Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Message from Carnival Entertainment Staff

"If you want to be crowned the perfect fan, you better quit playing games..."

Food and more Food...

One of my favorite things to do on board…eating. Here is a rundown of all your food options on board the Destiny with approximate times and locations.

Lido Buffet- Lido Deck, Deck 9. 7:00am-10:30am. Will typically have everything you could think of for breakfast from your normal continental breakfast foods to an omelet station. Note the hours. If you’re out late the night before its quite easy to sleep through breakfast.

Sit Down/Formal Breakfast- Universe, Deck 3. 8:00am-10am. Open seating and a notch above your lido buffet. May also offer foods such as eggs benedict.

Room Service: Your room! More limited selection, but available 24 hours a day and you can be served in your PJs.

Lido Buffet- Lido Deck, Deck 9. 12:00pm-2:30pm. Wide variety of foods usually with various different cuisines such as Italian or Chinese.

Grill- Lido Deck, Deck 9. 12:00pm-6:30pm. Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, veggies burgers, etc. Right outside by the pool.

New York Deli- Lido Deck, Deck 9. 11:00am-11:00pm. Also found in the buffet. You can do made to order hot and cold sandwiches.

Sit Down/Formal Lunch- Universe, Deck 3. 12:00pm-1:30pm. Open seating dining, typically with similar foods you’ll see on the buffet but just served to you.

Room Service- Your room. In case you don’t feel like being out and about, can you do lunch in your room as well.

Formal Dinner- Universe Deck 3 and 4. I believe we are all in the late seating which is at 8:15pm. 3 course meal, however they do allow some flexibility with what you order. You can order multiple starters or entrées if you desire, just ask. I've previously alluded to the chocolate melting cake, definitely try it once.

Buffet Dinner- Sun & Sea Restaurant Deck 9. 6:00pm-9:30pm. Typically same foods you’ll get in the dining room but in a buffet setting.

New York Deli- Still open from lunchtime.

Sushi Bar- Promenade, Deck 5. 5:00pm-8:15pm. Being the adventurous girl I am, the most I’ll grab here is a California roll. But a nice appetizer to hold you over to dinner if you get hungry.

Room Service- Its 24 hours so guess what, you can have dinner in your room as well!

Pizza Bar- Sun & Sea Restaurant Deck 9. Open 24 hours just in case you want some pepperoni pizza at 4 in the morning.

Late Night Snacks- Sun & Sea Restaurant Deck 9. 11:30pm-1:00am. If you’re still hungry from not getting enough food from the previous 14 options…

Coffee, tea, and ice cream- Sun & Sea Restaurant Deck 9. Open 24 hours.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What to Expect with Embarkation

This list is a collaboration from myself and Chrissy. I think between the 2 of us we covered most everything...I hope!

  • Get there early! While the ship will not leave until later that afternoon, often times they will let us on board as early as 11. Today for example, my brother indicated the passengers boarded at 11:15.
  • Cannot officially begin until ship is clear of departing passengers. The timing we board all depends on this.
  • Very similar to an airport in terms of security and documentation procedures. Not nearly as strict though with limitations on liquids and such though.
  • You'll want to decide whether or not you want to check your luggage or if you'd rather carry them on yourself. You either carry your bags around for a few hours until they let you to the room, or risk not seeing your bags until later that evening. I usually opt for carrying on, but thats just my personal preference.
  • If you do decide to check your bags, the first people that you will encounter at the pier is baggage handlers or porters to carry your checked luggage to appropriate place. These are not cruise line employees and the do expect a tip ($1-$2 per suitcase). Be sure the ship’s luggage tags are securely fastened before handing them over.
  • Once inside the terminal you might encounter a check in line.
  • You will be asked to produce documents and any forms that were sent to complete ahead of time or a printed copy of those forms filled out online. You'll need proof of citizenship and a credit card or cash deposit for Sign and Sail Card.
  • You will be issued your Sign and Sail card - this is your boarding card that doubles as a stateroom key and ship board charge card.
  • Health forms-You are required to fill out health forms during the embarkation process before they give you your room key. You will basically have to check a box that says that you haven’t been sick or been near anyone sick in the past week. They take this very seriously, as every once in a while you hear of a cruise that was infected with the norovirus. While I don't want to condone lying on this....I would highly recommend you say you're healthy unless you truly are sick with something contagious. Last cruise I went on, my friend checked the unhealthy box because she had a mild cough the prior week. We ended up waiting a few hours in the port for the nurse come to look at her, while everyone else went on board. Not ideal. My brother also told me that one time their featured comedian indicated he was sick on this form, and after the nurse checked him out they wouldn't let him on the ship. So they didn't have an entertainer that night lol. Im just saying, check that box with caution as they may not let you on the ship. Let’s hope one of the Backstreet Boys isn’t sick!
  • You may have to wait in line for all of patient! Which also goes back to tip 1, which is why I recommend getting there early.
  • Once you’re all checked in, you’re given a group number which is the order in which you will board, and you basically sit in this large room waiting to get on as they call off numbers.
  • Finally the anticipated moment has arrived- they call your number and you're ready to board!! You will pose for an embarkation picture taken by cruise photographers - no obligation to purchase.
  • One more picture, but this time for the security officer. This is a digital image linked to your Sign and Sail card. That way whenever you enter or leave the ship, they know its you.
  • There will be restricted access to cabins until a specified time so I refer you to my previous post on 'What to do First on the Ship'

Cruise Concert

One of the things I’m most looking forward about this cruise is the concert!

At this point, we unfortunately don’t have too much information about it. I would love to see the ‘This is Us’ tour again, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing something new. However if I had to guess, I would assume they would do some iteration of the This is Us show. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to come up with all new dance routines etc. As I said, I'd be thrilled to see 'This is Us' again because that means we get an appearance from Prince Brian lol.

On a semi-related thought, I'm very interested to see how they handle performing on a moving ship because the regular cruise dancers have learned to work while encountering rough seas. Not that I expect crazy seas, but sometimes it enough to make me sway just sitting in my seat, let alone dancing. Hopefully it won't be an issue.

So what I CAN tell you is that the concert will take place in the Palladium Lounge and supposedly we have assigned seats. The first 6 rows will be going to those who purchased suites, followed up by reservation numbers in order. From what I understand, reservation numbers start at 1000 and go up from there. Keeping in mind that there may be multiple people per reservation number, and that people could have since canceled. Either way it could shift your spot in the lounge for the better or worse. I'm just happy we do have assigned seats to avoid waiting for a good spot the whole day. I'll already be doing that for the acoustic show anyway :)

I’m very fortunate with a reservation number of 1007! Woot Woot! Thus I’m anticipating being in the 7th row. I asked my bro to take a picture of my view:

While not front row, I certainly can’t complain. My ultimate goal is to be front row at one of their shows, not necessarily on the cruise though. I’ve been close, but can’t say I’ve obtained those elusive front row tickets yet.

Hopefully we'll get some more info soon!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cruise Fan Map

If you haven't already done so- check out the Backstreet cruise fan map and add yourself!

Fun Times

I asked my brother if he had any tips for cruisers. His only tip was to read the Fun Times. Thus I thought I would do a post about just that.

What is the Fun Times?

The Fun Times is a daily itinerary Carnival offers that includes all important information about the ship and current activities for the day.

Where can you find the Fun Times?

It can be found at the concierge desk in the main atrium, in most of the lounges, or it will be delivered to your stateroom every night.

What kind of information can be found in the Fun Times?

Today's Top Ten- A list of the top 10 activities going on that day on board.

Get Your Groove On- A list of all the places and times you will find live music. And we get to have the Backstreet Boys added to this section!

Hit the Jackpot- Highlights any gambling events such as a poker tournament or special prizes in the casino.

Carnival Youth Experience- If you're bringing kids, this will provide a snapshot of their activities.

Get in on the Act- As the name suggests, this will identify activites that you can participate in such as a scavenger hunt.

Plan on It - For you organized cruisers, this sections includes all the important locations on board where you can make reservations whether it be the shore excursion desk or the spa.

Shop to It- Like shopping? This will point out all shopping opportunities, specials, hours, and locations.

For Your Information- More key information which will have details about the medical center, guest services, smoking areas, deck chairs, cell phone service, internet access etc.

Open Times- Consolidated list of all the key areas on the ship with their respective hours of operation

All Kinds of Deliciousness- My personal favorite section of the Fun Times. All your dining options! And what makes this section better is that its a half a page long.

Have a Great Time- My other favorite section because it provides a list of ALL the activities for the day. I always take a look at this and plan out what I'd like to do.

Roommates from Match Progam Announced

I'm in the roommate match program as I was unable to convince any of my friends to come on the cruise with me... and I just received an email from Rose Tours of my future roommate. I actually wasn't expecting this for another few weeks so I'm pleasantly surprised to be receiving the email today. I'm so excited that the cruise is getting closer and and I can finally start coordinating my door decorations!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Message from Carnival Destiny Staff to Fans

Hey guys and gals. My brother works on board the Carnival Destiny and wanted me to pass along the following message from their entertainment department, not sure what it means yet... He won't tell me anything!

“If you want to be crowned the Perfect Fan, you better start studying…”

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Few Random Tidbits from my Brother

There is no repeat cruisers party on the 4 day sailing. However there is a fun farewell party which is basically the same thing (free drinks)

If you’re interested in singing BSB for karaoke, sounds like they have a few options. “They do have lots of bsb songs to sing. Basically, all of chapter 1. Other than that, they have Do I Have To Cry For You, 10,000 Promises, Get Down, Anywhere for You, Don’t Leave Me, If I Don’t Have You That’s The Way I Like It. Nothing from last 3 albums… If u bring your own karaoke CDs, we can play them (as long as the karaoke host is cool with it). "

There are 1373 seats in the main lounge. Just in case you were wondering.

Here is a picture from the lido deck: I'm loving the huge screen!

Packing List

Packing List- This includes slight input from myself but mostly thanks to Chrissy for putting this together!

  • Casual wear for 4 days
  • Pair of clothes for travel on the 13th- Many just wear the same outfit they traveled to Miami in. Remember that you may have gained weight over the four day cruise from all of the eating so pack for comfort!
  • An outfit for Formal night in the dining room. According to the Carnival Website, the following is allowed for the Cruise Elegant Dining Dress Code: “Ladies - Cocktail dresses, pantsuits, elegant skirts and blouses; if you‘d like to show off your evening gowns, that's great too! Not permitted in the dining room during the Cruise Elegant dinner for ladies and gentlemen: shorts, gym shorts, T-shirts, beach flip-flops, bathing suit attire, jeans, cut-off jeans, sleeveless shirts for men, sportswear, and baseball hats.”
  • Dinner wear for 3 non-formal nights in the dining room that are business casual. According to the Carnival website, the following is allowed for the Cruise Casual Dining Dress Code: “Casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, Capri pants, dress shorts, jeans (no cut-offs). Not permitted in the dining room during the Cruise Casual dinner for ladies and gentlemen: shorts, gym shorts, basketball shorts, beach flip-flops, bathing suit attire, cut-off jeans, sleeveless shirts for men and baseball hats. For those who want casual attire for dinner time, the Lido Restaurant is open nightly, and has a more relaxed theme. However, shirts and shoes/footwear (flip-flops) must be worn at all times inside the Lido Restaurant.”
  • Themed outfits - try to use outfits you can wear at other points in the trip (ex. use your masquerade outfit for the formal dining night) one will notice or cares if you wear the same outfit for more than one occasion.
  • Workout clothes - in case you decide to use the you decide to you the gym facilities aboard
  • Dress shoes. I suggest a versatile pair that can go with your formal wear, as well as your outfits for the other dinner nights. Also remember that the ship is a moving object so high heels are probably not very practical. it would be very easy to roll an ankle.
  • Pajamas
  • Sweater, shawl, or wrap. It can get windy on the ship and the air conditioning tends to be cold in places like the dining room.
  • Flip flops
  • Bathing suit/coverup- Many recommend that you take 2 because one may not dry overnight.
  • Tennis shoes and socks. This is more if you will be doing any excursions/shopping that includes a lot of walking/hiking/climbing. Also good in case you would like to use the gym facilities on board.
  • Under garments - bras and underwear. Some cruisers like to take their worn undergarments so that when they are done with them they can just toss them at the end of the cruise and not have to worry about packing them for the trip home. This allows for more room for souvenirs on their return trip.

  • Accessories/jewelry. Again, versatility is the key.
  • Sunglasses
  • Reading glasses/Contacts/Contact Supplies
  • Hair ties and hair accessories- It gets very windy so bring a lot of these!
  • Sun hat, but make sure it fits tight or ties can be windy when your ship is moving.
  • Ear plugs, it helps with blocking out the folks who forget how much voices travel down the hall at 3 am.
  • Cheap rain ponchos or small umbrella- Always bring along when in port, even if it is sunny when you leave the ship. The weather can change very quickly especially in the Caribbean.
  • A waterproof case, that will go around your neck and will hold your ID, cruise card, credit card etc. while swimming/snorkeling in port.
  • Money belt for excursions – these are often worn under the clothes to prevent your items from being noticed and stolen
  • Lanyard - some people punch a whole in their Sign and Sail card and wear it on a lanyard for easy carrying and access
  • Little purse/bag to carry around ship and to dinner
  • Beach bag/tote- For excursions or carrying home souvenirs on your return trip
  • Watch - wear around the ship and during excursions

Personal Care
  • Makeup - Makeup remover, eye shadow, mascara, powder, blush, lipstick/lip gloss, chap stick, cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • First Aid Kit – There is a nurse on board but it can’t hurt to throw in some of the basics such aspirin, bandaids, anti-nausea medicine, seasickness remedy
  • Medication
  • Hair care - shampoo, conditioner (cruise will supply both but hotel quality), hair spray, brush or comb, hair dryer (there will be one in the room but some prefer their own), curling iron, hair straightener
  • Dental Care - toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash, gum/mints
  • Feminine products
  • Safety pins
  • Lotion/Moisturizer
  • Perfume
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen - Bring more sunscreen than you think you will need and a higher SPF. If you are from a northern climate you'll be surprised how fast you burn in the Caribbean sun. Spray on is worth the extra money because you have to re-apply it often. it may be good to have a small travel size in your carry on and a regular size in your checked luggage.
  • Aloe Vera - in case you do happen to get a sun burn
  • Soap or body wash - will supply soap in the room but is of hotel quality
  • Antibacterial spray or wipes - some like to disinfect their state room upon entering- though they have plenty of this located around the ship.
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Manicure set
  • Bug spray - some excursions may be swarming with mosquitos (I’ve heard particularly the Mayan Ruins and things of that nature...)
  • Laundry Care- I never do laundry on board, but the facilities are available. Maybe a better option is a tide pen or shout wipes.

  • Travel speakers - jam to favorite tunes on iPod while getting ready in cabin
  • Walkie talkies - keep in touch with those in your party to set up meeting times, etc.
  • Travel clock (there is no clock in the state room) - because of the limited amount of outlets, probably battery operated, with extra batteries
  • Small flashlight or nightlight (the staterooms, especially interior cabins can be extremely dark at night)
  • Camera and camera supplies (batteries, battery charger, extra memory cards, USB cord if downloading while on the trip)
  • Waterproof camera (you can get cheap disposable ones at wal-mart but get before the trip as they are cheaper)
  • Video camera and supplies (batteries, battery charger, extra tapes/memory, USB cord)
  • Laptop and power cord
  • Personal DVD player - some need this to sleep. others just like having it to watch.
  • iPod with charger and earphones
  • Personal gaming device (i.e. Nintendo D.S.) for beach and flights
  • Cell phone and charger - if you will be using your cell phone aboard the ship
  • Plug adaptors if from outside of the United States

Documents/Don’t Leave Home Without
  • Money including small bills ($1) for extra tipping not included in the cruise price
  • Credit card or debit card
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Travel documents/tickets-
  • Flight confirmation
  • Hotel conformation
  • Cruise/Rose Tours conformation
  • Car rental conformation (if applicable)
  • Acoustic Show Tickets (if applicable)
  • Beach Party confirmation (if applicable)
  • Travel Insurance documentation (if applicable)
  • Passport or certified birth certificate and license
  • Maps/Directions in Miami- if you may be renting a car
  • Copies of travel documents – If you want to be super safe, one to keep in safe and the other to give to someone back home
  • Contact info for travel mates
  • House and car keys

Helpful for Excursion/Flight/Socializing on Ship
  • Books/magazines/puzzle books for beach and flights
  • Notebook and pen (jot down the names of your dinner mates, waiter, bartender, room steward, new friends, etc. jot down memories of the trip as they happen)
  • Highlighter - to mark the events you would like to do in “The Fun Times”
  • Post its or small dry erase board (with either pen or dry erase markers depending on what you decide to bring) - leave notes on your door for friends or on friends doors to set up meeting times/places
  • $3 blow up water float - perfect for those beach days (instead of paying $10-15 to rent one)
  • Travel dictionary for foreign languages - may want to use in Cozumel or if you are coming from another country and need an English dictionary
  • Business cards - to exchange contact information with your new friends
  • You don't need to pack beach towels - they are provided. You can take the beach towels off the ship for excursions but you much bring them back or else you will be charged.

Drink Related
  • Insulated mug or water bottle (the glasses on board are small. this will allow you to also keep your drinks colder throughout day)
  • Wine/champagne - Guests, 21 years of age and older, may bring one bottle (750ml) of wine or champagne, per person, only in their carry-on luggage.
  • Corkscrew- If you bring wine, bring a cheap corkscrew to open the bottle. Otherwise you will have to pay a corkage fee.
  • Crystal Light/Koolaid packets - some people are very particular about the taste of their tap water so they like to have these. The water is perfectly safe to drink aboard the ship.
  • Carry on non-alcoholic beverages (i.e. soda, water, juice)

BSB Related
  • Door decoration materials- scissors, tape, glue, tape measure, ruler, decorations itself
  • CDs or music on iPod
  • Something that you wouldn’t mind being autographed and a sharpie

  • Duct tape or sports tape - luggage repair, securing luggage, easy to spot luggage if wrapped around handle, serve as luggage tag and strap, easy to tear by hand, repairs in cabin until help arrives, keep sun out by taping curtains, tape an unraveling hem, secure lids, secure drawers when ship is rolling, instead of taking a whole role, teach a few strips and put on the inside of your luggage...remove when needed
  • Cable ties to secure luggage
  • Air freshener for bathroom - the bathroom is small and you are in cramped quarters for 4 days. The toilet is also known to clog up frequently.
  • Ziploc bags - various uses: wet clothes, liquid containers, etc.
  • Small pair of binoculars - use while on nature based excursions, when coming into ports, etc.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Watching Your Weight on the Cruise

As I’m struggling to lose these last 10 pounds before we set sail, I thought it would be a good time to do a post on how to watch your weight on the cruise. It can be quite difficult to make healthy decisions; after all, you’re on vacation and want to have a good time. However by making a few healthier choices, it will help ease that inevitable regret once you get home.

I like to take advantage of the beautiful view and fresh air by going for a jog on the promenade deck. By jog, I really mean a brisk walk, but in my head it still counts. I would recommend going as the sunsets because not only will it be a little cooler but also because of the breathtaking view. If you’re more ambitious than I, perhaps you can go for the sunrise as well.

Rather than eating all of your meals at the buffet, try going to the main dining room instead. This will help with portion control since it’s not quite as extensive as the buffet. The other benefit of eating at the main dining room is that you will be eating slower as your meals are served in courses. This will cause you to feel fuller more quickly, and thus eat less. There will also be healthy options on the menu that are designated by a Spa Carnival symbol, which are lower in calories and fat. Check out more on special diets on the Carnival website.

Try grabbing some fruit for dessert to satisfy that sweet craving. There is so much fresh fruit available that it becomes a much easier choice to make. Though I must admit, the chocolate melting cake is to die for, so I recommend indulging at least once on that :)

The main problem that I face is that there is so much food available everywhere you turn, and all day long. While I don’t advise eating 6 meals a day, grabbing a light snack of fruit or yogurt before a larger meal will prevent you from overeating at that meal. Better to fill up on something healthy.

If you go to the buffet, scope out the entire room first and then decide what you want. I then like to grab a dessert plate because they are smaller, and thus I will put less food on them. And don’t forget to put some veggies on the plate!

Cruises generally have really nice gym facilities and a plethora of classes to take. I like trying a new class that I generally can’t do at home. It’s a great way to try something different and keep the workout fresh.

My motto on a cruise or outside of one is that I would I would rather eat my calories than drink them. Thus the majority of what I drink is water and the occasional lemonade. All those sodas and cocktails will add up on the calorie count and you won’t even realize it.

If all else fails, maybe the idea of running into a Backstreet Boy at the gym and watching him lift weights will get me motivated enough to actually work out... Yup that will do the trick.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update from the Destiny: Engines Down!

I spoke to my brother earlier today and apparently an engine or something broke last night at 8pm. It caused massive delays for the cruise this morning. While they were supposed to get in around 7 am, the passengers did not get off until noon. So you can imagine everyone's flights got messed and they were scrambling this morning trying to get flights reschedule. Not to mention the next cruise was very late embarking.

At this point, he doesn't know yet what is going to happen. He said the ship was still moving but at half speed so he anticipates the next cruise to have itinerary changes. He also speculated that if they cant fix it, they may need to cancel a cruise and drydock for repairs. But again, this is just his speculation, and he is by no means an engineer. I just hope everything gets resolved before December 9th! I will keep you posted as I hear more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Acoustic Show in Miami

300 lucky fans, myself included, will be attending the acoustic show in Miami the night before the cruise on December 8th. I’ve never been to an acoustic show or such an intimate fan event before so I’m very excited. I was also lucky enough to get the meet and greet option, which will be my first time meeting them (except Howie) Here is the announcement from the fan club in case you missed it:


Miami Acoustic Fan Event

The long-awaited Miami Fan Event is finally going to happen on Wednesday, December 8th at the Byron Carlyle Theater in Miami Beach!!! You heard it here first!
For those of you who attended the Napa Fan Event or the NYC Fan Event earlier this year, this Acoustic Fan Event is going to be the Miami equivalent of those shows. There will be an intimate, acoustic performance from the guys, a Q&A, and last but not least, a M&G and group photo taken.
This event will go on sale on Friday, October 1st at 10am PST to Fan Club members only. This is a LIMITED SEATING event, so act fast.
Tickets will be $199 which includes all of the above (performance, Q&A, M&G etc). This is a General Admission Event.


The Byron Carlyle theater is located at
500 71st St., Miami Beach, FL 33140

I went to Miami taxi fare finder and if you are staying at the Holiday Inn- you can expect around a $32 cab ride. If you are staying at the Marriott- you can expect about a $30 cab ride. If you happen to be renting a car (which I'll be doing) parking is free after 6:00.

Waiting in Line
Good ole general admission....always translates into lots of waiting around. I anticipate the lines will form early, but it also sounds like there are many who are going to forgo waiting in line to explore Miami. The venue is small, so all seats will be good, however there isn't much in Miami that I particularly wanted to do. So I will probably head to the venue once I get settled into the hotel and grab a bite to eat. I'm also looking forward to meeting people and line and getting to know my roommates better before the event.

The Fun Part
While the email doesn’t give too many specifics, I’ve spoken to a few girls who attended the New York acoustic show and they gave me a better sense of what to expect. While we are not guaranteed the events will be identical, it should give us a good sense.

I was actually surprised to hear that the fans were quite cordial, perhaps because it is such a small venue. Let’s hope this will be true of the Miami event as well. I was also told that there was no opening act, and when they came out (on Backstreet time of course) they would alternate between songs and taking questions from the audience. Each guy would then select someone at random from the audience to take a question.

After the concert portion, those girls who had the meet and greet option were given a special bracelet and would get in line for the pictures. As they made their way through the line, the security guards would then collect the bracelet so that you couldn’t get back in line for another picture. I also gathered that security complicated things by throwing extra people into pictures at the last minute. I’ve already spoken to the girls I’m rooming with we’ve established who we each want to stand next to. But I’m also going in with the mindset that we’ll need to stay flexible.

Then arrives the moment I’ve been waiting for…for a good 10 years…finally being able to meet the Backstreet Boys! I’m so excited at the thought that these next 48 days can’t go by fast enough. A few tips and things to expect:
  • Plan out your entire outfit. The pictures will be full body shots so keep this in mind when deciding what to wear.
  • If you plan on getting in line early, you may want to bring a change of clothes. That way you can wear something comfortable in line and not risk ruining your outfit by getting it dirty before the concert
  • Supposedly you get hugs from all of the guys *sigh* Let’s hope they do this in Miami.
  • Think about what you want to say. Again, I’ve had 10 years to think, so let’s hope I don’t mess this up. I was also told that you have to be slightly assertive on this, as the guys will not strike up a conversation with you. But if you make the effort, you will get your small amount of time.
Does anyone else have any tips that have met them before?

What to do First on the Ship

It can be quite overwhelming to step onto a cruise ship, particularly if it’s your first time. Meanwhile, you won’t be able to go to your cabin right away. The cabin stewards are still getting your room turned over from the prior cruise that just left a few hours before. Definitely keep this in mind when deciding whether or not you want to check your luggage or carry it on with you. So you can either lug your bags around for a few hours, or risk not getting them until several hours later. But seeing as you can’t go to your room, here are a few things that I like to do when I first get on board until they let us to the cabins:

  1. Breathe a sigh of relief. All of the planning and traveling is done so start the festivities by grabbing a pretty drink with an umbrella and let the vacation begin!

  2. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be hungry if you’ve been waiting in the terminal for a while. Why not grab either a quick bite to eat at the buffet or make your way to the main dining room and enjoy your first meal. Just remember that you will not be the only one with this mindset, thus I can guarantee the buffet will be crowded. Make sure you scope out a table with your friends BEFORE you go get your food. Otherwise it can get quite chaotic. This first meal will be the most crowded, but it should only get better after that.

  3. Make your way to the concierge desk in the main lobby or a lounge and grab your copy of the Fun Times, Carnival’s itinerary of activities for the day. You can figure out what you want to do for the rest of the day and ensure you don’t miss out on any fun activities!

  4. While you’re still in the main lobby, you may want to check out the excursion desk and book any excursions if you haven’t already done so. Depending on what you had in mind, your chosen excursion may fill up quickly, so it’s best to book early. However if you still haven’t decided, you may want to hold off as they will likely have an excursion talk which you can attend and ask questions.

  5. Ok, so you had lunch and figured out what you want to do for the rest of the day, but since you still can’t get to your cabin- why not take a tour of the ship? You can either go exploring on your own, or participate in an organized tour. Carnival will typically offer tours of the ship, which is a good opportunity to see all of the ships highlights.

  6. While you’re making your way around the ship, be sure to check out the spa/gym and see if there are any treatments/classes you may be interested in. The popular time spots (ie before dinner on formal night) and popular classes will fill up. So if you wanted to get your hair done for masquerade night, I’d recommend you book early.

  7. When you hit the main dining room, check out that night’s dinner menu. Maybe it’s because all I can think of is food…but I actually like to do this every day. Knowing that I’m having prime rib for dinner will keep me in check the rest of the day. Now I’m not sure if we will have assigned seats for the BSB cruise or if its open seating. From what I understand, I just know we all have late seating. If we do have assigned seats, you may want to scope out your table so you know where to go later that evening. Otherwise it can be chaotic having 1,200 people not knowing where they’re going. I also like to check out my table in the rare event that the location or table size isn’t what I wanted. You can always speak to the maitre’ d and put in a request for a seat change. This is also a good opportunity to speak to the maitre’ d if you have any dietary restrictions.

  8. While the shops and casinos are typically closed until later that evening, you may want to take advantage of the fact that all of the children’s areas are open to adults those first few hours. If you are bringing children or are considering taking them on a future cruise- swing by Circle "C", Club02, or Camp Carnival depending on your child’s age. You can get a sense of all the activities that are available and more specifics on the programs. Or you could not have kids, like myself, and just like exploring. Word of caution- luckily the ships designers are aware that not everyone wants to be around children on the cruise so these areas are typically tucked away in more remote parts of the ship and can be tricky to get to.

  9. Get in those last few phone calls before we set sail. Your phone should still be fine when we’re at port, though don’t quote me on this. I just know my brother will always call me from Miami on the ship. And since I get those phone bills, I can be pretty sure there are no roaming fees, just bad reception when he is on the lower decks.

Hopefully by you the time you get through all of this, the cabins will be open. If not…you can always try sneaking in ;)

Beach Party in Cozumel

While I realize they announced this beach party a while ago, here is the email that we received from Rose Tours and my thoughts on the matter:

Beach Party in Cozumel - Playa Mia Beach Resort

Reservations are now being accepted for the Backstreet Boys Cozumel Beach Party Shore Excursion on Saturday December 11, 2010. All Backstreet Boys Cruise Passengers who booked through Rose Tours are welcome to join.


Enjoy a Four-hour party including a DJ and appearance of the Backstreet Boys at the Playa Mia Beach Resort! The Beach Excursion will include an unlimited domestic open bar including Draft Beer, Purified bottled water, Soft drinks, Tequila, Mezcal, Brandy, Rum, Vodka, Rum Punch, Margaritas, Pina Colada and assorted flavor Daiquiris. You will also enjoy a delicious International Buffet which will include a menu of Grilled Chicken breast, Pork loin in mushroom sauce, Fish Filet, Fettuccine Alfredo, Rice with fried bananas, Cesar Salad, Guacamole, a variety of Desserts and MORE! You can eat, dance, swim and relax on a sun chair enjoying the beautiful beach! We will even have special beach games available in which you can participate. Your beach party will include round trip transportation from the ship to the beach resort, Buffet, Domestic open bar and beach activities.

The price of the Beach Party is $119.00 per person and will be charged at time of booking. This charge will appear as Rose Tours & Travel. If you are interested in attending, please follow the link below and submit your reservation now as space is limited. (RAIN OR SHINE)

Final payment for your cruise will be charged by Carnival Cruise Line the week of 10/1/10. It will be billed to the card you have on file There is nothing that you need to do.

Your Documents will be emailed to the email address on your reservation approximately 2 weeks prior to departure.

You will be able to pick up your beach party tickets on Thursday December 9th at the Hospitality Desk in the Universe Dining Room between 1:00PM - 4:00PM.

*Questions, please call Rose Tours at (888) 491-7673 or (215) 663-8800.

Playa Mia

I know there was a lot of controversy over this activity. There seems to be a pretty even split on those that think we shouldn’t be charged for this, and those who don’t mind shelling out the extra money. I fall into the latter category. While I fully understand why people would be upset over this, I see it as an excursion that just so happens to be with the Backstreet Boys. All excursions on a cruise cost extra and I don’t see why this should be any different. I booked this in about the first 20 seconds after receiving the email and don’t have any second thoughts.

My only slight concern is over the phrasing “appearance of the Backstreet Boys”. I’ve attended events in the past that promised this ‘appearance of the Backstreet Boys’ and unfortunately I left quite disappointed. I think 15 minutes of time from AJ and Howie just about barely qualifies as an appearance by the Backstreet Boys. So while I’m hopeful that this will not be the case for the beach party, I’m trying to go in with realistic expectations. I anticipate having a great time with my friends on the beach with the idea that I will hopefully at least see the guys. I don’t, however, expect that Nick will be rubbing suntan lotion on my back while Brian serves me a pina colada. Though that certainly is a nice thought

12 Tips for Savings Money on the Cruise

Every time you turn around on a cruise, they are trying to charge you for something. I’m the first to admit that I’m pretty careful with my money… But I look at it this way, All those extra little savings add up to another trip that I could take! So I’ve compiled a list of a few ways to save some extra money. Feel free to add any of your own:
  1. If you do drink soda, purchase a soda card at the beginning of the trip. It will pay for itself very quickly, and it is not worth charging each individual drink. Not to mention it will save you time because you don’t have to sign for the drink every time, you just show them your card. Now if you want to go that extra could probably get away with sharing a soda card with your friend. I'm just throwing the idea out there, not necessarily advocating it. I've never done it, but I know people who have.

  2. Even better, enjoy the free drinks that Carnival will offer. They provide free lemonade, water, iced tea, coffee, hot chocolate and tea all day long. They will also have juice and milk at breakfast. Not only will this save you money, but calories if you’re watching your weight.

  3. Alcohol can obviously be a major expense for those who drink. Take advantage of the fact that Carnival allows you to bring 1 bottle of wine on board. Just don’t forget to bring a corkscrew, or they will charge you a corkage fee in the dining room. I’d also recommend to take advantage of events on board that offer free alcohol. Ex- repeat cruisers party or the final farewell reception. Still not enough? You can always try sneaking some hard alcohol on as long as you put it in a plastic bottle. My dad recommends a Snapple bottle for just such an occasion. But do this at your own risk.

  4. Oh the spa…it can be so tempting when you smell the eucalyptus and see the soothing treatments they have to offer. If you do decide to indulge, I would advise to book your appointment on a day where we are in port. Since the ship will be empty, the spa generally has better deals/discounts in order to get you in the door.

  5. It can be tough going without internet and being disconnected from the world for several days. You can visit the internet café on board, but it will cost you an arm and a leg. Not to mention, the connection will likely be slower than what you're used to. I would recommend you either observe or ask a crew member what they do for internet. You have to remember that crew members are away from home and a good internet connection for 6 months on end and I can guarantee that they do not pay $.75 a minute to check facebook, nor should you. Crew members will have the best insight into where you can access free and/or cheap internet.

  6. Personally I’m not a big gambler. They have a casino on board and will also offer bingo at a price. If you’re in it for the big pay off, good luck to you! If you just like playing the games like myself, Carnival offers many other free games activities. If you’re lucky, you may even win your very own ship on a stick!

  7. There are specialty restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops on board that will charge you extra. I would recommend you skip the fancy stuff, and enjoy all the complimentary food and drinks they have to offer. I’ve found that they will try to charge you for specialty ice cream, but they usually have a free ice cream bar hidden somewhere on the lido deck in the late afternoon. Trust me, you won’t be going hungry, so you may as well save the extra few bucks in the process.

  8. Kind of an obvious one, but take your own digital camera. Carnival has lots of professional photographers on board to try and sell you pictures at an outrageously high cost. So while you may not get the same backdrop and fancy lighting, your wallet will thank you later.

  9. Set limits for yourself and be cognizant of what you’re spending. Since everything gets charged to your room key, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re spending and you can easily go over budget. Check your account balance either in your stateroom or with the concierge so that you are careful not to overspend.

  10. Excursions are another big moneymaker for the cruise line. For me personally, I skip on the excursions. Not only do I save the money, but I enjoy exploring the ports on my own and at my own pace. Plus I can get back to the ship early and enjoy the fact that it is a lot less crowded so you have everything to yourself.

  11. Take advantage of the free classes Carnival offers. They will offer certain select exercise classes at a premium, but they also offer plenty of free ones. No need to spend the extra money in my opinion. Or even better, you can run around the promenade or jogging decks, and get some fresh sea air. Nothing like a jog and watching the sunrise over the water.

  12. Be very careful with your cell phone. If you plan on using your phone at all, contact your carrier before you leave and understand the costs associated with traveling in the Caribbean. You always hear horror stories of unsuspecting travelers who receive these outrageous bills. To make it easy, I just turn my phone off for the whole trip. Truthfully, I find it quite a relief!
While you may not want to follow every one of these tips, I think it’s helpful before you leave to establish what you want to splurge on. I know on the BSB cruise, I’ll probably splurge on any Backstreet souvenirs if they have any. What can I say…its my one weakness.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Door Decoration Contest

Also recently announced is the door decorating contest:


Want a chance to prove you are the most creative Backstreet Boys fan onboard the cruise this December? Well, this is it! We’re announcing the OFFICIAL BACKSTREET BOYS CRUISE CABIN DOOR DECORATING CONTEST! All you have to do is have the best decorated door on the cruise!

Get together with your cabin mates and show off your BSB Pride! You can use photos, letters, poems, keepsakes, banners, streamers, glitter, whatever fits on the door to make yours stand out! Use your imagination and design the door that everyone wants to see! Best-decorated door will win a fabulous prize.

*The cabin door is 22" x 6’8" and is magnetic so we suggest you bring magnets and masking tape to decorate and hold items in place.


I also had my brother take a picture of the door with dimensions. The numbers may be slightly off from what Rose Tours provided, so proceed with caution. He also noted that the door handle could be on the left or right side, depending on your cabin.

I think it’s important to note- I don’t believe the doors are magnetic. I plan on bringing lots of tape, a ruler, scissors, and the door decorations of course! My biggest challenge at this point is that I don’t know who my roommate will be, as I’m in the roommate match program. Speaking of which, I contacted Rose Tours and they anticipate those in the roommate match program will learn who their roommate is 1 month prior to the cruise.

I’ve been working on my door decoration and I’d like to think is pretty creative. While I hope I could win…my brother was joking “these are bsb’s biggest fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if people made backstreet boys out of candy bars or attached ice sculptures to their doors” He does present a good point. Good luck to those trying! I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with.

Theme Nights

Theme nights were just recently announced:


Thursday, December 9th- INTERNATIONAL LUV NIGHT
Away, Internationally, Away, Eh….
We are all going AWAY together on a four night adventure. Let’s start the cruise off right by celebrating us all coming together from around the world and showing off your Country pride with flags, Tshirts, Countries colors, etc. Let’s see how each country represents!

Friday, December 10th- MASQUERADE NIGHT
It’s a Masquerade, A Love Parade, So wont you stay and dance with me…
Let’s dress up and dance the night away at our Masquerade ball – feathers, beads and lots of fun!
So all you solider boys and beauty queens better be ready to lose control!
Don’t forget to bring your mask!

Sunday, December 12thBLACK AND BLUE PARTY
You were there from the start! We know who you are…and this one goes out to you!


I’m thrilled with the themes and how they all relate back to the Backstreet Boys. From what I understand, Masquerade night will take place the same night as formal night. Though theoretically you can change into anything you want after dinner.

Another thing to keep in mind when planning these outfits is that I imagine they will take place on the lido deck. At night when the sun goes down and the wind picks up, it can be quite chilly. I plan on incorporating either a shawl or sweater to keep warm for all of these outfits.

I’m most excited to see what the guys end up doing, particularly for the Masquerade night. Perhaps we’ll see AJ as we saw him back in old days:


I decided to start this blog because I needed somewhere to channel all of my excitement and the massive amounts of information I've gathered in one place. I LOVE cruising and I LOVE the Backstreet Boys so when from the moment there was even speculation of this cruise occurring, I knew I had to be on that ship. So while this blog may be starting 7 months after the cruise was I am!

I've been on probably 7 or 8 cruises over the years, so I look forward to sharing my experiences and tips with those who have never been on a cruise before. I also am incredibly fortunate that my brother works for Carnival, and just so happens to be working on the Carnival Destiny as part of the entertainment staff. Ok, so there may have been some coaxing on my part for that to happen, but hes indicated that the Destiny is his best ship yet.

Stay tuned....