Thursday, November 28, 2013

A First Timer… Just like Kev ;)

Hi all, its been a while since I had a guest blogger but I'm SUPER excited to have Sarah do a post for you all. She was a first time cruiser so I thought it would be cool to have her share her experiences. Plus I cant be everywhere at once- so here's her take on the cruise!

Where to even begin.... I know you have all the juicy deets about every event from Laura, so this is more cliff notes from a first timer about the stuff that stood out. I can ramble, so here’s to trying!

How about years ago, when I first heard about the first cruise….And when I was crushed when I found out the dates completely overlapped with my first year business school finals.
And then the second year…same thing happened. Just my luck =(
And then the third year…it wasn’t happening…but wait…they were selling tickets a year in advance for the next year? SIGN ME UP!!

To be honest, was a bit surreal to purchase a cabin a year in advance without really knowing what was going to happen. At that point I had just graduated, moved to a new city, had a new job, and really didn’t know what life was going to hold year from then! Little did I know that within that next year being in NYC would lend it self to meeting the Boys more times than I had in my lifetime up till that point, that they’d go on tour, that I’d remake the Everybody video (and Kevin would see it/retweet it!)... and that basically BSB as a part of my life as I knew it would explode.

Day 1:

My roommate Nina and I took a 7am flight from New York on Friday. I know, I know, cutting it way close. Sadly neither of us had many vacation days and that’s all we could manage. We were definitely paranoid about missing the boat, but luck would have it things went smoothly and we ended up checking in RIGHT WHEN the Boys were at the port! What a great way to start the day:

Credit: @ninnybaninny

The boat was DECKED OUT in BSB, though not sure why I expected anything less haha! I tried to capture all them moments on a quick vine before I put my phone on airplane mode for a few days (no international charges for me!)

What we didn’t know is how long it would take to get our luggage. We kept waiting, and waiting, seeing all our neighbors get bags, but didn’t see ours. We were still in somewhat cozy NYC/plane clothing, definitely not ready for Miami heat!! We meandered around the Lido deck buffet sine we couldn’t wait any longer, hunted down Laura (yay!) and other folks while our cells still worked. I had actually pulled an all nighter to finishing packing (they said sleep before the cruise…oops) so I tried to nap before the deck party. By the time I scrambled up and found Nina the deck was crazy packed… Little did I know this would be foreshadowing for most of the cruise: the game of try-to-find-your-friends-without-texting-on-a-cellphone…wow. Luckily I found her and we found spot up top area to see the guys in time…and I will say the Boys looked GREAT in their captains outfits, wooh!

After the deck party, we had planned ahead of time to get in line for the merch since we heard that that’s it for the whole trip and didn’t want stuff to sell out; we almost missed our dinner seating due to the lines! I really really wanted to buy a sweatshirt (sort of packed planning that would be my warmth) but couldnt bring myself to buy something a magenta color (really!?) but did splurge on a shirt and towel…. We also thought we missed our chance at the special drink mugs which were rumored to have been sold out (before the boat even left port?!), but a server we asked at dinner happened to have stashed away a box supposedly and he magically appeared with one of each of us. We were ecstatic. It NEVER hurts to ask!!

After dinner, we saw are you Smarter than a Backstreet Boy, which of course was hilarious. All you have to do is get them to do any kind of trivia about themselves and it will be funny, guaranteed. I still love when they did trivia against fans Rosie ODonnell yeeaarrrss ago. Gets me every time! As for the glow party, Nina and I frantically tried to slap on as many glow sticks and bright colors as our suitcases let us bring. I had grabbed a black light and black light makeup…here’s the best I could do face wise —

 … we stayed up until about 4 or 5am following the Boys around the deck as they danced around the deck. No luck with pictures, but we figured as long as a Boy was awake, we should stay awake… I have a ton of video of Kevin being awesome and dancing around with Nick and Howie. At the bottom of this post I’ll give Laura the link to a full playlist on my youtube channel — when I clean up that video (the base is kind of much right now =) I’ll post is there!!

Day 2:

As much as we wanted to sleep, we dragged ourselves out of bed to inhale food and rushed and hurried to be the first boat (since we were splitting a cabana they had said to be on the first departure)… and then were told to wait. We tried to get back to sleep, but we were already awake. The Backstreet TV that ran in the cabin was pretty cool; I noticed it included the original headers of each video, which had the original release dates. Other footage was nice to pass the time too…
Eventually, we were on the island yay!
The other girls in our cabana had been on the NKTOB cruise and convinced us to rent paddle boats so we’d be in the water when the Boys came in since during that experience those guys had jumped into the water and jumped in with fans on paddle boats. We tried and totally got tired paddling around and going against the current waiting and waiting on Backstreet time!! With the delay we ended up going back in to grab food… then we hopped back in when we saw them coming… little did we know how hard those were to manage & steer!! We stayed out of the way when they came in, but when the boat tried to get back out, we totally got yelled at by security to get out of the way.  (I think Nina has video of me saying “we’re trying we’re trying!!!” haha) and one of the extra security guys came and pulled out boat over so they could back out. At least we got an awesome view of AJ diving into the water and Nick throwing a fan over his shoulders into the water!

As a first timer, I think I had an expectation that everything was a bit more random/fair when it came to fans being picked for stuff. One of the girls on the deck of the cabana next to me got picked for the games by a set of women who were walking by us, but not me…made me wonder why, you know?? And someone that was in Are You Smarter also go in the obstacle course!! ::deep sigh:: …. Anyway, the events were totally fun to watch, and as much as I wished my camera was water proof, being in the water to see some of the paddleboat races and just experience it is just as amazing without having pictures for those memories. There was a funny moment where Kevin’s boat basically failed, so I will always have a mental image of his team “giving up” and “riding off into the sunset” and Brian jumping in the water trying to say “come back!!!”…not something you can easy get on camera anyway, right!?…. regardless, Kevin was super sweet and took time to do pictures and signings after.I tried to ask him to do a kissy face like he did with others…ended up being…um, a... duck face?? ;o)

Sadly due to some rain AJ’s event was cancelled. The concert was awesome as usual...
but went over, and had no time for my costume. How I wished I was in group B with a concert on Sunday instead!! I was already paranoid because hadn’t practiced at all and had no idea how this was going to be pulled off in a cruise cabin by myself, so Nina definitely had to help me as I made it up in about 30 minutes or less (last year’s original was done by someone who knew what she was doing and took probably 2 hours on it!!!

and after telling everyone I could alllll day to look out for me (seriously everyone  — Jen, Keith, Drew, Mike, Q, Aaron, Eddie, Justin, and even Kevin when we took our picture!) I was dead set on getting a picture with Kevin, if not at least being seen by the rest of them! I mean, the theme was “Backstreet’s Back!!” ….. given the lack of cell phones, I quickly lost folks on the deck.  I gave up trying to find people and made a beeline for where I could get closest to the stage. It was pretty much a mosh pit. While being shoved around I started flailing my rat prop (yep, had a fake rat!!) and yelling at Mike, Q, whomever was near my side of the stage…Mike finally saw me and went and got Kevin! Kevin hopped over the stage and started doing signatures and taking pictures. Then he pointed at me and mounted “you” and gave me a thumbs ups, an “ok” symbol and said “great job” !!

I breathed a sigh of relief. He’d seen me. He took more pictures and did more signatures, but kept coming back and pointing at me, letting me know he hadn’t forgotten about me. At some point I motioning asking to be pulled up for a picture, given the crowd. And like I’ve learned, it never hurts to ask, because he had Keith pull me up!!!!! I was over the moon. I just meant for a quick picture… but then I waited. While I waited, I sat with Jen. I showed her the laminated sign on my shirt with the youtube channel of the video for her to check out. Before they ran away to other parts of the deck, I got a pic with AJ, Howie and Q.

Leighanne was around since Brian was taking pictures off stage in the back, made fun of my boobs (kind of low cut costume =) and also offered a picture (She’s so sweet!) 

Brian never came back on stage, and Nick was long gone, but I was so out of it….Was I dreaming? I hung out with 2 other marketing people by the smoke machine… I hung out with Keith as Kevin did more signing

 … it was a good 45 min or so actually; Keith joked that maybe Kevin had forgotten about me!!! Finally, Kevin  came back to the stage and said, with this southern drawl: “I think I owe you a picture!!”…it was definitely worth the wait.

Oh, Nick at Night sort of just happened. Things were still going on, so didn’t even know it had started… I got one snippet of my fav songs:

I wish he’d release his mixes o sound cloud so we could hear more!

Day 3:

I don’t know how to play black jack, so I didn’t even sign up. The group pictures process was interesting. We had bonded with some girls the day before over having worn the same Old Navy dress and planned on a picture together; we spent a good half an hour at least trying to find 4 other people to make a group of 8…and then got the great news that the guys reduced the number of people! Good news for us, bad news of folks who already had a group picture and for the rest of the day if things got delayed!… which they did. I regret missing the fashion show and should have assumed Brian was going to be there. And I missed Howie’s event.

What I made sure not to miss was Q&A — just like trivia, I LOVE when they did Q&A. And this was finally legit Q&A. not the usual “what’s your favorite color” groaner-wasted-question type. But legit gold q&a. I wish it had gone for another hour!!!

And of course… Cover Story with Kevin. All I will say is that Kevin was making us cry. Seriously.

Bachelorette party … well, besides Halloween, I think the part I like about deck parties is seeing the guys dance & be dressed up. 'Nuff said ;o)


You can see all my vids here — I transcribed as much as I could and will eventually add more I promise.

And after all that, I’m hoping the jabbering/sign that I had on me that resulted in this a few days later!!

While a lot of the cruise was coulda/woulda/shoulda (should stayed in that spot and gotten a pic…could gone to the fashion show etc… woulda gone down that hallway had we known a Boy was gonna be there etc etc)…would I do it again? HELLZ TO THE YES!

 —  Sarah
(sv02 — twitter / instagram / vine / youtube)
(sarie02- fanclub)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recap 2013- Day 3 and a Half where was I? Ah yes, just wrapping up Howie's event. Standing in that same spot on the pool deck for a couple hours, waiting patiently for the Q&A!


I always love the Q&A- one of my favorites. I'm thrilled they brought it back. It's so simple but so hilarious. And I always learn something new. The boys trickled onto the stage and Nick came strolling out with a pack of peanut butter M&Ms, which I was surprised he was eating. But he was munching on those throughout the session and starting throwing them into the audience.  I thought most of the questions were good, original questions I hadn't heard before. A few exceptions, but for the most part a great Q&A.

Nick and his M&Ms
The highlight of the Q&A for me was when not 1, but 2 of my questions got answered! I was so excited!! Though I feel I should clarify, I personally did not submit both questions; I had my roommate, Cory, submit one of them on my behalf. Thanks girlie! So the question that Cory submitted for me was, "How well do you recognize your fans. Who's the best and who's the worst at it?" Their response was maybe not quite was I was expecting. They all claimed to be good at it, and I'm not sure I buy that. Nick stated, "If I meet you like 10 times I'll get your name." Umm, no, Nick.  One of the big reasons I wanted to ask this is because after every event I got to, someone will inevitably ask me, "They must recognize you by now" and then I have to explain to them that they see hundreds of thousands of girls every day. So even though it wasn't the answer I was expecting, I was still happy to hear my question get asked and get some form of an answer.

Boys answering my first question- how well do you recognize the fans?

And just a couple minutes later I hear Jen reading "Laura from Rockville....If we went to your computer now, what would be the last 3 websites we'd see in your browser history." Oh I was so excited to hear my name get called!! This question seemed a lot more successful- both the fans and the boys seemed to enjoy it. Jen even tried to cut Nick off and he enthusiastically was still answering. I also feel like I got some info out of it and some good laughs.

 Boys answering my second question- what are the last 3 websites in your browser history?

So those were the two highlights of the Q&A for me. But there were still so many other great moments. Here are a few of my other fave parts:

What's the most embarassing thing in your house?
Nick- "Me....I'm telling you, when I walk around and look in the mirror I'm like 'Damn, that's embarrassing."
After 20 years together, what is the one thing about each of the guys that irritates you the most?
AJ- "Well there is one thing I think that overall that bothers all of us and bothers you guys as well, this thing called Backstreet Time. That irritates the shit out of me."
If you had to marry one of the other boys, who would you marry?
Brian- "I would die an old maid"
Howie- "My hand would be my best friend."
Which song are you most sick of performing after all the years singing it over and over?
Kevin-  "I would say The One. Sorry- I just don't like that song very much. So tonight when you see me singing it, you'll know"
Kevin's thinking face
If you could redo a music video, which one would it be and why?
Kevin- Are you guys tired of us singing in fields? Are you tired of us standing on the mountain tops singing? Are you tired of us staring into the camera going like this *makes funny seductive face*

If you were stranded on a desert island, which BSB album would you want to have and why?
Nick (said very emphatically)- "First of all, I wouldn't want to have a BSB album. Sorry I mean, you're on an island by yourself.
What were some favorite memorable moments on this leg of the IAWLT tour? What were some of the worst?
Kevin- I ripped my ass out twice on tour. In Irvine and Vegas I ripped my pants out. That was embarrassing.
I only had to put this one because I was there for that moment. It was so funny watching Kev's reaction as well as the other guys just laughing away in the background.
Also, Kevin confirmed a second US leg in this question, so that's super exciting!

If you had the chance to ask the fans anything you want?
Howie- "And where do you get your money to come and see us so much. What do you guys DO? Drug dealers or something? What are you guys?"
Howie, I ask myself this very question

Overall- loved the Q&A! As I said before, always one of my faves. The only other interesting thing to point out is that Brian seemed oddly quiet and subdued. Definitely not the Brian we're used to. Meanwhile I thought Howie had some great lines. I may have missed some of them the first time around, but he had some good moments.

Cover Story with Kevin

As soon as the Q&A ended I ran over to the atrium to get a good spot for Kev's solo event. I was expecting to sit and chat with my friends for the next hour or so to kill time, but in a pleasant turn of events Kevin showed up early for a little mini soundcheck. Bonus Kevin time- score! During his soundcheck he hopped on the piano and played a few notes. Then he played all of Incomplete while the entire atrium sang along. It was actually one of the highlights of the cruise for me. Such a beautiful moment in its simplicity.

Kevin playing Incomplete
He continued with his soundcheck and sang a few lines from a couple different songs, one of which 'Shes Got a Way,' which holds a personal special place in my heart and made my tear up. Oh geez, I honestly thought Kevin would cry before I did! I'm partly happy he didn't sing it his actual set or I would've lost it, but partly upset I didn't get to hear his full rendition.

Really cool vibe for Cover Story with Kevin in the atrium
After he finished soundcheck he left to go change and the atrium continued to fill up. He didn't keep us waiting too long, he came back cleaned up, now wearing a sports jacket and introduced us to Cover Story. The concept of his event was to sing cover versions of songs that were meaningful to him. He even said that he's was playing around with the idea of releasing those songs that meant a lot to him, and if he did it would be in an album called 'Cover Story'. So basically a one-man type of show. Now he warned us in the beginning of his set that he would get emotional, and he did. So lets play a game....guess how many times Kevin got choked up and/or teary eyed. I'll give you a hint, he played for 32 minutes. Answer- 6 times. Oh Kev.

Kev singing his heart out
During his set he sang Watching the Wheels by John Lennon, Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt, Back to Your Heart by BSB, Forever in My Life by Prince, and Danny's Song by Kenny Loggins. In between each song he gave some background on why he chose this song and why it holds so much meaning to him. It was quite lovely. Here are clips of my favorite moments:

 Favorite moment #1- Back To Your Heart. Self-explanatory why its a fave.

Favorite moment #2- Kevin trying like 4 times to get through Danny's Song. Such a touching performance. "I love this verse. I gotta get it out."

This was another one of my favorite events. The event suited him very well and I loved the vibe of him performing in the main atrium with the piano and the lighting. It all just worked! I think I particularly enjoyed this because on a regular cruise I could see myself sitting in a lounge listening to the piano; and I was doing just that here but it also happened to have Kevin singing along. It was a nice chill event amid the craziness of everything else going on. I would love to see him do this again.

After Cover Story was finished we had missed the beginning of dinner. So my friends and I went up to the lido buffet for a quick bite before the concert. During dinner they actually came over the PA system and announced the winners of the door decoration contest. I always know it's a long shot for a win, but I always hold out a tiny bit of hope. Alas, our door did not get called. There were 3 winners this year; here are 2 of them. If anyone knows what the third winner was, please let me know!

Door decoration winner
Door decoration winner
In a World Like This Concert

Next on the action-packed agenda was the In a World Like This concert. Now I had already seen the show on tour, but I was excited to see if and how they would change it up. The main difference to the setlist was the addition of Shape of My Heart. That was a nice surprise! Apparently I'm really easy to please.

I loved the concert, even though I had seen the show before, it was so different! Overall it had a much more laid-back, fun vibe. I think it helped we were on the cruise and that it was the last night. They seemed really not to care.

A few of my fave moments:

AJ doing an reprise of  Lay Down Beside Me during his intro.

The boys singing a beautiful impromptu version of Free Falling....followed by a less beautiful and more dirty version of Free Falling.

Intros to the acoustic set. Nick makes fun of Hanson. Howie went through puberty with his voice cracking. And Howie making a new joke about his guitar. 

Nick, Howie & AJ being inappropriate during the Shape of My Heart intro

Overall a really fun concert- no complaints at all! Plus I'd call it a borderline comedy show at points.

Bachelorette Night

Ohh- the final event of the cruise, always bittersweet. I went into this night, really unsure on what to expect.  I guess I should start with my ensemble. I'm not the type to be into getting all dressed up and donning penis paraphernalia- so my girlfriends and I made another t-shirt instead. Tagline 'Girls will be Girls.'

Girls will be Girls
By this time in the cruise my feet felt like they were going to fall off. I remember looking around at other girls in their heels and my feet were hurting just looking at them. But props to those of you who can pull it off! We were waiting a while for the boys to show up and when they did- they made quite the spectacular entrance...

I really don't even know how to really describe this night in words. Lets just say Brian certainly didn't pick this theme! It was your average deck party times 10. Okay, maybe times 20. I think the guys were a lot more interactive, for the most part they really embraced the theme. Howie and Kev were both doing a lot of pictures and autographs throughout the evening while Nick & AJ seemed to be primarily working the crowd. Not sure where Brian was. Granted- I feel like he was kinda MIA for a lot of the cruise. He didn't seem like his normal outgoing self. But back on track...the night consisted of a lot of dancing, throwing beads out into the audience, having fun with random props, pouring shots in fans' mouths, which by the way would not have been a pretty picture if that were me. I dont do shots.

Kevin really seemed to like that sailor outfit
Howie guessed it, alcohol. And apparently money of himself??
Brian having a good laugh
Nick at bachelorette night
Nick wearing 2 bras
One of my fave parts was when they sang Get Down and did the 'Get Down' dance.

Get Down

Nick seemed to have the most fun with all the props that girls brought- from oversized bras to penis-shaped water guns. In fact- he was having a bit too much fun with that water fun, putting liquor in there at one point. Here he is trying to show Brian how much fun he was having....

 Nick and Brian goofing around

At one point in the evening AJ attempted to start the longest conga line in history. He even admitted it would either be the best or worst idea he had. Honestly I'm not sure how that ever turned out, but I give them props for trying.

AJ with his inappropriate shirt, that also has a ton of holes in it

Bachelorette night was definitely an awesome way to end the cruise with a bang. It was one of those nights that I'm honestly not sure how they'll top. After that I begrudgingly went back to my cabin, took down the door decoration and packed. I think taking down the door decoration is when it really sucks the most, not sure why. I guess to me it symbolizes it all being over. All the anticipation, the buildup, the hardwork, all gone in a just a few minutes.

Really nothing else much worth mentioning after bachelorette night. Just an early wake-up and debarkation the next morning. No other BSB sightings. I heard a few fans were lucky and ran into the guys at the airport. Now I will say that my friends and I went to Fort Lauderdale for a couple days afterward and literally did nothing but sit by the pool and eat. It was spectacular and I'm definitely doing this again. We stayed at a nicer hotel and just had a chance to relax and retell all of our stories. It just really helped with the "backstreet hangover" and ease me back into real-life.

And so the 20th Anniversary BSB cruise comes to an end. Another amazing time at sea with my Backstreet Boys and my backstreet girls!

Until Next Time!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recap 2013- Day 3

Last day already?! Gosh it really flies by. Though day 3 would prove to be the most action packed and the hardest on my poor feet. So much standing!

AJ's Blackjack Tournament

I decided to sign up for the blackjack tournament to see what it was all about. Even though I'm no expert, I know enough to play. I know its awful, but I was guessing that a lot of fans who signed up probably didn't know a lot either and just wanted the chance to play with AJ.

Fortunately my scheduled time wasn't super early, so I scoped out the tables to see how it all worked. Turns out you're not playing against the table, you're playing against everyone. Everyone gets 7 hands and whoever comes out with the most money at the end wins. Knowing this, my strategy was 'go big or go home'. So by the time I sat down, I was pumped. First hand- black jack! Sweet, off to a great start. But my luck ran out there...the next 6 hands didn't go quite as well. As quickly as won, I was just as quick to give all my money right back to the dealer. Which reminds me why I don't gamble in real life. Even though I didn't win, I'm glad I tried. If he were to do it again next year, at least I'll have a better understanding of how the tournament is set up so I can prep a bit better.

BSB-skinned poker table

Meet & Greet

No time to waste after the blackjack tournament, I had to find my group for the picture! As I was looking for my photo group, I heard a lot of mutterings about the group sizes changing. Ugh- I knew it! But in another history-making Backstreet moment, they were actually cutting the group sizes down to 4-5 fans. I seriously couldn't believe it! After all that preparation & drama, I just had to laugh. Certainly not complaining though!

The gang waiting to take our picture with the boys
So I inched my way up to the front of the line and honestly didn't have anything prepared to say. I went down the line and thanked them all for everything and for a good cruise. Last minute I decided I wanted to say something to Nick about his book, but before I could get the words out of my mouth he already moved on to the next person in line. And I felt too awkward going backwards. I really do need to start taking my own advice- I should've been more assertive! But no biggie- I'm happy with how the picture turned out. The only other thing I remember was that Mr Brightside by the Killers was playing, and Nick was like scream-singing along with the song in my ear. I guess he has to keep meeting 2,000 girls exciting somehow, right?

Meet & Greet in the Sailor Costumes!
After the meet & greet I had time for a super quick lunch but then we had a packed afternoon. Seriously, no time to relax on this cruise.

Wylee Fashion Show

The Wylee fashion show was running late, making me awfully suspicious that perhaps Brian is the real culprit behind backstreet time? Hmmm. Though I know the pictures took a while so I suppose I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

I was a little skeptical going into this event, but honestly I think it turned out well. Brian and Leighanne hosted a fashion show of the Wylee product line, as worn by fans. I thought it was good that Brian opened up the event stating it was his idea to do the event and that he had to convince Leighanne to do it. Whether that's true or not, it needed to be said since the event was met with a lot of criticism. Essentially the event was a bunch of fans modeling her clothes/accessories and Brian making funny commentary throughout.

Brian & Leighanne hosting the Wylee Fashion Show
One of my favorite Brian commentaries was when he was talking about a tshirt that's shaped so you cant see your bra. I started to type out the quote and realized that it loses all of its pizzazz unless you hear it in Brian's voice. The clip I'm referring to starts around 6 minutes in...

6 minutes in Brian goes on about one shirt and how its designed not to show a bra. Quite comical

All in all, a good time. I think I most enjoyed the fashion show because I knew a couple of the girls on stage, modeling. I loved that he incorporated fans in his event. I thought he did a great job of hosting and bringing life to the outfits and models. I also thought it was really nice of them to throw out some of the items into the audience. So it really did have all the pieces to make a successful event. But would I want him to do it again next year, no, probably not. I think it was something unique and fun as a one-time thing but I'd love to see him try something else next year.

Rum DMC with Howie
After Brian's event was Rum DMC with Howie. This is one that I had no idea what to expect going into it but was soooo happy when I realized he'd be singing some of his solo songs. Such a nice surprise! I personally love his solo album and was bummed he never went on tour with it in the US. So for anyone who may have missed it, his concept was to mix his 2 favorite activities- drinking and singing. So he'd sing a song and then do a round of rum-based drinks with some fans. For those who want the visual....

Howie Singing
Howie Drinking
= Rum DMC

During the event he sang 100 Kisses, Back to Me, Going Going Gone, This is Just What I Needed, and Lie to Me. So it was like a little mini concert. I also had to laugh when he emerged wearing a long sleeve black shirt in the middle of the Caribbean, had 5 drinks, and then commented on how hot he was. Well, gee, Howie, not really sure what you were expecting there? haha  Here are some clips of a few of my favorite moments. Though I honestly think the whole thing is worth youtubing.

Howie drinking with his reaction afterward

Howie mixing up his own song, Back to Me...guess it was all the rum
Overall I loved Rum DMC! I really liked how he incorporated fans into the event, but they also weren't the focus. It was the perfect mix. I also really liked it because I thought it suited him well. I loved that we got another little concert and corny Howie jokes mixed in throughout. I would be 100% content if the did the same thing next year, maybe just pick different songs or something. My one and only complaint about this event was that he didn't sing my favorite song- Dominoes!

OK, Im going to take a pause here since day 3 was so action-packed with events. The rest of day 3 coming soon in another post soon!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Recap 2013- Day 2

I swear the alarm went off 10 minutes after I fell asleep, but I still eagerly jumped out of bed knowing the fun we had in store. Beach party day! Turns out the weather set things back like an hour and half, making things run even more on Backstreet time. So I decided not to rush down to get in line for the life boats but rather grab a semi-leisurely breakfast. I also took some time to stroll the halls and check out the door decorations.

Beach Party

Around 12:30 we finally decided to head over to Half Moon Cay. So gorgeous! I decided to set up camp towards the back-ish and wait for the boys to arrive. Eventually the boys would make their way to the island via a motor boat. Nick couldn't even wait until they got to shore- he dove right into the water and swam up to the beach. Next the boys went up to grab their lunch thus I sat around and awkwardly watched Nick eat some chicken wings. Meanwhile the sky was growing darker- seriously I just want one backstreet cruise where it doesn't rain! .

The boys took to the stage started entertaining us by dancing, playing with their water guns- squirting each other and us. Nick proceeded to yell at all of us for being too quiet. Fortunately the rain didn't last long and they were able to get underway with the games. First up was a wet t-shirt contest. My favorite part of the wet tshirt contest was this Nick quote afterward...

"I feel like we could do a little bit better but you girls got some daggers for eyes out there. You all need to simmer down a little bit. She's like 'Why did you bring her up on stage. That's bullshit. I paid just the same amount of money.' "- Nick
Oh lordy....they really do know what's going on in our heads, huh? I honestly can say I don't disagree with the guy! Limbo was up next and a couple lucky fans got to go on stage with the guys. I did enjoy seeing Howie try to limbo without putting down his beer. And in typical Brian fashion when it came to his turn, he decided to jump over the limbo poll rather than go under. Oh Brian! Is it just me or are his antics becoming more and more predictable?

Brian holding the limbo pole
After limbo they brought back the infamous coconut game- played to 'Under the Sea' from Little Mermaid. I think this year I found it more comical than anything. Howie ended up winning this game, I guess all that beer helped him out. Then they did musical chairs. Sidebar- I realized I really do like AJ hosting all the game he is pretty good at that. I think he lost musical chairs the first round on purpose so he could just get back to being a ham on the mic, which was fine by me. As the game continued, Nick used his water gun to squirt the fans and distract them. I feel like that was more of a Brian move but I did like how Nick got so into it. There was some funny interaction between Kev & Nick when they got into it over their sports teams...

Kevin was giving Nick a hard time about the Bucs

This somehow segued into the first ever Backstreet obstacle course. I happened to be right in the middle where they parted the fans so I ended up with a great view of that game. I really enjoyed this one. Could've been because I had a good view. Could've been because it was the first time they did the game. But I think the dynamic of putting fans with each of the boys and then having them go against each other works nicely. I liked how Nick had his team stretching off to the side to prep (even though he still ended up losing) I liked how competitive the guys get. I liked how AJ encourages Brian to finish the course with his eyes closed. I liked how badly Kev lost that second match up. All in all a lot of fun- lets hope that bring this one back next time.

Brian winning the obstacle course

When the games were over it gave me a bit of time to relax. AJ went off on some jetskis, some of the other boys stuck around and did pictures, and some left early. The beach started to clear off and I was torn between wanting to stay a bit longer but also wanting to get back to the ship for AJ's event. I ended up staying a bit longer and am so happy I did. I ended up getting a picture with Howito while he was on his way out. He actually took my camera and took the picture himself, so that was pretty cool.

Me and Howie
Howie double fisting his beers
AJ covered in sand
Kev dancing
Nick and his team stretching before the obstacle course
Another successful Backstreet beach party under my belt, I hightailed it back to the ship. Well, at least I attempted to. Even though I had like 45 minutes until AJs hip hop flip flop, it somehow took over an hour to get back. The tenders were super slow, which was killing me because I didn't want to miss AJs event. I was seriously ready to jump over the side and swim back to the Imagination. And what made it worse was the sky opened up and started down pouring on us. Ugh. So there I was on the tender in the rain praying for Backstreet time to work in my favor.

I did make it back to the ship just in time to find out they were going to "reschedule" his event due to safety conditions, which of course never did get rescheduled. Part of me understands, but part of me was bummed they couldn't squeeze it in. Just another reason they need to make it a 4 day cruise next time!

Seeing as how AJs event was cancelled and the other group had their concert, it was a light evening for me. I took a shower and freshened up before having a lovely dinner with my girlfriends...and Brian & Howie eating right around the corner :) But before I hit dinner- I swung by the main lounge to get a good listen of their sound check. Maybe its just me, but even the audio is super exciting. And despite the fact that they had signs on their doors, saying 'no peaking'.... I most definitely stole a peak or 2...or 3.

Me peaking in soundcheck despite the sign. Shhh dont tell!
Dinner with the gang

Halloween Night
After dinner it was time to go get ready for Halloween night. I'm really not a Halloween person and was struggling to come up with a costume. I decided I wanted to try and do something related to the TV show, Friends, because I love that show. I seriously watch it every night before I go to bed. I was thinking I could either be the holiday armadillo or Spudnick, and Spudnick ended up being a lot easier to pull off. So that's just what I did!

Me as Spudnick and Chrissy as a UK cheerleader
Before I made my way up to the deck- I wanted to swing by the main lounge again. Even though I couldn't go in and see the other group's concert, I figured I didn't have much better to do so I had fun sitting outside listening. And by the end of the show the doors were actually open, so I could actually peek in. At one point Leighanne came out of the theater and asked me what I was doing. I told her and she was so sweet about it. She was like, "Oh I wish you told me and you could've sat with me." I really don't think she was serious but I thought it was still pretty cool she made the offer. How neat would it be to actually see a concert with one of their wives?

By the last 5 songs, the crowd around me grew and we actually were all having a ball sitting outside singing and dancing together. The boys were winding down the show, singing Everybody, and I figured that was probably a good time to leave. I wanted to beat the crowd to the deck party. But minutes before I was ready to go, someone from Rose Tours nonchalantly strolled over and whipped out a pack of VIP bracelets for the deck party that evening. He only had 5 which got snatched up immediately before I could grab one. My heart sank. But then he reached in his coat pocket and pulled out another sheet of them. I was able to grab one for myself and I boldly asked for 1 more for a friend. He actually gave me both!! I thanked him profusely. As much fun as it would be to get one just for myself, it wouldn't have been the same if I couldn't share it with a friend.

Now my mind is running in a million different directions. I was so happy and to finally get an opportunity to check out the VIP area on deck, but I was also in such a tough situation. I had 1 extra bracelet to share and like 20 girls I wanted to give it to and like 2 minutes to figure out what to do. It was almost a blessing and a curse. I scurried up to the pool deck and found my group of gals. Appropriately I had to pull a move from Friends.... Remember the episode where Monica let Rachel and Phoebe decide who would be her maid of honor? Yeah, that's what I did. I let them decide who would get it.

Anyway- back to the deck party. With my VIP bracelet in tow, I went upstairs to check out what all the fuss was about. I was actually one of the first people up there, which was nice so I claimed my spot right up front by their little restricted area. The crowd continued to grow as the night went on. And in an ironic and unfortunate twist for me, the boys did not enter up through the VIP area as they did the night prior. Nor did they make their way up there for at least the first 30 minutes of the deck party. I was trying to be so patient hoping they would eventually make their way up top, but I finally got to the point where I felt like I was missing all of the fun down below. So I gave up my spot and headed back downstairs. I just have to laugh how things turn out sometime. I suppose the VIP would've been a lot better for Neon night, but sadly it didn't get me anywhere that night. I'm still really happy I had the experience to at least know for the future that I'm not missing much.

Overall I thought Halloween night was good, but maybe not their best deck party either. They all came out dressed as the Village People. Its funny how it never occurred to me that they'd do a group costume, but it makes sense when I stop and think about it. I was actually pretty impressed by all of the fans' costumes. I was expecting a lot more slutty ones than were actually there. I thought people got really clever with it- some Backstreet themed, a lot not.

The boys as the Village People
The deck party was pretty much your typical deck party. Fun banter, fun music, dancing, etc. They brought fans up on stage to bob for apples, which I give them credit for trying something different. Eventually AJ made his way through the crowds and I saw him start to head back upstairs so I went back up to the VIP area hoping maybe I'd get lucky with a run-in or picture. And I did! AJ saw my costume and he loved it- he got the reference. We actually chatted for all of 15 seconds about Friends. He said he could've gone as Chandler except for his beard. That interaction was super fun, probably one of the highlights of the trip for me. Here's the pic we took...

Me poking AJ's eye out as
I don't even care that he isn't looking at the camera. I do however care that it appears I almost poked his eye out with my antenna. I didn't even realize it until I looked back at the picture. Oopsies! Thank goodness it was just aluminum foil. So in the end my VIP bracelet did end up paying off, just maybe not in the way I expected it to.

Nick at Night

The deck party was still going pretty strong but we also had Nick at Night starting up. I got there a tad late and the atrium was packed. For some reason I didn't think it would be as crowded as it was, particularly since there was a still a lot of action on the lido deck. But alas, I forget that it's Nick and even at 2:30 in the morning, fans would anxiously be waiting for him.

I wish I could say something more exciting happened at this event, but it was pretty much what I expected. Nick DJing for a while. Not a whole lot of interaction with fans or anything noteworthy, in my humble opinion. But it was still a good time. I'll never turn down a chance to see Nick!

Nick at Night in a nutshell

So after Nick at Night, I strolled back to the lido deck and of course Howie is still up there partying. Gotta love his energy! I hung out for a bit but it seemed like not much else was going to happen. He was up in the VIP section mingling so I decided to head down and call it quits for the night.

I made it down to my deck and saw a crowd of girls huddled around the stairs. I figured they were the same crew camping out in the hallway outside the boys' cabins. But I quickly realized something else unique was going on.... AJ was chatting to the 20-30 girls who were there. OMG!! I had flashbacks to the past cruise where AJ was chatting on the back of the ship. I couldn't believe my luck that I stumbled onto this again!!! I was so excited. I caught the tail-end of his little chat but apparently he was there for 10-15 minutes or so answering questions. He talked a little about bachelorette night and gave us a preview of what to expect. He also talked a little more about Friends, go figure!  Made few Friends jokes...and then went off to bed. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for me, even though it was short. I just love the unscripted moments that not everyone gets to experience. And it also reminds me why I stay up to such an ungodly hour every night. A lot of my best moments tend to happen after 4am.

AJ chatting with a few fans in the wee hours of the morning

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Recap 2013- Day 1

Here goes nothing...


This year I decided to fly down to Miami 2 days early in order to relax and do essentially nothing before all the festivities began. Initially I was planning to get in extra early in anticipation for a pre-cruise event, but alas, no such luck. But even without the official pre-cruise event, I found I really enjoyed getting there early and relaxing. We went to South Beach, ate some good local food, hit up the beach in between downpours, sat by the pool, got manis/pedis, scrambled to complete our door decoration, and just got excited for the cruise.

I stayed at the Holiday Inn and there were a bunch of fans around the area. It's come to be an annual tradition for me to stay there, and even though its no 5-star hotel, I love seeing all the fans around. We also checked out the Bayside Marketplace and I met some first time cruisers. As more cruisers passed by and found us, our group grew to 12 people as we chatted the night away.


I headed to the terminal pretty early as I like to be one of the first on board and start meeting up with all my friends. Plus I like to be there to see the guys board. Lets face it- every second with BSB I can get, I will take. As I've said before, waiting for the boys to show up in the terminal is one of my favorite parts of the whole trip because in that moment I had the entire trip to look forward to. And I didn't have to wait long before the guys trickled and the entire terminal erupted with cheers. I always chuckle watching the Carnival staff laugh at us. But honestly, sometimes I don't blame them.

Anyway, I was right up front where the guys came out and already got a taste of the pushing that would follow the rest of the cruise. Part of me was hoping they'd stop for pictures, hugs, or even a quick handshake. But all 5 of them swiftly moved past me to make their way onto the Imagination. One thing that did immediately catch my attention is that 4 of the 5 guys were traveling without their wives/families. Leighanne was the wife who came. And Howie's brother, John, was also there. Every year the entourage seems to dwindle down.

Brian broadcasting his entrance to the terminal

I was group 2 to board so I eagerly rushed up the gangway to get the cruise started. The atrium was overflowing with BSB decorations including huge banners, cardboard cutouts, and even posters spanning the length of the elevator. I was already impressed!

Next stop- lunch. I was actually a bit nervous to eat, but did manage to get some food down. While I was eating they brought around pretty pink drinks with umbrellas in them. Normally I'm quick to say 'no' but upon closer inspection I saw they were served in a 20th Anniversary BSB cruise cup.  Dammit, Carnival, just take my money already! They really do see us coming a mile away. As I was sipping my fruity drink, I spotted a crowd of girls scrambling near the buffet. I spotted a thick beard through the throngs of girls, which could only mean one thing- AJ grabbing some lunch. Eeeek! I love the random boy sightings. They never get old.

Me and my 20th anniversary BSB drink
After lunch, I wouldn't have to wait long before my next sighting. My roommates and I were headed down to our cabin to put our luggage away and with our luck, and we ran into Brian. He actually shouted over to us, "Starting early?" noticing all of us in tow with our drinks in hand. Oh goodness, as someone who isnt a big drinker, I found it ironic that one of the Backstreet Boys now thinks I'm some sort of lush drinking at 12 in the afternoon. But seeing as how he called us over, I wasn't about to continue walking down the hall to my room. I mean c'mon...its Brian! So we stopped and grabbed pictures with him. Yayy!

Me and Brian!

We eventually made our way to the cabin and scrambled to put on BSB TV, which I was devastated when it wasn't turned out yet. I also had a mini panic attack when I saw we didn't have our goody bags, thinking they were doing them this year. But my roommate, Chrissy, gently reminded me that they would be delivered later. Silly me! Clearly I'm not thinking straight. So we threw our luggage down and started putting up our door decoration. Our concept was '500 Reasons BSB is Larger than Life'. We had a lot of fun with the concept and had a few friends stop by as we were putting it up. Even though we didn't end up winning, I'm pretty proud with how it turned out. I'll also post the 500 reasons in a later entry for your reading pleasure.

Me, Chrissy, and 500 Reasons we love BSB
Sail Away Party

Because we didn't have Backtreet TV in our room yet, we flipped on the channel that had a live stream of the pool deck and noticed that crowds were already forming rows deep around the stage. Uh oh. This cruise was definitely going to be different than the past two cruises. We scrambled to get upstairs to do the life boat drill and then faced the crowds as we waited to sail away.

I was happy and surprised when the guys finally emerged and they were all clad in sailor suits. I thought that was such a nice touch! The sail-away party lasted about 50 minutes and I thought they kicked everything off well. They played a lot of fun music and some of boys braved the mobs and made their way around the deck. One of my favorite quotes from the event:
 "Hey, we're going to try to photos with everybody as much as possible. But i gotta tell you, is that everyday we're going to be in a different outfit but we're still the same guys. Alright? So if you got a picture the first day, its okay to let someone else get a picture the next day." - Howie

Oh if only people had respected this comment! I thought he made a great point.  Other than that they danced and sang to a bunch of songs. Made jokes about Kevin being a cruise virgin. They went on a long spiel about Gilligan's Island and which boy would correspond to which character. At one point I felt myself being pushed away from the stage...bizarre, right? Well turns out Nick was like 2 feet behind me hugging a coconut tree. That was quite exciting! And the party ended with AJ yelling "Backstreet's back bitches!" as the played Everybody. All in all, great way to start the cruise.

BSB welcoming us aboard in their sailor suits
I just had to share this pic of Brian
Nick sneaking up behind me causing pandemonium
What will be the first of many pictures of Howie with a drink in his hand
Are You Smarter than a Backstreet Boy Game Show (Group B)

This was my first event in the lounge and was slightly disappointed by my seat. I know there were some far worse off, but I was way off to the side and had a pole blocking my view of Nick. *sad face* Luckily Chrissy had the same pole blocking her view of Brian so we switched. It actually works out quite nicely that we don't have the same fave guy.

Honestly, I thought the opening first few minutes of this event were the best. The boys were goofing around behind the screen making funny shadows. I can't really explain well, so just watch....

Sorry for the shaky camera work- i was laughing quite a bit.

Other highlights of the game show:
  • Nick actually put gum under his desk. 
  • Howie listed 'Grompy' as one of the 7 dwarves
  • Howie spelled 'Millennium' wrong (seriously howie, you don't know how to spell your own album??)
  • Kevin trying to strictly enforce the rules
  • Kevin was the only one who didn't get the memo on them changing outfits so he was the only one who showed up still in his sailor outfit
  • Nick constantly trying to convince the other guys to pick the math category so he wouldn't have to do it
  • Nick getting incredibly worked up with Brian over which airport IWITW was filmed at
  • An incredibly lengthy debate over what time zone Kentucky is in
I have to laugh because I thought Nick and AJ would be the weak links in this game, but in an ironic twist it was Howie!

Howie in his dunce cap
Overall I thought the game show was good, not great. I liked how they brought 2 sets of fans up, to give more people a chance to play. Definitely some funny moments sprinkled in there. I know I shouldn't compare it to the game shows from prior cruises.....but honestly I didn't find myself laughing quite as much as I did for Family Feud and In it to Win It. I think with a trivia based game, it's really more entertaining when they don't know the answers.

After the game show I did a mini photo-shoot with the cardboard cut out backstreet boys. And good thing I did- I heard some fans stole them by day 2. I'm sorry, but really girls? Then we went to dinner and spotted Howie eating off to the side. I'm surprised he had the time to eat! But it was nice stealing a quick glimpse of him. Fans seemed to be respectful for the most part.

Me and cardboard cutout Backstreet Boys
Neon Night

Time for our first deck party- yay! On the way up to the deck party I actually ran into Nick and Howie playing craps in the casino. So I got a little sneak peak of their outfits before the fun began. They definitely aren't as entertaining as AJ to watch, they don't really acknowledge that there are fans around. But that didn't stop me from enjoying myself. I also had to laugh that right over the table was a TV streaming backstreet TV and it happened to be playing the This is Us concert. I found it weird watching them on TV while they were simultaneously right in front of me. But what made it even more entertaining is that every once in a while I'd see Nick or Howie look up and watch themselves in concert. For some reason I found this quite comical. Makes you wonder if they're flipping on Backstreet TV in their cabins.

Nick & Howie in the casino
In a history making moment, the Backstreet Boys actually arrived on time to neon night. I'll give you all a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor and let that sink in. I was super surprised but very happy we didn't have to wait around. I dressed in a "Don't put out the glow glow glow glow glow" tshirt. Thanks Ash for designing that! :) Made my theme night planning that much easier.

Me and my gals
The rest of the evening included Nick playing the drums, which I thought was pretty cool. He hadn't done that at a previous deck party. Nick, AJ and Brian all went crowd surfing. Another nice treat so early on the cruise! I think one of my favorite parts was Kevin's cheesy dance moves....

Exhibit A of Kev's cheesy dance moves

I thought the boys did a great job working the crowd, moving from the upper deck to the lower stage, mingling, taking pictures, getting the crowd pumped, etc. I really just spent the night a bit further back from the crowds and took it all in. I did notice that Kevin had disappeared from the stage for a while. I would later find out from my friend, Anne Marie, that Kevin was actually taking pictures with fans by one of the hot tubs towards the back of the deck. As soon as she told me, I bolted away figuring I should at least try to get a pic with him, right? Worst thing that could happen is me getting pushed in the hot tub by some rabid fans- no biggie. I've experienced worse. So after maybe 15 minutes of waiting I made my way up to Kevin, at which point he decided to turn around and do pictures with girls on the other side of him. So there I am awkwardly standing behind him for like 5 minutes wondering what the hell I should do. And then he stopped taking pictures altogether and just started dancing. Increasing my awkward feeling even more. Should I stay? Should I leave? What's a fangirl supposed to do?! I am most definitely not the pushy type so thank goodness he finally stopped dancing and turned back around for more pics so I was able to snag this gem with him...

Me and Kev. Please note that is NOT my lipstick on his cheek.
All in all a fun evening and fun first day. I was super lucky to get already get pictures with 2 of the boys in the first day so I was on cloud 9. I ended up going to bed a lot earlier than I thought around 4am, but that was probably a good thing because we had another big day in store for us!