Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

I really try my best to make all the posts about cruising and how it relates to the backstreet boys. But occasionally I'll steer off track a bit and do a post on just one or the other. So today in honor of Halloween, I'm taking a little bit of a different approach. I wanted to help anyone who may still be in need of a costume. Here are some costume ideas inspired by the Backstreet Boys!

You can go as a werewolf- fangs and all.

Dracula. And I guess vampires are pretty 'in' right now.

Perhaps you can go as a mummy
Or some sort of reptile or Jekyll and Hyde like character. Who really knows what Kevin was thinking with this one.
Another option is a character from Phantom of the Opera.
Maybe you're feeling patriotic and can go as Uncle Sam.
Or dress as an elderly person.


Perhaps you can reuse those costumes from last year's masquerade party.
You could get in the holiday spirit early and dress as Santa.
Feeling powerful? Go as a marksman, basketball player, ninja, strong man, or someone with telepathic powers??
Whip out that 80's costume early and get double use out of it.
Throw on a kilt and be Scottish for the evening.
A prince or princess?
Take the athletic approach and go as a boxer...
...Or a baseball player.

Vampires again? Why so much vampire love? I just don't get it.
Robot/transformer like creature?
Cowboy.
Not sure what costume inspiration you can take from this, but I'm sure there's something good in there.

 Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

10 Things You Must do Before you Leave the Cruise

There are a ton of fun things you will want to do on board, most especially BSB related things. However it's easy to get caught up in all the excitement of the BSB hoopla, that you sometimes forget to step back and enjoy all that the cruise itself has to offer. Here are just 10 things you might not think about but should definitely do before you leave the cruise:

  1. Try the chocolate melting cake.
  2. Take a stroll around the promenade deck. One of my favorite things to do. Its usually very peaceful there and you are a lot closer to the ocean than up on the pool deck.
  3. Take time to explore the ship. I find cruises to have so many neat features that are definitely worth checking out.
  4. Relax! This is your vacation so take the time to enjoy it.
  5. Take a moment to take in some natural beauty. And no the Backstreet Boys don’t fall in this category. Well they do, but that’s not what I’m referring to. Watch the sunset or sunrise. Its not too often you get to experience being in the middle of the ocean with nothing but water surrounding you.
  6. Have ice cream in the afternoon as a snack, just because you can.
  7. Meet at least 3 new fans.
  8. Dedicate at least 30 minutes to looking at door decorations. Though you really need more time than this.
  9. Have a fruity drink on the beach or by the pool. Nothing screams paradise like a pretty pink drink with an umbrella in it.
  10. Thank the Rose Tours and/or Carnival staff for making this trip possible.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Early To Bed, Early to Rise

If for some reason you are not a night owl, and no matter how hard you try, you will still wake up early…this post is for you. I find the ship is rather quiet before noon and on the surface it may not seem like there’s a lot going on, but don’t worry there is in fact plenty to do.

First thing you should do is grab a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. I think I’ve only managed to see this once on a cruise ship. But I remember it being absolutely stunning. If you have a balcony, that’s a great peaceful place to sit and watch the sunrise. And if you have a balcony, you should also grab the robe out of your closet to cozy on up. If you don’t have a balcony like myself, I’d recommend heading to the back of the ship to get a more panoramic view. And I say the back instead of the front, because the front will be too windy. But you’ll still need that coffee to stay warm no matter where you decide to watch. It will most undoubtedly be chilly no matter where you’re watching.

After you watch the sunrise, it will still be ridiculously early and hours away until any potential BSB event. We’re talking like 7:15AM. The good breakfast isn’t even out yet its still so early. Just the continental stuff. So what you should do next is get some exercise. Yes, you heard me right. I'm not suggesting anything strenuous. Though the fitness center seems to be the only thing open at this ungodly hour. But they do usually offer some sort of yoga, pilates, or stretch and relax class first thing in the morning. Another less strenuous activity is to go for a brisk walk along the jogging track.

After you burn some calories on the high seas, time to head to breakfast and consume probably triple that amount of calories you just burned. Sure you could go to the lido buffet, but since you’re up so early, why not do go to the dining room for breakfast. Order eggs benedict and spice it up with a mimosa if you’re feeling adventurous. After all, you are on vacation. If you do decide to do the formal breakfast, it is open seating. You just tell the maitre d what size table you want and they will seat you.


Yummy breakfast mimosas!

So now you’ve killed a few hours and at this point it’s probably around 9AM. There’s at least some sign of life on the ship but all your friends are still sleeping and I assume most of the Backstreet Boys are as well. Now what? If you’re a nerd like I am, on a normal cruise I would probably go to the library and snag their daily sudoko and crossword puzzle then take them to a nice spot overlooking the ocean. On a Backstreet cruise I might go try to meet some other early risers and make a few new friends. If you’re less nerdy, you can go take a dip in the pool. It should be a lot less crowded at this hour.

One last thing you can do before the rest of your friends start to wake up…go play putt putt mini gold on the sun deck. Why? Because apparently the Imagination has a nine hole mini golf course on deck 14. May as well take advantage.

I also have a confession to make...I am most definitely not an early bird. Though I did find it difficult to actually stay asleep knowing the Backstreet Boys are on board. So maybe, just maybe you’ll catch me roaming the lido deck at 7am. That’s a big maybe though.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yet Another Cruise Contest

SiriusXM is doing a cruise giveaway contest. To be honest, I've lost count on how many contests we're up to now. But in case you missed it:


Grand Prize Winners will receive round trip airfare for two to Miami from anywhere in the Continental United States, one Ocean View Cabin on the Backstreet Boys Cruise for two, and admission for you and your guest to all included Backstreet Boys Cruise Events, on ship and at the beach party.

Contest ends November 18th. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kevin at the Beach Party

Well I woke up to a lovely surprise this morning. Kevin will be making a cameo appearance the beach party! Geez, and I really thought that all this Kevin talk was nothing but rumors.

In case you missed the announcement this morning on Ryan Seacrest, here is Kevin making the announcement:




Kevin will be joining us for the beach party!

A couple things I want to mention. First, I think this is the perfect way for Kevin to make a cameo. Anything beyond an appearance at the beach party, I personally think would've been too much. I assume he will be flying in to Nassau and meeting us there, just to perform a few songs. Similar to most of you, I haven't seen Kevin in years so I'm very excited to see him!

In the flurry of excitement hearing Kevin will be joining us, there is another important detail revealed from this statement. There will be a concert at the beach party. Does this mean we will be getting an additional concert on the beach- or is this our one and only concert? If this is our one and only concert, I'm curious to see how seating will be at the event. We will now have the entire ship at the show, thus doubling the crowds and potentially eliminating any seating chart that would've been established in the main lounge. I wish I had the answers for you, but just wanted to share a few thoughts that were running through my head at the moment.

One other unrelated announcement: If you are in the roommate match program, you should've received your roommate assignment yesterday. I hope everyone is happy with their new roommates!

*EDIT*
Since I published this post, the Backstreet Boys have since clarified that there will not be a concert at the beach party and that Kevin will just be hanging out with us. 

@backstreetboys- "No...the concert is on the ship. Kevin is just hanging at the BEACH PARTY with all the fun games and stuff!"

I was definitely getting exciting for a beach concert, but I will gladly still take hanging out with Kevin on the beach. Can't wait to see those muscles, er I mean Kevin again ;)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shout Out

I wanted to take some time and thank all my all of my loyal readers and acknowledge all of the lovely girls I have become friends with due to the Backstreet cruise. I can honestly say that this the best part of this whole experience has been the friend's I've met. Both on the cruise and even by writing this blog I've gotten to know so many awesome people. There have been too many new friends to count, but I've truly enjoyed getting to know you all. I can't believe that a year ago today, I had to go to concerts by myself, and now I have too many people to go with!

So as I was remembering everyone and going through my pictures, I was singing along to Nick's song "Girl's in the USA" because I'm super cool like that.


You can play this while you read the post

To my DC girls workin 9-5 with the business suits keep the country in line
  • Erin
  • Kim
To my Jersey girls chillin at the mall
  • Ana
  • Anne Marie
  • Ash
  • Brittany
  • Jen
  • Kort
  • Lalie
  • Liliana
  • Nicole
  • Shauna

First lunch on board
Me and Anne Marie at the masquerade party sans the masks
 
Me and Ana at the beach party
Me and Shauna at the beach party
 NKOTBSB in Atlantic City

My Texas honey's always on the road. Gimme lots of love at the Alamo
  • Cory- okay, not quite texas, but close enough ;)

Cory's first time seeing the boys live!


And I've always been down with the NYC Cuz I love the legs Of Miss Liberty
  • Lauren

To all the girls that I might've missed don't take offense you're on my list

  • Chrissy
  • Tammy
  • Susan
  • Jessica
  • Georgia
  • Melissa
  • Beth
Pre-cruise festivities at the acoustic show
The dinner gang + Wylee Bags

  
Me and my cruise roomies for 2011- Chrissy and Cory

Mini cruise reunion during my trip to Nashville

To all the girls outside of the USA, you're just as important even though you didn't fit neatly into Nick's song.
  • Cinzia
  • Sofia
  • Lindsey
  • Lydia
Mini cruise reunion during my trip to Toronto

And to those girls I've swapped a lot of emails with but haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet:
  • Bethany
  • Kristen
  • Tanya

It's been wonderful having you all to share this experience with. I've enjoyed swapping BSB stories, pictures, debating over which boy has the best abs, instigating each other to splurge for platinum VIPs and getting to know you all beyond BSB as well.

To those girls who I haven't gotten a chance to actually meet in person, I'd love to get to you know better and meet up on the cruise. Please email me- I really do want to hear from you! Plenty of BSB love to go around!

Friday, October 21, 2011

BackstreEtiquette aka Cruise Manners

Dear Zealous Backstreet Cruisers,

I am just as excited as you are about this cruise. In fact, I'm so excited about the cruise that I actually have an entire blog devoted to it. But I know some of us express our excitement in all sorts of different ways. So on behalf of your fellow fans, I wanted to call your attention to a few gentle reminders to make sure we all have a great time on board.

If you could please not push, shove, or step on us at any point throughout the cruise- we'd really appreciate it. It really kills the moment when we have to tend to our bleeding foot rather than soak up Howie's hotness. We know asking this of you would be like asking Howie not to wink, because we all know its still going to happen, but we're confident you have it in you to act like the adult you are. Speaking of acting like an adult, please know your limits when it comes to alcohol. We're fully supportive of you getting your drink on, but no one wants deal with a hot drunken mess stumbling back to their cabin. Please also keep your drinks in your cup and do your very best not to spill it on us. We're sympathetic to the occasional accident, as we've all been there before, but we spend a lot of time and money planning these outfits and none of us account for a huge beer stain on it.

We're all there for the same reason so let's try to show each other some respect. Yes, there will be a disproportionate amount of estrogen on board thus its inevitable we all won't get along. But lets be civil. No need to cause unnecessary drama and fight with other fans. We didn’t pay thousands of dollars to go on the cruise to hear your drama. We paid it to have a good time with our friends and see the Backstreet Boys. So let's get over it and move on.

Also, please don't vandalize our door decorations as we all work really hard on them. On that same note, lets not bad mouth other designs either, not everyone has the time or money to come up with masterpieces for their door.

We know you still have that small sliver of hope that you will one day be Mrs. Carter, but that gives you no right to treat their girlfriends/fiancés/wives with disrespect. They are people too. As are the Backstreet Boys. We love when the boys are kind enough to hang with us and do photos in their down time, but it really irks us when you shove a camera in their face for "just one more picture" when the timing is clearly not appropriate. Obviously all of us would love if they did "just one more picture" but sadly we all can't get our photo. You should be no exception to this.

It would also be really cool if you could listen to security and follow the rules. If security tells us that hugs aren't allowed, please don't think you are more special than everyone else and try to sneak a hug in anyway. You wouldn't think its fair if the tables were turned and you were the one who didn't get a hug, right? Great, glad we agree on this.

We don't think its cool when you run down the hallway screaming that you just saw AJ getting out of an elevator. It's even less cool when you do it at 5 in the morning when some of us are trying to sleep. We also don't think its really appropriate for you to follow the Backstreet Boys around the ship 24/7 like a lost puppy dog, to the extent where you camp outside their rooms all night or wait for them outside the bathroom. This is never okay.

And if you ever get that urge to cut in front of us for whatever reason, resist that urge. There's absolutely no good reason why you need to be in front of us fans who have already been waiting there for an hour. None.

I know we've already asked a lot of you. It's seems selfish to ask anything more. But one other thing- could you please not save seats for you and 20 of your closest friends at the pool, dinner, or anywhere else for that matter? We'll let it slide if you save a seat or two for your cabin mates, but anything beyond that just gets a little ridiculous. Especially if you save that prime lounge chair by the pool all day and only use it for 15 minutes.

Most importantly, we don't want to hear you whine and complain about some minute detail such as how you ordered a drink with no ice, and it came with ice. First of all, the cruise staff works incredibly hard to make sure you have the best trip possible. Instead you should be thanking them for waiting on you hand and food. And second, the rest of us are trying to experience the vacation of a life time and don't want to hear your negativity.

Thanks much for your cooperation!

Sincerely,
Your fellow cruisers

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Time to Waste: 15 Steps to Help You Make the Most of Your Cruise

While I wish we had 7 glorious days with our boys in the Caribbean, alas, we only have 3 days.  3 days is just not a lot of time! I thought 4 days was too short last year…and now we have to compress all that fun into just 72 hours. Here are 15 steps to help make sure you don’t waste a second and really make the best possible use of your time.


Step 1: Pack efficiently and plan out your outfits ahead of time. On any given normal day, I probably waste a good 5-10 minutes in the morning just figuring out what I’m going to wear, how I’m going to wear my hair, picking out my accessories, etc. Know ahead of time what you want to wear for each event and during the day so as to minimize the time spent your cabin.

Step 2: Don’t stress about meeting up with your friends on the ship. Let me explain. You won’t have cell phones out on the sea so it becomes rather difficult to meet up with people. In my cruising experiences, we’d always pick times and places to meet people. Say meet 3:00 in the casino so we can grab an afternoon ice cream together. The problem is that either you or one of your friends will be running late. Granted, its usually me who’s running behind… But I still didn’t like the feeling where if I was in the middle of something, to have to drop what I’m doing. I’d suggest telling your friends a general sense of where to find you throughout the day. And more often than not, you’ll end up running into each other anyway.

Step 3: Do as much of your door decoration as you can ahead of time. When you finally get on the ship, the last thing you want to be doing is whipping out the glue and scissors to complete your door. I had mine 99% assembled and it took me less than 5 minutes to get it up and head on my way. I’m so glad I did this because as soon as I stepped on the ship, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Just too much to do!

Step 4: Study the deck plans before you leave. No time to waste getting lost and hitting dead ends once you’re on board. For example if you try to go from one end of the ship to the other via Deck 8, you’ll soon realize you can’t make it because the galley is in the way. You have to either go a deck above or below to cross through.  Little things like that can mean all the difference in the world if you found out Howie is taking pictures for only a few minutes by the pool.

Step 5: If you don’t like standing in lines, I’d suggest eating during off hours as to avoid the chaos that is the lido buffet. If you try to go to the buffet for lunch at noon, you’re going to waste significantly more time in line waiting to get your egg rolls than if you do lunch around 1:30. Just keep an eye on their hours or you may miss some of the good food.

Step 6: Get to the terminal early on Friday! Carnival will let us board as soon as it is possible, which can be as early as 11am. If you are first in line at the terminal, you are first to board the ship, first to check in, and the first to start cruising with the Backstreet Boys!

Step 7: If you plan on getting off the boat in Nassau, there is usually a mad dash as soon as the ship is cleared where everyone wants to get off and explore. If you aren’t in a rush, I’d suggest you wait for the crowds to die down and then head off the ship. If you give it an hour or two, you’ll find there will be no lines and you can walk right off.

Step 8: Take advantage of the ship when we are docked and the majority of people aren’t on board. It is during this time that everything will be empty and will have no lines. So if you wanted to check out the gym and not have to wait for a treadmill to open up or go for a dip in the pool- then is the time to do so.

Step 9: Research what to do in Nassau ahead of time. There’s a ton of fun things to do in Nassau, so decide with your friends if you’d rather do a more relaxing day on Cable Beach or if you want to explore the Atlantis resort.  Don’t waste time once you’re there arguing on what to do.

Step 10: Take care of yourself! Pack any potential medicines, vitamins, first aid, sunscreen, etc that you might need. Also be wary of any foreign foods you are consuming. You obviously can’t enjoy your trip if you’re cooped up in your cabin all day being sick to your stomach or bright red from a severe sun burn. And I speak from experience on sunburns since I typically turn as red as a lobster. Damn me and my pale skin.

Step 11: Don’t sleep in. This is tricky because on the one hand you have AJ staying up until 6am….but meanwhile Howie is up at like 9am getting breakfast. Giving you a whopping 3 hours of safe sleep a night. So even if you are up all night partying with AJ, don’t be tempted to hit the snooze and sleep in until 1pm. You’ll miss too much fun. I even heard of girls sleeping through some of the events. Plus I love getting breakfast at sea with the warm ocean air and beautiful scenery to take in. So my advice is grab a red bull and sleep when you get home.

Step 12: Take advantage of the time when it is the alternate group’s event. You’ll be less stressed about running into a Backstreet Boy and everything theoretically should be 50% less crowded. So use this time to squeeze in a quick cat nap or do something that would otherwise generally be more crowded.

Step 13: Take the stairs when possible. I don’t know about anyone else, but I wasted a lot of time waiting for elevators on the last cruise. May as well get some exercise and save yourself some time by taking the stairs. Especially if I’m going down, I really don’t have any excuse.

Step 14: No need to get to the events early. You have assigned seats in the main lounge so you don’t have to stress about not having a spot. Plus you have our boys running on Backstreet time, so you’ll really just be sitting there for a while anyway. Now there is one slight caveat to this. If it’s an event with potential crowd participation, Rose Tour Staff would pick people from the crowd before the event started. So if you do want to get up on stage and participate, it may be a good idea to get there on the early side for those specific events. Otherwise, no need to get there early.

Step 15: Carry your own luggage unless you can’t do it yourself. You’ll waste time on both embarkation and debarkation waiting for your bags.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BSB TV

Ever wonder what was on the Backstreet channel while you were out and about around the ship? It felt like every time I was in the cabin I saw the same 2 things on TV- The Oprah appearance or the Unbreakable concert. But in fact there were a ton of videos on constant loop. So in case you missed it while on board, here is a list of the majority of the videos playing on the Backstreet channel.

  • Larger than Life Music Video
  • More than That Music Video
  • Quit Playing Games Music Video
  • Shame of My Heart Music Video
  • Show me the Meaning Music Video
  • The Call Music Video
  • The One Music Video
  • We've Got it Going On Music Video
  • BSB making paper airplanes that have their autographs on them and flying them off their hotel balcony to fans below:


    Air Mail
  • Boys on a bus trying to go through a crowd of screaming girls. Appears to be from Unbreakable era in South America.
  • Boys eating dinner in Brazil where Howie revealed his favorite drink is guarana.
  • Brian in a bathrobe blowing out candles on his birthday cake.
  • San Juan Puerto Rico 2009. Shirtless backstreet boys on the beach.
  • "Indiana Nick" and the rest of the boys doing some sort of tour in a desert ruin.
  • Howie Webchat
  • Brian Webchat
  • BSB in some airport talking about how Justin threw up on the camera
  • Nick hanging out at the studio with the camera literally about 2 inches from his face. He then interviews Howie who said his wife picked out his jacket and he talks about sexy time with his wife.
  • The boys in South America laying on the floor while giving an interview. Taking about "their poops" all throughout South America (I cant make this stuff up, folks!)
  • Boys on the side of the road when their van broke down:


    The Bus Broke Down
  • Interviewing their security guard
  • Nick hiding in some room beneath a window sill and popping up and scaring anyone who walks by the window including AJ. Meanwhile Howie is just sitting on the sofa looking completely unamused.
  • Boys practicing for This is Us tour
  • Brief Interview
  • Clip of Everybody and Straight Through my Heart from This is Us tour
  • Brian and AJ jumping on the bed and hitting each other with pillows:


    To be or not to be a Stuntmen?
  • AJ webchat
  • Straight Through my Heart Music Video
  • Kevin and the boys on Oprah
  • This is Us Concert from Japan
  • NKOTBSB on American Music Awards
  • Inconsolable Music Video
  • Unbreakable Concert
  • Bigger Music Video
  • Private Sessions

I realized most of these videos can be found on the bsbofficial YouTube channel. I really enjoyed the fact that most all of their videos were from post-Unbreakable era. So lots of these things I hadn't really seen before. It will be interesting to see if they use the same DVD for this upcoming cruise, or they will update it with some NKOTBSB footage. Truthfully, I'm hoping for the latter.

I wish they would sell the DVD with these videos on it. Now that is something I would definitely buy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Study Abroad with BSB

I know many of you cruisers out there are still in school, and in fact have to miss school to do this trip. If that's the case, this post is for you! In order for you to lessen the guilt, here is a syllabus of what you can expect to learn on BSB cruise 2011. Maybe now you can submit this to your college/school for some extra credit ;)

Math- You will learn a lot about the laws of probability. Since there will be over a thousand fans on board, you’ll calculate the odds of being selected for the game shows, getting a picture with the boys, running into them at lunch, etc.

Geography- As long as AJ isn’t teaching this, we should be okay. He is not known for his sharp geography skills. But not to worry. You will still get to learn firsthand about Miami and Nassau. Not to mention the difference between the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Not going to lie to you, I’m still not really sure I know the difference.

Culinary Arts- Study the fine cuisine available on the Carnival Imagination ranging from chili fries to the chocolate melting cake. Not to mention which drinks to pair with those delicacies. We will be a chef de cuisine in no time!

Foreign Language- With fans coming from all around the world, you will have the opportunity to interact with people from around the globe. Last year over 90 fans from Japan came- they even had their own interpreter. Brazil was also largely represented. What a great chance to brush up on your Japanese, Portuguese and countless other languages! Plus we have Howie to teach us Spanish. And if we’re lucky we’ll hear Nunca te Hare Llorar. Geez, we’ll be multilingual in no time.

Music
- Please, we will be on a ship with a group that has sold over 130 million records worldwide and is, in my humble opinion, the best band ever. We definitely have this subject covered. Let’s move on.

Marketing- We’ve already seen a ton of promotion from the boys trying to sell the ship. Everything from social media and referrals to PR and promotional videos. This I could actually give you a full run down because it was my major- aka the coolest major ever.

Art- You will see 1,026 masterpieces of art considering there are 1,026 cabins and thus theoretically 1,026 door decorations. Okay, I use the word masterpiece loosely, but there are some pretty impressive ones!

Finance- This is probably more of a ‘what not to do’ for finance lessons. Spending $3000 on a 3 day vacation isn’t exactly teaching us great personal finance. So we will probably all get ‘F’s in this class.

Psychology- You’ll learn about the psychology of a Backstreet fan, which can be quite complex. We’ll use Freud’s psychoanalysis to uncover what’s really going on in the mind of a BSB fan through the highs of seeing the Backstreet Boys live to the lows of having to leave the ship.

Economics- All about supply and demand. Supply of Backstreet Boys equals 4 and demand of Backstreet Boys equals a lot more than 4. I got a C in economics, but I can tell you that its no good when demand is far greater than supply.

Pre-Med- We’ll do a deep dive analysis on anti-sea sick remedies as well as study proven medical treatments for a hangover at sea.

Too bad these courses don't actually exist.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Close Encounters of the BSB Kind

I am very happy to have another guest blogger for you all- one of my cruise roommates and a great friend of mine- Chrissy. She is a Brian fan from Indiana. Seriously, if you want to talk about anything related to Brian, she's your girl. We met on last year's cruise and immediately hit it off. Maybe it works so well since we're not fighting over the same BSB ;) She also has a great blog dedicated solely to her Backstreet adventures that you should definitely check out: From the First Day

I know that Laura has written about her experiences about meeting or seeing BSB around the Cruise Ship.  I thought I would give everyone a taste of my close encounters so that one might be able to see how one’s experience with this might differ. 

First, let me introduce myself.  My name is Chrissy and I met Laura last year on the fan club when I was looking for someone to share a hotel room with my roommate and I, the night before the cruise.  Laura is one of my cruise roommates for this year. 

I, of course, saw the Backstreet Boys at the same times everyone else did....at the events, deck parties, etc.  The encounters I am about to discuss will be points at which others may not have seen them or gotten to interact with them.
  1. First Night Dinner - My friends and I were lucky the first night for dinner because we sat at what we deemed “The Princess Table.”  We sat to where we overlooked the Backstreet Boys, their families and friends, and Rose Tours staff.  I have to admit that it was extremely hard NOT to stare because they were right there.  We got to see them interacting with their friends and family in ways that others may not have seen them interact before.  For example, Nick and Lauren were completely making out as it got further into dinner.  After all, the group had a good amount of privacy considering they were completely surrounded in the dining room by their fans.  And since we were sitting right by the stairs, we got plenty of Backstreet Boys coming and going right behind us.

    Right over our shoulders is where the VIP section was

  2. Second Night Dinner - During the second night of dinner, we actually had two close encounters.  That day we had been in Key West and had found a shirt for AJ that we thought about purchasing for him because it would be perfect after some of the things that were said during the Everybody Feud game the night before.  At one point, AJ walked by us and we were able to stop him to show him the photo of the shirt that we had taken.  I thought it was so cool that he even stopped in the first place.  After he saw the picture, he kind of giggled and thanked us for sharing with him.  It was super exciting to get that interaction with him.  The second interaction also occurred with AJ.  We were sitting with Jessica, the girl that AJ danced with at dinner that night.  I think most of us didn’t realize what was happening until AJ actually took Jessica’s hand because we were watching one of our friends dancing with one of the waiters.  We then saw Howie heading towards AJ and Jessica.  Jessica’s face when Howie started dancing with AJ instead of her was kind of priceless.  After the dance, Brian headed toward our table and hugged Jessica.  I do have to say that I can get jealous at times, but there is no better person that this could have happened too.  Her mom and her were just such nice, genuine people.

    Howie about to take AJ from Jessica

  3. Day at Sea On The Slide - I had several encounters during the Day At Sea so I will break them down and talk about them one at a time.  The first happened as I was playing on the water slide with Pru, the daughter of Jodi, who is Leighanne’s best friend.  As we were playing on the water slide and just hanging out in the pool, there were several times where we saw Baylee walk by and go down the slides.  At one point, Baylee was only a few people ahead of Pru and me.  The next thing I know, he is standing next to Pru and I and he was very upset.  He told us that he couldn’t go down the slide anymore because he was too short, even though he had been going down it all day.   All of a sudden, Leighanne came up and was discussing something with the crew member that was working the slide.

    Apparently, what really happened was that the crew member had grabbed Baylee by the back of the next and had pulled him back to keep him from going up the stairs to get to slide.  However, it was not because he was too short.  It was because the crew member was trying to get Baylee to stop running.  I guess Brian’s security guards had seen this and that was why Leighanne had made it up there so quickly.  Brian was not too far behind her.  Let’s just say that I have never seen Brian so upset before.  I saw him as a father protecting his child, not as the famous Backstreet Boy.  He told the security guard that it doesn’t matter who’s kid it is, you don’t grab any child like that.  As Brian was “discussing” things with the crew member, Leighanne walked up to Pru to see if she wanted to go see the Captain with them.  Pru politely declined and we continued to play on the water slide.  I just could not believe that this all happened a few feet from me.  There were probably only 10 people up there total and I was one of the few people up there that was part of the BSB portion of the cruise, so I don’t think many fans know this even happened.

  4. Chili Cheese Fries during the Day At Sea - Okay so this encounter doesn’t really have to do with the Backstreet Boys per se but it does have to do with one of their employees.  One of my favorite foods in the world is Chili Cheese Fries.  So for lunch during the Day At Sea, I got some from the grill part on the Lido Deck....yes that was all I got.  As I was walking to go sit down in the buffet, Justin (BSB’s photographer) was walking right next to me.  He told me that the chili cheese fries looked really good so I offered him some.  He gladly accepted and took some.  After the cruise, I told people how I ate lunch with their photographer.  So it is a little exaggerated but who else got to share their chili cheese fries with Justin?

  5. Howie encounter during lunch on the Day at Sea - Shortly after we sat down in the buffet for lunch, Howie walked by our table.  Then a large group of girls ran by our table to try to catch up to him.  Jessica’s mom yelled for them to stop and just leave him alone.  I don’t think they heard her.  Eventually, Howie came back and walked by our table again, heading back out to the Lido deck.  I just called out hi to him and he asked how we were all doing.  Of course, we were fantastic!  So it wasn’t a deep, meaningful conversation but I wonder if he said anything to those girls that were chasing him.

  6. Black and Blue Deck Party - So I am sure that like me, many of the cruise goers were upset by the events that took place on the last night of the cruise when they moved the deck party to the club.  Like so many others, I was one of the fans that never made it into the club.  Before we had even gone inside to get in line for the club, my friend Tammy had decided to leave with Jessica and her mom.  When we saw the line to get into the club, Laura and her brother decided they were going to go into the employee entrance (her brother worked on the Destiny).  Cory and I decided to ask the security guard if they were going to be limiting the time girls spent in the club to ensure that everyone would get it.  After all, we paid for a deck party so I think everyone should have had the opportunity to go in the club since that was taking the place of the deck party.  I was told that I didn’t miss anything but it was just the principle of it.  

    When we were told that they were going to be sending people in as people came out, Cory and I knew our chances of getting in were slim.  Cory decided to go back to her cabin and start packing since we would be debarking the next morning.  So then there was one.  I was left all alone and I wasn’t sure what to do.  I had heard that Nick and AJ were in the club for sure but had not heard anything about Brian.  So, I wondered if he might still be out on the Lido deck and decided to go have a look.  Sure enough, Leighanne and Brian were still out there without about a dozen and a half fans or so.  They were just kind of hanging out and taking pictures.  The DJ was still playing music.  I was wearing my University of Kentucky gear for Black and Blue night so was super excited for Brian to see me.  I am usually not one who pushes in front of others or calls out for photos.  I like to be polite so I was waiting patiently for Leighanne and Brian to get to me since they seemed to be coming down the line.  However, right before they got to me, they told us all that they had to get going.  Dang it. 

    So, I started heading down the stairs.  Just as I stepped onto the landing of the floor that BSB were staying on, Brian and Leighanne stepped out of the elevator.  There were about 10 fans standing there who were different then the fans who were up on the deck.  So, I am not sure if these fans just kind of hung out there during the cruise waiting for the Backstreet Boys to come to and from their rooms.  Brian once again started getting photos with some of the fans and I once again decided to wait my turn.  And once again, they told us that they had to leave to go to bed.  I later found out that they actually went down to the casino.  After this encounter,  I now try to be a little more confident in myself when it comes to the Backstreet Boys.  By doing this, I hope to actually get a photo with one of the Boys this year.
Brian still partying on the Lido Deck after everyone else had left

So, that is my story about my close encounters with the Backstreet Boys on the cruise.  I hope that the same holds true for this year and that I have even more.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my awesome Backstreet adventures, including an amazing review of the NKOTBSB tour with videos of every single song performed, at From the First Day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Would You Rather...

Another long driving session this weekend caused my imagination to run amok. I was coming up with all these fake, yet PLAUSIBLE scenarios for the cruise and then it turned into me playing the ‘Would I Rather’ game. I really do need to get out more… But anyway, I was wondering what you all would do given the same scenarios. Please vote below and then scroll down to the bottom to see what I would pick. Have fun and try not to waste as much time as I did playing out all these scenarios.

Would you rather...


Play blackjack with AJ or go clubbing with AJ?
Blackjack Clubbing   
pollcode.com free polls 

Get a hug from your favorite Backstreet Boy or get autographs from all 4 of the guys?
Hug 4 Autographs   
pollcode.com free polls 

Play basketball with Brian or jet ski with Brian?
Basketball Jet Ski   
pollcode.com free polls 

Get a bonus concert or a Q and A session thats twice as long?
Bonus Concert Extra Long Q and A   
pollcode.com free polls 

Workout with Nick in the gym or eat breakfast with Nick?
Workout Breakfast   
pollcode.com free polls 

Take a workout class taught by Nick or a dance class taught by AJ?
Workout class with Nick Dance class with AJ   
pollcode.com free polls 

Get picked to participate in one of the game shows or get a solo picture with you and all 4 guys?
Game Show Solo Pic   
pollcode.com free polls 

Have a drink with Howie or play volleyball with Howie?
Drink Volleyball   
pollcode.com free polls 

Youre in the spa, would you rather be sitting next to their manager Jen, or one of their wives/girlfriends/fiances?
Manager Significant Other   
pollcode.com free polls 

Accidentally miss the beach party or accidentally miss the Q and A?
Miss the beach party Miss the Q and A   
pollcode.com free polls 

Have a guest appearance by NKOTB or by Kevin?
NKOTB Kevin   
pollcode.com free polls 

Take a wine tasting class taught by Howie or a cooking class taught by Brian?
Wine tasting with Howie Cooking class with Brian   
pollcode.com free polls 

Get selected to be Brians prom queen or be serenaded by Brian?
Prom Queen Serenaded   
pollcode.com free polls 

Win the door decoration contest or get $500 of free cruise merchandise?
Win Door Decoration Win Free Merch   
pollcode.com free polls 

Do a makeup class with Rochelle or a fashion class with Leighanne?
Makeup class with Rochelle Fashion class with Leighanne   
pollcode.com free polls 


Hear them perform an unreleased song or sing a preview of a song off their next album?
Unreleased song New song   
pollcode.com free polls 

Run into Howie in the elevator or run into him in line at the buffet?
Elevator Buffet   
pollcode.com free polls 


Get front row to all their events on board or get a backstage tour from your fave BSB?
Front row Backstage   
pollcode.com free polls 

Forget to pack your camera or forget to pack all of your theme outfits?
Forget camera Forget theme outfits   
pollcode.com free polls 

In case you're curious, here are my answers and why I chose them.


Play blackjack with AJ or go clubbing with AJ?
I would rather play blackjack with him. As much as fun as clubbing would be, its too loud to actually talk to him.

Get a hug from your favorite Backstreet Boy or get autographs from all 4 of the guys?
Much rather get a hug. Even though there isn’t any “proof” of it, I feel like you can get autographs anywhere. But something about a hug is just so special.

Play basketball with Brian or jet ski with Brian?
I suck at basketball so I’d say jet ski.

Get a bonus concert or a Q&A session that’s twice as long?
Q&A session that’s twice as long. I’ve seen them in concert so many times, but only a Q&A live once.

Workout with Nick in the gym or eat breakfast with Nick?
This was a tough one. I’d be way too self conscious with both of these activities. Seeing Nick work out would be freakin amazing. But so would the opportunity of eating with him. I think I’d be less stressed at the breakfast though. So breakfast it is!

Take a workout class taught by Nick or a dance class taught by AJ?
Another toughie. While I love Nick, I think I’d pick the dance class with AJ because I think Nick would take the workout class more seriously than AJ would do with the dance class.

Get picked to participate in one of the game shows or get a solo picture with you and all 4 guys?
While it depends on the game show, I’d probably pick the solo picture just because I don’t like being on stage in front of so many people.

Have a drink with Howie or play volleyball with Howie?
Volleyball. I think this would be more memorable than having a drink with him.

You’re in the spa, would you rather be sitting next to their manager Jen, or one of their wives/girlfriends/fiancées?
Me and my business background would actually want to talk to Jen. All the logistics and behind the scenes things that she knows would be really interesting to hear. I also feel somewhat weird around their significant others just because in the back of their head they know how obsessed I am with their man.

Accidentally miss the beach party or accidentally miss the Q&A?
I would seriously die if either of these happened. I would say I’d rather miss the Q&A but only because I know all of that could be captured on film and I could later see on youtube. The beach party is tough to capture on camera and is more of an experience that you have to be there to enjoy.


Have a guest appearance by NKOTB or by Kevin?
Don’t hurt me, but I actually picked NKOTB because they seem to have so much fun on their cruises and you can tell this is what they want to do. While I’d love to see Kevin, from all the footage I’ve seen recently, his body language and interactions all indicate he’s moved on. Plus then Howie would lose a lot of his singing parts!

Take a wine tasting class taught by Howie or a cooking class taught by Brian?
Cooking class with Brian. That would be hilarious.

Get selected to be Brian’s prom queen or be serenaded by Brian?
Another toughie! I’ve always wanted to be serenaded by any of the Backstreet Boys, which had me leaning that way. But how many girls can say their prom king was Brian? Thus I chose the latter.

Win the door decoration contest or get $500 of free cruise merchandise?
Winning the door decoration would mean front row seats to the concert which is a goal of mine. Plus the honor of winning. So I’d pick that over the free merch.

Do a makeup class with Rochelle or a fashion class with Leighanne?
I am awful in both of these categories and need serious help with both. I’ve also had great experiences with both of these ladies so in the end I’d say the makeup class. I need more help with this!


Hear them perform an unreleased song or sing a preview of a song off their next album?
I suppose it depends on which unreleased song. But I think I’d choose the unreleased song over a new song for 2 reasons. 1- I like to be able to sing along. 2- I also like not hearing new songs until I actually get the album.

Run into Howie in the elevator or run into him in line at the buffet?
Elevator. That way he won’t have to look at me in disgust when he sees all the fried food I have piled on my plate. And there’s always a chance the elevator may break, right? ;)

Get front row to all their events on board or get a backstage tour from your fave BSB?
The venue is small enough and most every seat will be good (I sure hope so anyway) so I’ll pick the backstage tour. Even though the backstage on a cruise is super small.

Forget to pack your camera or forget to pack all of your theme outfits?
Id rather forget to pack my theme outfits because I’d feel naked without my camera. Im physically incapable of not having my camera at a BSB event even though I know there will be tons of pictures available afterward. I also feel like I could adlib some of the themes and even borrow things from friends if need be.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Events if I Were in Charge

We’re probably still a few weeks away from seeing the treasured itinerary. So in the meantime I’ve decided to come up with some of my own BSB inspired activities that I would put in the itinerary if I were in charge. And as you may or may not know, for the cruise they typically correlate the name of a song with a particular activity. For example the PDA photo session,  Everybody Feud, or She’s a Dream Dating Game. I think one of those title’s made sense, but personally I had a hard time seeing the correlation between most of the songs and their corresponding events. I also felt there were some events I may have added, changed, or even taken away.

So if I was running the show, here are some events you'd see in my itinerary:

Boys will be Boys Battle of the Sexes- I think doing a battle of the sexes competition with the Backstreet Boys would be absolutely hilarious! Imagine poor Brian’s face.

Anywhere for You Treasure Hunt- Imagine running around the ship trying to gather various BSB related items. I'm such a sucker for treasure hunts. I also think this would be good to do while the other group is doing their event with the boys.

Shape of my Heart Towel Animals- I want to learn how to make all those cute little critters. Then I can make a little parade of them in front of my cabin. Again, something to do while the other group has their event.

More than That Price is Right- I would be awful at the classic Bob Barker version, but if they had us guess the prices of BSB gear, I’d be good at that. I have PLENTY of firsthand experience in this category ;)

The Answer to our Life BSB Trivia Challenge- I still find it a glaring omission in the schedule not to have some sort of ultimate BSB trivia challenge just for the fans. The boys don’t even have to be there. Granted I’m a little rusty, but I think it would be fun.

Incomplete Name that Tune- I think we’d all be good at this if it was just Backstreet songs. They’d have to get into a lot of the unreleased stuff for it to be any sort of a challenge. Okay, maybe this would still be too easy. But then we can all feel special that we knew all the answers.

Just Want You to Know Who Wants to be a Millionaire- A different spoof on the ultimate BSB trivia challenge. I haven’t seen this show in years!  You remember when Howie and Kevin went on this show years ago?

Downpour Pool Games- Okay, this may just be my weak attempt at getting them to take their shirts off, but I think it would be fun to do various pool games similar to how they did various games on the beach last year. Same concept, but with more water and less shirts. And did I mention no shirts?

Weird World The Amazing Race- I love this show. Not sure exactly how they would take this to the high seas but I’m sure given enough time I could come up with some BSB game inspired by the show. For example they could do a roadblock where one member of your team has to go find the 1 door on the ship with some specific design. I’d have to noodle it some more, but I see something there.

If you Stay Survivor- I’d love to see the boys compete amongst themselves and with fans in crazy challenges. I wonder which boy would get voted off first? For some reason I want to say Nick though. We all know Howie would eat anything we put in front of him, so he’d probably stick around.

One in a Million Poker Tournament- We’ll see who can beat AJ. I’d love to play poker with him though!

Hey Mr. DJ Dance Class- This would be my top choice. I really think it would be amazing to have one or all of the Backstreet Boys teach us dance moves to their songs. I don't think I'd really be able to concentrate, but still.

What events would you pick if you were in charge? Doesn't necessarily have to be inspired by a Backstreet song.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What to Expect- Game Shows

This is a tricky entry to do because we had 2 game shows last year, and I presume we will have a different set of game shows for the upcoming cruise as well. I fear that whatever information I could share based on last year’s cruise will not be relevant for the next one. So bear with me on this, and I’ll do my best to make sure I don’t bore you with irrelevant info.

Last year they had 2 different game shows combined into 1 mega session. The entire event lasted about 1.5 hours with a brief intermission to change the set. The first event was a Family Feud game and the second was the She’s a Dream dating game. For those of you who don’t know how to play Family Feud, don’t worry because Nick was up on stage and admitted to not knowing how to play either. So you aren’t alone. But in case  you were never sick as a child and had the chance to watch reruns of Family Feud, the game is basically split into 2 teams where you are given a question and have to guess the most popular answers based on poll of 100 random people. For example: Name the Most Popular BSB Song. Answers might include- I Want it That Way, Quit Playing Games, All I Have to Give, etc. You will most likely not get too many points if you pick a song like Roll With It.


Family Feud BSB Style

The cruise did this game Backstreet style and selected 4 girls from the audience to compete against the 4 Backstreet Boys- with all of the questions pertaining BSB. The part that I enjoyed most about this game was that we were emailed a few weeks before the cruise and we were asked to answer about 20 questions, which were then asked during the game show. This allowed the audience to feel part of the game, even though they were not actually called up on stage.

The second game was the She’s a Dream dating game. This was based on the Dating Game show and for the Backstreet version they had 1 BSB on stage at a time with 3 of his potential dream girls. I actually found this not quite as exciting to watch (unless you had a friend up on stage) because all the Backstreet Boys had to do was ask the girls questions and the fans were the ones who had to come up with the witty responses. They asked the girls various questions or to do their best Backstreet dance. My view of this event would have completely changed if I was actually on stage, but from an audience perspective it was not all that exciting. I’d probably rate this as my least favorite event of the cruise last  year.


Brian taking over Howie's Dating Game

Okay, so I’ve provided a quick rundown of last year’s events. But I’m sure you’ve got to be asking yourself- How do I get up on stage? Good question. Last year there were members of the Rose Tour staff scouring the auditorium before the event started to randomly select girls to go on stage. I noticed even the president of Rose Tours, Hal Roseman, was in the audience and selected a girl 2 rows in front of me. It didn’t seem like they did anything special except be there early and get extremely lucky. I’m always torn if I would actually want to get selected. And it’s not that I don’t want to have the opportunity to play with the Backstreet Boys, but I’m incredibly shy and HATE being up on stage. Let alone with my dream men. I fear that I would be way too nervous.

They have not indicated what the games for the upcoming cruise are. Frankly they still haven’t announced that they would actually do a game, but I’m hopeful they will. AJ has hinted at a few ideas they’ve been kicking around like Whose Line is it Anyway or Pictionary. I think Pictionary wouldn’t be very exciting to watch. They need a game that lets the boys really showcase their personality and give them the freedom to adlib.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fun Ship 2.0

Carnival recently announced their plans to completely re-innovate the guest experience and they are calling it Fun Ship 2.0. While these changes won’t impact our upcoming BSB cruise, nor probably any of our cruises in the near future, I still thought it was interesting to see what Carnival has planned. They are going to bring new dining experiences, bars, lounges, and entertainment experiences to their fleet of ships.

Carnival is partnering with George Lopez to improve the comedy clubs on board; Guy Fieri to feature new burger joints; and EA Sports on a new sports bar concept just to name a few of the changes. And me being the nerd I am, I'm excited to hear they are also partnering with Hasbro to improve the games on board. These are just a few of the changes expected to hit the seas within the next few years.

Mmmmm, delicious burgers and the Backstreet Boys on a cruise would make for a lovely combo

Read more about what Carnival has planned for the future with Fun Ship 2.0!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Various Cruise Announcements

Hot off the presses...several cruise announcements from the Backstreet Boys.


CRUISE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Are you guys ready for a jam-packed newsletter that's full of exciting announcements or what? Well, we sure hope so, because that's what we're giving you....

You all voted, and we are excited to announce that the winning theme for the prom is... A Night To Remember! Thank you for helping us decide on a great theme for this unforgettable night. Can't wait to see our Prom Queen all dolled up!!

And if you haven't already, go vote for a song in the set list poll now!

BSB wants you to pick the set list for the BSB cruise in December. What songs do you want to hear them perform on the high seas? You can pick any of the choices presented or add in the song you’ve been wanting to hear them perform. Remember, this night is for you, so let the boys know what you want to hear!

We are still working out the details of the pre-cruise party, but it will be a late evening event, so go ahead and get your travel arrangements booked.

Tickets for the cruise are still available! Rose Tours is willing to work out any type of payment plan that will help you experience your dream of sailing away with BSB, so give them a call today!:

Rose Tours
215.663.8800 | 888.491.7673

Lots of exciting info! We have our prom theme finalized- A Night to Remember. Really not sure how this will be relevant seeing as how the theme is so vague, but I'm excited nonetheless.

They also continued to remind us to vote for the cruise set list. So I for one intend to keep voting. I can't wait to see what they come up with! I've been voting for Song for the Unloved at least a few times a day. I'd love to hear that song live.

The most exciting thing is to see there is more promise of a pre-cruise event. Based on the fact that it will be a "late evening" tells me its probably an after party as opposed to a concert. But hopefully we'll get more details soon.

Guest Appearances

Well there are a few rumors going around that maybe Kevin or even Donnie Wahlberg will be joining us for the cruise.

Before you get too excited, nothing has been confirmed. I assumed the rumors of Kevin were more so just fans hoping he will show up. I personally feel like there is less than a 1% chance of that actually happening. Meanwhile Donnie Wahlberg was at an event in Philadelphia the other night and announced that he will be making an appearance on the Backstreet Boy cruise in December. Nothing has been confirmed other than this supposed announcement.

I just wanted to share my opinion on the matter should Kevin or Donnie actually decide to join us on SS Backstreet this year.

I may get some hate mail for this, but truthfully, I’d prefer if Kevin didn’t come on the cruise. He hasn’t been an official member of the Backstreet Boys for over 5 years now. To me it is evident that he has moved on, so have the rest of the Backstreet Boys, and so should we as their fans. I look at his recent appearance on Oprah, and to me he just doesn’t have that same level of passion and dedication that he used to. Yes, it would be nice to see him make an appearance. But I start to think what it would be like if he actually participated in the events. For example, if he did the photo session, its going to throw everyone’s plans all off. We’re all planning for 4 boys and 8 girls; not 5 boys and 10 girls. Or if he were to join them for the concert on board. I think it would be weird to hear him sing their newer songs. Heck, he probably doesn’t even know their newer songs. Even events such as the Q&A would take on a different vibe by having him there.

I guess I would just be taken very off guard on the very rare chance he would show up. I’m psyching myself for 4 Backstreet Boys, not 5. And I think that’s evident in all my planning, door decorations, etc. To clarify, it’s not as if I wouldn’t be excited, it would just be very unexpected and I’d be very wary on how they’d approach all of the events.

As for Donnie, this wasn't even on my radar until he said something the other night about joining us on the boat. It came to me as quite a surprise and there does seem to be slightly more legitimacy to this claim since he did mention it himself. I'd actually be excited if he made a brief appearance, but I just don't want him overtaking the events. For example I'm cool if he wants to show up at a deck party or something but I don't want him up on stage during the Q&A. I guess the big difference between if Kevin or Donnie were to show up, its more clear that Donnie shouldn't participate in the main events because he was never a Backstreet Boy. I think with Kevin it would be more of a gray area since he was a Backstreet Boy and his role in the events wouldn't be as well defined.

So what do you guys think? Even though these are all just rumors, wow would you feel if Kevin and/or Donnie made a surprise appearance?