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.

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 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.

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 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


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:

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.

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.