Saturday, December 1, 2012

Are You Compatible Roommates?

I'm a little late on this quiz as most of you probably already have your roommates. But I still thought it would be fun.

1.       You see Howie eating lunch at the lido buffet with his family. You..?
a. Steal a quick glance and continue outside to the pool as planned.
b. Grab your food and conveniently sit at a nearby table with a good view of Howie.
c. Walk right up to his table and ask him for a picture and autograph.
2.       In between events you will most likely be found...
a. Relaxing in the hot tub. You’re happy have some down time and take a break from the Backstreet Boys for a while
b. Checking out door decorations, and hey, maybe you’ll run into a Backstreet Boy in the hall if you’re lucky.
c. Camping outside of Nick’s cabin waiting for him to come out.
3.       When do you plan on going to bed?
a. You expect to return to your cabin before midnight because traveling is quite exhausting.
b. After a couple hours at the deck party, you’ll probably head back to your cabin around 2 or 3am.
c. Bed? You’re not sleeping at all this cruise in order to soak up every second of breathing the same air as AJ.
4.       At a deck party you will most likely be...
a. In bed. Those deck parties are too late for you.
b. Enjoying the excitement
c. Right up front for the best view after hours of waiting to claim that spot.
5.       What are you willing to do to get into VIP?
a. Eh, VIP isn’t really your thing. If it happens great, but you won’t go seek it out.
b. You might make a few extra trips to pass the security guards to try your luck at catching their attention but not much beyond that.
c. Anything and everything. You will be Mrs. Carter one day and need to make sure Nick sees you sooner than later.
6.       On the cruise you are happy...
a. Being in the Caribbean and exploring the ports
b. Attending the Backstreet Boys events and the general atmosphere
c. Only when you are as close to a backstreet boy as humanly possible
7.      Your idea of fun at the beach party is?
a. Soaking up some sun by the ocean
b. Enjoying the BBQ and watching BSB when the finally arrive from a comfortable distance away
c. Camping out in front of the stage for hours just so you have a good spot when BSB finally arrives.


Mostly As
If you AND your roommate answered mostly As, congratulations! You guys are a match made I heaven. Though I wonder why you're shelling out all this money to go on a Backstreet Boy cruise when your main interests seem to be on just enjoying the cruise itself. You're primarily going for the experience of cruising in the Caribbean than enjoying BSB. Hey, whatever floats your boat!

Mostly Bs
If you AND your roommate answered mostly Bs,congratulations! You will get along splendidly because you both get the same amount of excitement from seeing the Backstreet Boys on the cruise but also don't feel the need to follow their every move to be happy.

Mostly Cs
If you AND your roommate answered mostly Cs, congratulations! You each found yourself a wonderful buddy that shares the same level of passion as you do. Hopefully you'll even have the chance to get to know each other because there are exactly 5 reasons, and 5 reasons only, why you are doing this cruise- Nick, Brian, Howie, AJ, & Kevin.

If you and your roommates don't match up, that's okay too. But you might want to have a few talks to set expectations. This quiz is all in good fun, but I still think there's actually some truth behind it. I think its key that you and your roommates are on the same wavelength about what you want to get out of the experience.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cruise Sold Out

Well folks, it looks like the cruise has officially sold out. I never would've guessed it, myself. Congrats to everyone going! If you weren't able to book your cabin in time and are still hoping to go, I wouldn't worry too much. You can sign up for the waitlist or even keep your eyes peeled on twitter, facebook, or the fanclub for cruisers who are still looking for roommates.

Sign up for the Waitlist

Ts &Cs from the official website:
SOLD OUT WAITLIST ONLY

COMPLETE THE RESERVATION FORM AND YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED IF YOUR RESERVATION IS CONFIRMED.

You will not be charged until you are contacted and you accept the cabin.Please take a moment to add or update your credit card in your Cruise Account.

Booking the wait list does NOT guarantee a spot onboard the Backstreet Boys Cruise 2013. Guest will be contacted in order of wait list reservations as Cabins open up.
I'm very conflicted on the news. Half of me is excited that the boys were able to sell out the ship this year. I think it can only be positive in terms of them doing more cruises in the future. The other half of me is terrified being on a boat-full of rabid BSB fans. I mean have you seen pictures from the New Kids cruises?? The deck parties look ridiculous with a full ship.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FAQ

I'm so overdue for an FAQ section on this site as this blog is accumulating more and more posts. I find people reach out to me and largely ask the same questions. So not that I don't love hearing from you all, because I most certainly do, but I figured I'd aggregate all of those questions for you in 1 place in hopes to answer the most often asked questions. I also hope to keep adding to this as needed so keep checking back.


I hear the guys go around knocking on cabin doors, is that true?
Yes, AJ did go around knocking on cabin doors the first cruise and visited with fans. Supposedly Howie stopped by a few cabins as well. AJ made his way to 2 decks. Thus there is always the possibility they'll do it again, but nothing I'd want to get my hopes up for.
When did they announce the themes last year?
Last year the themes were announced on August 19th, which was a little over 3 months out.
What's the deal with the pre-cruise party?
For both of the past cruises the Backstreet Boys held a pre-cruise event the night before in Miami. In 2010 they did an acoustic show with the option for a meet & greet; in 2011 they did a club event also with the option of a meet & greet. In 2013 they did no pre-cruise event. When they did have an event, it's something that wasn't announced until 1 month before the cruise. So please keep it in mind as you make your travel arrangements, but my advice would be not to count on an event.
Do you get the meet the guys?
Yes, you get to the Backstreet Boys at the meet & greet photo event. That is the ONLY time you are guaranteed interaction with them. That said, there are plenty of other opportunities during the cruise to see them and interact with them- both at official events and just roaming around the ship. I think a lot of it is luck and a lot of it is just how assertive/dedicated you are.
What's the deal with the plug situation?
I seem to remember 1 outlet in the room and maybe 1 in the bathroom. Basically count on a limited number of outlets. Some people like to bring surge protectors, however I've also heard they can get confiscated. So bring at your own risk. We had 3 girls in the cabin and managed just fine sharing. It just takes coordination and consideration of your roommates. I think the only thing I used an outlet for was my hair straightener and to charge my camera. I didnt need to charge my phone since I wasnt using. Overall it wasnt really an issue.
How do I buy VIP?
I think this is one of the most popular questions from new cruisers. You CANNOT buy a VIP for the cruise. They do have VIP sections for certain events, however its primarily designated for the boys, their friends, family, staff, etc. The staff have been known to hand out VIP bracelets to randomly chosen cruisers so its 
Tips for dressing around the ship/theme nights? How many formal outfits do you need?
So at night definitely consider the fact that you will be outside on a windy deck with the ocean. It will be chilly. Pack layers and plan your theme outfit accordingly. I know there were a couple times I had my nice theme outfit planned and it pretty much was all for nothing when I had to throw a sweatshirt on over it.

Some people like to dress up for dinner every night. So if that's something you like to do, pack a few nicer outfits. The dining room does have a dress code. Though if it's not your thing, there is nothing requiring you to get dressed up and you can always eat at the informal buffet should you choose.

As for walking around the ship during the day, many people opt for beach/pool type clothes. You'll also see BSB shirts floating around. I'd recommend something comfortable and something you're okay possibly running into a Backstreet Boy wearing.
How does the group photo work? How many people and when does it happen?
For the photo shoot- you basically get in a group with 10 girls and show up to the photo session at your designated time. On the past cruises its been held on the last day. Ideally you want to form a group with other people in your dining seating (either Group A or Group B) and you find all your Howie girls ahead of time. Sorry- but you know I speak the truth! If you don't have a group ahead of time, or your group is incomplete, don't worry. Rose Tours will make sure you have a full group before getting your photo taken and match you up with others who also need a group. But I think its best to be prepared if you're particular on who you stand next to.
UPDATE- On the 2013 cruise they changed the group sizes to 4-5 girls. For the 2014 cruise they have been promoting smaller group sizes thus I would anticipate it to be around 4-5 fans this upcoming trip as well.
What time in the morning do the events typically start?
Typically there were no events in the morning. The earliest we ever had something was noon- which was the photo shoot. So feel free to sleep in should your heart desire.
When should I arrive to the port in Miami the day of the cruise?
This is another common question and the answer is- it's really up to you. You can get there as early as you'd like. They let you on the ship as soon as its cleared by customs and the previous cruise has emptied off. The BSB cruise website says we board at noon, and generally speaking they'll let us on around noon or even as early as 11am. That said, it could be earlier or later. You just NEED to be there before the ship sets sails at 4pm.

The Backstreet Boys themselves generally get there on the earlier side. I'd say 10ish. They will check in separately in a special VIP area so they aren't mobbed by fans. They will also board prior to everyone else. If you want to see them board, get there early.

As for me, I personally get there as early as possible. In my head the sooner I get to the port, the closer I am to the front of the line to board, and the sooner I can get on that ship and start my vacation. I probably shoot to get there around 9-9:30. Im also a paranoid traveler and don't like to take ANY chances missing that ship. I also find these few hours while you're waiting in the terminal is a great place to meet up with friends you've been looking forward to meeting because once you're on the ship, all hell breaks loose.
Can you tell me more about the door decorations?
They hold a contest where you can opt to decorate your door with any sort of BSB-related decoration you'd like. The winner will be announced during the cruise and in the past the winner gets front row seats to the concert on board. If you're looking for ideas- generally the ones with a clear theme seem to do well. Lots of people put up collages of sorts but the themes help set you apart. I've seen a lot of people do Christmas themes, beach/cruise themes, and movie themes were popular. I also found that having something 3-D makes your door stand out. And this is something you don't have to participate in if you don't want to. No matter what you decide, just have fun with it!
Can you tell me more how the roommate match program works?
If you are a solo traveler and are so gung-ho about going on the BSB cruise but can't convince anyone back home to go with you, the roommate match program is for you! When you book your cruise you have the option to book a cabin with the roommate match program, and you will be matched based on several different criteria. You will not find out your roommate until a little over a month out from the cruise. I did this program the first year and didn't have any major problems. Most people I know who have done it were very positive with their experience. My biggest frustration was that I couldn't work on my door decoration until last minute. But I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is traveling solo.
Will I get sea-sick? If so, what should I do?
Hopefully not, but you should prepare yourself, particularly if you've never been on a cruise before. If you're prone to motion sickness, you should take even further precaution. Since I luckily don't really get seasick, here are some words of wisdom from my not so lucky friend who did....

If you're prone to motion seasickness, seasickness is nothing like it. It's much worse! And I found that regular motion seasickness medication didn't work. If Nick Carter points out that the ship is rocking, you will instantly feel it - even if you didn't before! Haha. I went to my doctor and she prescribed those bracelets that some people wear. I'm sure those and other knickknacks work for mild sickness, but I'm not willing to gamble my once in a lifetime experience again. I got REALLY sick. That said, not everyone will. I just think it's better to be prepared for it then to spend the first day curled up in a ball.  The best advice I have is to get on the boat and hit the Customer Service desk. For a couple of dollars you get four pills. Each pill lasts twelve hours. Most importantly - take it a half hour before the boat departs. Once you're seasick, it can't be undone.


To expand on her experience, guest services will give you medique (meclizine hydrochloride) 25 mg. It’s an antiemetic. Apparently good stuff.
What should a first time cruiser expect?
I would say to expect to have the time of your life with your friends, meet some wonderful new friends, no sleep. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Tons of great unique BSB events that you can only get on the cruise. On the flip side I would NOT expect to literally hang out with the backstreet boys for 3 days.
What's the best part of the BSB cruise?
Everything!! Seriously though, its such a unique experience that nothing else even comes close. A concert is only 2 hours of BSB but on the cruise is 3 days! And in that 3 days there are so many special moments that you can only get here. Like you'll be eating dinner and casually look across the room to see Brian eating with his family. Or you'll be chilling at the pool and see Nick walk by.

On top of that the events themselves are so unique. You get game shows, beach parties, deck parties, etc. I just feel like you dont get to see BSB in some of those environments anywhere else. Even outside of the events there is BSB-stuff everywhere! BSB TV, door decorations, music playing by the pool, etc. In the "real-world" I jump for joy hearing IWITW on the radio....on the cruise its everywhere. Like a magical Backstreet utopia!

Beyond BSB themselves- for me its all about hanging out with my friends & making new friends who all share the same level of passion I do for BSB. These people all understand 110% what the backstreet boys mean to me and its so nice to share this experience with them. You can walk up to anyone on that ship and just talk for hours to them sharing stories and experiences. This is really my favorite part! I know have so many life-long friends because of the past 2 cruises.
What's the worst part of the BSB cruise?
The only negative thing for me is that there is so much anticipation leading up to the trip and my expectations are so high for it that its tough for the cruise to live up to my expectations, though so far its been able to. Its just natural that things won't always go as you envisioned so I've found you can't let the little things get to you or it will ruin your trip. Things will inevitably go wrong. You might have someone spill a drink on your outfit you've been planning out for months. You might end up getting seasick. Whatever it is. Just stay optimistic and have the time of your life!
Any suggestions if I don't have anyone to travel with?
If you decide to come by yourself, they do have a roommate match program so they would pair you up with 1 other random roommate. I've heard mostly positive things about the program. Another idea is to search on the fanclub, twitter, or facebook for other people going and looking for roommates.There are a couple closed facebook groups that I'm more than happy to invite you to, just shoot me an email and I'll get you invited!
When we book a ticket, is there a payment program?
They do have a payment plan. If your room was $1000 you pay the $300 deposit, then $300 a few months later, and $400 for the final payment. And obviously that would adjust depending how much your cabin cost. Rose Tours requires 3 payments. But I know some people will call more frequently, say the end of every month, and pay less for each payment. I've found Rose Tours is very willing to work with you on your payment as long as they get their money at the end of the day.
How much time do you actually get with the Boys? 
So time with the boys...this is a tricky one to answer. As I've said numerous times, you need to go in with realistic expectations. If you think you're going to have dinner with Nick every night, you'll be sorely disappointed. There are 2000 girls on the ship and only so much BSB to go around. You can probably do the math. The only guaranteed interaction you have will be at the M&G/photo session. However I think its fair to say you'll see plenty of them. You'll prob see them wandering around the ship, at all the events, maybe catch them at a few of the meals, in the elevator, etc. My advice here is go in expecting very little interaction, and you can only be pleasantly surprised when you get more.
I'm traveling from overseas. Is it worth the thousands of dollars it would cost me to get there? Or should I just buy a VIP the next tour?
Well, I think so but with a few caveats. Obviously this is a trip you only consider if you can afford it. If you're going to rack up major credit card debt, it's not worth it. But assuming you can afford it, I think if the roles were reversed and the boys did a cruise outside the US; I would probably make a vacation of it and extend my trip. So I'd recommend anyone traveling to the states to take a few days to explore Florida, go to Disney World, or even fly to other major cities in the US that interest you.

I think a lot of this cruise is what you make of it. If you have a positive attitude and make the most of it, it will be a great trip and thus worth the money. My other advice is try to meet some new friends. That's one of the best parts for me. Being able to share your love for BSB with girls who feel the same. Plus theres a lot of down time. BSB doesnt entertain us 24/7. So having people to hang out with during those down times is great. The cruise is such a unique experience that you'll remember forever. A VIP is so quick. I def recommend the cruise over a VIP.
Do you have to participate in everything?
You dont have to participate in anything if you don't want to. A lot of people bring their boyfriends/husbands who dont really go to the events, they'll just choose to hit the casino or something instead. It's your vacation so you can do whatever you want. Some girls would rather go explore some of the islands rather than go to their beach party, because they've traveled so far to be there. But I do highly recommend in participating in everything they do.
Do you think booking the more expensive cabins are worth it in order to get better seats?
I personally don't think so, but I know many girls who disagree with me. My personal opinion on the matter is that its not worth the extra hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get a few rows closer. The lounge is small enough that even being in the last row isn't that bad. You'll have plenty of opportunity to see them up close around the ship and you also have to remember that not all the events are held in the lounge. Last cruise there were only 2 events in the lounge. Plus you could put that money towards another cruise or doing a VIP on tour. If you are lucky enough to book early and get a good reservation number, than you should be fine. My advice is save the money!

But to make Im impartial and present both sides, I have friends who did the suite. They like it and will do it again because they liked not having to worry about possibly being in the back and risk not being able to see.
If you book early, will you have a better seat for the BSB shows on board?
Yes, the earlier the book the better your seat should theoretically be. If you book a suite- it shouldn't really matter because you'll be guaranteed to be in the first 6 rows regardless. However if you're gonna book a cheap cabin like me, the earlier you book the better. They will assign the rest of the seats beyond the 6th row based on your reservation number. So the earlier you reserve, the closer you'll be to the stage.
How do they pick fans to participate in games/concerts/events?
Fans are picked differently depending on the event. For some events- like karaoke, you got an email before the cruise started and you could sign up. Then Rose Tours randomly selected a few people to be chosen. Then there's things like the prom queen, and those girls were chosen because they had a lucky item placed in their goody bags when they got in the room. So that was random.

The girls who got picked at the beach party were a mixture of the boys picking people on the spot. But also members of the Rose Tour staff seemed to be grabbing people to sign up as well. If you ever see a Rose Tour staff with a clip board before an event, thats generally where you should be. For the game shows- I think you have to show up early and Rose Tours staff was picking people. In 2013 they started drawing names from a bag, which I like because it gives everyone a fair shot. I think those are your primary ways to be chosen. I have yet to be picked for anything, so as always, take my advice with a grain of salt. But it seems to be a lot of luck or being in the right spot at the right time.
Will my cell phone work on the cruise?
When we're in the middle of the ocean- no, you will not have service. When we're docked in port, it will work, but if you're outside your country you will most definitely incur crazy roaming fees. My advice is to turn your phone off once we set sail and not turn it on until we're back in Miami. I've just heard such horror stories on coming back to obscene bills. If you simply can't go 3 days without your cell phone and need to get in touch with work or loved ones back home, I recommend checking with your carrier and adding the appropriate international voice/data plan.
When do we get the itinerary?
Two weeks before we set sail.
Do I have to tip?
No, your tip is included in your fees. Though feel free to leave an additional tip for your cabin steward or waiters if you feel they've gone above and beyond.
How much should I expect to spend?
In short, a lot. I'd budget at least $2,000 and even more depending on your cabin. The lowest I've heard someone spend on the entire experience was $1,800. Factoring in the cost of the cruise, travel, accommodations, pre-cruise shopping, merch/drinks on board, pre-cruise events, etc. It all adds up to a lot more than you'd anticipate.

How much cash/spending money should I bring? Do I even need to bring cash?
I personally am not a big spender on the cruise. The items that cost extra are drinks (including sodas), spa services, casino, shopping, specialty restaurants, excursions, cabanas, etc. But you don't pay cash for any of it- its all on your sail & sign card. You can tie your sail & sign card to your credit card and not have to worry about carrying cash at all on board.  Even the backstreet boys merchandise, you can charge to this card.
As for how much- it really depends on your spending habits. You can get out of there without spending any extra money- but realistically if you want some souvenirs and or splurge on any of the extras you'll want anywhere from $100-$300.
Are there professional photographers on board?
For BSB events- Justin will be taking pictures. He'll post them on backstreetboys.com afterward. Though in my opinion, there weren't a whole ton of pictures. There will also be a videographer, though for the 2011 cruise they never did anything with that footage. So I wouldn't count on these pictures, even though you'll see them feverishly taking videos/photo.

What does Group A do when Group B is having their event & vice versa?
Short answer- whatever you want! Generally when the other group is having their events, in some ways its a bit more relaxing because I know exactly where the boys are and that I cant run into them. But I also find I'm anxious because it KILLS me knowing they're doing a concert like 30 feet away and I'm not there. Some times the other groups event will be happening during your dinner. So you'll still have something to do. And if not Id suggest its a good time to relax, get ready for your next event, or even steal in a quick nap.
Will there be time to change for the theme nights?
In years past some people would get dressed before dinner- but i also feel it really depends on the theme. You could wear a prom dress to dinner, but not a Halloween costume. There is time in between events to change. Remember, they run on backstreet time! If they say the deck party starts at 12, you can safely assume the boys wont show up at that time. They're gonna be putting on a concert and then need to go get ready themselves. So dont stress about not having time.

The only caveat here is that like most events- the sooner you get to them, the better spot you'll have. So by taking that extra time to change later in the night, might set you back a tad. But if you're not the type who needs front row for everything, then you'll be fine. Plus its kind of hard to define what a good spot really is, because the guys move around the deck anyway.
How do you meet up with people? Should I bring walkie talkies?
I know I put walkie talkies on my packing list, and I've tried bringing them before but they ended up sitting in my suitcase. I found they were too burdensome to carry around. Maybe there are smaller models these days, but Im not sure. I ended up meeting my friends the old fashioned way, remember those days before cell phones? Yeah, we were able to function! So basically just deciding on when and where to meet. You can also call each others cabins, so jot down all your friends' numbers. Otherwise I find people generally hang in the same spots. Some will like to hang in the lido buffet, others by the pool, casino, etc. Generally if I wandered around for 10 minutes I could find my gang or I'd run into someone else I knew. The ship isn't that big.
I have a gift I'd like to give to the boys. How do I give that to them?
So here's the official word on gifts:
"Gifts will NOT be permitted at any BSB scheduled events. Gifts can be left at the hospitality desk. Please consult your itinerary for Hospitality Hours. Your gifts will be delivered to BSB."
I personally wouldn't want to leave a gift for them; half the fun there is seeing the reaction. But there is this option if you don't care about giving it to them directly. The only time you are guaranteed to interact with them is at the meet & greet, and they are VERY strict about not letting you bring anything in there. The only other way to get them a gift is getting lucky. You might have a chance elsewhere on the ship if you run into them. So if you're dedicated to the cause, you can carry it with you and hope you'll bump into one of the guys and give it to them then.
What do people wear to dinner?
Honestly you see a range of everything from fancier dresses to borderline t-shirts. You'll fit right in if you want to get dressed up. Though sometimes they have formal night where people do get a bit more dressed up. Personally I like to do a sundress to dinner on most nights.

FYI the dress code:
Ladies - Casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, Capri pants, dress shorts, jeans (no cut-offs). Not permitted in the dining room during the Cruise Casual dinner for ladies and gentlemen: shorts, gym shorts, basketball shorts, beach flip-flops, bathing suit attire, cut-off jeans, & sleeveless shirts.
 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Boat is Almost Full

Hello loyal readers. I don't have too many updates but I did want to happily declare that I'm officially booked. Woohoo! Once again I opted for one of the cheapest cabins on board- an interior towards the bottom of the ship. I still can't justify any more than that. I'm really going to try to cut back on my Backstreet spending this year/cruise.

So I'll be in cabin U229 which is on deck 6 all the way in the back with my friends Chrissy and Cory, my loyal cruising companions & roommates from the last cruise. Please come say hi.  The good news is that they're still not sick of me and my shenanigans. I hope everyone was able to get the cabin they wanted, and if not, don't stress too much. You won't be in your room much anyway.

It's been very interesting to see that the cruise is selling significantly better this time around than in both years past. Howie tweeted the other day that they're close to selling out, and it seems based on the cabin availability on the Rose Tours site that there's not to many options left. So if you're still not booked and are hoping to, better sign up sooner than later!

Why is the Cruise Selling So Well?
So the big question is why is this cruise on the path to selling out when the others didn't? I think there are a ton of factors at play. I've been unofficially been polling a few friends and first time cruisers. In short it seems to be the trifecta of events- Kevin's return, the 20th year anniversary, and finances.

Kevin
I feel like having Kevin back is a huge draw, especially for Kevin girls. Those who may have been previously on the fence about trying the cruise are now pushed over the edge with Kevin's return. And the thing with Kevin fans- I think they generally tend to be older and thus have the means and the ability to take a trip like this more so than younger fans who might still be in school or don't have as much disposable income. Just my speculation though.

20th Anniversary
Then of course we have the 20th anniversary just months away (or 189 days; 9 hours; 32 minutes; and 4 seconds away as the backstreet site boldly reminds me every time I visit) This definitely translates into a lot more hype and excitement. Plus I think there's been a lot recent media activity with the NKOTBSB tour, Kevin's return, and even just a resurgence of boybands in general. Fans who may have gone dormant since the Black & Blue days are starting to reminisce about the faces that once plastered their lockers. They're able to make a childhood dream of meeting the Backstreet boys a reality and turning it into a fun girls getaway all at the same time.

Finances
Finances also seemed to be a popular reason for why some fans couldn't go on the past cruises but are now able to go this time around. Past cruisers had a bit more time in between voyages to refill their bank accounts. And first time cruisers also had more time to get their finances together before making the big purchase. They gave us plenty of notice this time around, which I have to admit was much appreciated. The poor New Kids cruisers had less than a week. I just don't understand the rationale behind that. And the other nice thing is that cruisers have over a year to make payments if needed. Those few things I think really helped a lot of people make this work, where they may have not been able to in the past.

Marketing
Of course since this is my field I have to pay attention to the marketing efforts. I think this goes hand-in-hand with the 20th anniversary and media buzz. But I think since past cruises didn't sell as well, they did a much better job this time around doing promotion. They did a ton of contests and games on twitter (By the way- congrats to those out there who won). They also had their pre-cruise "planing" party to generate excitement. And I have to use quotes here because I think Nick sitting there with a life preserver on his head for 30 minutes doesn't exactly scream effective planning. But I suppose the event still served its purpose.

Time of the Year
My last theory as to why its selling better is the time of year. I think having the past cruises near the holidays made it hard for some people to take off work/school and afford extra money at that time. I think moving the cruise up by a few months is helping a bit as well.

So first-time cruisers, how come you're cruising for the first time? Is it something I mentioned above or perhaps another reason? Let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Planning Party & Booking

First things first....in case any of you missed the planning party here is the video below.


Planning Party with Nick and Howie I'd very loosely call this a planning party. It was basically 33 minutes of Nick and Howie clearly having no clue what is going on. But a few items they mentioned:
  • Theme night suggestions: Neon night; Halloween night; drag night.
  • Their advice for first time cruisers: According to Howie start sleeping now and "Start detoxing now."
  • They alluded to the fact that they'd sing songs off their new album during the concert on board.
  • They said they might try to do some DJing this time around

Booking

It seems like a lot of people have questions on the booking process. Here are a few items that you should consider:

Make sure you and your roommates all register in advance at this site:
https://www.reservations.rosetours.com/Booking/Account/Register?returnUrl=%2FBooking

Know what cabin you want
Make sure you know in advance the type of cabin you want as well as backup cabins. Particularly if you're going for a type of cabin where there aren't too many rooms available, such as the owner's suite.

Pre-Sale
If you were a past cruiser or a fan club member, you should've received an email from Rose Tours or Ground Ctrl with a password and booking instructions. I got my emails on Monday. As long as there is 1 passenger in your cabin who has cruised before or is a fan club member, you can book during the pre-sale. If you didn't receive an email, I recommend contacting Rose Tours/Ground Ctrl.

Booking Day
Watch this video so you know what to expect. This video takes you through the booking process.

Credit: Girlygirlstefie

1- Login to the Rose Tour site.
2- Choose the number of people in the cabin
3- Choose the category of room you want (have a backup in case)
4- Confirm your choice
5- Choose if you want to have insurance
6- Review the price and checkout
7- Enter names of you and and the people you are staying with. Make sure you have their full legal first and last name as well as the email address that they registered under.
8 - Next is the payment screen. Your choices are for each person to put the deposit on their own credit cards (which they should've each filled out when they registered) or 1 person will pay the whole deposit. Note that payments/credit cards can be changed later.

I believe at some point you will choose your exact room as well. At least we did last year, not sure what it will be like this year.

My last piece of advice to first time cruisers is stay calm and be patient. I feel like everyone goes into panic mode and there's no need. If your first choice cabin isn't available, don't freak out. I find that cabins will be "sold out" and become back available throughout the first hour, much like concert tickets. You will have multiple people trying to book cabins from each room, and inevitably rooms get released. So hang in there and keep trying!

Good luck everyone and I wish you all a happy and stress-free booking.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sticker Shock

I know there's a bunch of people out there who may have had a reaction similar to this. "Woohoo, Backstreet Boy cruise. I can't wait to go!! Let me just take out the good ole credit ca....Holy crap. It costs how much?? And for only a three day cruise. I wish, but I'm just not sure I can justify that."

Well you're not alone. In fact, I don't think any past cruiser didn't have that thought run through their head. I know I sure as heck had that mindset. But I'm here now as a two-time cruiser and am here to help ease the blow a bit.

Yes, the cruise is expensive and costs about three times the price of a normal cruise. Just remember that all that extra money goes towards around 10 Backstreet events (give or take) If you priced those out separately you could factor in $100 for a concert; $200 for what would be equivalent to a silver VIP meet & greet, $100 or so for 3 after party type events, and several other events that in my mind are priceless because you can't get them anywhere else. So hopefully this can at least help justify where your money is going.

You should also take comfort in the fact that you do not have to pay that money all at once. Rose Tours works out a payment plan and gives you the flexibility to make payments pretty much on any schedule you'd like. So don't think about it as $1,000-$2,000 all at once. Think of it as about $100-$200 a month. We also have the added advantage of being given a bit more notice this time around. So that means its even less money every paycheck than on the prior 2 cruises. I find this a lot easier to digest because that's a much more manageable number. For me that means eating out a few times less throughout the month or skipping out on buying a new pair of shoes I don't really need anyway.

Another way that I was able to reduce the overall cost of the cruise is to ask family and friends to help out. And I don't mean ask for a hand out. But we have the holidays coming up right around the corner, and odds are there might be a few other special occasions that would warrant gift giving between now and the cruise. Why not ask your friends and family to skip getting you a gift and instead ask them to contribute to your BSB cruise fund. I did this for both cruises and was able to knock a couple hundred dollars off easy. You can even get creative with it and create a BSB Cruise registry. Who says you need to get married to create a registry?! I found a good site called Celebration Wishes so why not set up something fun for your trip and spread the word to loved ones about your cruise fund.

My last point is that I don't regret spending the money on the previous two cruises as all. I'd much more regret not going than seeing my bank account just a little bit fuller. My ONLY caveat here...as much as I support going on the cruise and think its worth every penny, I also don't condone going into debt over it. So really take a good hard look at your budget and see if you can afford this trip before committing.

If you want more info on cruise costs...here are a few of my previous posts on the subject.
Credit Card Damage: The Final Cost  (2011 cruise cost breakdown)
Can you Afford a Backstreet Cruise? (2010 cruise cost breakdown)
Any of you past cruisers our there also feel free to comment below on your experiences/opinions with the cruise pricing and if you think its worth the money!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Backstreet Boys Share Cruise Details

Found this article on Artists Direct entitled, Backstreet Boys Share Cruise Details.

Backstreet's back.

The Backstreet Boys have announced details for this year's Backstreet Boys cruise. Departing from Miami on October 25, the three-night cruise will celebrate the 20th anniversary and reunion of the boy band.

Oh hell yes!

The event will include live music, a private beach party, games, Q&A sessions, contests and more. Plus, prodigal Boy Kevin Richardson is back!

"Having Kevin [Richardson] onboard for the first time has already made this our best cruise yet!" said Brian Littrell. "We're back together again to party on the high seas." Nick Carter added, "This year's cruise is going to show our fans how special they are to us and how thankful we are for 20 years of support."

It's been 20 years of Backstreet amazingness! Happy anniv, BSB dudes.

Any BSB fans hitting the high seas? Have you ever gone on one of their cruises? How was it? Get cruise info at BackstreetBoysCruise.com

—Maggie Panancione
09.11.12

My only take away from this is that they mentioned the Q&A. Perhaps they're bringing that back for the third cruise, which would be wonderful!

Monday, September 10, 2012

MixTape Festival Recap

I know I'm super late on this review, but better late than never! I definitely wanted to share my experiences at MixTape Festival. I think I can best describe the event as an emotional roller coaster, which seems very fitting since we were just a few hundred yards away from Hershey Park and its crazy coasters. In all, I was super frustrated for a lot more of the weekend than I would've like to have been, but for the most part the Backstreet Boys and other artists at the event made up for it.

Friday

So after months of anticipation, the fun started off with a drive up to Hershey Park. Luckily we didn't hit traffic and made pretty decent time. I found it so overwhelming when I first arrived. We needed to check-in to the hotel, check-in for the VIP, meet up with friends, change, and grab some much needed lunch. Somehow we managed to get this all done, but not without a few hiccups. Any of you other attendees who did the VIP know what hiccups I'm referring to. But for those who did not, let's just say it was quite the cluster trying to check-in. They had 2 people checking in probably 2,000 people. People waited HOURS, to the extent where they had to miss the opening acts. Completely unacceptable for "VIP" treatment. But I was able to quickly put that behind me and kick the festival off with a bang.

Aaron Carter was the first to open up the set. Right before he came on, the sky opened up and it poured cats and dogs. Unfortunately his set got cut short; he only did 3 songs. This made me kinda mad because they had a DJ on after him. C'mon guys, cut the DJ short, not Aaron! I probably hadn't seen Aaron in 10+ years, so even though it was short-lived, it was a treat to see him. The whole time he was on stage I just couldn't get over how much he looked like his brother. Even the mannerisms were spot-on.

I can't be the only one who think he looks just like Nick.
In efforts to stay dry as much as I could, I decided to forgo my spot in front of the stage and hang out in the VIP tent. Word on the street was that Andrea Barber, or you may better know her as Kimmie Gibler, was wondering around and taking pictures. I didn't have any luck, so I decided to do my "free" massage. Very delightful 7 minutes indeed. Nothing horribly exciting happened the rest of the day. The New Kids kept popping into the VIP tent randomly. But never for more than 30 seconds at any given time. Just enough to get everyone screaming and then they'd leave.

Donnie saying hi in the VIP tent
By this point in the day, there were no artists I was particularly excited to see. Meanwhile the blockheads were already setting up camp, filling up the area in front of the stage. I pretty much just wandered around, trying to keep dry and wait for NKOTB and Kelly Clarkson. As the sky got darker, The Fray took the stage. I enjoyed their set, though overall it wasn't as lively and upbeat as I was hoping.

Me, Sara, and Ash looking oh so fashionable while trying to stay dry
Finally the New Kids on the Block were ready to come out. I noticed at the stage further from where they were supposed to perform, about 30 security guards huddled in 1 spot near backstage. Well if all my experiences have taught me nothing in life, where ever there are security guards there are musicians not too far away. My hunch proved to be right. The New Kids made a spectacular entrance and drove across the stadium. So at least I had a good view for a portion of the show.

The set was pretty much exactly the same as the set they do on NKOTBSB, even with all the remixes and stuff. The only difference was that they had a different opening song. I truthfully didnt mind the redundant set because I knew all the words, though it certainly would've been nice to see something at least a little different. Oh well. Had a great spot when the guys were in the middle.

My fave part of the show- Joey and his son singing Tonight



After New Kids, it was time for Kelly Clarkson. Thus I left the New Kids set a song or 2 early and this proved to be a great decision because I was able to get front row for Kelly. This is also thanks to Ash and Cort. Thanks girls! Her set was great. I love how humble and down-to-earth she is. I felt slightly bad because there didn't seem to be too many people who watched her. Once again, I think all the blockheads were waiting to see the New Kids at the after party. However, in the middle of her set, Joey came out and did a song with her. That was pretty neat. But I still think my favorite part of her set was Breakaway. I just love that song.

Front row for Kelly Clarkson
So after Kelly was the after party. I wasnt sure what to expect, but by the time I got there the place was a zoo. I pretty much just stayed long enough to see the New Kids say 'hi' and then left. The problem was I couldn't really see or hear them, so I felt there was no point in staying there any longer, especially considering I knew I needed my rest for Saturday.

Saturday

Saturday was the day with literally everything going on! I knew it would be an exhausting day, and boy was it. First on the agenda was supposed to be our meet & greet with New Kids on the Block. Or so we thought. And so we were told. But clearly I had too much faith in the organizers. I should've known better. After waiting probably about an hour, being escorted into the tent where the New Kids were taking their pictures, all the VIP Bs were escorted out of line and told to go back later. Ugh, are you kidding me? Not only did this now mean we had a conflict with the BBQ, but they specifically told us we would be "fast-passed" And it meant our pain-staking efforts of finding a group with 2 Danny girls was all for nothing. I think that it what made me cry the most.

BSBBQ

Well, after the crew and even my friends had to practically drag me out of line without our M&G, we headed off to the BSBBQ. Which was also a cluster of disorganization that I wont even get into or it will make me upset. Before I get into the fun stuff, my only other complaint was the location because everyone in the stadium could see what was going on, as well as all the folks waiting to take their picture with New Kids. I realize I'm getting nit picky in an otherwise great event, but those were my few negatives on this. But as someone who paid $250, I expect a bit more organization from GroundCtrl and I would've liked to see it held in a bit more of a private location.

Anyway, the Backstreet Boys showed up about an hour late, which was pretty good for them. Before they showed up- I spent 5 minutes of that time enjoying my hotdog. The rest of the time I frantically tried to find 3 other people to complete our NK picture group, that was messed up earlier. I felt like a lawyer as I negotiated between everyone. "Okay, if she stands next to Danny would you be willing next to stand next to Jon? Well, let me check with my group and I'll get back to you with a counter offer." I think I ran back and forth like 5 times, but we were eventually able to close the deal and miraculously found 2 Danny girls. I think I deserve a medal for that one.

Once the Backstreet Boys showed up, they didn't have mics so it was a little tough to hear them. But they gave a quick little intro on their loudspeakers and said they'd be coming by to mingle and play games with us. As most of the girls swarmed the tables where they were, I decided to hang back a bit with my friends and see if being patient and not a crazy person might pay off. Unfortunately it did not pay off. Major bummer. I'm a little regretful and wish I was a bit more proactive, because it seems most other people who attended the BBQ had really great stories. But alas, I cant be everywhere at once.

I found the event almost too overwhelming to process. You had each of the 4 guys scattered around the lawn, so I was torn on where to go! AJ was serving food, but I had already eaten so I didnt feel the need to go get more food. Nick was swarmed. Or at least he appeared to be. Howie was also going from table to table. And Brian was doing Wylee pre-orders. I didn't buy anything, but my friend Jessica did and was so gracious as to let me hop in the picture with her.

Me, Brian, and Jessica at the BBQ
After I got my pic with Brian, they started the games. They played cornhole and horseshoes with some fans. This was fun to watch. Each of the boys selected 3 fans to play with. So I felt like you could get a front row watching any one of them. I hopped around a bit to see each guy play.

Comical Video of Nick and AJ at the BBQ

AJ playing horseshoes
Nick trying to fix the horseshoe pole
After some of the games, I also snagged a picture with Howie. I was pretty pleased with how it came out. I was also pleased with just the overall event. I thought all the guys were in great spirits. Even Nick. They all took a bunch of pictures, really chatted with the fans, and seemed to be enjoying themselves. I really hope they decide to do more events like this in the future.

Me, Howie, and Kristen
After the fun and games, they did the meet & greet picture. Our group proved to be super disorganized. They were supposed to be in groups of 10, which we did. But we had no game plan and thus our picture turned out a bit chaotic. At least its a good representation of MixTape overall.


When I met the guys, they all commented on our shirts. Even though I cant take credit for making them, I do take credit for wearing it with pride.

New Kids on the Block Meet & Greet

After the BSB meet & greet, we hightailed it over to the New Kids meet & greet for take 2. I was so proud of myself for organizing our group after it was messed up earlier. However those efforts also proved to be in vain, because one fan who was leaving the event told us that the groups were all off sync and they were just taking the next 10 girls in line. Not the preorganized groups. Are you F-ing kidding me MixTape?? I'm not sure these people realize how much effort goes into these picture groups. I personally don't really care, but a lot of girls do.

Well, we finally made our way up to the front of the line. I was kinda nervous to meet them, since Ive never met them before. I don't know them nearly as well as I do the Backstreet Boys, nor do I honestly care as much.  Though all the chaos seemed to help keep me distracted. I was just so busy trying to arrange our groups such that everyone was as happy as possible.

However as we inched closer and closer to the front of the line, I could see the New Kids and to be frank, how miserable they looked. I think we must've been the 1200th or people they met that day, and it showed on their face. But despite how tired they were, they all very super pleasant to meet. I was impressed. Despite all the madness, our picture came out great.

Is it bad to say I was just happy I didn't have to stand next to Danny?
The Remainder of Saturday

The rest of the day was filled with lots of great artists and fun. The Wanted. LL Cool J. Carly Rae Jepsen. I found myself to be rather antsy that day and bounced around from either stage, the Wylee Party, and the VIP tent. Just trying to keep cool amid all the acts. Plus I was trying to spend a little bit of time with all my friends and fam.

Me and Kristen



Me and my bro
I tried multiple times to see Brian at the Wylee party. It probably took a good 3-4 hours before the crowds finally died down and I could actually make my way up front. He was so gracious doing autographs for everyone. I was actually able to chat with him for a hot second. I just told him how great the bbq event was and that we'd love to see more of those types of events in the future. In typical Brian fashion, he just made a joke about he was really hoping to be grilling at the event and was disappointed to see that it was catered.

Brian at the Wylee Party
Another highlight of the day for me was seeing 98` reunite. I had never seen them before, but I had their CDs back in the day so it was a lot of fun to see them perform. The great thing about seeing them was that I think 90% of the crowds were camped out on the other stage by that point. So I was able to walk up last minute and get a pretty decent view. See pic below.

98`
Then was the main event. NKOTBSB! Another fantastic performance by both groups. It didnt really occur to me until we were at the concert that this would be THE last time NKOTBSB would be performing, for well...indefinitely. That made it really special. My friend Ash also pointed out either during IWITW or SMTMOBL that this would be the last performance by the Backstreet Boys without Kevin. And as a Howie girl, she was rather upset this would be the last time Howie sung Kev's verses. I never thought of that either! So it was a bitter sweet moment. I was just happy to be a part of it.

The show was pretty much what you're used to seeing. They had a few fun/unique moments though. I loved when Brian and AJ came out during Please Don't Go Girl. Clearly AJ sings that much better than Joey. The Wanted also came out at one point and they sang Im Glad You Came. So definitely a fun show!

After the concert, they had the after party in the VIP tent. It was a bit more lively that night because the New Kids and even some Backstreet Boys showed up. Sadly the one thing I got out of this experience was just how much more interactive the New Kids are. It pains me to admit it, but just in the hour or so I was there that night, I could see how the New Kids cruise would be a lot more fun. I see Donnie and Joey working the crowd while Howie is standing there with his beer watching them. I wanted to run up to Howie and yell, "Do something!" But hey, at least Howie showed up. And surprisingly Brian showed up for a bit as well.

The gang at the after party

Softball Game

This was a fun event! Nick didn't show up, and I think Team Backstreet definitely needed him. Though Im not sure it would've helped. We ended up losing 4 to 9. But we sure put in a solid effort. I think I'll let the pictures/videos speak for themselves on this portion, as this post is running a lot longer than intended.

The New Kids celebrating One Out
Brian trying to get the ball from Donnie's dog
Donnie enjoying what I can only imagine to be a beer at 10am

Howie at bat

Jon didn't play. But was quite entertaining to watch in the dugout with Joey's son
AJ playing in the field

Monday, September 3, 2012

Backstreet Cruise 2013 Officially Announced

Well, the big news has finally come in. Backstreet Boy Cruise 2013 has officially been announced. Time to pop open the champagne and let the planning begin!


Everyone get excited!











I certainly hope to be there and hope you all can make it as well. If any first time cruisers have any specific questions, feel free to post them in the comments below or email me directly and I'll do my best to answer them. Or if any past cruisers want to chat as well, I'd love to hear from you as well! Just to caveat, I have no affiliation with the Backstreet Boys, Rose Tours, or Ground Ctrl. I also want to say that I've had a lot going on in my life outside of the BSB world, so I'm not sure how often I'll be updating my blog going forward. But we shall see...

In the meantime, you can find a ton of info on backstreetboyscruise.com. Here are a few highlights below:

Booking

Reservations start with the Past Cruisers and Fan Club Presale on October 3rd at 12:00PM EST. General on sale reservations start on October 4th at 12:00PM EST.

Itinerary


Friday, Oct. 25, 2013      Miami, Florida    12:00PM(board)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013   Bahamas     10:00AM - 7:00PM
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013     Fun Day at Sea
Monday, Oct. 28, 2013    Miami, Florida     8:00AM

Pricing
Types of Cabin Double Triple Quad Single
1A - Inside Various Decks Upper & Lower Beds Only $699 N/A N/A $1,299
4A - Inside( No View) Deck 4 Fwd or Aft $799 $749 $699 $1,399
4B - Inside (No View) Deck 4 Mid or Deck5 Fwd/Aft $879 $829 $779 $1,479
4C - Inside (No View) Deck 5 Mid or Deck6 Fwd/Aft $929 $879 $829 $1,529
4CS - Inside Match Program (No View) Various Decks $929 N/A N/A N/A
4D - Inside (No View) Deck 6 Mid or Deck 7 Fwd/Aft $979 $929 $879 $1,579
4E - Inside( No View) Deck 7 Mid $999 $949 $899 $1,599
4I - Inside (No View) Deck 11 Fwd $999 $949 $899 $1,599
PT - Port Hole Ocean View Deck 4, 5 or 6 Fwd $999 N/A N/A $1,599
6A - Ocean View Deck 4 Fwd/Aft $999 $949 $899 $1,599
6B - Ocean View Deck 4 Mid or Deck 5 Fwd/Aft $1,049 $999 $949 $1,649
6C  - Ocean View Deck 5 Mid or Deck 6 Fwd/Aft $1,099 $1,049 $999 $1,699
6CS - Ocean View Match Program Various Decks $1,099  N/A  N/A  N/A
6D -  Ocean View Deck 6 Mid or Deck 7 Fwd/Aft $1,099 $1,049 $999 $1,699
6E - Ocean View Deck 7 Mid $1,699 $1,649 $1,599 $2,299

ALL CATEGORY 6E CABINS RECEIVE RESERVED SEATS WITHIN THE FIRST 6 ROWS FOR ALL RESERVED EVENTS IN MAIN SHOW LOUNGE.
OB - Obstructed Ocean View Balcony Suite Deck 11 $1,999 $1,949 N/A $2,599
OB SUITES RECEIVE RESERVED SEATS WITHIN THE FIRST 4 ROWS FOR ALL RESERVED EVENTS IN MAIN SHOW LOUNGE.
JS - Ocean View Balcony Suite Deck 11 $2,199 $2,149 N/A $2,799

JS SUITES RECEIVE RESERVED SEATS WITHIN THE FIRST 4 ROWS FOR ALL RESERVED EVENTS IN MAIN SHOW LOUNGE.
GS - Ocean View Balcony Grand Suite Deck 6 $2,399 $2,349 $2,299 N/A
GS SUITES RECEIVE RESERVED SEATS WITHIN THE FIRST 3 ROWS FOR ALL RESERVED EVENTS IN MAIN SHOW LOUNGE.
Owner's Suite - Ocean View Balcony Penthouse Suite N/A N/A $4,000 N/A
OWNER'S SUITE RECEIVE SEATS IN THE FIRST ROW FOR ALL RESERVED EVENTS IN MAIN SHOW LOUNGE.

Additional charges: Taxes, government fees, prepaid gratuities,entertainment fees, credit card fees and security charges are $249 per person. Include with you final payment. (Taxes are subject to change)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

BSB Fandom Then and Now

This post is fairly self explanatory. Life as a BSB fan then and now. Enjoy :)


Then Now
Get super excited when 'Nick' was IMing you and you actually believed it was him. Get super excited when BSB tweets you (even though we all know its Jen tweeting)
Had to ask parents permission to go to a concert. Have to ask boss' permission to go to a concert.
Thrilled if you just get a ticket to the BSB concert. Only thrilled if you are in the first 10 rows.
Camp out for BSB tickets while simultaneously having every member of your extended family try via phone to get through to ticketmaster. Sit in front of laptop, ipad, phone, and refresh backstreetboys.com like your life depended on it.
After concert immediately had to go drop off your camera film and wait a few days to get back your pictures Upload pictures in real time with your phone.
Lucky to have 5% of your pictures turn out decently. It was considered a good picture if you could make out which backstreet boy is which. Now its considered a bad picture if Nick isnt looking directly at your camera. Love the power of the zoom!
Couldn't decide which BSB pic to put on the front of your binder. Can't decide which BSB pic to make your cover pic on facebook.
Had to figure out how to program a VCR to see the boys on TV. Remember tracking? Youtube
Listened to Millennium on cassette tapes. Listens to This is Us on ipod.
Considered normal to cover locker in BSB Pics No so normal to cover cubicle at work in BSB pics
Best feeling: Knowing you're breathing the same air as AJ Best feeling: Getting a hug from AJ
Piles of VHS tapes Piles of credit card debt
Get the latest BSB scoop a few days after the fact from backstreet.net Get the latest BSB scoop before its even public via Twitter
Brian waves at you in concert and you squeal like a 13 year old girl Still squeal like a 13 year old girl when Brian waves at you in concert
Excited to hear I Want it That Way performed live Starting to get sick of hearing I Want it That Way live
Must endure BSB are gay jokes. Must endure BSB are old jokes.
Thought Kevin was too old to give him a second look Fully appreciate Kevin's mature sexiness
Thing you hate most: Nsync Thing you hate most: Ground Ctrl
Most exciting purchase: A fresh new issue of Tiger Beat Most exciting purchase: VIP baby!

Feel free to add any others you can come up with below.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hypothetical Skype Call with Howie D

As I drove home from work yesterday, I let my mind wander as it normally does. And I found myself thinking back to the contest Howie held a while back where us fans came up with 100 reasons why we love him. I wasn't focused on that aspect of the contest, but rather I was focused on the prize. A 15 minute Skype call with Howie D.

So while the traffic continued to move at around 10 miles an hour, I had a lot of time to ponder over what I would do on a 15 minute skype call with Howie.

I started to think a bit more practically on how I'd spend my 15 minutes with Howie, I was amazed at how torn I was. I realized I had so many different ways to spend this time. I assume most of you probably didn't even realize there were different ways to approach a convo with Howie, but as you read on, hopefully you'll realize that is not the case!

Option 1: The Regular Conversation

My first thought was that I'd just want to do nothing fancy and have a regular conversation. That's always been a dream of mine, just to chat with any of the boys as if they were friend. Nothing fancy. No talk of BSB stuff. Just regular every day things. I can't even elaborate here because it would be whatever flowed naturally at the time.

My fear if I went with this approach is that I'd definitely be afraid it would mostly consist of nervous laughter and bad jokes. I don't like to be super unprepared and I fear we'd end up talking about the weather or something else lame. Now generally speaking I don't have trouble filling 15 minutes of conversation, but my normal go-to icebreakers like "what do you do for a living?" or "do you have any kids?" would sound rather odd considering I already know all of that.

And the real reason this blog post doesn't end here is because I thought to myself, "Wow, its such an incredibly rare opportunity to have one of the Backstreet Boy's uninterrupted attention for an entire 15 minutes." I literally couldn't think of any other circumstance where that would happen. You'd always be competing with other fans for his attention and are generally lucky to get more than 10 seconds of his time. I feel a sense of obligation to be 'productive' with that time rather than 'waste' it on just a regular conversation. Thus I came up with a few other potential directions....

Option 2: Suggestions for the Future

I thought back to the townhall post I did and how there are a ton of things I would kill to tell Howie, or any of the other guys. If I had 15 minutes to present some really great ideas for the cruise, or just Backstreet events in general- I would consider that a really good use of time because even if I suggested 10 things and 1 happened, I would be thrilled! Even for them to entertain one of my ideas would super neat. I know they have Rose Tours to help plan the cruise and whatnot, but I still think hearing directly from the fans is invaluable. I could try to collect suggestions from all you readers and just start reciting them to him. I really have no idea how many of our suggestions actually make it back to them and how many are filtered out.

My only hesitation with this approach is that I wouldn't want him judging me if my ideas sucked. I wouldn't want Howie just humoring me and saying "Oh that's a great idea" and in the back of his head he's thinking how lame I am. Oh gosh, I'd die! Not that I would ever know, but I'd be worried the whole time. That's just who I am.

Option 3: Areas of Improvement


Aside from new fun things I'd like to see them do, I think there are some things that need to be improved in terms of VIP processes, Ground Ctrl, etc. I have no concept if the boys are aware that these are broad concerns across the fan base and they choose to ignore them. Or perhaps they don't realize how big a problem some things have become. Or they truly don't know. And if it's that last point, I feel like it would be incredibly beneficial to all us fans for me to take one for the team and raise these types of concern to his attention so that something can be done. 

But my only fear with this is that I don't want to "complain" my entire time with Howie and come across as so negative. I don't want to be forever known as the debbie-downer fan. Especially because that's so not me. Thus I move swiftly along to option 4...

Option 4: I do the Talking

One other way I could spend this time is just opening up and telling Howie how much he and the rest of the Backstreet Boys as a whole mean to me. I don't think I'd want to get too sappy, but they've done a lot for me so it would mean a lot if Howie knew that. Granted, my story isn't as grandiose as other fans' stories out there. Their music didn't pull me out of a coma or anything. But I still don't think that diminishes how big of an impact they've had on my life. The upside with this option is that I doubt I'd need 15 minutes for it so I could try to sneak in another approach as well.

Why I don't think I'd bring this up is because my story isn't as exciting as a ton of other stories I'm sure they've heard. So I don't know if its worth even mentioning. I think they get it all the time.

Option 5: Let Howie do the Talking

Another way entirely I could spend this 15 minutes is to let Howie do most of the talking. I have about a bajillion questions I'd like to ask the guys that go beyond the basics. I could see myself going into the skype session with an entire printout of questions to have him answer. Since it would be a 1-on-1 Q&A, I might get brave enough to ask some of those more tough questions and hope to get a more honest response.

But what I really want to know more about is behind the scenes of BSB, specifically about the business of the Backstreet Boys. And Howie would be the perfect one to chat about that with. I come from a marketing background, so I would probably start there and find out what they do to maintain the BSB brand and what their marketing efforts consist of. Really dive into the nitty gritty of their PR, social media, etc. Then I'd probably get into finances at a high level. I'm obviously not going to ask him how much he makes....but things like, "how do the expenses work on a tour" "Where does most of your revenue come from (VIPs, merch, ticket sales, music sales, royalties, etc)" 15 minutes would not nearly be enough time for all the business questions I have.

Downside of this is that I could probably find these answers out by doing some research on the music industry in general. Or I'm sure they've been asked a lot of this stuff already (if anyone out there has a video of the guys talking about this, I'd love you forever if you sent it to me!) Even if it hasn't been talked about too much, anyone could always ask this during a VIP or something. Thus my point is that there are other ways to get these questions answered outside of these precious 15 minutes.

Option 6: Put Howie on the Spot

My last idea is to make the biggest puppy dog eye's I've ever made and kindly ask him to sing to me for 15 minutes for my own private concert. Seeing as how I never got to be an I'll Never Break Your Heart girl, this would sufficiently make up for it. Downsides: None. Except for making him very uncomfortable for 15 minutes.

Final Decision

After outlining all my options and weighing the pros and cons of each, I think I'd go with option 5- talking about the business of the Backstreet Boys. I think it would be the most natural conversation I'd be able to have with him, and I'd be truly interested in what he has to say. I could actually contribute intelligent points without it sounding so forced. And I'd learn a lot I could report back here in my blog.