for the cruise in the first hour during the pre-presale, I almost feel like I'm being punished for signing up early. It just starts to irk me that people who will win some of these contests will not only get a free cruise, free flights, free hotel but now they are getting extra spending money, an exclusive meet and greet with the boys AND access to the sound check. I feel like they should give these extra perks to fans who sign up early in order to encourage more people to sign up as paying guests, rather than give away all this stuff for free. I apologize for the negativity and I know I'm biased, but after all its my blog so I get to post my opinion. What do you all think about all the contests- do you agree with me or am I just being overly jealous?

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    What to Expect- Concert

    I was debating if I should even do a post on this because there really isn’t that much of a difference between a regular concert and the concert on the ship. But humor me here as I still go ahead and ramble about the cruise concert for another 5 paragraphs.

    Last cruise the concert formula was:  This is Us show + I Still – Backup Dancers + a Fan Proposal = Fantastic show as always. I thought the boys did a great job seeing as how it was their first performance on the high seas. They tried to warn us if they messed up it was due to the waves.

    This is Us Concert On Board the Destiny

    What will be different this year is that they will have to do two different concerts. Unless of course they decided to do a mega concert on the beach or lido deck instead. Or perhaps do multiple concerts if we’re uber lucky. The other thing that I think is on everyone’s mind- what concert are they going to do? They just came off the NKOTBSB tour, but I don’t see how they could bring that tour to a ship. Obviously they would be missing 5 guys, but even if they just took their portion of the show, I still think it would take a lot of work to adapt their choreography to a completely different stage setup since there would be no room for a penis stage.

    There are rumors flying around that they would do an acoustic show on board. I’m torn on this. I would love an acoustic show because its something you don’t get to see very often. And the last acoustic show I went to in Miami I absolutely loved! But part of the reason I think I enjoyed it so much was due to how intimate it was and the fact that the boys did Q&A throughout.  I doubt they would do that on the cruise if they still have a separate Q&A session. The only reason I would be slightly disappointed with an acoustic show because there is nothing like seeing one of their live high-energy stage shows. I want that adrenaline rush!

    There are also rumors that the fans may get to pick some of the songs they sing. I would be so thrilled if they let us do this. We may not all agree on exactly which songs we DO want to hear, but it seems most cruisers agree on which songs they DON’T want to hear- mainly being their singles, which we’ve all heard countless times. As much as I would enjoy this approach, I don’t know how effective it would be because our boys  seem to have a little trouble remembering lyrics to some of their songs.

    Just for grins, I decided to come up with my dream set list just in case Rose Tours emails us with some crazy contest that one fan can pick the set list. I know this will never happen, but you’ve been humoring me the whole post, so bear with me a little while longer.

    My Dream Set List (In no particular order)

    • Poster Girl
    • Don’t Want You Back (Millennium version with the poles)
    • Shining Star
    • Get Another Boyfriend
    • The Answer to our Life (I haven’t heard this in a while and would love to hear it in concert again)
    • Back to Your Heart (Such a pretty song. Though we’d need to bring Kev back for this performance)
    • Climbing the Walls
    • Everybody (One of their few classics that I don’t seem to get sick of hearing in concert. Nothing gets me more pumped than when they sing “Backstreets Back Alright!” )
    • If I Knew Then
    • Incomplete (Love AJs part in this song so I had to put it in there)
    • Song for the Unloved (Such a pretty song; I don’t think this needs any further explanation)
    • Love Is
    • The One (Another one of my all time favorites)
    • Set it Off  (I think this would be a fun one live)
    • Something that I Already Know (Because I felt jipped they didn’t put it in the Unbreakable tour!)
    • Treat me Right
    • Solos
      • AJ- London (Unless this is your first visit to my blog, you already know that I would  practically give up my first unborn child to hear AJ sing this live. I really have an unhealthy obsession with this song)
      • Nick- I Got You & Burning Up (I couldn’t pick my favorite Nick song, maybe he could do some sort of mashup even though those two really don’t go together at all)
      • Brian- Welcome Home
      • Howie- 100 Kisses

    Okay, I got way off track there. But at this point we have nothing confirmed on what concert they will be doing.  But I know I’ll be happy with anything they come up with.

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Howie Chats about the Cruise

    Looks like Brian wasn't the only one chatting about the cruise recently. In case you missed Howie's live chat yesterday, he also talked a bit about the cruise.

    A fan asked what theme night he was looking forward to most on the upcoming cruise:

    Howie reveals he is most excited for PJ night
    I love how Howie said he can't remember a lot from the last cruise because he was drinking too much. Too funny. He also warned us about preparing for no sleep. I think we can all agree we've been properly warned!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Brian Chats About the Cruise

    Brian did one of his famous live chats last Friday. I love tuning in to get a dose of the crazy Littrell antics. I generally find that his chats can be broken down in the following manner:

    • 70% him doing various shout outs to different countries
    • 10% him goofing off, making funny sounds like his infamous donald duck voice, etc.
    • 10% Bailey running in front of the camera and goofing off. He really is a spittin image of his dad.
    • 10% answering actual, good relevant questions.

    Of that last 10%, someone asked them what they were most excited about for the cruise.

    Brian and Leighanne Talk about the Cruise

    I get so giddy hearing the guys talk about the cruise! When you hear Brian say that he doesn't plan on getting any sleep, you know to pack some extra red bulls.

    Brian divulged that we may also get a Wylee fashion show, which could be a lot of fun, especially if they do take volunteers to model the clothes. That gives me even more incentive to drop these last few stubborn pounds before the cruise. And what would make the whole event even better is if Brian does in fact host it. Then again, he could even make a root canal fun if he hosted it. But as long as their isn't another official BSB event going on at the time, you can definitely count me in.

    But even if they can't get the fashion show together as they hope for, I think it would still be great to have a Wylee party on board. Just another fun activity enjoy in between the main BSB events.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Cruising with Brian

    Last, but certainly not least, in my miniseries on cruising with the Backstreet Boys- Mr. Brian Littrell. He brought his amazing sense of humor and surprising inner party animal to the ship.

    Gotta love Brian's Smile

    Favorite Brian Moment #1:

    Hands down my favorite Brian moment was the first lunch on board I was able to get a picture with him.  My mind was running a mile a minute that whole lunch because I was still in shock of finally being on the cruise. I felt like a little kid in Disney World. What do you do first? I wanted to catch up with my brother whom I hadn’t seen in months, meet all my friends that I had made online prior to the cruise, take in the fact that Howie and Brian were eating a few feet away from us, tell everyone I knew from back home that I was practically eating with the Backstreet Boys, and actually eat lunch because I was hungry. My brain was on overload lol.  Just when I didn’t think it could get any better, Brian decides to hold a mini photo session with his fans. It was just too much to take in but I loved every second of it.

    Favorite Brian Moment #2:

    In between events, I had ventured to the pool deck to get some fresh air and check out what was going on. The Carnival staff was hosting a game of bingo, so I decided to stick around as a few of my friends were playing. I would've played but 1- it cost money. And 2- seeing as how my brother often hosts bingo, I didn't think it would be a good idea for me to play in case I actually did win. Anyway, as the sky darkened and a few rain drops started to fall, I noticed a rather bright orange shirt on the deck above me, which was Brian. He was surrounded by his friends and family. This was definitely another time I did not feel appropriate to rush up to him and ask for a picture or hug or anything of that nature. I just found it really neat to see Brian on a vacation. Its definitely not something you see every day. I felt like what I was seeing was a picture you'd see in the tabloids.

    Favorite Brian Moment #3:

    Masquerade night was awesome. I’d argue that Brian made that night extra special for me. I didn’t meet him or get a picture with him or anything. I think what made this night crack into my top 3 Brian moments was that it was just very unexpected. He’s notorious for not showing up to after parties, so I really didn’t have high expectations for him at the deck parties. But he completely surprised me and turned out to be the life of the party. I really enjoyed seeing him in this different light. He was in the spotlight for most of the night, singing, dancing, and goofing around. He also had Leighanne with him, who also seemed to be enjoying herself that night. You can’t help but smile when you watch these two. The Brian highlight of the night was when he threw some beads into the audience and my brother grabbed them for me. I know its not that big of a deal to most of you folks, but I NEVER seem to have luck catching anything from them or being picked to go up on stage for whatever reason. So you may laugh at me, but I have those beads draped over a picture frame of me and Brian from the cruise.

    Other Brian Highlights

    Let’s not forget about any of these classic Brian moments as well:
    • Dance off with AJ during international night where neither of them can seem to remember the dance steps
    • Basically anything that came out of his mouth during the Q&A had me laughing hysterically
     Brian imitating Kevin. Just one of the many hilarious things he did during the Q&A

    • Brian doing the limbo.
     How low can he go?

    • During the Shes a Dream Dating Game, I liked when he snuck over to the girl's side and was feeding them answers.

      Even when its not his turn, you can't keep Brian off stage.

    Favorite Brian Quotes
    • “What is your favorite position? Awww….It wasn’t me. G-d forgive me"
    • “I can never watch extreme home makeover without crying. It’s like being on Oprah. 
    • “We walk around with Nick all the time and we’re like say no to crack ”

    What I’m looking forward to most from Brian on cruise 2011?

    I'm very excited to see what he wears for the theme nights. After all, he has to outdo himself from last year. I also am looking forward to his sense of humor bringing all of the events alive. He especially surprised me during the deck parties, and I hope he brings the same level of excitement to the deck parties next year. I also seemed to have the most luck running into him around the ship. Not sure if it was just pure dumb luck or he was truly out more than the other Backstreet Boys. Whatever it was, I'm hopeful that will be the case for next year as well.

    Brian looking good at the Beach Party

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    101 Reasons to go on a Backstreet Boy Cruise

    It never occurred to me to do a post on this because all I needed to hear was 3 words- Backstreet Boys Cruise. I whipped my credit card out so fast before I even finished reading the sentence. But I guess some folks out there need a little bit more convincing than I did because there are still cabins available. So for those fans who need a few more reasons, here we go!

    101 Reasons to go on a Backstreet Boy Cruise

    1. Chance to visit Nassau and the beautiful Atlantis resort. Even if you’ve already been, its worth another trip back.
    2. It’s all your favorite BSB events combined into 1 uber Backstreet extravaganza. Q&A + Meet & Greet + Photo Session + Concert + Game shows + Deck Parties + so much more!
    3. You’ll be in the middle of the ocean “stuck” with the Backstreet Boys. I cant think of any one I’d rather be “stuck” with.
    4. It’s so peaceful in the middle of the ocean. No pollution, stress, traffic, alarm clocks, telephones. Just the roar of the ocean… and the roar of BSB fans of course.
    5. Opportunity to be pampered at the spa.
    6. You get the chance to experience new exotic places and excursions in the Caribbean.
    7. You can be one of the elite few who can say they’ve been on a cruise with the Backstreet Boys.
    8. No matter how many times you’ve seen them in concert or at other events, NOTHING compares to seeing them on a cruise.
    9. That exhilarating feeling of first stepping onto the ship.
    10. It sure as heck beats going to work/school instead.
    11. The quickest and best way to make new friends.
    12. You can bring your bf/husband and not feel guilty because there will be plenty for him to do outside of the Backstreet Boys events.
    13. Great way to celebrate a special event, whether it’s a birthday, graduation, reunion, anniversary, etc
    14. Cruising is quite safe compared to other vacations and we’ll be extra safe because we know there won’t be a shortage of security guards around on the BSB cruise ;)
    15. It’s a fabulous value for the money. You get all the wonderful things a cruise has to offer and tons of amazing Backstreet events, that would normally cost a fortune if you had to pay for everything individually.
    16. First access to exclusive BSB cruise merchandise.
    17. You know ahead of time exactly how much you will be spending. Since you pay up front for the cruise, there aren’t too many additional unforeseen costs, unless you go overboard on the mojitos.
    18. Don’t have to worry about drinking too much at the events because you can walk back to your room afterward.
    19. Because you deserve it! You work hard all year, time to take a vacation and relax with BSB.
    20. You get to spend 72 straight hours with the Backstreet Boys.
    21. Bring out that inner arts and crafts side of you with the door decoration contest (which hopefully will be announced soon)
    22. No one will judge you for being a “super fan” because we all feel the way.
    23. Ain’t no party like a Backstreet party.
    24. Get a vacation away from your friends and family back home. No matter how much you love them, its always nice to get away.
    25. Don’t have to worry about planning anything because it’s all done for you.
    26. Who needs sleep anyway?
    27. Gives you something to look forward to every morning when you wake up.
    28. Think of all the points you’ll accumulate on your credit card by paying for the cruise.
    29. Towel animals.
    30. Chance to meet and possibly hang out with the Backstreet Boys’ families.
    31. Meet fans from all over the world. Plus then you’ll have friends in different cities that you can stay with next time BSB goes on tour.
    32. No chores for 3 days. Don’t even have to make your bed.
    33. Escape the cold December weather (depending where you’re coming from).
    34. There is the possibility that the Backstreet Boys will come knocking on your cabin door in the middle of the night.
    35. Hear new BSB songs that haven’t been released to the public yet.
    36. Help all your relatives out because they won’t have to worry about getting you a holiday present…for the next 5 years. They can just contribute to the BSB cruise fund instead.
    37. Excuse to shop for new clothes.
    38. For repeat cruisers, you get the opportunity to see your friends from last year.
    39. Opportunity to wear your Wylee gear with pride.
    40. People won’t judge you for your I Want it That Way ring tone. They will actually start singing along.
    41. Chance to see fans with Backstreet Boy tattoos. I still find this fascinating.
    42. There’s an entire channel on the TV devoted to the Backstreet Boys.
    43. Have fun getting all dolled up for dinner.
    44. Hear the boys sing “I’m on a Boat.”
    45. Swap your Backstreet stories with other fans who genuinely want to hear them.
    46. Prove that the New Kids aren’t the only ones who can sell out a ship.
    47. The better response rate they get now, the more inclined they will be to do more cruises in the future.
    48. It’s the ultimate girl’s weekend.
    49. Joy of seeing people’s faces when you tell them you’re going on a BSB cruise.
    50. Escape the holiday madness of crowded malls and frantic shoppers.
    51. Get your much needed BSB fix.
    52. Where else can you talk about BSB 24/7?
    53. You will laugh so much. I promise.
    54. Experience the first ever BSB full charter cruise.
    55. You’ll be sleeping less than 400 feet away from a Backstreet Boy.
    56. Have fun scaring the Carnival staff with all of our antics and door decorations.
    57. Then have a good laugh when those same Carnival staff members who were making fun of you are now singing along to Quit Playing Games.
    58. Learn a lot of new BSB fun facts from your fellow fans.
    59. Realize that you aren’t as crazy as you think you are, because there is guaranteed to be at least someone on board crazier than you.
    60. Opportunity to meet the coolest blogger in the world. (Sorry couldn’t resist)
    61. You’ll be on a high for at least the entire month following the cruise, if not longer.
    62. Great excuse to get a pedicure in December.
    63. Plenty of access to pina coladas and other delicious fruity drinks.
    64. Nick
    65. Brian
    66. AJ
    67. Howie
    68. Experience the joy of trying to pack for 3 theme nights, dinners, beachwear, cold deck parties, etc and squeeze it all into your suitcase.
    69. If you’re a male, there will be lots and lots and lots of woman. The odds are definitely in your favor.
    70. Make you feel like you’re 13 all over again.
    71. Eat dinner with cool people you’ve never met before.
    72. Everything is assigned seating which translates into no waiting around for hours in lines. My legs are already grateful.
    73. A chance to get another use out of your old leg warmers and scrunchies for 80s night.
    74. That cool feeling of arriving in the airport and already spotting other BSB fans. It felt like we were taking over the city.
    75. An hour long open bar during the welcome aboard party compliments of the Backstreet Boys.
    76. Chance to dress up for 3 theme parties in the span of 3 days. That’s more than I would normally go to in a 5 year period.
    77. Delicious food available 24/7.
    78. Shirtless Backstreet Boys.
    79. Unexpected run ins with the Backstreet Boys.
    80. Beautiful sunsets over the ocean with Backstreet Boys songs playing in the background.
    81. Carnival waiters dancing in the dining room.
    82. Cheesy photo ops all around the ship to take pics with your new friends. It’s free to take the pictures, so why not?
    83. Thrill of taking over a whole ship fully devoted to the Backstreet Boys and their fans.
    84. Seeing the ship fully clad with BSB banners and signs everywhere. So exciting!
    85. You get a goody bag of BSB items on your first night aboard.
    86. Its guaranteed to be 3 of the best days of your life.
    87. You actually hear some of their unreleased songs playing around the ship.
    88. Relive your prom all over again.
    89. You only have to take 2 days off of work/school.
    90. See their lovely manager, Jen, host all the events.
    91. You can travel solo if you please. There is a roommate match program and Rose Tours will pair you up with a compatible match.
    92. Impromptu photo sessions with the boys.
    93. Unparalleled energy on the ship that you just can’t put into words.
    94. The Backstreet Boys themselves even seem so much more excited for this year’s cruise with their tweets which you know is going to translate into even more fun this year.
    95. The only negative thing about the cruise is having to leave.
    96. You are guaranteed to meet the Backstreet Boys during the photo shoot.
    97. You can bring gifts for the Backstreet Boys, should you choose.
    98. Watching other fans try to win the attention of the guys was quite comical at times.
    99. You’ll find out first hand what Nick, Brian, Howie, and AJ wear to bed during PJ night.
    100. Spontaneous BSB antics.
    101. Because it’s an experience that can’t be captured in just 101 reasons (despite my best efforts) You just have to be there. Period.

    Come on everyone, lets fill up this ship and show the boys how excited we are to cruise with them!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Prom Night Themes

    I thought prom night was already a theme....but I'll guess we'll be having a theme within a theme. The Backstreet Boys just posted a poll where we can vote for the theme of prom night. Choices include:

    • Enchanted Sea
    • Under the Stars
    • A Night to Remember
    • Anywhere for You
    • I Need you Tonight

    Vote for the prom theme here and tell us what you voted for. I thought 'Under the Stars' seemed fitting seeing as how we'll be in the middle of ocean under the stars. But that's just my vote. And truthfully, all of these are so vague that I'm really not sure what they'll end up doing with any of them.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Meeting the Backstreet Boys- Part 2

    As a follow up to my previous post, I wanted to add on a little more info about meeting the Backstreet Boys on board, more specifically approaching them. Is it okay to approach them? When is it ok? Who is the easiest to approach? You know, all these plaguing questions that keep you up at night. Okay, maybe it’s just me.

    Of all the fans I met, it seems like everyone has a different perspective on when it’s okay to approach a Backstreet Boy. I’d have to say that most fans were very respectful of their space, though there will always be exceptions. Most fans go with the golden rules and don’t bother when they’re eating or with their family (though I did see fans still do that). I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t consider myself a stalker fan that waits outside of the bathroom for them to finish peeing (and yes people did that). But if I know AJ is in the club in the DJ booth, you know I’m going to have to check it out.

    For me it’s all about common sense. Some fans approach them for pictures right after their photo shoot session and get upset when they say ‘no.’ I don’t blame them for not wanting to do a picture after just posing for hundreds of pictures. Plus they will be extra busy this cruise and will not have as much down time. On the last trip I was next in line for a picture with Howie but he had to run to rehearsal or to an event. I didn’t want to be pushy so I let him go. I also try to feel them out. If I see they are receptive to being around fans at the moment, I’ll jump in line for my shot at getting a pic. As I noted in my previous post, I’m usually just too shy to go up to them by myself. I guess it’s just fear of rejection.

    A big part of approaching a Backstreet Boy is which one you are trying to approach. I can only speak for my experiences on the ship, but it seemed to me that AJ was the most accessible and open to interacting with fans last year. He’s the only one in the club who left the VIP area to actually come out and dance with us. He even grabbed the mic and told everyone in the room to get in line for a picture. None of the other Backstreet Boys did stuff like this. Even in the casino during his free time, he was chatting it up with all the fans around. He didn’t have to do any of this. From my perspective Howie and Brian were probably your next best shot at catching a Backstreet Boy and were equally approachable. Both would do stop and do pictures if they had the time. I felt that they did enough to satisfy the fans, but just didn’t go above and beyond like AJ.

    Unfortunately for me, Nick was probably the least approachable of the group. I caught Nick by himself as I was walking to the buffet, I was really the only one around and he still wasn’t able to stop. Before I could even get 2 words out of my mouth, his body guard was yelling “no pictures.” I also heard stories that in Key West when it was just him and less than 5 girls around, he still wouldn’t do pictures. I certainly don’t hold it against him, he obviously can’t take a picture with every person on the ship. But this seemed to be a theme from most fans who tried to interact with him.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Meeting the Backstreet Boys- Part 1

    Many of us have the same question on our mind. Will you be able to meet a Backstreet Boy around the ship? I get asked this a lot so let me clear up any confusion, to the best of my ability anyway. By the way, I’m referring to outside of the designated time during the photo shoot because we are guaranteed to meet them there. So I think the real question is will you get to meet them around the ship? The answer- there’s definitely a good chance but nothing is for certain.  In my experiences, I felt like I had several opportunities to approach a Backstreet Boy while on board. For the most part I think they made themselves pretty accessible, which beyond surprised me. I assumed they’d be cooped up in their cabins and use crew passageways to get around the ship. This was far from the case. I don’t know if that will change for our upcoming cruise, because it will be a full charter. But I hope we still find them roaming the ship. So unless you lock yourself in the cabin for 3 days, you’re almost guaranteed to at the very least spot them around the ship.

    I felt the Backstreet Boys did a good job of interacting with the fans both during their down time and at the official events, which presented a few golden opportunities to potentially meet one of them. I’d say the best chances to be up close and personal to a Backstreet Boy at one of their official events were karaoke night and the beach party. Then followed by the deck parties and lastly the game shows. This is only my opinion, but I’m basing this off the number of fans who would get to participate in any given event. The beach party offered many games where fans got involved and karaoke night also allowed many fans the chance to be on stage and sing with the Backstreet Boys. The Deck parties I think were a little too crazy and loud to facilitate that much interaction with any of the fans. That said Nick and AJ did come downstairs and play bartender for a while. But I didn’t really see them chatting with fans or taking pictures. The exception to this would be if you were in the VIP area. I personally wasn’t up there so I cant say for certain, but it seemed like you may have had better luck at a quick pic in this area. The game shows were also fun, but only 16 girls in all were lucky enough to go on stage. So from a sheer numbers game, the odds aren’t with you.

    There were also many chances during down time to run into a Backstreet Boy and potentially get some precious one on one time. Whether it was AJ knocking on cabin doors in the middle of the night, Brian posing for pictures after lunch, Howie signing autographs after breakfast, or Nick inviting a few lucky girls back to his room- the opportunities were there. I heard all different ranges of experiences. Some girls seemed to really luck out the whole time and met them numerous times, to the point where the Backstreet Boys would recognize them by the end. Other girls didn’t have any chance for some brief 1 on 1 time outside the photo shoot.  A lot of it is purely luck- being at the right place at the right time. I think a lot of it also has to do with your personality. For me personally, I’m not super aggressive so I don’t have the ability to create an opportunity out of nothing. I tend to shy back and wait for one of them to do something like an impromptu photo session as opposed to me approaching Brian while he’s at the pool with his family. The other piece of the puzzle you have to consider is what are you hoping to gain from the cruise? I don’t mean to get all deep and philosophical, but are you content just seeing them around the ship or do you have to have as many hugs, pictures, and autographs as humanly possible? I leave decision that up to you.

    Overall, it’s really a numbers game though. Last year there were about 1,350 people present as part of the BSB cruise and there were 4 Backstreet Boys. This year the Imagination holds around 2,050 people and there will still be 4 Backstreet Boys. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that not everyone will get a chance, but hopefully the odds are with you (and me of course!)

    Past cruisers- Feel free to chime in on your experiences of meeting the guys around the ship. I love hearing those stories!

    To be Continued...

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    You Know You’re Going on a BSB Cruise When...

    I thought this list might be fun. Hopefully I’m not the only one that these apply to!

    You Know You're Going on a BSB Cruise When:

    1. You check all the BSB cruise websites/twitters/forums multiple times a day
    2. You go to the mall and see a cute new outfit thinking “that would look great on the cruise”
    3. Your family and non-BSB friends are sick of hearing you talking about the cruise
    4. You feel an instant connection with another fan when you find out they’re going on the cruise too
    5. You’ve made new friends solely because of the cruise
    6. You spend hours and hours planning out your door decoration for a contest which they technically haven’t announced yet
    7. You find yourself day dreaming about what it would be like to run into Brian by the pool; AJ in the casino; Nick in the gym; or Howie at the buffet.
    8. You have Rose Tours phone number memorized and/or you practically know the entire Rose Tour staff by name
    9. You’ve seen the cruise teaser trailer at least 50 times by now
    10. You get super excited whenever you see the boys tweet about the cruise
    11. You have to cut back on your spending in other area to be able to afford this trip
    12. You had already planned out a white outfit for the possibility of it being a theme night
    13. You find yourself unnecessarily stressing about where your seats are in the lounge for the events
    14. You know who your cruise neighbors are
    15. At any given time you can recite exactly how many days are left until the cruise *cough* 85 days *cough*
    16. You’ve gone on a diet with the main driving force to look good for BSB on this cruise
    17. You’re already dreading December 6th
    18. Your productivity at work has decreased dramatically due to planning out the cruise instead
    19. You willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a new camera solely to take good pictures on the cruise
    20. You’ve watched countless videos on youtube of the last Backstreet cruise in order to get pumped for the upcoming one
    21. You’re already thinking about which BSB you want to stand next to for the meet and greet picture
    22. You’ve actually had dreams in some capacity about the cruise
    23. You've already started a packing list
    24. Whenever you see a Carnival commercial you get so excited thinking about the BSB cruise
    25. You find yourself trying to weave the cruise into any conversation, no matter how unrelated
    26. You've had numerous people call you crazy when you tell them that you're going on this cruise

    What else can you all come up with?

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Unofficial Cruise T-Shirts

    One of our fellow cruisers, Danielle, has come up with two different t-shirt concepts for our upcoming cruise. If you would like to order a T-Shirt, you need to do so before September 25th. Be sure to read all of the T's & C's carefully.

    Thanks Danielle for all your hard work! I think these designs are super cute and I can't wait to get mine.

    Design for First Time Cruisers (Black shirt with pink writing)

    Design for Repeat Cruisers (Pink shirt with black writing)

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    What to Expect- Deck Parties

    The deck parties were probably the best part of the cruise for me. Just a great energy with all the fans and the Backstreet Boys themselves. Most of the deck parties started after 11pm so it would allow you plenty of time after dinner to get changed. Each deck party had a different theme, which were just recently announced. As a reminder, the themes this year are 80's night, PJ party, and Prom night. You can definitely expect everyone to be dressed up according to the theme, including the Backstreet Boys. Most everyone participated in some way. Some outfits were a lot more involved than others so you don’t have to feel the need to go all out, but I would highly recommend you do something related to the theme or you will probably feel left out.

    The deck parties tended to last about 2 hours (weather pending of course). They take place on the lido deck, but note that the pools and hot tubs are closed at that hour. There was not any food at the party, but the bars were open. If you do get hungry, there is food available at other locations around the ship. Overall think of a deck party as an after party, but like 20 times better. They would play a good mix of current music as well as Backstreet Boys songs. They even played some new stuff for us from their upcoming albums, which was awesome! The Backstreet Boys hosted the events from a private area on a balcony above us. The Imagination is set up a little differently than the Destiny so I don't think it will be quite the same. In between songs they would engage the fans by asking questions or just goofing around amongst themselves. There would occasionally be some lulls in the action, but for the most part they were pretty engaged. They would also sing along to many of the songs or ad lib some dancing. And on Masquerade night they also threw some beads into the audience. Maybe they will have more free little giveaways for us on the upcoming cruise. It was all unscripted and just a lot of fun to watch them and be a part of the excitement.

    From day one Nick prefaced the entire cruise by saying that if we just act cool, they would come down and party with us. That clearly did not happen. Some of the guys made attempts to come and interact with the fans, but people were still too intense, in my opinion. I’m really hopeful that by the next cruise, most fans will have gotten out of their system so as a group we can be more relaxed and have the guys chill with us.  Brian tried to come down once and just walked through the deck to see the fans. He was mobbed so I don’t believe he ever came back down. Howie maybe came down once. Nick came down to the bar on both international luv night and masquerade night. He would ‘bartend’ and interact with the fans. AJ also came down the bar several times and made his way through the crowd to get us pumped up. He was arguably the bravest of the bunch.

    A handful of fans were able to hang out on the deck above us with the Backstreet Boys, if they had a VIP bracelet. As I noted in a previous post, it appeared as if they didn’t get too much VIP treatment except that they were a little closer and did have an open bar. I also noticed that the boys would occasionally go over to them and interact a bit, though they were still roped off. I was perfectly content where I was with the majority of fans because I felt like I had a better view and was actually participating in the deck party rather than watching from above.

    Some of you have expressed concerns over the crowds at these events. Personally I was never bothered by the amount of people. I feel like I had enough space and never felt like anyway was on top of me. I could leave my spot to go to the bathroom or grab a drink and return with no issue. The only exception to this was if a Backstreet Boy was nearby. If you get claustrophobic, there are plenty of good spots for you on the upper deck away from the majority of the crowds and you will still have a great view. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate the crazy factor of these events at about a 5. I've been at events far worse than a deck party, but you are still dealing with drunk girls near the Backstreet Boys thus some sort absurdity is inevitable. Lets not forgot about girls diving in the hot tub and revealing their backside to the whole ship in order to grab some masquerade beads from the boys.

    It’s hard to actually describe these events because it’s like nothing really happened, but yet so much did happen. It’s one of  those things that you have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate how amazing it was because its tough to capture the vibe in writing. I can't wait for the deck parties this year and am praying that the weather cooperates with us!