Friday, November 21, 2014

Recap 2014: Day 1 (Part 2)

(First off, sorry this review is taking me forever to get up. Grad school is kicking my butt. I promise I'll get the rest up quicker!)

Sailaway Party

The sailaway party was moved indoors this year, and while I had a great time, I think this event is really better suited to be outside. Of course the weather was out of anyone's control so we all made the best of it!

AJ, Brian, Kevin, Nick and Howie made their grand entrance wearing their lovely sailor suits. They kinda goofed around a bit and played with some streamers. The highlight being when Nick accidentally shot one off backwards, right into AJ and himself. Kevin also shared that the pictures plastered around the ship, and seen in the banner hanging from the atrium was taken at Nick's wedding.

BSB during the sailaway party

During the sailaway party they also did a toast- to those who were going to be up late partying, no kids, and no sleeping this cruise. I also mentally added no work and no school to my toast. The boys made their way around the atrium mingling with fans. Pouring champagne into mouths and spraying us with champagne as well. Fortunately I was out of the splash zone.

I had a spot on the bottom level and was lucky to have 2 Backstreet Boys make their way in my general area. Brian was the first to slowly inch his way in my direction. I just kept hoping he'd continue towards me and not turn around, which he did! So I was able to snag a picture with Sailor Brian. Yayy!

Me and Brian
Why is it that Brian is always the first Backstreet Boy I get a picture with every year? I suppose its just because he's super awesome like that.

Nick was the next boy to head my way. He wasn't doing pictures but rather pouring champagne in fans' mouths. He literally ran out right in front of me. Though to be honest I was really okay with that. I didn't exactly want a bottle in my mouth that had already been in like 30 other mouths. 

That was pretty much the end of the sailaway party. Another great kickoff to what I knew would be a fabulous cruise.

BSB Loves the 90's Game Show
I was in group B, late dining, thus next on the to do list was the game show. I really loved this event, and thought it was quite well done. The basic format was trivia plus some funny challenges in between.

BSB doing the typical 90's pose
Some of my favorite moments:

  • Kevin coming to the epiphany that the categories have nothing to do with the corresponding questions
  • When the boys started getting really into singing Gangster's Paradise
  • Brian having too much fun with his buzzer and partner
  • AJ & Brian playing a noodle toss/catch game and all the sexual innuendos that came up as a result.
  • This conversation:
    Kevin - "Measure the thickness."
    Jen - "Only Nick Carter would say that."
    Nick - "That was Kevin!"
  • Kevin using 2 bottles worth of whipped cream to smash in a fans face
  • Kevin embracing the 90s with his hilarious dance moves
  • Brian's furby impression
  • The boys quoting Forrest Gump
  • Howie losing the game Simon after 3 rounds
  • AJ's story about his run-in with Leo DiCaprio (even though I've heard the song before) 
  • Nick sharing the fact that him and Brian used to play Mario Kart all the time back in the day (<3 Frick & Frack)
  • Nick reverting back to a boy playing Mario Kart crossed legged
  • AJ getting his butt kicked in Skip-It. To which Nick replies, "Really, AJ? What the f*ck man?" and Kevin chimed in "I think we can all agree AJ got his vagina kicked."

    AJ playing Skip It and the boys playing with a jump rope
  • All of the boys (sans Brian) trying to figure out how to do double dutch. I mean, was anyone else really shocked that Howie wouldnt be a jump rope pro?
  • Nick so eagerly chiming in to answer the villain in Ninja Turtles and seconds later realizing he can't remember his name
  • When Straight Through My Heart came on and Kevin blurted out this gem, "I know that shit. I did my homework. I watched youtube. I learned the words on youtube."
As much fun as the game itself was, I actually found watching the boys who weren't participating more entertaining. They were having WAY too much fun with all those toys on stage.

Nick and Howie playing with a water tube thingy

Nick and Kevin playing with the metal pin toy
Nick upset that the metal pin toy didn't hold the shape of his face

Brian being goofy
Not pictured:
  • Nick playing and chewing bubble gum tape
  • Nick playing with a slinky and wearing it as a bracelet
  • AJ trying to make a slinky go down stairs
  • Nick playing catch with fans 
So after the game show it was time for dinner. I had a lovely meal with a bunch of different friends so we decided to do a little "game" over dinner. We all went around and shared our favorite Backstreet memory. This ended up taking up a good chunk of our dinner and we had so much fun. I loved hearing everyone's different memories as well as sharing my own.

Also during dinner I decided to sneak out and do some merch shopping - where every year I willingly hand over an absurd amount of money on some overpriced BSB gear. But I just cant help myself.

Shopping with Rachel
Studio 54 Night

Oooh the first theme night. I was a little upset that they had to move this one indoors, but of course all I could do was make the best of it. So I put on my very un-disco themed outfit. I decided to go more typical 70s and I saw many other with the same exact outfit, which was no surprise considering I shopped at a Halloween shop.

My girls and I getting our disco on

I think these theme night can be summed up in just 2 words: funny accents. To be honest, really not a whole lot happened during this theme night because I think it was literally 2 minutes after they arrived that AJ said they want to come and hang with us. Which I'm certainly not complaining about!

My view of Kevin on the bar from above

Nick playing with bubbles
I was up on the second level and the majority of my evening was spent watching most of the Backstreet Boys visit all of the floors. At one point I was tempted to go upstairs to try to grab a picture with Nick, but I didn't feel like battling that herd of girls. So I was attempting to be patient and finally AJ visited our level. Yayy! Sometimes being patient pays off. I was getting more and more anxious as AJ made his way closer to me. Partly from AJ getting closer and partly because the mob of girls around me increased.

AJ finally made his way up to me and the first thing he does is grab his disco ball necklace, and touch it to my disco ball necklace and says, "Look our balls are touching." I had to pause for a moment, and I actually blurted out the exact thought that was running through my head, "Well that's a phrase I never thought I'd hear a Backstreet Boy say to me." He chuckled. I wish I was able to come up with a witty reply, but when does my brain ever function properly around AJ?

AJ and I <3
And that pretty much concluded my noteworthy moments of the day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Recap 2014: Day 1 (Part 1)

How I wish I could snap my fingers and be back to the morning of the cruise. But I suppose I'll settle for reliving it through my blog. So here goes...

I always like to arrive at the terminal pretty early, mainly because I can't sleep much anyway and I like to be there when the boys arrive. So my friends and I made our way to the terminal and waited in the chilly Florida rain.

Chrissy and I in the rain outside the terminal
As soon as they let us inside, we opened up our goody bags to find that they were doing a scavenger hunt this year. Well, I'm a fan of scavenger hunts, period. Let alone a Backstreet themed scavenger hunt with some really awesome Backstreet-themed prizes. So I was all over this like a fly on honey!

Scavenger Hunt Rules
After reading through the rules, I saw that you have to work together as a cabin and pick one of the boys to go after. Well, I was rooming with 2 Kevin girls, so there really wasn't much deciding that needed to be done haha. We knew we'd be going for Kev!

We waited, for what seemed like forever, for the boys to finally make their grand entry. I was not so patiently waiting for the elevators doors to finally open and reveal the 5 men I had been waiting to see. Of course the Carnival staff was having fun with us and kept popping out pretending to be the Backstreet Boys.

The boys finally arrived and we got our first taste of the the fun and screaming that was to ensue. Oh, and I totally had a fangirl moment when Nick walked by and grabbed my hand!

Me giving Nick a high-five of sorts

Kev arriving

Now it was time for us to board. Yippee!! I anxiously skipped up the gangway in anticipation of the 3 days ahead. I absolutely love that feeling of stepping on the ship for the first time, greeted by the big ole BSB welcome sign and the cardboard cut outs. Even Howie has fun with them!

"On board the BSB Cruise. Getting ready for a fun party weekend. Funning thing is one of the guys in the group looks like me. I think I'm better looking.... ;)" - Howie D

Things like this are why we love you, Howie. And I'm not even counting the fact that you just made up the word 'funning'.

Anyway, it really is like a kid walking into a candy store. I don't even know what to do first. I want to explore, eat, check out the cabin, catch up with friends, meet up with new friends, get my door decoration up, call my boyfriend back home before my cell service goes away, find the Backstreet Boys, watch Backstreet TV. The list is never-ending.

Scavenger Hunt
This year one of the first things I did after getting settled was play the scavenger hunt because I was just so excited!

Clue #1: Kevin may still think he is the captain from last years cruise, but he's not in charge of the Carnival Ectasy. Kevin left his Captain's hat from last year's cruise onboard and they sent it here for safe keeping. Go visit the Maitre'd and the hat could be near.
My roommates and I figured it had to be in one of the two main dining rooms. We probably spent a good 20 minutes looking through both of those dining rooms, asking clueless Carnival staff, prying open what I can only assume to be confidential cabinets, and scanning every possible area where this hat could possibly be hidden.

It was on our second visit back to the Wind Star dining room where I finally spotted that darn hat! I felt so stupid when we finally saw it, because we literally had to have walked past it like 15 times. In my defense, the white hat blended in very well with the table. Tucked under the hat was the next clue...

Clue #1: Kev's Captain Hat
Clue #2: Kevin hails from the state of Kentucky and is a huge supporter of the University of Kentucky teams. When trying to relax onboard you can find him wearing his UK Tshirt in the back of the ship which is the more SERENE area.
After a mistaken trip to the spa, we ran back the length of the ship to 'Serenity' and stood out there in the pouring rain trying to find our next clue. We scoured that tiny area for a good 15 minutes, at least, with no luck. I'm sure if any staff was watching us, they must've thought we were crazy, but I didn't care. We were on a mission. We tore up the area, searching every nook & cranny, and my roommate, Ana, finally found our next clue attached to a University of Kentucky t-shirt.

Clue #3: Kentucky might be one of Kevin's favorite places to be when he isn't grooming his eyebrows perfect for the fans to see. You're on vacation and deserve to be pampered too, maybe you need to schedule an appoint for an "updo" to look for the next clue. 
Kevin Clue #3
I barely had time to laugh at the eyebrow reference before we booked it over back to the spa, hoping to find our next clue. When we got there, lo and behold, Mr. Richardson was at the spa making an appointment! I actually thought that we had reached our grand prize- a spa session with Kev! Maybe he'd be giving us a facial or would we give him a seaweed wrap?! Ha, if only! But it turned out it was pure dumb luck that he was there as he quickly made his way in the spa....without us. *sad face* I have to admit though, I looked like an utter hot mess from running back and forth all over the ship, sweating profusely, and having been outside in the rain for 20 minutes. Seriously, I was quite the site. So it was probably for the best that he went on without us.

I was obviously distracted with Kevin in front of me, but not that distracted. We were still on a mission. I noticed one of the spa attendants putting together an envelope and sticking it on the wall. So I grabbed the envelope, which was hilariously taped to a pair of tweezers. I see what they did there....too funny!

Clue #4: Kevin tickled the ivories for all to hear on last year's cruise but did you know tequila is his favorite booze?!?! While he was in the middle of a piano recital he left his bottle so its location is vital. That is the last clue to find and that special time with Kevin where you can unwind awaits you.
Ana reading our 4th clue in the piano bar

Holy crap, we're actually almost done and actually doing well. I was so freakin excited and just going off of adrenaline at this point. Next we run to the piano bar and Ana spots a tiny bottle of tequila almost right away. Attached to the tequila was the following note....

We won!!!!
*Does happy dance* I'm in sheer shock and still don't believe we won!! So we make our way to the hospitality desk, and sure enough, they confirmed that we won. I wanted to jump behind the counter and hug the ladies!! Actually... I do think I hugged some Rose Tour staff at some point. And not only that, we were the first team to complete the scavenger hunt. I still can't believe it!

It's not a dream, we really did win!!
It probably took us an hour to complete the scavenger hunt. We were seriously on cloud 9! At this point I was pretty darn hungry, but still too excited to eat. I ran into a couple friends who were still working on the scavenger hunt, and because I had so much fun doing the Kevin one I jumped right in to help. My two roommates, Chrissy & Cory, from last year were working on the AJ scavenger hunt and were stumped on a clue that lead us back out in the rain on the pool deck. Since I was already wet, what's a little more rain? I helped them look for their final clue, and they both ended up winning 1x1 time with AJ. So happy for them!!

Chrissy & Cory winning the AJ prize
After helping the AJ duo, I ran into more friends working on Howie's scavenger hunt. So I figured I'd tag along on their adventures. Why, not? I helped Kristie & Callie for a little while, and they eventually won after hours of searching for their clues. I was equally excited for them as well. I'm planning to bribe them all to be guest bloggers so hopefully you can hear more about their experiences as well.

All the scavenger hunt excitement lasted several hours and when I finally stopped to take a breath, I heard my tummy grumbling. Thus I went to grab some lunch, and by the this point the lines had died down. Nothing eventful happened at lunch- no BSB sightings. Gosh, in what world is it considered a boring lunch if I don't see a Backstreet Boy?! But that's pretty much how it works on a BSB cruise.

Before the sailaway party, my roommates and I wanted to get our door decoration up, though we didn't have a whole lot of time. I already wrote a full post on our FRIENDS themed door. I wanted to thank everyone who came by our door and paid us such wonderful compliments. We are soooo incredibly happy that you all seemed to enjoy it. We heard a lot of giggling and many of you shared that you also told AJ that he had to come see our door. A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who told AJ about the door. I really appreciate!

Before I go on, I want to share my one and only goal/hope for this trip was that AJ would see our door. I didn't care about winning, didn't care about getting any pictures with the boys, didn't care about much else. This was my only hope. But it was still an incredibly tall order. Not to mention I was going against my own #1 advice- don't have any expectations or you'll leave disappointed. But I couldn't help myself as I really thought he'd appreciate it. Anyway, you'll hear more on my journey of getting AJ to see this door as the rest of my cruise adventure unfolds.......

Ana, me and Anne Marie attempting a selfie in front of our door

Monday, November 3, 2014

Recap: Pre-cruise 2014

I can't believe I'm writing my 4th cruise review. Even after the fourth time around, it still feels like such a surreal experience and it still hits me like its the first. It still stings to cut off the wristband and post-cruise depression seems to only get worse each subsequent time. But I want to focus on all the highlights of my trip, starting at the beginning...

Wednesday, Oct 22nd - Nick & Knight

As soon as I heard that Nick would be performing with Jordan a couple of days before the cruise, I knew I had to be there. It seemed silly NOT to go if I was going to be in Miami a couple of days later anyway. Right?! So I flew into Fort Lauderdale that morning and had an uneventful flight. Just savoring those last few minutes of peace and quiet before the craziness that I knew would ensue.

Sure enough, I had a mild panic attack in the cab as I realized I left my concert tickets at home. I couldn't believe it. Very unlike me to forget something so important. Of course my head isn't thinking straight, so I'm mentally preparing just to buy another pair of tickets when I get to the venue. Fortunately my level-headed roommate Ana suggested I call Ticketmaster....and luckily they were able to help. Phew! I just had to switch my tickets to print-on-demand. Crisis averted! But I did learn an important lesson in the process. Triple check that packing list before leaving. And when all else fails, call Ticketmaster ;)

With my freshly printed tickets in tow, we headed to the venue to find a line of girls already wrapped around the building. I was so happy to reunite as well as meet so many friends before any Backstreet events had even officially started. I just wish I could pause time and be able to chat with everyone, it was so hectic. But a good kind of hectic.

Lucy and I at Nick & Knight
The gang at Nick & Knight
Rebecca and I at Nick & Knight
Stephanie, me, and Jessica and Nick & Knight
Me and Jocelyn at Nick & Knight
I clearly killed a lot of time in line taking pictures ;) Once inside, the soundcheck party was a bit of a clusterfuck, but what else is new? I should've expected that with such an anticipated large crowd. I still had a lot of fun though.

Before the show I was being a total dork and tried to recreate Nick's selfie....
The show itself was excellent. I won't go into details, but I did get abnormally excited when Nick mentioned that this concert was the best pre-cruise party ever. Totally agree! Whether you're a fan of the newly formed duo or not (and to clarify, I am a huge fan!) I think the 2 have an undeniable chemistry and they're a lot of fun to watch on stage together.

Nick & Knight bromance

Thursday, Oct 23rd - Nick's Acoustic Dinner

I woke up to another rainy morning in Fort Lauderdale, which kind of put a damper on my plans for the day. I was hoping to relax by the pool or beach and maybe get in a little shopping. Instead I decided to tag along with a few of my girlfriends who were doing brunch with Jordan, and just find somewhere to eat nearby. Alas, I couldn't quite justify the $215 price tag for brunch with Jordan. But at least it'd get me out of the hotel.

We all pile into the van and head over to the W. Just as we were pulling in, I notice a suspiciously familiar blond leaving the hotel. Eeeek - a Nick siting! Our timing was almost perfect. I think if we were 30 seconds earlier we could have caught him before he got in the van, but I will gladly still take a glimpse. And I wasn't about to go bother him, as he was clearly headed somewhere. I honestly didn't think he'd be staying where Jordan's brunch was held, I figure he headed to Miami the night before. But certainly no complaints from me!

So while a bunch of my friends head off to their brunch with Jordan, Cory and I decide to do our own brunch next door. Same delicious food at a fraction of the cost. And over brunch we streamed 'I Heart Nick Carter' on our phone since we missed it the night before. We were as happy as clams. Not to mention we did get a few peeks of Jordan as well.

Me watching 'I Heart Nick Carter' over brunch
Nothing eventful happened for the next few hours, we just made our way to Miami. So I'll fast forward to Nick's acoustic dinner.

Nick's Acoustic Dinner

I had sooo much luck this cruise and it actually started with getting picked to ride in the Wylee hummer over to the Wylee party. The initial plan was to head to the Marriott and be among the first to get a ride to the Wylee party, stay there for an hour or so, and then head over to Nick's dinner. I was hopeful that Nick would be running on Backstreet time, which would allow me to do both. However I realized that I was being overly ambitious and I didn't want to be late for Nick's event. So incredibly reluctantly I decided to just go to Nick's event early and plop myself in line so I could get a good spot.

Turns out, I think I made the right decision as Brian's event was running on Backstreet time. I really didn't think he'd be in the hummer, but he did drive the first batch of girls over to the event. From what I hear from those who went to Brian's event- it was very crowded and the venue really wasn't set up for this type of event. Brian did do pictures with everyone, which I was upset to miss. But unfortunately I just wasn't able to be in two places at once. Hopefully if and when they do this again, they'll coordinate so we're not forced to choose.

Back at the Hard Rock, I was one of the first few in the venue and was able to get a front row spot up front. My hours of waiting paid off. The event was not quite as "intimate" as Nick described. There were easily over 200 fans there. They really didn't keep us waiting too long at all. Shortly after everyone was seated, the food was out and Nick arrived. Nick essentially made his way around the entire room, chatted with fans, and took pictures with everyone. I was too nervous to eat as I watched him slowly make his way around the room. You'd think I'd never met the man before with how nervous I was.

Nick managing to surprise me
Finally he inched his way closer to my table, but somehow he still managed to catch me off guard as he popped up around a giant pillar. He was very sweet, and surprisingly didn't rush us at all. My friend, Anne Marie, and I chatted with him for a couple of minutes. We mentioned that at Jordan's brunch that morning they discussed the idea of doing Nick & Knight on the cruise. Jordan seemed actually really into the idea, but his take was that Nick didn't think the boys would go for it. We told Nick we would've loved to see a Nick & Knight show at the brunch. We also spoke to him about what he was recording earlier that morning, and he told us it was hopefully going to be new Backstreet music that he would pitch to the other guys. I joked with him that he really doesn't waste any time. I would think he'd want to rest up before the cruise, but no, instead he goes into the studio with his free morning. Again, not that I'm complaining. After a little more banter, we snap our pictures.

Nick and I (with Eddie photobombing)
I had to laugh because he made his way around another table or two and then came back to us. He approached me again putting his arms out for a hug, and I had to gently remind him that we already met. I probably should've kept my mouth shut to get another picture....but I wanted to be fair about it. I did take a second hug though. If Nick Carter comes up to you with his arms out, can't turn that down! I'm only human after all.

After I got to chat with Nick, I actually ate some of my dinner and went to the bathroom before the show started. I came back to find that about 20 girls had shoved their way in front of my friends and I. I can't even begin to tell you how upset I was. I felt like everyone was behaving so well and we were all being so calm and respectful, up until that moment. I watched girls literally try to crawl over fans in wheelchairs. I was so appalled. And the fact that security was doing nothing and just watching it all happen. I tried so hard to stay in the moment and not let it get to me...but its hard not to. Okay, sorry for the rant, but sadly I think many of you can relate to that feeling.

My friends and I at Nick's dinner
Back on track to the happy stuff. Nick finally took stage and his set was incredible. He joked that this was the longest meet & greet he ever did, which I believe. He sang 7 songs- I Got You, QPG, Falling Down, IWITW, Help Me, Incomplete, and Halfway There. He sounded phenomenal, it was just him and his guitar. My personal favorite was Help Me, just because I haven't heard that song in the longest time. He shared that his favorite place to play is in dive bars. He also apologized for the rainy Florida weather. And he teased that fans gave him a hard time for chewing gum as he was walking around, but said he needed it because he had bad breath.

Nick performing Help Me

It felt like I blinked and the show was over. I could've sat there for another 5 hours listening to him sing, but it was probably for the best that the evening come to an end so I could get back to the hotel and get some sleep before the cruise. I knew we had a busy few days ahead of us!