Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PJ Night Unabridged

These theme parties are a little tougher to do a recap for, but as always, I'll be doing my best to at least hit all the highlights. My personal favorite night was PJ night, so I'm starting there. (Advanced warning- this will be a long one)

The evening started off in a bit of chaos because the location was rerouted to the main atrium as opposed to the lido deck. The crowds quickly formed in order to get a good spot for our last night on the ship with the boys.

Act 1: The Intros
When the Backstreet Boys first came out, I think we all knew this would be a special night to remember. We had Mr. Carter dressed as a Ninja Turtle. AJ was in some sort of odd looking onesie with huge plastic feet. Howie donned a silk robe a la Hugh Hefner. Lastly Brian was clad in a cute Elmo ensemble.

The boys start with their intros. AJ thanks us all for coming and tells us that this cruise was way better than last years. Meanwhile Nick was doing some judo-like movies, completely not paying to attention to AJ...

Nick not paying attention to AJ
Next up was Howie. He also thanked us for coming and said they had an "awesome time." He also made sure to point out that the cruise was far from over and that "we're still drinking and we're going all night long."

Brian was the next one with the mic and he played up his elmo costume a bit by doing a cute elmo voice. Some more talking and he ended with his cute little Brian hip thrust.

Last and most certainly not least was Nick...

Nick- “Just so you know its past my bed time. And I’ll probably get in a lot of trouble for the things I’m gonna be doing tonight. So I might get a spanking if you want to spank me. Just be nice cause my bum is like really pale.”
Nick (voice cracking) “Does anyone else got this shit going on with their voice? No its not just us, right. You ever hear of people getting sick on a cruise ship so you can be like ‘Yeah I got sick from a fuckin backstreet boy. You can blame it on us.”
After the boys danced around a bit to Straight Through My Heart, AJ announces that they will have one last event for us. Truth or Dare.

Credit- Justin Segura
AJ- “We have one last event to end this cruise on a good night. We’re going to play, I cant believe this, truth or dare. So this could be your one and only chance if you get a truth to ask us anything you really don’t already know.”
Brian- “Why wouldn’t you chose dare, AJ”
AJ- “Well, I don’t want to get in trouble.”
Nick- “I say we make a rule. None of us can choose truth. We can only choose dare.”
AJ- “But what if the truth question is really gritty. Like really gritty.”
Nick- “I don’t know. Seeing you do some stuff like walking down the hall with your pants down would be pretty funny, AJ.”
AJ- “But that’s like a Tuesday afternoon for me.”
Act 2: Brian Doing the Worm

The DJ started playing The Call and a few other fun songs. Out of no where the crowd started chanting for Brian to body surf. In my head I'm thinking 'there's no way that's going to happen.' Then Brian actually starts motioning the direction in which he intends to body surf. I still thought it must've been one of his jokes. But lo and behold, I was proven wrong. He dove into that crowd and actually body surfed. I couldn't believe my eyes. He did fall at one point, which prompted his bodyguards to pretty much carry him the remainder of the distance. I was still incredibly impressed at how carefree he seemed.

While Brian was crowd surfing, Howie kept chanting the infamous line "Protect ya tings." AJ also revealed he went crowd surfing once.

AJ- “First of all, how fucking cool was that? Brian crowd surfing. Never in the last 19 years did I ever think that I would see that.”

You and me both, AJ.

Its also at this point that the boys start throwing marshmallows into the audience. Nick decides to take it one step further. Actually, he took it like 50 steps further. He puts a marshmallow in his mouth and then proceeds to feed it to a fan via his mouth.

Act 3: Truth or Dare

Next they segue nicely into Truth or Dare. The following 30 minutes was a blur of hilarity and sexiness. The fans we're preselected by Hal, which I'm going to bite my tongue on. Though my dissatisfaction is directed at Hal, not the fans, just to clarify. Nick also picked one lucky fan from the audience to participate.

Brian's Dare
Brian was up first and he boldly chose to do a dare. His dare was to do the worm on the bar, and Nick added onto that and challenged him to also add a shot in there. When Brian found out his dare, he didn't even bat an eye. He seemed quite confident he could complete this, no problem. So confident that before he started, he uttered "Suck it Howie" and did the best darn worm I've ever seen. I also loved how they had 'Shots' playing in the background. It was reminiscent of cruise 2010.

Brian- “Im playing by the rules. Normally I cheat”

After the worm, Brian was supposed to take his shot. And to the natural eye it seemed like he took one. But in actually he threw it behind him. You can also see him wiping his cheek off afterward. Brian's quite the tricky one. He then took his "real drink" which was a pretty looking 'girly' drink.

Next one of the fans opted to do a truth. They asked her if she's ever kissed a girl. She did, and her name was Denise. So AJ joked that its also his mom's name. Which somehow led to this conversation:

AJ- “Where do you think I got it from?”
Nick- “Where you’d get what? Wearing ladies clothes.”
AJ- “Why are you asking me?”
Nick- “Because you wear girls clothes sometimes.”
AJ- “So? Don’t be jealous. I’m just better.”
Nick- “I am jealous.”

Howie's Dare
Howie was the next lucky Backstreet Boy to do his dare, which he was reluctantly coerced into. So glad he was. As Jen sifted through the various dares, Nick started acting a bit childlike, which i found absolutely charming. He thought she was trying to pick an easy dare and whimpered, “Why are you doing that? You are protecting him? Don’t you protect him. Favoritism!”

Turns out Jen was in fact not protecting Howie. His dare was to make out with a pillow, tongue and all. AJ bursts into laughter in the background. Love it. Then Nick chimes in again “No no no no no no. Can we add to that? He has to have sex with a pillow?” One of the smartest comments he made the whole trip. The rest of the boys (read as AJ and Nick) continue to egg him on. They tease him that they have to pretend that pillow is the girl he lost his virginity to. Fun fact- apparently the girl Howie lost his virginity to was named Jennifer.

Nick and AJ continue to egg him on and you can tell how reluctant Howie is to do this. He finally snaps and says "don't tell me how to make love to my woman!"

Almost as amusing as watching Howie with the pillow was listening to AJ and Nick's commentary in the background.

AJ- “Lay her down. Lay her down. Be gentle Howie. There you go. Spank her ass. Howie, spank her ass. There you go! Good boy. Now give her a big kiss. That’s what these girls want to see. C’mon Howie, show that pillow what you’re made of. Pump howie pump. Pump. Pump. Pump. Pump.”

Nick can also be heard in the background with frustration in his voice, “Howie, get on the ground with that thing. Go doggie style. Get on your knees homes.” He continues, “That’s not how he normally does it. Trust me.”

Really Nick? I dont want to know how you know that.

AJ's Dare
Next up is AJ's dare. He has to be tickled by fans for 30 seconds. Nick seems to be getting way too much joy out of this dare. You can see AJ squirming and wriggling around in discomfort.

Nick- "Go for his knees"

After Howie's dare, AJ's seemed pretty tame.

Nick's Dare
Nick's dare was interesting as well. At first he was supposed to give a fan a sensual massage. At first I'm thinking all of my jokes about getting a massage by Nick are now becoming a reality. However AJ changes up the dare and says that he now has to be the recipient of a massage by fans.

Nick reluctantly makes his way to the bar with the other Backstreet Boys egging him on. I love how he screams out "oh my god" throughout the 30 seconds.

Nick- "Honestly, I kinda liked it."

Time to move on to the fans' dares. One fan had to dance in between Nick and AJ. Both of the guys got pretty into it. The next fan had to beg Howie and Brian to spank her. I was wondering how Brian would work around that...but he found a plush toy to spank the girl with. Still nothing I'd ever expect to see Brian do. If I wasn't there in person to see it with my own eyes, I'd never believe it. Meanwhile Howie found a belt to spank her with. Once again I found the funniest part to be AJ's narration.

AJ (I'm hoping speaking on behalf of the fan) “Please please spank it Howie. Please, please spank it harder. Please smack my butt.”

Act 4: The Antics Ensue
At one point the boys joked about that 'Protect Ya Tings' sign.

Howie “Protect ya tings. Use a rubber every time.”

Fast forward a bit more. Pillow fight time. The boys are fighting each other and the fans.

Of course no bias at all when I say this was one of my favorite parts of the night.

Brian and AJ seem to disappear a bit after that. Meanwhile its evident Nick and Howie have a few too many drinks. The evening continued with general craziness and fans continuing to violate the boys whenever they were on the bar. I personally thought it went a little too far with fans groping their private areas. To be clear, this is not me speaking out of jealousy. I just think its wildly inappropriate to grab someone in these unmentionable areas without their permission. Plus you can hear Nick say things like "That really hurt" and Howie saying “Don’t hit my butt. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. I’m a married man. Ow, ow, ow. That really hurts.” I'm not sure what part of these statements are unclear. It just was very uncomfortable to watch how uncomfortable it made them. Sorry, venting over.

Back to the fun stuff. At one point in the evening AJ seems to be spanking an inflatable doll for the better part of 2 minutes. Howie strutted around with his robe open, exposing his bare chest, to Moulin Rouge. The other highlights of the evening included Howie singing 100 kisses.

Howie singing 100 Kisses

Last highlight of the night was Nick singing, or should I say oddly dancing to Burning Up.

Nick dancing to Burning Up

The rest of the evening was mostly watching Nick and Howie drunkenly dance to whatever the DJ was playing. The evening finally came to a conclusion (in my eyes) when Nick walked around with the greygoose bottle in his hand. I guess he gave up on the formality of actually having a mixed drink at this point. It wasn't long before he took off for the night. Thus left Howie, once again, to close out the night.

And thus marked the end of the night

Other Items I haven't Covered Yet...
Here is the sound track for the evening (Not complete and loosely in order):

LTL, Tempted to Touch, STMH, The Call, Yeah Yeah Yeah, We Found Love, Party Rock, Tootsie Roll, Jump on It, Cha Cha Slide, Me So Horny, Moulin Rouge, Jenny from the Block, The Right Stuff, Step by Step, IWITW, 100 Kisses, Just One Kiss, Burning Up, Baby One More Time, Wannabe, Jump, Up in Here, Empire State of Mind, Drop it Like its Hot, All the Single Ladies

I was so happy with how this evening turned out. I went into it with relatively low expectations based on the prior two nights.  Not that I had a bad time, but it wasn't nearly the level of BSB antics that I felt we experienced for PJ night. The evening had all of the elements of a fantastic party. Backstreet Boys, fun costumes, drinks, friends, fan interaction, good music, activities that were enjoyable for the crowd to watch, and tons of sexual innuendos. I think my only complaint was the lighting in the room sucked for picture taking. Speaking of which, I do wonder if this night would've been as successful outside on the deck. I guess we'll never know.

Above all, a night I won't forget in a long long time.

One last thing, I want to profusely thank Chrissy and Anne Marie for letting me use their videos/pictures. Thanks gals!

Friday, January 27, 2012

BSB Cruisies 2011: Nominations

No there isn't a typo in my title, I've decided to create my own 'award show' for the cruise and I'm deeming it 'The BSB Cruisies'. I thought it was a good time since we're right in the middle of award season.

All winners will receive the distinguished BSB Cruisie Award
The categories and nominees are listed below. Please cast your vote here and I'll announce the winners 1 week from today. So be sure to lock your votes in soon!

Best Theme Party
  • 80's Night
  • Prom Night
  • PJ Night
Best Backstreet Boy in a Leading Role (aka your fave BSB in the context of the cruise. Not your fave BSB in general)
  • Brian 
  • Howie
  • Nick
  • AJ
  • Kevin
Best Costume Design (aka your fave outfit worn by the boys)
  • Nick in his teenage mutant ninja turtle look on PJ night
  • Howie in his Hugh Hefner look on PJ night
  • Kev in his tux on prom night
  • Boys collectively as Sphynkter
Best Original Score (aka favorite song from the cruise overall)
  • Sexy and I Know It
  • If You Want it to be Good Girl
  • Party Rock
Best Solo Performance (from the concert)
  • Nick Carter with Burning Up
  • Brian Littrell with Mary Did you Know
  • Howie D with Lie to Me
  • AJ McLean with London
Best Group Performance (from the concert)
  • If You Want it to be Good Girl/Get Down Medley
  • Don't Want You Back
  • Drowning
  • Incomplete Remix
Best Mini Game during In it to Win It (Group A)
  • Hula Hoop Challenge
  • How's it Hanging 
  • Coconut Smoochie
  • Hanky Panky
Best Mini Game during In it to Win It (Group B)
  • Coconut Smoochie
  • Flip Cup
  • Mini Bikes
  • Nervous Nelly
Best Game During Beach Party
  • Musical Chairs
  • Wet T-shirt Contest
  • Volleyball
  • Twister
  • Limbo
  • 3-Legged Race
Funniest Moment
  • Howie having his way with a pillow
  • Boys posing as Nsync during the sail away party
  • The boys 'roasting' each other during karaoke
  • Coconut Smoochie game
Sexiest Moment
  • AJ participating in the wet t-shirt contest
  • AJ on the stripper pole in cameo
  • Howie molesting a pillow
  • Nick coming out of the ocean shirtless and wet
Best Howie Moment
  • Howie + Pillow
  • Singing Lie to Me
  • Any time he wiggled
  • Shirtless on the beach
Best Nick Moment
  • Singing Burning Up
  • Shirtless on the beach
  • Getting massaged during his dare on PJ night
  • Anytime he said "ladieees"
Best Brian Moment
  • Singing Mary Did You Know
  • Crowd Surfing during PJ Night
  • Doing the Worm during PJ Night
  • Having the rest of the boys imitate Nsync during the sail away party
Best AJ Moment
  • Stripper pole at Cameo (even though its technically pre-cruise, Im still counting it)
  • Shirtless on the beach
  • Participating in the wet t-shirt contest
  • Getting tickled during his dare on PJ night

Best Overall Moment
  • The boys WITH Kev singing 'Safest Place to Hide' at the beach party
  • Boys shaving a fans head before karaoke
  • Truth or Dare during PJ night
  • Boys singing IYWITBGGGYABB during the concert
Best Overall Event
  • Sail Away Party
  • Game Show - In it to Win It
  • 80's Night
  • Beach Party
  • Concert
  • Prom Night
  • Meet & Greet/Photo Session
  • Karaoke
  • PJ Night
Your Personal Best Memory- Tell us your favorite memory of the cruise. Maybe you ran into Nick in the elevator or got a wink from Howie. Whatever meant a lot to you personally- I want to hear your story!

    Terms & Conditions- These are not real awards. This is all in good fun. I am not in any way affiliated with the Backstreet Boys or Rose Tours. Thus when taking the survey, please keep any and all comments positive. Thanks for participating.

      Tuesday, January 24, 2012

      Credit Card Damage: The Final Cost

      I have been postponing this moment for as long as possible, but I finally crunched the numbers on what I spent all in for this trip. The final bill came in at $2,020 which is truthfully right about what I anticipated spending. Though that number be slightly misleading because it includes a lot of pre-shopping items.

      Let me break it down real quick.
      • $1,038- Cost of cruise
      • $25- Flight (Used mostly miles)
      • $175- Cameo VIP
      • $74- Mani/Pedi/Hair cut
      • $32.50- Hotel in Miami the night before the cruise (after split 4 ways)
      • $131.47- Merchandise on board
      • $32- Transportation around Miami including getting back to the airport. All of my costs were split at least 3 ways.
      • $8- Dinner in Miami
      • $4- Breakfast in Miami
      • $7- Medicine for my cold :(
      • -$50- I got refunded $50 from Rose Tours for a referral. Thanks again Bethany!
      I'll pause here because everything listed above I would consider a necessity. Or if not a necessity, I feel that the majority of people would share similar expenses. For example the mani/pedi or merchandise on board aren't exactly necessities, but I'm willing to bet most people have those expenses. So if I stop here at the necessities- the cost was $1,477. I wish the expenses stopped there but sadly they did not.

      Additional/Optional Spending...
      • $195- New camera. This I obviously plan on using outside of the cruise, but its sole purpose was to be used on the cruise so I'm factoring it in.
      • $63- Custom Backstreet clothes for theme nights and wearing on board in general.
      • $245 Other new clothes, accessories, theme night apparel, etc. 
      • $30- I lost my Lose it All Challenge and this was the prize money. So sad I lost my own challenge. More on that later though.
      • $9- Door Decoration- I think I got off pretty easy on this one. Though if I factor in the cost of my time spent on the door, that number would be a lot larger.
      Add on another $542 in optional expenses....and that brought my grand total to $2,020. I'm really regretting adding these numbers up now. It certainly doesn't seem like a lot when you buy all of these items throughout the course of 9 months. But a new dress here and a new necklace there certainly can add up.

      I find it interesting that last year I spent $2,045 and I came shockingly close to that number again. Though considering the cruise was a day shorter, I'm not sure how I feel about that. It probably should've been a few hundred cheaper, but oh well. I'm just glad I didn't go over budget at all.

      I think the scarier number is what I spent all of last year on the Backstreet Boys. If I factor in 6 NKOTBSB shows, 1 platinum VIP, merchandise, travel and expenses, etc- Im looking at an additional $1,360 bringing my grand total for the year to $3,405. Holy guacamole. That is not good. I just need to set up direct deposit into their checking account to save myself some trouble. If I keep up this rate of spending, it won't be long before I spend enough to have like a tour bus named after me or something. 'The Laura D Tour Bus- made possible by the generous contributions from Laura.' Well, maybe not quite a tour bus. Perhaps like a closet in one of their homes is more realistic. Still nothing to be proud of.

      Seeing these numbers makes me wonder if I need a Backstreet intervention or Backstreet rehab. The only thing that makes me feel slightly better is to know I'm not alone on this. I took a random sampling of around 20 fans on the cruise and the average fan spent around $2,600. So relatively my expenses weren't too outrageous, but in order to keep my sanity, I think I'll just file this post under 'Things to Never Speak of Again'

      Saturday, January 21, 2012

      In it to Win It Unabridged (Group B)

      Since I was in Group B- I'm going to recap Group B's game show. I still haven't decided if I'll do a version for Group A or not, I'll see how the mood strikes me later. But since the shows were quite different, there's a good chance I will. For now let's focus on Group B's In it to win It. I'll run through the boring stuff real quick and explain how the game was set up. Then we'll get into the good stuff.

      This was the first event that took place in the main lounge and it was based off the TV show- Minute to Win It. So for this Backstreet version of the game show they brought up 4 fans and 4 Backstreet Boys (obviously) to participate in various challenges that each lasted one minute. They were split into 2 teams. Yellow team consisted of AJ, Howie and two lucky fans. Blue team consisted of Brian, Nick and two lucky fans.

      Now for the fun stuff.

      Of course the boys start off with some general antics. I wouldn't expect anything less. Brian enters in a life vest. Then they start by stretching out.

      AJ- "It's like jazzercise with the Backstreet Boys."
      Then the smack talk beings.

      Nick- “Hey, team pee pee because of the yellow shirts. You guys are so dead.”
      AJ- “Team blue balls. Whatever. Its all good. We got this.”
      Nick- “Hey at least we got the cajones man.”
      Then enters the voice of reason, Brian- “You know what. My wife is here.”
      And Brian effectively ends the smack talk...for now.

      1.  Nervous Nelly - The first game was called Nervous Nelly and the goal was to see which team could rack up the most mileage, measured by pedometers worn on their arms and legs. Nick and AJ went head to head in this round. Without having even been there, you probably could guess who won. AJ isn't exactly the most in shape, as he would later point out himself joking that he "needs to quit smoking."

      Howie also joked that he wanted the song "we work out" to play during this challenge. Nick also asked if anyone has seen Black Sheep before the game began. I haven't seen it, so not sure what the reference was getting at.

      During the game the AJ and Nick were running around stage flailing their arms. Nick tried laying down at one point (not sure his logic there) and also tried jumping jacks. Brian tried to go hold AJs arms down at one point, thus AJ went and tried to do the same thing to Nick. Unfortunately AJ's efforts didn't pay off and the blue team won.

      2.  Nose Dive - This was quite the interesting game to watch. No idea who comes up with this stuff. The rules for this game was to see which team could get more cotton balls from from a bowl A to bowl B in 60 seconds only using their nose covered in petroleum jelly. So random.

      Howie- “Wait, my nose never gets between balls. That’s for sure. AJ, you gotta do it”
      So all the boys are running back and forth on stage with cotton balls on their nose. After time was up, Brian started arguing that the yellow team didn't technically have all their cotton balls in the bowl, they were spilling over the side. I never realized just how competitive he was before!

      AJ- “I have to say for once, I’m actually glad my nose is as big as it is.”
      (Picture from Justin Segura)
      Oh by the way, the muppets song was playing while the game was going on, which made Nick happy. Nick and AJ started singing some muppets at the end while they were tallying up points. Winners were finally announced- yellow team ended up winning this one.

      3.  Orange Pass - Here's where the games started taking a turn into a more sexual direction. As the name suggests, basically you had to transport an orange from one end of the stage to the other. The twist is that each BSB was paired with a fan and they had to move the orange by keeping it in between their chins. Both teams took a different approach on how to go about this, causing the judges to want to throw this round out. Blue would've won, so Brian didn't want to redo the round. He claimed they "played betterly." Nick chimes in and repeats the rules because he felt they obeyed the rules. AJ wants the audience to vote. Jen declares it a tie. Nick starts whining that it isn't fair.

      The only simple conclusion- play the round again. Now they decide to play the game as it should be played. Thus they do it relay style and pass the orange down from chin to chin to chin to chin to bowl. Blue team still doesn't get the concept and does the exact same thing as last time. Nick's solution- steal the yellow teams bowl of oranges and run away with it so they can't play. The whole thing turns into a cluster but its incredibly amusing. I don't think they ever ended up declaring a winner for this game, so moving right along...

      4.  Coconut Smoochie - This was the highlight of the event and all hell broke loose. Each Backstreet Boy was paired with a fan and they had a coconut placed between them and...well you know what. Just watch:

      Highly entertaining to say the least

      Nick and his partner ended up winning this round, giving points to the blue team. Brian can also be seen after the game juggling the coconuts, and then holding 2 coconuts inappropriately. Seriously- who is this man and what did he do with Brian?

      5.  Wreath Relay Pt 1/ Pt 2 - The boys started getting us in the holiday season with this event, donning their cute little Christmas hats. Once again the boys lined up, this time holding hands and the goal was to pass a Christmas wreath through all 4 people and back without using their hands (notice a theme). Before the game got started, Brian had fun serenading a tiny Christmas tree. In a high pitched voice he started singing "oh Christmas tree." The whole room was laughing, with the exception of the other Backstreet Boys. I think since they're around each other practically 24/7 they are just so unaffected by Brian's antics. Brian also starts imitating Justin Bieber, with the fake hair flip and all. I find that quite amusing. He then starts singing Jingle Bells to the tree during the yellow team's round. Then he starts making fun of AJ for clarifying the rules, so he does his imitation of AJ with no butt. Basically a lot of Brian antics this round. I was too busy laughing to actually watch the event.

      Brian looking cute in his santa hat

      Yellow team did relatively pretty well. Howie ended up dropping the wreath at one point. Blue team went next and they skipped a person. You could very easily see AJ and Howie making a hubbub in the background over the blue team cheating. They weren't about to let them get away with that so easily. Their complaining must've paid off because yellow team ended up winning.

      6.  Laundry Day Relay - This was certainly a fun one to watch. Each member of the team had to wear a bunch of articles of female clothing, run to the other side, undress, and then their teammate would do the same. Nick goofed briefly in the beginning and ran over with just 1 article of clothing on but he recovered quickly from his mistake. In the end, Brian was the only BSB who didn't have a chance to go.

      I never thought I'd see Howie in a bra. AJ yes, but Howie no.

      I found it most amusing to see the Backstreet Boys operate the bra. Nick actually put it on properly and even hooked up in the back. I was impressed. Though in the end he slipped it off like a pair of pants. Why he didn't go over the head, we'll never know. Howie seemed to slip it on from the back, like a jacket. And AJ seemed to know how to get it on properly as well. No surprises there.

      In the end, yellow team prevailed this round.

      7.  Mini Bikes - Yet another fun game to watch. The players had to pedal a mini bike across the stage and back, through a few minor obstacles. They were almost going to let them carry the bikes across the stage, but Brian immediately yelled "No! No, no, no, no, no, no." as if we were trying to commit some sort of felony. Nick offered that since he is the tallest and still felt he could pedal, that they should be okay. Then the game began.

      Howie fell twice. Nick fell three times and was clearly struggling. I couldn't really count AJ's mess-ups because in essence he walked his bike across the stage. And Brian rode that bike like a pro. Made me think that when he's not being a Backstreet Boy, he's practicing mini bike riding in his free time. He literally completed his whole portion in the time AJ went 2 feet. He put everyone else to shame.

      Brian was also very sweet and helped his teammates steer the bike/stay on. This match was too close to call so they had the audience vote- causing the blue team to win.

      8.  Balloon Pop - As the name suggests, the team who could pop the most balloons in a minute would win. After Jen explains the incredibly simple rules, she states "Now lets make sure Nick understands this." Now that she pointed it out...he really did need a further explanation for the majority of the games. Meanwhile AJ got very concerned over the fact that the blue team had 2 players wearing heels and the yellow team only had 1 player with heels. Jen dismissed his concerns and the game commenced...

      Brian and AJ randomly start 'wrestling' in the middle

      Im pretty sure the blue team ended up winning this round.

      9.  Flip Cup - A college classic. However as they pointed out, not all the Backstreet Boys went to college to know their way around a flip cup game. So in case you're like any of those boys- the idea is to drink all the liquid inside a cup, in this case water, and then you have to flip the cup 180 degrees so its standing up right on the table.

      Howie apparently was complaining that his water had ice in it. Though he ended up having bigger problems than the ice. It took him 21 attempts to get it flipped over. Despite Howie's set back, the yellow team took a commanding lead. So Brian thought that would be a good opportunity to cheat a bit and blow AJs cup over as he was trying to flip it over. Enter Howie to jump on top of Brian to prevent the blowing. Despite Brian's best efforts, yellow team ended up taking the win on this game.

      Howie somewhere around attempt #17

      The final score ended up being Team Blue with 3,375 points and Team Yellow with 3,400 points. Thus team pee pee won. The boys were good sports about it though.

      Brian and AJ hugging it out
      Overall this was a ton of fun to watch. They also did little commercials in between the mini games, which was a nice touch. They mostly consisted of commercials from their earlier days; a lot from overseas. Nick seemed to really be into watching those.

      I'm truly surprised Brian participated in some of these events, but so glad he did. I wished they had switched up the fans in between the events to give more people a chance to play, especially since they did that for group A. Could've increased my odds ever so slightly getting a chance to do something amazing like that with them.

      What I learned from this event. All the boys are very competitive. They also are willing to cheat on numerous occasions to make that happen. Many of the boys also don't know the rules to seemingly simple common knowledge games.

      Wednesday, January 18, 2012

      Ashley's Winning Door Decoration

      Well folks, I have a return guest blogger for you. My friend, Ashley, did a previous post for you all on Door Decorating Tips. Turns out, she was the perfect person to write that post because she won this year, and I couldn't be happier for her. I asked her to do a follow up post and she graciously agreed. As a reminder, she is a Howie girl from New Jersey. She has her own fantastic blog called Confessions of a Giggler and did a great review on BSB Cruise 2011. My favorite part of which was her comparing the fans' reaction of Kevin's appearance at the concert to an episode of Oprah's Favorite Things. I thought that was hilarious because I couldn't agree more. So anyway, don't forget to check out her 2011 cruise review:
      Ashley's Cruise Review Day 1
      Ashley's Cruise Review Day 2
      Ashley's Cruise Review Day 3

      Omg I’m back again! (sorry, I had to do it…haha!) You may or may not remember my previous guest spot. My topic was door decorating tips. Turns out I know what I’m talking about. You are now talking to the BSB Cruise 2011 Door Decorating Champion!!! Woo hoo!!!! So it only seems fitting that I would provide you with a follow up to my last entry. I guess I’ll take you through everything that goes along with winning the grand prize!

      The Idea
      First it took a lot of hard work. Don’t expect to throw something together willy nilly and get a win. I worked on mine for a few months. Some days I worked on pieces while watching tv and other days I sat in my dinning room (which doubles as my craft room) for hours on end. If I wasn’t working on a project, I was thinking about it. I was constantly coming up with ways to turn my 2d sketch into a 3d door.

      That brings me to my next point. Having some sort of 3d element is important. All of the doors that were mentions this year and last year had something popping out. Making something 3d may sound daunting but I promise that it really isn’t that hard. All you need is a little glue and maybe some tape. To make my 3d movie reel all I used was 2 pieces of cardboard and a cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper.  After I cut the pieces, I painted everything silver and then glued them together. See not that hard, right? We had lots of 3d elements on our door. We had a tub of popcorn (complete with fake popcorn), movie reel, 3d movie tickets, film strip, and soda cups.

      Getting it to Miami
      When it came time packing it all up and bringing it to Miami, we were able to get most of it into a few uggs shoe boxes. We chose the uggs box because the boxes are bigger and they are sturdier than a regular shoe box.  We then packed the boxes in a duffle bag and carried it on the plane with us. This worked out well because we insured that nothing got messed up in our travels.

      Bringing the Door to Life

      The next task was actually putting everything on the door. First we covered the door with masking tape. This is my tape of choice because it is sturdy enough to hold up even the heavier pieces but it also comes off easily when you need to take everything down. We then used solid red wrapping paper to cover the door. I like to do this because it ties the whole door together and makes it look neater as a whole. I recommend for everyone to put some sort of background paper up. I got mine from thepapersource.com. The have lots of colors and it’s only $5 per roll (plus shipping). I think it’s totally worth it. Next we just used masking tape to put everything up on top of our red background. This part takes a long time. So much so, that we missed about 5 minutes of the sail away party. Of course you don’t have to miss anything; we just wanted to get it done so we wouldn’t have to worry about it later.

      After you have your door up and ready to go all that’s left to do is wait…and wait. Rumor had it that they were going to announce the winners at Prom Night. The whole night went by and there was no door decorating announcement. We went to sleep that night hopeful that something would be said the next day but we were not expecting what happened.

      The Win
      At about 9 am there was a knock on our door. I made my sister get up to answer it. My mind was racing trying to figure out who it was. I really thought it was going to be laura or one of our other friends telling us that we were late for meet and great. I was wrong. When my sister opened the door there was a woman from rose tours there. The following exchange happened:
      Rose Tours: Are you ashley and cortney?
      Cortney: Yes
      RT: I wanted to let you know that you are the winners of this year’s door decorating contest
      C: are you serious???
      RT: Yeah, you guys worked really hard on it.
      At this point I popped out of bed (and if you know anything about me, you know that popping out of bed is not an easy task…haha!!). I was so excited; I didn’t know what to do with myself. I gave the rose tours girl a hug and said thank you about a million times. She gave us each a letter and told us our prize for winning was front row seats to the concert that night. My sister and I could not believe that she was telling us that we won.

      We were not expecting it at all. Due to planning our sister’s wedding (that took place the week after) we didn’t have as much time to dedicate to our door this yeah as we had last year. So we reused last year’s decorations but we added a few new elements to it. Since we didn’t win last year we really didn’t think we would win this year. That’s why this was extra surprising to us, we went in to it not expecting anything we just wanted to have something on our door and then we won!! After we heard the news I wanted to tell every person I know. Thanks to being in the middle of the ocean that couldn’t happen. So I called all of my friends who were on board!!!

      We couldn’t go back to sleep after hearing this news so we tried eating breakfast. That didn’t really happen either. I kinda just looked at my plate. I couldn’t eat anything. Then, the tears came. I have been a fan since I was 12 and this was only the second time I’ve cried because of them.  I couldn’t control it. I worked so hard on making this door perfect and for it to get recognition from the backstreet boys themselves is huge. The fact that they saw my door and picked it as their favorite one out of all the other doors means more to me than anything. I can’t even explain how amazing this feeling is. All of my hard work paid off.

      That night we got to sit in the front row at the group a concert. We were in group b so this meant that we were the only fans who got to see the concert both nights (except for a handful of people who snuck in). It was very special to be given the opportunity to see a once in a life time concert twice! Since we were in the front row my sister was able to grab howie’s attention and ask him to pick her for helpless when she smiles. So he did!!! That was really amazing too!!! She told him that we were the door dec winners and he said that our door was really good!! WOW is really all I have to say about that.

      Well, that’s my story. If anyone has any questions comments or concerns please share them below. I will be happy to reply to anything you have to say!! Also don’t be afraid to check out the video my sis and I made right before we took the door down and packed it up. My sister is the one you see, but I talk some and laugh a lot on it. Enjoy!

      Sunday, January 15, 2012

      Top 11 Moments

      It was really tough to narrow down my favorite moments of the cruise, as there were so many. But these 11 memories are the ones that stand out above the rest as the best parts of the trip for me.

      11. Being at the beach party I had several opportunities to be up front and close to the guys. First being when the stage area cleared after the announcement of the 3-legged race. Second being when Howie, Brian and Kevin were playing volleyball. Everything just seems so much more fun when you're 2 feet away from the Backstreet Boys as opposed to needing binoculars to catch a glimpse.

      Brian playing volleyball
      10. I remember sitting in the cruise terminal in Miami when all the girls started pouring in. I have fond memories of this because it was the first time I was seeing all of my friends together after not seeing some of them since the last cruise. And what made it even better was getting to shake Nick's hand. I like that moment when you still have everything to look forward to.

      9. Howie wiggling. No specific moment, just in general his wiggling. Whenever I hear that part in the song now, I literally can’t not smile. I’ve tried but it doesn’t happen.

      8.  Being front row for the sail away party and having tons of close up interactions. Lets face it, any event is better when you're front row.

      Up close to Nick at the Sail Away party
      7. The meet and greet at Cameo the night before the cruise. Anytime I meet the Backstreet Boys is a top moment, and I was also so happy with the interactions I had and the fact that the picture came out so well.

      Me and my boys
      6. Not having a care in the world dancing with my girls at prom night. It's very rare that I let loose like that, but I had a blast, especially coming off the concert high.

      Prom Night
      5. Nick singing burning up at the concert. I'm sure you're surprised I didn't put down AJ singing London. But this was the first time I heard Nick sing this song live and there was just an unparalleled energy in the room. Plus he came right to my row and was singing right in front of me.

      I <3 Burning Up

      4. AJ at Cameo. What more can I say.

      3. Catching my pillow from Nick. I know it seems trivial, but it means a lot.

      Nick pillow fighting with my pillow

      2.  Meeting Kevin. It was my first time meeting him and he made it an impossible moment to forget. Such a sweet guy. Probably my best experience meeting a Backstreet Boy.

      Kevin is actually leaning into me!

      1. AJ and Nick talking to a small group of us fans on the bow the last night of the cruise. AJs comments in particular were very nice to hear. It was a very unique and special moment that I was so happy to be a part of.

      I was surprised that not all of the moments I actually met a Backstreet Boy made my top 11 list, trust me though, they were close runners up. It feels wrong not to include them. But I realized that as amazing as those moments are, they are so freakin quick that it barely qualifies as a moment. My brain doesn't even have time to process what's going on or feel any emotion because it only lasts for 3 seconds.

      On that same thought, I was also shocked that some of my top moments didn't even involve a Backstreet Boy at all! I feel like I'm growing up.

      So what are your favorite memories?!

      Thursday, January 12, 2012

      Concert Unabridged

      This was another of my favorite events of the cruise. I'm going to recap Group Bs concert, because thats the one I attended. I don't anticipate recapping Group As just because I think they were largely the same. If anyone out there in Group A wants to do a post for me unique to that concert, I'd LOVE you forever. Per usual- just email me.

      I went into this concert with quite high expectations just because I knew it was going to be a surprise set list and I knew we'd hear some songs we don't normally get to hear. Even with my high expectations, the boys totally blew this one away. I'd even venture to say it is one of my favorite Backstreet concerts of all time.

      1. Intro (Kanye West Power)
        We all walked into this concert having no idea what to expect. The stage very simply just had their band set up and some Christmas lights sprinkled around the stage. No fancy props, backdrops or anything. It very practically set up, not much more than you'd see at an acoustic show. They started promptly on time and with no opening act. I really could get used to no opening act by the way. Just bring out our boys!

      2. Incomplete (Remix)
        The boys jumped right into the concert with no fancy intro or anything. No boxing rings, flying on surf boards, or jumping through screens. Which is fine, I dont need fancy intros. I just need the boys on the stage as soon as possible. Then I heard the musical intro of Incomplete but a version I had never heard before. Let me tell you, I LOVED this remix. I was too caught up in the excitement of this new version to enjoy AJs solos, which I typically love. I also thought this was quite an unexpected start to the concert, but definitely no complaints.

      3. Larger than Life (Remix)
        Before Larger than Life started up Nick asked if we had fun the night before, at the beach, and if we were ready for prom night. Lots of cheers and clapping. Then the boys did a remixed version of Larger Than Life. Very high energy. Towards the end of the song they blended a very tiny bit of 'Party Rock' with the lyric 'Everyday I'm shuffling'. Quite random, but for these singles we've all heard them sing so many times, its nice to change it up a bit.

      4. If You Want it to be Good Girl/Get Down Medley
        In between songs, Howie thanks us all for coming and informed us that the next song they'd be singing was the most requested song.
        Howie: "All I can say, you girls want some bad bad boys"
        Personally I wasn't as gung ho as everyone else seemed to be about the boys singing If You Want it to be Good Girl. I enjoyed it, but mostly because its something I've never heard them sing live before. It's definitely not one of their best songs and I personally would've preferred to hear them sing something else. The boys didn't sing the full rendition of the song, they did a medley with Get Down, during which they came out into the audience. Always popular with the fans.

      5. Inconsolable
        Nothing out of the ordinary with this rendition of inconsolable so I'll just let you all enjoy the video.

      6. AJ's Solo- London
        After Inconsolable, Howie asks AJ when we were going to hear some of his solo stuff. Then AJ says that each of the boys will be doing some solo songs and spending some one on one time with the fans. At this point I start freaking out that I may actually get to hear AJ sing London. I kept chanting to myself "Please sing London. Please sing London. Please sing London." And then I hear those beautiful first few beats to the song and I jumped up and down with delight. Once again, I'll let the video speak for itself because I'm clearly not capable of explaining it well enough to do it justice.

        After the song, the rest of the boys came back out and Nick says that he "fucking loves that song" and that he's "really jealous because its such a damn good song." He also explained when the boys first heard the song, they begged AJ for it and how they "were going to highjack it from him." This just proves that I'm not the only one who adores this song.

      7. Helpless When she Smiles
        AJ segued into this song by suggesting each Backstreet Boy bring up a girl to serenade on stage. As they went into the audience, they sang 'Everything I Do' by Bryan Adams. Very unexpected surprise. So they brought up four lucky fans and sang to them. I won't even pretend that I wasn't jealous. Who in their right mind doesn't want to be serenaded by them?

      8. Siberia
        Next on the set list was Siberia. The boys say down while they sang this song. Brian of course did his rendition singing "If you want to talk, you can email me." I'm almost starting to think these are the actual lyrics.
        After Siberia the boys pointed out that Nick left the tag on his coat. I love Nick's face when he was imitating Josh. Just watch...

        AJ- "But now that he took the tag off, its now Nick's personal wardrobe"

      9. Brian's Solo- Mary Did You Know
        Brian gave us a little intro to the song and told us it wasn't your average Christmas song, which was right on the money. This was probably the most touching performance by Brian I've ever seen. You could hear a pin drop throughout the entire song. In case you missed it, he actually got choked up in the middle of the song, wiped away a single tear, and took a few seconds to recompose himself before continuing to sing.

      10. Bigger
        Before the song starts up, Nick gave a shout out to all the Japanese fans in the audience because that's where they filmed the music video for that song. Then AJ revealed that Nick almost got in trouble with the Japanese mafia and AJ himself was chased down by the cops. No idea what this was about.
        The boys then started talking a bit about the next cruise (woohoo!) Nick was joking they should do a Backstreet Fear Factor. Brian indicated that they wanted to do the next cruise in the summer time in order to a bit more "economical friendly" for us. Then one of my favorite Brian moments of the cruise occurred:

        Brian imitating a fan, "Thank you. God bless you. Because my pockets are empty. I have my room key and some chap stick"

        Then the boys deliver yet another wonderful rendition of Bigger. AJ did switch up his one lyric and sang "You are bigger....than Kevin" They always keep it interesting for us.

      11. As Long as You Love Me
        You can tell the boys didn't do the song as planned because during the instrumental part of the song, they all look around at each other confused, start laughing, and Nick lets out "I'm sorry." I assume they were going to try to do the choreographed dance for us. Truthfully I prefer these sort of unplugged moments because they make me laugh. Towards the end of the song they start heading into the audience, which was a perfect segue into the next song.

      12. All I Have to Give
        The boys went up top to sing this song, which I thought was very sweet of them. Once they made their way back to the stage, they mess up yet again and realize they were singing the wrong version of the song. They all start laughing and said they were supposed to do the hat routine but Nick sweetly asks us for a "get out of jail free card" because they were up so late the night before partying with us. Only because you asked nicely, Nick, we'll give you the get out of jail free card. They attempt to atone for their mistake and half of BSB does the hat dance:

        Brian and AJ do the hat dance

      13. I Want it That Way
        This song gets voted for the best intro of the concert. After several attempts of AJ trying to explain the song and the band cutting them off, its apparent that they are about to sing I Want it That Way. Brian then asks "Can we do the little boy band thing where we shake our butts?" Nick continues to be very confused and asks which version they're doing because they've "got like three versions." More confusion unravels before the jump into the song:

        Nick- "I forgot where I was."
        Howie- "You're on a boat"

        Even once the song has started, Nick still looks over to AJ and gestures that he doesn't know which choreography they are doing. Geez, since I actually took the time to write out this review, I realized Nick really was the culprit for messing up a lot of these songs. He's lucky he's so good looking so he can get away with it. Miraculously, by the time the chorus rolled around, they were able to figure it out and actually nailed the routine.

        During Howie's part of the song, he changed up the lyrics a bit. He even added the word "Kevin" in there as well. I was anticipating that if Kevin were to come surprise us for the concert, it would be for this song but sadly he didn't.

      14. Howie's Solo- Lie to Me
        Hearing Howie sing this song really makes me want him to do a solo tour. Flawless performance. We really need to get this man some more solo parts.

        Howie singing Lie to Me

      15. Don't Want You Back
        This also gets my vote for best intro to a song. You all should know by know I can never make up my mind. Okay, Nick starts off by setting us up for the song where they were "building a stage, " which obviously would've been The One. AJ cuts him off and asks if they can do the song that should've been the single, thus Don't Want You Back. Though I kind of missed the ladder-like poles they climbed on during the Into the Millennium tour. Those things were fantastic.

        AJ- "No, no, no. Can we do the song that should've been the single? And the only reason why it wasn't was because you called TRL. Your fault."
        Nick- "Do you understand the concept of TRL? Its voting. THEY voted for it.
        AJ- "No I know it. Carson called me personally."

      16. If I Knew Then
        The most noteworthy part of this song was Nick declaring he forgot the words. I think this is Nick goof #5, though I lost track a while ago. Brian immediately came to his rescue and started singing his part. Oh Nick, I don't know what we're going to do with him.

      17. Nick's Solo- Burning Up
        Another comical intro from AJ and Nick.
        AJ- "Ladies, ladies, I dont know about you ladies, but I am Burning Up. I'm on fire... Nice segue."
        Nick- "Just start the freakin song."
        AJ- "You know what, I love you too."

        You can really feel the love. The song was great though. Tons of energy in the room. And Nick's signature Burning Up dance is really growing on me.

        That strut move I like goes into full effect at 1.18

      18. Shape of My Heart
        Nothing super noteworthy with this rendition. Just another beautiful version of this song.

      19. Everybody
        This is one of their singles that I will never get sick of hearing them sing live. In typical fashion, the boys ham this one up. Nick even gets them to do some of their classic choreography. 
        After the boys finished this song, they take their bow and leave the stage. After some chanting they finally come back out for the last song...

      20. Drowning
        This was the moment that made being in Group B all the worthwhile. Out comes all 5 Backstreet Boys. The shrieking decibel is absurdly high in the room. The highlight was Kevin singing singing his solo part. Though it was hard to actually hear him due to the screaming. Kevin really looked like he was having a good time up there and the rest of the boys welcomed him right back in. Perfect way to the end the perfect concert.
        Drowning with Kevin
      As I said in the beginning, I thought this was such an amazing concert. I really hope they do this format again and let the fans pick the set list in a more unplugged set up. My favorite interactions are where the boys are more themselves and not as much their stage persona.

      PS- Another huge thanks to Anne Marie for letting me borrow a ton of her videos. 

        Monday, January 9, 2012

        Half vs Full Charter Revisited

        I did a post almost a year ago on my feelings towards a half vs full charter. At the time I swore up and down that I was 99% supportive of a half charter but now that I've done both, I think I can more fairly assess them.

        Here are the pros/cons that I initially posted but I've updated them with my current commentary in red.

        • Lots of energy. I'm excited for the deck parties with a full deck full of fans. I suspect it will blow last years' deck parties out of the water (pun not intended)
          I truthfully didn't feel much of a difference between the half and full charter deck parties. It may have been slightly more crowded up front, but not by a whole lot. It wasn't the level of energy I was anticipating, thus I'd actually remove this as a pro.
        • Less door vandalism. I'm hoping that by not having ‘non-fans’ on board there will be a level of respect for all of the door decorations
          I wish I could say that the vandalism disappeared but that was not the case. Fans were still caught stealing items off of doors as well as messing things up. I have to remove this as a pro as well.
        • We’ll hopefully get a sail away party. Fans who went on the NKOTB cruise said this was one of the best events, and we couldn’t do that on the half charter last year
          We did get the highly anticipated sail away party and I don't know if Id call if one of the best events, but I definitely had a great time and consider this a huge perk of the full charter. That said, you can argue the sail away party was just a better version of the welcome aboard cocktail reception they had last cruise. The goal of both of these events were the same, just done in a different way.
        • No non-BSB fans and significantly less kids. I think it will be neat to know everyone on board is as excited to be there as I am and we all have something in common
          I still stand by this point and really enjoyed knowing everyone on board was a Backstreet fan.
        • I suspect more decorations, posters, etc around the ship pertaining to the BSB cruise.
          Well, we had a lot less door decorations but I'm not sure that was necessarily related to the half vs full debate. We did have a few more posters and banners around, which I think everyone enjoyed. You can't tell me you didn't have fun inappropriately posing with that cardboard cutout in the lobby. So I still consider this a pro.
        • Hopefully less issues with weather ruining deck parties because we will have the whole ship, allowing them flexibility to move events around if needed
          We did have "bad weather" again on the that last night and fortunately were able to move the event into the atrium this time around. I have to use quotation marks here because when I went outside, the weather actually seemed to be the nicest of the trip, but maybe I missed something. The fact that everyone was still able to attend the pj party in spite of bad weather is a definite plus of the full charter.
          I do however have a counterargument. Karaoke was cut short due to rain and even with the flexibility having the full ship they weren't able to move the event indoors. I could even further reason that they most likely would've had that event in the main lounge like they did in 2010 if they didn't have to accommodate the whole ship and do it outside. Thus you could possibly argue we actually lost out on karaoke time due to the full charter. Obviously we couldn't get rained out if we were in the lounge. Hopefully you understood my ramblings. I know its a bit of a stretch but it makes sense in my head.
        • Give more fans the chance to go and us the opportunity to meet more fans
          Nothing has changed here. More capacity equals more fans the opportunity to go. Definite pro.

        • Bottom line: More fans = more craziness and less possible face time with the boys
          I think most if not all the second-time cruises experienced less face time around the ship and it was definitely missed by all. Absolutely a major con for the full charter.
        • Along with my first point, there will be less of a chance to have your special moment with one of the guys. Last year AJ made great strides to knock on fans’ doors and only made it through 2 decks. This year there will be twice as many fans and even less of a chance for moments like that.
          This I have mixed thoughts on. I personally thought they did a good job of giving fans their special moment at the events, but there was virtually no chance of anything happening outside of a designated event. And that's really what was impacted by the change to a full charter and what my original point was getting at, thus this is still on the Con list.
        • BSB will have to do all events twice. This mean that you will have to miss events when its not your group. I’ll be so upset if I found out the other groups concert/games was better.
          This is probably one of the biggest downsides of the full charter in my opinion. Even though the concert was mostly identical, Group A didn't get to see Kevin perform drowning. And the game shows were completely different. I didn't like missing either event at the time; I really felt like I was missing out. And not as big of an issue, but I also don't like trying to swap stories/videos/pictures after the fact and constantly have to ask which group people were in. Big con.
        • There is no ‘non-fan’ buffer to maintain a sense of normalcy.
          Yes, I think this is also part of the reason why we didn't see the Backstreet Boys out around the ship as much. They weren't seen as often in the casino or even in the lido buffet. I stand by this being a con.
        • More crowded and less chance to get into events not hosted in the main lounge. Last year many people were denied access to the club on the last night due to room capacity. With 2X the numbers of fans, there will be that many more disappointed fans
          Well, seeing as how they didn't have the chance to do much outside the official events, I suppose this is a moot point. I still think this point would've held true but in fairness I suppose I should remove this from the con list.
        • Possibility of less events all around because they have to do everything twice and only have 3 days to do it in.
          Don't need to say much here, we definitely had less events, though we picked up a few events in the process. Overall we lost the Q&A, an extra game show, and a separate cocktail welcome party (it was combined with the deck party this year). The only thing we gained was the sail away party. In the end we still lost out with the number of events so its a definite con.
        • Events may be more rushed
          I didn't feel that any of the repeated events were rushed in order to accommodate the other group so I'd remove this from the con list.
        • People will miss out on being able to eat dinner in the main dining room with them. I know not everyone was able to last cruise, but I think the majority of the fans did get that experience. With a full charter, a lot of people will not be able to eat with them and enjoy some of their interactions in between courses. And this is assuming they will even have the luxury to join us for dinner at all. I could see them being too busy since they now have to do all events twice.
          I'm only aware of Brian and Kevin who were seen eating in the main dining room (please let me know if you saw any others). I'm surprised that they were able to eat with us, but considering the ship is divided into 2 seatings and 2 main dining rooms- I think its safe to say most of us missed eating dinner with a Backstreet Boy. Last year's dining experience WITH the Backstreet Boys was a ton more fun and I genuinely missed that. This one stays on the con list.
        • I suspect that they will be more drained all around due to the sheer amount of people, number of events they have to do, and lack of time spent with their family
          I still agree with this point. The boys seemed exhausted by the end, but it could've been from the shorter cruise, not necessarily switching from half to full charter. I still don't think it helped matters that they had to do things twice so I'm keeping this as a con.
        • Due to my prior point, I'm worried that they will not be around the ship as much for a potential chance encounter. And those are the best! I loved standing innocently in line for some french fries and chicken fingers and then I see Howie walk by. And try not to judge me on the fried food, but I cant help that its delicious, free, and available practically 24/7.
          Well I did get my fried treats again this year, but no bump-ins with Howie or any of the other boys. Most definitely still a con.
        • With 2 groups there’s a good chance your friends may be in a different session for the events, photos, and even dinner.
          As I predicted, this was an issue. I had a few friends in the other group and didn't get to see them quite as much as I would've liked. Plus when I did see them, we couldn't always talk about the events b/c our experiences were different.
        • Too much estrogen on board. This scares me a little. lol
          Oh yes!! I felt a ton more drama this year with all the extra girls on board.

        Since I have now done both a full and half charter, I can fairly say that I 100% prefer a half charter. Of the pros I initially thought a full charter would bring- 3 of those turned out to be inaccurate and those that remain aren't major deal breakers for me. Of the cons that I predicted, all of them held true except for 2 points. There were just a lot of elements of the half charter that I really missed.

        It goes without saying that I still had a great time on both cruises, but if I was running the show, they'd be going back to a half charter in a heartbeat.