Saturday, December 31, 2011

2010 vs 2011

Happy New Year everyone! Before we kick off 2012, I wanted to take a look at the 2010 cruise vs the 2011 cruise. Now for my reviews I really tried not to compare the two cruises. But there were definitely a bunch of differences, both positive and negative. So I'm getting it all out there now.

Most Improved
  • Kevin. Don't think I need to elaborate much on this point. Loved having him there.
  • Beach Party- All around this event was a much bigger success than last year. Logistically I thought the venue worked better because they had a nice big stage and anywhere you stood you pretty much had a good view. They also did a ton more events.
  • Sail Away Party- This was a new addition in 2011 and I really liked having a proper start to the cruise. Sure it helped I was front row for this event, but still a great way to get everyone pumped for the cruise to come.
  • Pajama Night- Probably the most successful theme night across both cruises. I loved how they added the truth or dare element to it to make it more entertaining for everyone in attendance.
  • Had a nice event/last evening to bring the cruise to a proper end. Last cruise that was a huge complaint.
  • Concert- LOVED the unplugged concert this year and the fact we could vote on the set list.
  • Lots of fun banners and signs around the ship, which they couldn't do last time.
  • The Backstreet Boys themselves appeared to be a lot more interactive with fans and comfortable with the whole experience AT the events. Last year you could tell they were very apprehensive, but by this year they definitely let loose.
  • I thought they did a much better job of trying to give everyone their “special moment” with the boys. Lots of opportunities at the concert to go on stage, at the beach party to play games, karaoke, game shows, even at deck parties. Even though I wasn’t so lucky, its nice that a lot of girls were.
  • Game Show- Debatable if this was improved or not. I thought the quality of the show was better and more entertaining than last year. Though last year we had 2 game shows. So I suppose it about evens out.
  • Howie! Don't know where that Howie has been hiding all these years but I want to see more of him.
What I missed from the first cruise:
  • Obviously 2010 was a day longer and I personally felt a huge difference between the 3 and 4 day cruise. I think they packed 4 days worth of activities in there, but it was a lot less relaxed.
  • You seemed to run into the Backstreet Boys more around the ship last time around. I definitely missed those random run-ins with the boys.
  • I really missed the Q&A or really just any event that was solely the boys.
  • I miss not eating dinner with them (though a few boys were spotted in the dining room some nights) but no where near the same experience.
  • As a whole, I thought the deck parties were better in 2010 (with the exception of pajama night) I liked how the boys were more interactive and engaging for everyone last year.
  • Karaoke was clearly better last year. In my opinion, I don't think they should've done it again.
  • Can't say this applies to everyone, but I felt like people were friendlier last year. I think most people had their friends established by this cruise and didn’t seem as open to meeting new friends.
  • The hallways seemed deserted this year, or maybe it was just me. But I missed the feeling of walking down the hall and always running into people . Not sure where everyone was.
  • Door decorations were waaaay better last year. No one really did them this year and the few that dad weren't nearly as elaborate. I felt like I saw every one's door decorations in 30 minutes where as last year I dont think I even got to them all.
  • I even missed all of their entourage not being there. It was nice last time that if you weren't running into a Backstreet Boy, you'd run into one of their friends or family members. I missed not chatting with Howie's mom or Rochelle this time. 
  • Not in anyone's control, but the ship wasn't nearly as rocky last year. At least I don't remember it being that bad. Seems like a lot of girls got seasick this year.
  • Backstreet TV seemed better last cruise. Lots more fun videos I hadn't seen before. This year they cycled through the same 5 or 6 music videos. Got old pretty quick.
It's really tough to say which cruise I enjoyed more overall. They were both so different in their own ways and I had such memorable experiences on each that make them both my "favorite." If a genie granted me one wish to go back and relive only one of the cruises, I'd have to pick the first one. My reasoning though is because it was the first cruise and everything was new, exciting, and no one knew what to expect. My level of excitement on the first cruise was probably 10 times that of the second cruise and regardless of what actually transpired on each cruise- that feeling could never be replicated.

Once again, Happy New Year everyone. To a happy, healthy, and Backstreet-filled 2012!

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Chrissy's Top 10 Moments

    Today I'm featuring another guest blogger, and she was one of my favorite people on the ship (besides the Backstreet Boys of course :P) It's my cruise roommate, Chrissy! She is a huge Brian fan from Indiana and she's also a big University of Kentucky fan. I'd recommend you check out her amazing Backstreet Blog if you already haven't because she's been chronicling her experiences on SS Backstreet among other BSB experiences. But today she's done something special for us and recounted her top 10 memories of the cruise for us. So enjoy!

    10.  Kevin singing "Drowning" during the concert - So any of the three times Kevin sang with the group was great but I think this was the best because only those in B Group got to hear it.  Plus, it was a total surprise when Kevin came out onto that stage during our concert.  We knew he was going to be at the Beach Party when he sang "Helpless When She Smiles" and at the deck party when he sang "I Still."  My one wish...that my good friend Tammy would have been there to see it.  She is a Kevin girl and "Drowning" is her favorite BSB song.

    Drowning with Kevin

    9.  Pajama Jam Night - I loved everything about this "deck" party.  I thought that the location in the atrium was great and this is what I remember the deck parties from last year being like...interaction with the Backstreet Boys not only during their official games but in between with them singing and dancing along to songs.  We, as Backstreet fans, saw the group do things that I know I never imagined I would ever see when I became a fan 13 years ago...Brian crowd surfing and doing the worm along a bar, Nick getting massaged by fans, Howie getting up close and personal with a pillow, and AJ getting tickled by fans.  It was by far leaps and bounds better than I could have ever imagined!

    I still can't believe Brian crowd-surfed

    8.  Nick standing next to me at Cameo - One minute I was standing there and the next minute Nick Carter was standing next to me!  A friend's mom had told us to move down because a large spot had cleared next to us.  When I looked, I saw Nick heading our way...which is why the spot had cleared out.  I was getting my camera ready to take photos of him as he went by and then he just stopped and stood against the railing right next to me!  I didn't really know what to do and by the time I got done fumbling around with my camera to take a photo of the two of us, he was gone.  I do have to say that I have never been so scared while standing next to a Backstreet Boy because I thought I was going to go right over that railing.

    Anytime there is a Backstreet Boy within touching distance, it is going to be a highlight!
    7.  A Photo With Howie - Laura and I promised each other on the first night of this cruise that we would not let each other go to bed until we were 100% sure we were not going to miss something.  Our lack of sleep paid off when Laura and I ran into Howie outside of the casino during 80s night.

    Staying up until all hours of the morning definitely pays off
    6.   A Photo With Kevin - We did not want to see Kevin leave when he said goodbye to everyone at the deck party.  Someone in our group had a brilliant idea of going down to where he would have to debark...which paid off.  I got my photo with Kevin, even though it is blurry.  However, the "prom" dress I am wearing is actually my wedding dress.  Who else can say they've got a photo with a Backstreet Boy in their wedding dress and him in a tux (other than their wives)???  This girl can!

    5.   Up Close and Personal With AJ and Nick - On the last night, I was one among the 50 fans or so that was able to be present behind the pizzeria when AJ and Nick decided to have a small private up close and person session.  I know Laura has already talked about this in her blog and I am going to also refrain from discussing anything that was said during this time.  But it was amazing to be able to witness something so personal with my friends.

    4.  Brian singing "Mary Did You Know" - The pure, raw emotion that Brian showed when he sang this song was just amazing.  I've seen him get into songs before but never at this level.  The audience was completely quiet and focused purely on him and this song.  While I bought his version of the song when it came out on iTunes, nothing will ever beat hearing it on that ship, with him in tears.  If he would not have influenced me to become a Christian back in 2006, it might have happened at that point instead.

    Most definitely worth another watch

    3.  My photo op with Brian at the Wylee party.  This is when Brian first called me "Kentucky Girl" after our discussion about University of Kentucky basketball.  He had actually first complimented me on the necklace I was wearing, but the conversation then shifted to the UK wallet I had in my hand. 

    2.  My Pre-Cruise VIP - First, I was one of the lucky fans to be able to get a VIP for my and my cruise roommates.  It was my first picture ever next to Nick.  Brian once again called me "Kentucky Girl."

    Meeting the Backstreet Boys at Cameo
    1.  My Cruise Photo - It had been three days since I had actually made one on one conversation with Brian.  However, when he went to go shake my hand, he said that it was good to see "Kentucky Girl" again and I about died.  I simply put my hands ver my heart and replied, "You remembered," like a love sick 15 year old.  I wasn't wearing anything Kentucky (although I was wearing Wylee) and did not say a think about he remembered this completely on his own.  When we actually went to go take the photo, Cort and I wrapped our arms around him.  He said "Oh, their holding me,"  and giggled, which showed up great in our group photo.

    It was hard just to chose ten moments that were amazing for me on the cruise.  For me, this cruise was better than last year's because of the people I was with and the decisions that I made to make it a better cruise.  I regretted missing some things last year and the group of girls I was with this year were absolutely amazing!  If you want to check out the rest of my favorite moments make sure you check out my blog, From the First Day.

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Complete that Tune Game

    Now that the cruise is over and excitement has died down a bit, I decided to come up with a little game for us to get to know each other even better. This is also my way of keeping busy today, as I don't celebrate Christmas. I'm not so creatively calling the game- Complete that Tune. Basically I took Backstreet lyrics but crossed out a certain word or phrase. Then I plugged in my own answer. Make sense? If not, read below and you should be able to figure out.

    Hey Mr. DJ, Play that song for me (Hey Mr. DJ)
    The One- If I were in a club i'd request this song.
    Without you I don’t think I could live (All I Have to Give)
    My boyfriend, family, and friends.
    I may run and hide when you screaming my name (Larger than Life)
    I start to witness drama unfolding. I don't like dealing with drama!
    I feel in heaven when I look in your eyes (Get Down)
    I'm at a Backstreet Boy concert. All my problems seem to disappear for those few short hours.
    Sometimes I wish I could turn back time (Quit Playin’ Games)
    Fly! How cool would that be?
    People say I'm crazy and that I am blind (As Long as You Love Me)
    Creative and organized. Both excellent traits to ensure a wild night out on the town (note the sarcasm)
    If you want it to be wild gotta know just who to dial baby (If You Want it to be Good Girl)
    Give me a long island iced tea. One of those and I'm GONE!
    Everyday, girl, I wake up and pray (If I Don’t Have You)
    Make my bed and make a healthy, tasty breakfast. Well, as healthy as I can make it.
    I never thought that I would lose my mind (Show me the Meaning of Being Lonely)
    Actually have a job that I enjoy. I was always afraid I'd hate my job when I became an adult, but now that I have it, its really not that bad.
    Cuz mom you always were the perfect fan (The Perfect Fan)
    Dad. I feel bad crossing out mom, because she has been been supportive in her own way. But my dad never once complained about taking me to see BSB or any of my other crazy adventures.
    I've never been so satisfied with anything in my entire life (Shining Star)
    Cherries. Hate them and anything with cherry flavoring. I don't know how people enjoy it, it tastes like medicine. I gag just thinking about it.
    Remember those days when we would sing at the drop of a dime (Time)
    Have our parents take us to the Backstreet concerts because we weren't old enough to drive? I remember my poor dad sitting outside of venues many nights because he'd rather sit there than inside watching the concert.
    I just want you to know that I've been fighting to let you go (Just Want You to Know)
    I know American Sign Language. When I sing along to the Backstreet Boys, i usually sign the song as well.
    Everybody knows that I was such a fool to ever let go of you (Crawling Back to You)
    Love cruising. Anytime anyone I know goes on a cruise or has questions about it, they come to me because they view me as some sort of expert.
    I still care about you (I Still)
    Sleep with my cabbage patch doll. Her name is dolly and she's awesome. Don't judge me.
    And I'm not rational when I see you around (Panic)
    I'm hungry or sleepy. I get so cranky and it's very evident.
    So every day I try a little harder to forget her (Trouble Is)
    Lose weight and be healthy. Something I've always struggled with but I'm making slow and steady progress.
    When nobody's around you say that you love me (Treat me Right)
    I usually lay in bed and watch reruns of Friends doing crossword puzzles. I know it sounds strange, but I find it very relaxing.
    No ones less humbled than I (Bigger)
    Of a Backstreet fan?
    I think I wanna stay single (Bye Bye Love)
    In the Washington, DC area. A lot of my friends have moved away but I like it here. Maybe one day I'll be adventurous and move, but for now I wanna stay here. The city has a lot to offer.
    If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have said I don't need you around (If I Knew Then)
    Would've invested in Google stock. On a more serious note though, I also would've made a better effort to know my grandparents before they passed.
    Shorty don't know who I am, she don't know I'm a celebrity (She’s a Dream)
    11th Generation American. My family has been here in the US for a long time.
    Because I know that you want to see the world (International Luv)
    Greece. Lyric doesn't exactly work....but I really want to go to Greece. Seems just beautiful over there and I love me some gyros.

    Okay, your turn!! Don't feel like you have to answer all of them, just do the ones you'd like to.

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Beach Party Unabridged

    I already gave you a high level look at the cruise from my perspective, but now I want to dive into each event and give you a complete 360 degree look at everything that happened independent of my experiences. This is a new mini series on my blog called the ‘Unabridged Series’. Expect very thorough details. My goal is that if you went on the cruise, for you to be able to go back and relive every minute. And if you weren’t on the cruise, to make if feel like you were right there with us the whole time. Sound good? I don’t plan on doing the posts in any specific order, really just whatever strikes me at the time so I’m going to start with the beach party. Again- you've been forewarned that these will be long posts with lots of detail. I'll do my best to keep it exciting throughout.

    The beach party started rather early in the morning. People started meeting at 9am to be bused over to Cable beach. Though I think ‘bused’ is probably too generous of a word. More like ‘Vanned’ over to the beach. But we did get some interesting history of the island from our driver on the way over. Apparently lots of celebrities use Nassau as a secluded vacation spot, including Chris Rock.

    The van dropped us off in front of the Wyndham Nassau Resort where we were given a wristband and then escorted through the lobby and casino out back to the beach area. It had pretty much everything you needed for a fun day in the sun- a pool, several bars, lunch buffet, volleyball courts, sandy beach area, a little cove, and most importantly a stage with 5 microphones on it.

    The first part of the day was just your regular day at the beach. The fun started around 1:45 when Nick, Brian, Howie and AJ finally made their way out to the main stage. Remember that some fans had been there since 9:30 waiting by the stage for the boys to show up, but keep in mind that the itinerary said the games would begin at 1:30. So even though it felt as if the boys were running on Backstreet time, technically they weren’t too bad.

    The boys came exploding onto the stage with lots of energy. I felt a higher level of excitement all around with the anticipation of Kevin joining. They kicked things off by throwing bead necklaces into the audience.

    Nick: "I have a question Howie- You said you had too many bahama mamas or too many bahama mamas?
    The fans quickly saw Kevin making the long trek from the hotel to the stage and when he finally got there, it was such a joyous reunion. The rest of the boys were teasing us that we need to keep Kevin away from the jet skis. Not sure what that was about. But when Kevin finally made his way up on stage, he told us how nice it was to be back and asked if we had fun partying with Sphynkter the prior night. Kevin also revealed that he would be joining us later that evening for prom night in his tux. Of course girls erupted in cheers at the thought of snagging Kevin as their prom date. The 5 boys then posed for a picture. I wish they would’ve turned around for us, but at least Kev posted his picture.

    Picture courtesy of Kevin
    The boys gave us a bit of their personal history with Nassau. Nick divulged that the last time they were in the Bahamas was when they recorded Black & Blue. Apparently they rented a house for 3 weeks and had a lot of fun while recording. Kevin also said the first time they left the continental US was to come to the Bahamas for a performance.

    Nick: "Girl, look at that Kevin. He works out."
    The boys didn’t waste too much time before starting onto the games. I’ll preface by saying fans had already been selected by Rose Tours staff on who would participate in the games. AJ indicated that they would be playing twister, limbo, musical chairs, duck duck goose, and a three-legged race. He also joked he’d be setting up a kissing booth. If only he wasn’t joking. And they never did get around to duck duck goose. Probably for the best.

    As the staff finished setting up the first game, AJ thanked us again for our love and support for his upcoming wedding. The boys sang ‘Im on a Boat’. Then Nick joked that he was going to leave our ship and go on the ship docked next to us for the ZZ Top cruise.

    Kevin: "Was Howie a good boy last night?" Fans: "Nooo" Howie: "Oh no you didn't!"
    First game on the agenda was musical chairs. So AJ called all the fans up and someone had to explain the rules to him because he admitted he didn’t know how to play due to a “deprived childhood.” Brian was the first Backstreet Boy to be eliminated during the second round, though if you take a closer look he really shouldn't have been. He was chivalrous and gave his spot to one of the fans playing. Howie was the next BSB down.

    The remaining boys continued to dance their way around the chairs and some of them cheated along the way. Nick and AJ- I'm looking at you. They were going backwards, passing other people and adjusting their pace so they wouldn't get kicked out. Kevin ultimately won the game at which point Nick chimed in "Is that foreshadowing something?" Not sure if Nick really thought the statement through, but it was one of many clues that Kevin would be returning to the group.

    This was my favorite round of musical chairs with Nick and AJ cheating the majority of the time

    The next game on the agenda was twister. I wouldn't say much horribly exciting happened for the purposes of retelling the event.

    AJ getting ready for some twister showing off those legs
    Howie was the first Backstreet Boy eliminated from twister and he took on the role of commentator. Brian, AJ, and Kevin quickly followed Howie's elimination and in that order. Brian made some jokes on how the girls were conveniently trying to work their way closer to Nick. Nick eventually won the twister game.

    Brian having some fun with Nick during Twister
    They didn't waste any time and moved right into the limbo game next. Nick and Kevin were the official pole holders (most likely because they're the tallest of the group). I loved how the first round Howie just walked under the pole without having to bend at all. AJ danced his way under the pole every time, which was enjoyable to watch. Brian spiced things up one round and jumped over the pole. Such a rebel that one. Nick tried to get him kicked out for that maneuver but no luck there.

    Howie and Brian walking under the limbo stick
    AJ and Brian were eliminated from limbo mid-way through leaving Howie as the last Backstreet Boy standing. Conveniently he excels in the game where being short is an asset ;) Though in the end a fan from Holland ended up winning this game. After the official competition, Nick took his turn but ended up falling. At least he tried.

    Just as the boys were about the leave the stage, they did a last minute acapella rendition of the Safest Place to Hide with Kevin. They sounded absolutely amazing.

    Safest Place to Hide

    They also did a seemingly impromptu wet T-shirt contest. What I personally liked about this event was that the Backstreet Boys themselves picked the fans to participate. All the girls and AJ lined up and braced themselves to be squirted with water guns by the other 4 Backstreet Boys. Of course 'Im Sexy and I Know it' was playing in the background as everyone got soaked. AJ got way too into this event and was totally hamming it up. But isn't that why we love him?

    No caption can do this justice

    At this point, the boys took a little break. Thus the area in front of the stage cleared out significantly. During that down time they were just relaxing, grabbing a bite to eat and some of the boys were doing pictures and autographs.

    Brian signing autographs during his downtime. Such a sweetie.
    After some down time the 3-legged race took place off to the side of the stage and the whole thing couldn't have lasted for more than 30 seconds. 5 lucky fans had one leg tied up to a different backstreet boy and they had to stumble their way across the beach. Brian and Kevin both took a few tumbles leaving Howie to win this event.

    Three-Legged Race

    After the 3-legged race, Jenn made a few announcements. The important one being that if you found a crown in your goody bag that you were a prom queen. Now you have 5 incredibly happy fans and 1,495 incredibly disappointed fans. But that was quickly forgotten when Nick told us to go meet him and AJ in the water because they would be jet skiing. I'm sure you can just imagine the crowds that started forming in the water in anticipation for AJ and Nick in the ocean. Those same crowds would also cause both Nick and AJ to leave the beach party immediately after they finished jet skiing.

    AJ Jet skiing
    Meanwhile Brian and Howie stuck around on the stage playing volleyball with the fans. The fans weren't too spectacular at volleying the ball, so eventually Brian decided to move the game to the actual volleyball court. Seeing as how the court was already in use, Brian and Howie just joined the group of middle aged men that were already playing. It was quite funny to hear the body guards explain to these men what was going and actually introduce them to the Backstreet Boys. Even though I could identify these 5 guys from a blurry picture of their knee, I forget that not everyone is as familiar with them as I am.

    Before you know it the court was surrounded by hundreds of females. Brian and Howie joined opposing teams, and not too much later, Kevin came and played on Howie's side.

    Brian playing volleyball

    While I was bummed that fans didn't get a chance to play with the boys, it actually was a lot more fun to watch them play with people who could actually get a volley going. The boys were playing for a good 20-30 minutes before they were pretty much forced to leave. I think Brian would've stayed there for several more hours if he could've. He seemed to be having a lot of fun.

    There you have it. Pretty much everything you could've wanted to know about the beach party and more. This was one of my favorite events of the cruise for so many reasons. The boys were there for a solid 3 hours, interacting with the fans, lots of fun games to keep us entertained, great weather, and its just such a unique way to interact with the boys that you can't get anywhere else. I can see them do concerts and meet & greets anywhere. But I can only hang out with them on the beach on a Backstreet Boy cruise. I loved every minute of this event and I think it will be very hard to outdo themselves next time.

    PS- Many pictures/videos credited to Anne Marie and Chrissy. They're just better photographers/videographers than I am. Thanks a bunch!

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Brittany's Review

    I wanted to post another amazing cruise review for you all. Brittany is an AJ girl from North Carolina and she's been a Backstreet fan for 15 years. She wrote a fantastic recap of her cruising experience. I've included a few excerpts below, but be sure to check our the full review on her blog! And keep those reviews coming ladies. Email me your stories and I'll post your story next.

    "Just to let you know how close (and visible) the area was in which we were standing, the Boys were singing along to some song… and I had my hands up dancing (just because I could!) and Nick came over to sing in our direction. Now, I have never been a Nick girl (please, don’t throw things… I think I just prefer to go for those who are more… eccentric, like our resident Bad Boy). But for 15 seconds, Nick Carter won my heart on this cruise. In the middle of singing (I wish I could remember that song), he pointed at me, winked and flashed that poster child smile. I actually found myself checking to see if it was for another screaming Nick fiend next to me. Nope; Nick and I had made the most unlikely (unintentional) connection. And that, my friends, is the kind of moment I want to have with a Backstreet Boy."

    "Well, when Kev walked onto that beach, I finally felt that magic. I had no idea how I would feel about him being there, or about the possibility of him coming back (yes, y’all, it’s going to happen- and I always said he’d never come back for real). I was happy to see him, and I am excited about the idea of him recording on  the next album with the Boys. I guess I always looked at Kev as a father figure (afterall, he was my mom’s favorite for the longest time… it wasn’t cool to have the same favorite Boy as my mom—sorry, mom). But he is so playful and energetic. He really seemed to enjoy being there, and he seemed to appreciate all the love he received (and he gave it right back). I am happy that Kevin came to the beach party with us; it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of feeling."

    "It’s amazing to me the power that those men have over us. Throughout the two-hour show, I saw laughter, tears, dancing, singing and a room full of people who, despite differences and language barriers, all came together for one purpose: to show love and respect for the band who will forever have our hearts. That concert made the cruise (activity wise) worthwhile for me."

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Kristen's Review

    Hey girls. I want to hear YOUR stories! I couldn't be everywhere at once, so I want to hear what you thought of the cruise. What were your favorite moments? What did you like? What didn't you like? I want to post your reviews and I'm starting off with my friend, Kristen.

    Kristen is a good friend of mine and has been a fan for over 15 years now! She is an AJ girl from British Columbia, Canada. She's also a big country music fan and in her free time outside of the Backstreet Boys she enjoys cinematic adventures, an epic love story, and her adorable pup. Without further ado, here's Kristen's experiences on SS Backstreet 2011!

    Laura graciously asked me to write about my experience as a first time cruiser. The trip included many firsts for me, and feels like one big whirlwind. I think I’ll try to filter through and hopefully put it all together. This is my first blog entry, so please be kind.

    The magic started with a trip to Orlando, FL. My first time in Florida, and my first time at Universal Studios. We bought a single park pass because we had a matter of hours to conquer Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Our main target was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We dined at Three Broomsticks and guzzled butterbeer. After tackling the Dragon Challenge and getting horribly ill on the Forbidden Journey, we explored the rest of Islands of Adventure. I spent a small fortune, then enjoyed an amusing meal at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. We had a shuttle to catch at 7pm, so we headed back to the hotel then climbed aboard the Florida Express. A not-so-quick 4 hour bus ride and we were in Miami, FL!


    Driving into Miami, FL in the middle of the night is beautiful. Something I’ll never forget, however I was without my camera. The next morning, we were off to explore the streets of Miami – camera in hand! We had delicious breakfast at a cute café, the Front Porch Café and then walked for hours. We did some shopping and sightseeing, and then walked along the beach. It was beautiful. After a romp in the water and sand, we had an early dinner at Big Pink. The amount of food was insane! On the walk home, I was inclined to stop in at Dash and then admire Miami Ink from across the street. Then it was off to the hotel to prepare for the Backstreet Boys at CAMEO.

    I’ll be honest, I was a ball of nerves. I am not keen on nightclubs, and it would only be my third time meeting the boys. Yes, meeting the boys. A friend of mine and I were lucky enough to get our hands on two VIP upgrades. We went early, waited in line, and at the bar for at least a couple of hours because as usual, we were on Backstreet time – not real time. I am not the most patient individual, so waiting is not easy for me. There is a lot of waiting involved when you’re a fan of those boys. I believe the VIP event was suppose to begin at 9pm. A friend of mine walking to CAMEO for general admission saw Nick and Howie arriving just before 10pm. Kind of annoying, but to be expected. Nonetheless, having my picture taken with those four gentlemen is always incredible and I love the way this one turned out. Justin never disappoints!

    All was right in the world as soon as AJ McLean hit that stripper pole. If I had a list of top five moments from the trip, AJ’s striptease easily cracked the top three. After the excitement of Mr. McLean swinging around that pole and removing his shirt to ‘I’m Sexy & I Know It’, we moved around the club. At one point, we were stationed near the DJ booth. A friend of mine was frantically taking photos of Nick. She was sort of in the way, and someone was trying to squeeze by. That someone was Howie D! We were standing there stunned, and she didn’t even notice! Howie sweetly wrapped his arm around her and squeezed by. Not once did she noticed it was Howie, I suppose Nick has that affect on some ladies. It was worth a good laugh afterwards. I left the club earlier than most, and after seeing the video of AJ’s and Nick’s sing-off I am definitely kicking myself. Even so, I had a blast and was ready to board the SS Backstreet.

    We woke up early and headed to the Port of Miami. Again I’ll be honest with you, I was starting to get nervous. I had never been on a cruise ship before, nevermind a cruise ship with my four favourite men (and roughly 1,700 other fans). After the check-in process, we positioned ourselves near the VIP Check-In. We are all smart girls, we all knew who was in there. Security started to get thick, and barricades were being made of benches of chairs so my friends and I stationed ourselves up against one of the barricades. Moments later out came the men of the hour! Total excitement set in, it was all about to begin...

    Once onboard, we went to have lunch. I was starving, so I was looking forward to it. And true to form, there was Brian! A mere four tables away from us. I was forced to phone home and brag immediately. We made our way to our room, which wasn’t clean but we plopped our stuff down and went to look around. I don’t think I was at all prepared for what was about to take place at the Sail Away Party. It was definitely a good warm up for what would take place at future deck parties. I was all smiles when those four boys joined us, and I finally realized that I was officially stuck on a giant boat with them. Then the boat started rocking...

    I went into this vacation knowing that I was prone to motion sickness. I had plenty of Gravol with me! However, seasickness is a whole new ball game. As soon as that boat started rocking, I was out of commission. That night was the worst. Before the In It to Win It game, I decided to lay down and try to sleep it off. Didn’t work. I missed the game show. I tried to eat some dinner, but one piece of watermelon and some vanilla ice cream later and I was still a walking zombie. I had no choice but to lay back down. By the time the deck party rolled around, I was horribly ill and miss it all together. I was a bit of a baby about the fact, and I was terrified the whole trip would be that way...

    The next morning the sun rose, and I told myself I had no choice but to pull myself together and get off that boat. I grabbed my camera and a ginger ale and headed to the buses. Somehow we were one of the first groups to arrive at the beautiful resort. We saw a small group starting to form around the stage, so we joined them. Nearly three hours later and a few attempts to nourish ourselves with food or water, the boys finally arrived! Those beads they were throwing, I’ll have to thank my friend for snagging me some. I nearly went ballistic when they introduced Kevin. He’s never been a favourite of mine. (I’ve been an AJ girl since day one). Back to my top five list, hearing Kevin sing Safest Place to Hide with AJ, Nick, Brian and Howie is in my top three. I started to wander during the games. It was my first time in the Bahamas, and I wanted to take in the scenery. While snapping some photos of the area by the water, Nick Carter went soaring by me. Watching him splash around was amusing – I thought the poor guy was going to drown! I was content watching the boys jet-ski or play volleyball. After a nice sun burn, it was back to the boat to prepare for the concert.

    As far as a list of my top five moments go, the concert came in at number one! I don’t even know where begin. Those gorgeous boys sang every song I had been dying to hear, and I loved the manner in which it was done. The unplugged, rawness of the show made it one not to be missed! And I am glad I didn’t. Helpless When She Smiles and If I Knew Then are two of my favourite songs. You’d think that Nick forgetting the words to If I Knew Then would have bothered me, but it didn’t! I can hear the song sang perfectly on the CD. Watching the blushing Nick Carter stumble was just for us. The solo performances were perfect. Brian brought tears to my eyes, Howie made me fall in love with him and Nick had me dancing. Being an AJ girl, one could guess what my favourite performance was. London was remarkable! Like every girl in the lounge, I lost my mind when they sang If You Want It To Be Good Girl. I don’t care what AJ or Brian say, that song is a show stopper. I knew it was only a matter of time before Kevin graced us with his presence, and the encore performance of Drowning was astonishing. An ideal ending to a flawless evening.

    Then it was time for Prom Night. That wind did not make it easy to wear a short dress! I decided to perch myself on the upper deck, up against the railing. It’s not easy to take photos when there’s a mob of girls trying to get an inch or two closer to the hand of Nick or AJ. The boys did look handsome in their oddly colored suits. It was a treat to hear Kevin sing again, especially since I Still... is also one of my favourite songs. The prom dates and dances was entertaining to watch, but being so seasick the day before had taken it out of me so I decided to head to bed.

    I had gone to the medical clinic to hopefully ease my seasickness, and luckily for $3 I got some miracle drug. One pill lasted twelve hours, so at 6am I took the first one and just before I took the second. Seasickness gone! I owe my life to those two little pills. Anyway, the next morning it was the long awaited photo session. The one time you were guaranteed interaction with the boys. Now I am not big into fashion, so I wasn’t sure what I wanted to wear. Spending too much time in our small room, I started to fill ill so I wanted to be quick. With the help of my roommates I decided to wear the shirt I had made for 80’s Night. Dressed in my Sphynkter shirt, we headed to the photo session. We were fairly organized, so everything went smoothly for us. My homemade Sphynkter shirt paid off. AJ, who I was standing by, noticed it immediately which resulted in the longest conversation I have ever had with one of the boys. I was thrilled.

    After the photo, it was time for karaoke. My beautiful roommate had entered herself, and was chosen as one of the girls who may get to sing with the boys. She broke the news to me that I was going with her. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not built to sing infront of thousands of people. Needless to say, I was praying our song wouldn’t be chosen. We dodged that bullet, and just got to enjoy the show from up top.

    One of my top five moments came right before karaoke began. That brave young girl who was in for the fight of her life had me in tears. I am so glad that she got to share that moment with those four special men. From the bottom of my heart, I want to wish her all the strength in the world and nothing but the best.

    Next up on the agenda was PDA Pajama Jam. We had some time to kill before the actual event (which would be moved inside due to the weather). I love being in my PJs, so I wasted no time hoping into my slippers. We enjoyed one last dinner together, packed up our stuff and then headed to the party. I wasn’t looking forward to having it indoors, but it actually worked out well. I’d even say I preferred it in that area. I am sure everyone was on the verge of exhaustion by now, especially the boys and their security. Regardless, the boys were all smiles and ready to party. In my opinion, this was the most entertaining evening. Brian was a riot, and crowd surfed right over to me! Nick and AJ were braved soldiers with their dares, and Howie looked so silly! In all honesty, I am a bit envious of those girls who experienced that candid moment with Nick and AJ. An unforgettable moment, I am sure. I enjoyed my time at that last deck party. It was the cherry on top of an already unbelievable sundae.

    My brain feels jumbled from trying to remember all the details that I’d like to share. I think the best way to describe the experience is a whirlwind. The pictures and memories will last forever, and I am hoping the friendships I made will too. My roommates – Brandy and Char – I wouldn’t have wanted to share that tiny little space with anyone but you. Cortney, I am so thankful that I met you. Not only for all your preparation during our stay in Miami, but for your sweet & shining personality. I hope I see you girls soon! And if not, I’ll see you onboard the SS Backstreet in 2013!

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Recap 2011- Day 3

    I woke up the third morning of the cruise to an early morning phone call. And by early I mean 9:30. It wasn't that early but it felt like I had only slept for like 10 minutes. I had no idea who might be calling, but I was so excited to get a call from my friend Ashley who had just found out she won the door decoration contest. If I couldn't win, I could think of no better people than her and her sister Cort to win that contest. And if you remember, I had Ashley previously post her door decorating tips. See folks, even if I don't always have a clue what I'm talking about, I won't steer you wrong! Hopefully she'll be willing to do a follow up post for us (not to put her on the spot or anything :P)

    And speaking of door decorations, I took that morning to walk around the ship and see what people did this year. I was surprisingly underwhelmed this cruise. There weren't nearly as many doors decorated this year, which was a bummer. Though I'll post a few of my favorites for you:

    Door Dec Contest Winner

    Sphynkter Stage

    Life sized cardboard cutouts of BSB and even little giveaways

    Game of Life BSB Style

    Meet & Greet
    Before the meet and greet I grabbed a quick brunch so that my tummy wouldn't be grumbling in the picture. Then we headed downstairs to wait in line to for our turn to meet the boys. At this point we only had 7 girls in our picture, and most of us didn't really care who we stood next to. But in the end we interestingly had 2 open spots for AJ and 1 for Nick. I was seriously debating who I wanted to stand next to down to the last minute. I figured that I was going to meet Nick in February when I see him for the I'm Taking Off tour, so I was actually leaning towards AJ. However just at that moment Nick decided to walk by thus I decided I want to stand next to Nick!

    Waiting for our meet & greet
    Rose Tours seemed to be a bit more strict this year in enforcing groups of 8, which I think is only fair. So we had an AJ girl join us at last minute. I seem to be a lot more nervous waiting in line to meet them than actually out and about around the ship. We inched closer and closer to them and I was so excited. I was expecting a quick encounter, which is just what it was. I went down the line and shook all of their hands and said "thanks for another amazing cruise" to all of them. Nothing horribly exciting, but I couldn't come up with anything else intelligent given the time constraint. Then I parked myself next to Nick and stood on my tippy toes just to make sure I wasn't covered.

    The goal was for everyone to do the 'huggy pose'. We almost nailed it but not quite.
    I'm mostly happy with how the picture turned out. Everyone looks good and no one is blocked. I just wish AJ would've been a little closer.

    After the meet and greet, I went back for lunch #2. Yeah, I really did. We also had a few hours to kill until our next event, karaoke so eating seemed like a good way to kill time.

    My friends and I got to karaoke a bit early and staked out a good spot. Though I was getting nervous since the skies were getting darker and darker. I wasn't sure what they would do if it started storming. I just remember waiting around quite a while for the event to start. Before the boys came out, Hal Roseman announced the winner and runner ups to the door decoration contest. Congrats again Ash and Cort as well as to the honorable mentions!

    Soon after, the Backstreet Boys came out and announced they wouldn't start the karaoke right away. First they were going to shave one fan's head because she was just starting chemotherapy treatment. Just another reason why I love these boys so much. I looked around the deck and noticed not a dry eye in the house. I think this took a little longer than expected, because we started karaoke 40 minutes late, plus I don't think they made it to a good portion of the girls who were picked to sing.

    Now I enjoyed karaoke, but it just didn't have the same energy as I was hoping. Could be many factors at play- weather, song choice, boys just not as into it, my personal view blocked by railings, or maybe a combination of everything. But for whatever reason, this just wasn't my favorite event of the cruise. I think my favorite moment of karaoke was when Brian was ribbing on AJs ex:

    Brian cracks me up

    So after standing in the cold rain during karaoke, there was only one thing to do afterward. Hot chocolate! That totally hit the spot at that moment.

    The rest of the afternoon/evening went by in a haze. I'll be the first to admit that I was pretty bummed that night at dinner. I think it was a combination of being physically and emotionally exhausted coupled with the fact that it was our last day and the other group was simultaneously having their concert. It was at this moment when I was hating the full charter. I know I was acting childish because I had seen them perform the night before, but I just hated knowing I was missing them when they were so close that I could even faintly hear the concert. The only shining moment of the afternoon was spotting Nick in the casino for a brief period of time. He can always cheer me up!

    In attempts to distract myself, my friends and I went to see the comedian on board. That didn't help much because the comedian didn't exactly share my sense of humor. So I left and figured I should pack and get ready for pajama night. Side note- sorry for being a debbie downer, but its how I was feeling at the time. I promise it gets happier.

    Pajama Night
    As I was laying in my cabin and watching the Backstreet channel, we were interrupted by an announcement that the deck party was moved inside to the atrium. I don't think Ive ever bolted out of bed so fast. My immediate thought was that we need to get there quickly and get a good spot. Even though my roommate and I were probably in that atrium within 30 seconds of that announcement, it didn't do us a whole lot of good because I guess they announced the change of venue at the concert so all the good spots were already taken. Though we found ourselves a decent spot on the next floor up.

    Pajama night was by far my favorite theme night of the cruise. We had Howie dressed up as Hugh Hefner, Nick dressed as a Ninja turtle, Brian with his sesame street look, and AJ with big feet? The boys were really engaged and entertaining this evening. I have no idea how Nick kept that costume on all night because I was roasting in my PJs. Sadly my planning for colder outdoor weather backfired this night, so I had to go back to my cabin to change at one point.

    The boys in their PJs
    One of the best ideas of the cruise was to do Truth or Dare during the deck party. It was fun for the girls participating as well as for everyone watching, which is key. So many surprising moments! I was shocked when Brian willingly went crowd-surfing. I seriously wondered what that man did with Brian because the Brian I know would never go crowd-surfing. I was just dying to be on the floor during that moment, but still had a ton of fun watching from above.

    I couldn't believe how open the boys were to let the fans touch them this last night between massages and tickling dares. It almost made me embarrassed to watch knowing that these are married, engaged, and taken men. But nonetheless, the guys seemed in good spirits. One of the highlights of the evening was Howie molesting a pillow. I'm actually laughing out loud just thinking about it.

     Howie's Dare with a Pillow

    The crowd didn't seem to thin out like it had the prior 2 nights, the place was still packed around 3 in the morning. The boys took a brief break after the truth or dare game, but came back out for some pillow fighting.

    At this point the party seemed to be winding down (minus Howie of course) so I decide I needed some pizza. I was finishing off my last slice when I spotted a smallish crowd in the corner of my eye outside behind the pizzeria. Figuring we didn't have much to lose, we wandered out and found 50 or so fans just gathered there. I didn't really know what was happening at first, but I quickly realized I had stumbled onto a really special moment. Nick and AJ were outside chatting candidly about a variety of different topics. No microphones, no cameras, no hugs, no autographs- just the boys speaking what was on their mind. I couldn't even see Nick or AJ. I just had my eyes closed and listened to every word they said. This was probably my favorite moment of the cruise even though I only caught about half of their talk. I was kicking myself for not getting their earlier, but also so fortunate that I was able to catch a part of it.

    I'm also choosing not to publish anything that was discussed that last night, because it was clear they didn't want it recorded and spread on youtube. I just left that talk full of emotion. It was the perfect way to end the cruise. I think that night can also teach us all a valuable lesson for future cruises and Backstreet experiences in general. If we behave well and don't bombard them, we will be rewarded. Easier said than done, I know.

    I had another night of about 2 hours of sleep and had to rush off the ship to catch my flight. I did catch one last glimpse of Brian and Nick leaving that morning, which was a bittersweet moment.

    I'm not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or two on my plane ride home. Just months and months of anticipation and excitement finally coming to an end.  The whole experience was a whirlwind and it was everything I had hoped for and more. I want to thank the Backstreet Boys for yet another amazing cruise as well as my friends and you, my readers, who helped make my experience what it was.
    And so winds down Backstreet Cruise 2011.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Recommendations for Rose Tours

    I'm taking a brief break from my cruise recap to call your attention to a survey request from Rose Tours. You should've received an email from Rose Tours today asking them for feedback about the cruise. As a general reminder to everyone out there I think it's so incredibly important to not only fill this out, but make sure you give constructive criticism and point out everything that you liked about the cruise. If all they hear is complaints, they won't be as likely to do another cruise in the future! So really take some time to think about what you liked, what you didn't like and what you'd like to see more of in the future.

    As a point of references, here's what my comments for Rose Tours are. Let me know if you agree/disagree or maybe I missed something big.

    What I Liked
    • Loved the banners and cardboard cutouts around the ship. Would love to see more of this.
    • BSB channel on TV. Always a nice touch.
    • Great selection of merchandise
    • I liked having new and different games. In it to Win it was a lot of fun!
    • Loved that there were lots of little goodies thrown into the audience- beads, shirts, pillows, candy, etc. Even something super cheap, if thrown by a backstreet boy, is priceless to us fans. So a little bit of money can go a long way. Would like to see even more of this next cruise.
    • You really did a good job of giving plenty of opportunities for a lot of fans to have their special moment with a backstreet boy- whether it was playing games on the beach or selected to be prom queen.
    • Loved pajama night. Not sure if it was just the event itself or the location in the atrium that made it better. On a related note I think adding games to the deck parties was a great idea. I also loved having that ‘goodbye’ moment which we didn’t have last year. I think its important to end the cruise on a high note.
    • Cable Beach was set up much nicer for our event than the beach last year. Lots of room with a big stage. Everyone had a great view. Also loved the addition of lots more games.
    • Ability to choose your own seats in dining room
    • Sail Away party was a lot of fun and a nice new addition this year. Great way to kick off the cruise.
    • Rose Tour staff was great, friendly, and accommodating with 1 exception (see below)
    • LOVED the concert. I like the fact that we could vote on the songs and it was an unplugged set. Would love to see this again!!
    • I liked how you picked contestants for karaoke. Gave everyone a fair shot and brought a sense of calmness to the process because it was pre-decided.

    What I Think Could've Been Improved
    • Minor complaint but I didn’t care for the naked mermaid logo that was used throughout the cruise. It makes it harder to wear the merchandise later on.
    • Need to clearly announce the door decoration contest and dimensions of door, if there was going to be a contest
    • When planning events, consider what it is like for the other fans watching more so than the ones playing. Overall you did a great job with this, but personally I didn’t enjoy watching them play beer pong. It was fun for the girls on stage but not for everyone else. I'd argue the same for prom night.
    • DJ was very repetitive. May want to try a new DJ next year
    • It seemed bringing back karaoke wasn't nearly as successful as it was last year. It seemed forced to me. I think for next time either scrap the event all together or bring a new refreshing twist to it. Maybe its a karaoke contest. For example Nick and Brian with fans vs AJ and Howie with fans. It seems like the Backstreet Boys have a competitive side so that might be more entertaining all around.
    • I also plan on telling them as nicely as possible that I think Hal Roseman’s behavior was wildly inappropriate. Quite frankly his behavior was disgusting, unprofessional, and I think he poorly represents Rose Tours as the face of their company.

    Suggestions for Next Time
    • Event suggestions
      • Have the boys do a roast. They seemed to start on that during karaoke a bit and I think it would be a great event if they are willing.
      • Battle of the Sexes- I think this would be extremely entertaining
      • Some sort of audience participation game. Royal Caribbean does a game called Quest and its basically an interactive adult scavenger hunt which might be fun if adapted properly. But what's nice is that even if you aren't on stage you're still involved
    • You should broadcast the alternate groups event on the TV so the rest of the ship can simultaneously watch and not feel left out. And continue to air all that footage the remainder of the cruise, similar to how they do it on a ‘regular’ cruise.
    • It was apparent that the cruise had trouble selling this year. Meanwhile I also noticed that subsequently, many contests for cruise giveaways started popping up giving away free accommodations, exclusive meet and greets, and even access to sound check. You may want to consider offering similar rewards/incentives for people signing up early. It doesn’t have to be money off, but perhaps something like “if you sign up by X date you get exclusive access to the sound check party” or “the first 200 people who sign up get a bonus meet and greet”
    • I’d love to see the boys do solo events. You could possibly have 4 events at the same time allowing for a more intimate event. Or do them at separate times, allowing the other boys a break.
    • Clarify that if a deck party starts at 11:30, it doesn’t mean the backstreet boys get there at 11:30. Same goes for beach party. I personally understood the concept, but many did not and were complaining.
    • I think there needs to be a monitor or screen at the deck parties with a live feed of the event in order to make it easier for people to see. Also would’ve been nice at the beach party or during the main events in the lounge. It’s tough for shorter people to see over the crowd and I think a screen is crucial to fully enjoy those events.
    • Minor suggestion, but Hal was the one who announced the door decoration contest winner. I think it would be a nice touch to have the backstreet boys announce it next time. The fans work really hard on those doors so any way to give the winners extra credit would be nice. Also announce more runners up.
    • Create an ultimate fan trivia event. BSB doesn’t even have to be there, but it would be fun to do during down time or while the other group has their event.
    • I really missed the Q&A this year. I think its important to have at least 1 event where its just BSB on stage with no fans (aside from the concert) just to see them. After all, that’s why we’re there.
    • I liked the selection process for karaoke and think it should be more widely adopted next time around. It gave everyone a fair equal shot at getting picked; it didn’t allow any bias in terms of race, ethnicity, physical appearance, etc.  It also brought a much calmer atmosphere to the event because girls knew that the contestants had already been decided. I don’t suggest this for everything, as I also think it’s nice for the Backstreet Boys themselves to pick fans in some scenarios. But I think this is more fair approach than having Rose Tour staff hand pick girls on the spot because it appeared to many of us that there was some prejudice in that process. Whether that’s a true statement or not, that is the widespread perception.
    • I liked how on the cruise in 2010 you would upgrade girls to front row for each event via a random drawing. I'd like to see that brought back.
    I feel like my list could go on and on, but this is what I've come up with so far.

      Tuesday, December 13, 2011

      Recap 2011- Day 2

      I woke up that morning in the happiest place in the world- on a cruise ship with the Backstreet Boys sleeping just right above me. I can't describe that kind of happiness in words. Here I am in the middle of the Caribbean with my favorite gals and the Backstreet Boys. There is only one thing that could make it better- Kevin Richardson. And it just so happened we were only hours away from seeing him.

      Beach Party

      We took our time to get some breakfast and get our things together before heading off to the beach party. Once we got there, there were already 10 rows of fans waiting in front of the stage so we decided to hang back and relax a bit before the boys got there. And boy I'm glad we did. They showed up probably 3 hours later so in the interim we relaxed, took some pictures and grabbed some lunch. I also kept freaking out because I saw 5 microphone stands on stage. I was so excited for Kevin to come out! I also thought the beach was very well set up for this event, even in the back I had a great view and I could still lay out and get some sun.

      However as soon as the boys got there, that plan went out the window and I wanted to get a bit closer. They started throwing some beads into the audience and everyone was clamoring for them as if their life depended on it. If you stop to think about it, its kind of sad to see grown women fighting over these cheap necklaces. But I was right there with the rest of them trying to grab one for myself. Fortunately my friend Anne Marie caught an extra necklace from AJ and gave it to me. I was so giddy!

      On a scale of 1-10, I was already around a 12 after getting a necklace from AJ. That happiness shot up to around a 15 when Kevin finally came out, and about a 20 when they started singing together.

      All 5 Backstreet Boys singing Safest Place to Hide

      I definitely got goosebumps seeing Kevin, and when Kevin started singing my goosebumps had their own goosebumps. At this moment I realized just how fortunate I was to be on this cruise and have the opportunity to experience this firsthand.  Ok I'm done being sentimental (for now, there will more than likely be more sappiness later)

      Cousins reunited

      I thought the beach party was just amazing! One of my favorite parts was when they played musical chairs and AJ didn't know how to play because of his "deprived childhood". Seriously, who doesn't know how to play musical chairs? The boys battled it out to the end Kevin ended up winning, which I thought was very cool. They also played twister and limbo.

      As the afternoon progressed, the boys got their hands on some water guns and started spraying us, and more importantly each other. Normally it wouldn't have been a big deal but the water guns were full of salty ocean water. Yuck!

      This pic of Nick makes me :)
      Water guns of course lead to a wet T-shirt contest and only one Backstreet Boys decided to participate in that contest. I'll give you one guess as to which Backstreet Boy it was.

      I never noticed AJs tattoo of a topless, large breasted woman on his bicep before. Only AJ.
      Yes, it was AJ who participated. Brian seemed to have a lot of fun soaking him. This is where the real fun started to happen. You'll realize the next portion of my review is mostly pictures and not so much words. I was pretty speechless and I think the pictures can speak for themselves as to what I was feeling at the time.

      Amid all the happiness, I did have one low moment at the beach party. And that was when they announced that the prom queens had already been decided. The logical part of me knew that I wasn't going to get picked anyway, but that hopeful girl inside of me still held onto that small sliver of hope that it could be me. Luckily the boys kept me well distracted though. I think it was about this point that they announced the 3-legged race so the massive crowd in front of the stage disappeared allowing a spot right up front to watch.

      Nick randomly throwing french fries to us?? Made me feel a bit like a bird.

      I was soooo close to getting a picture with Howie. But I was lucky enough to get a picture with Brian. 

      Love those bright blue eyes of his!
      I'm getting happier and happier by the moment. Eventually the boys went off to do the 3-legged race but Brian and Howie returned back to the stage to play some volleyball with the fans. Nick and AJ simultaneously ran off into the ocean to go jet skiing. I was so conflicted where to go, but ended up staying put with Brian and Howie because I had a decent spot and they were actually interacting with us. I wasn't sure how much luck I'd have chasing Nick and AJ with 90% of everyone else on the beach.

      At one point Brian decided to bring the game to the actual volleyball court so I went over to get a good spot, and maybe get lucky enough to get picked to play with him (even though I can't play volleyball to save my life) No luck with that, but I did inadvertently have a great spot right where they served the ball. Howie and Kevin eventually joined in the festivities so I just enjoyed watching them play. Funny story with Kevin. There was a girl near me who was talking about Kevin's underwear situation, or lack thereof (see video below). If you notice at the end of the video, I'm pretty sure he heard them talking about him "free-balling." I was half mortified that he thought I may have said it, and half laughing at the oddity of the situation.

      Kevin playing Volleyball

      After the beach party, it was a mad scramble to get back to the ship and get ready for the dinner/concert/prom night. I was so happy have my voice back for this night so I could actually talk during dinner and be able to sing at the concert.

      Concert (Group B)
      All I can say it wow! I was totally not expecting what they did for this concert and it ranks up there among my favorite Backstreet concerts of all time. Also one of the best parts of the cruise for me. I'd start going through my favorite parts of the concert, but they were all highlights. So my extra favorite parts include AJ singing London (of course) and then the boys talking about how much they wanted to steal that song from him. See, its not just me who loves that song!

      Nick proving they do in fact have a set list.
      I enjoyed all of their interaction with the fans, even making their way up to the top section. At several points Nick came to my row and I was close enough to touch him. Brian also made his way down our row too. Some of my other favorites included Don't Want You Back, Drowning with Kevin, Lie to Me, Burning Up, okay basically the whole darn set list. One that stood above the rest was Brian singing Mary Did You Know. This was so unexpected, and it was so quiet in that room that you could hear a pin drop. Very rare at a Backstreet concert but it was just an amazing moment.

      Mary Did You Know- This song took my breath away. 

      These boys can bring tears to my eyes one minute and have me cracking up or dancing my butt off the next. For example Nick leaving the tag on his coat had me laughing so hard. Another fan favorite across the board was If You Want it to be Good Girl/Get Down medley.

      If You Want it to be Good Girl/Get Down. At 2.29 Nick's gyrating right in front of me!

      I could stay here and post every video from this concert because the whole thing was incredible, but that shall have to suffice for now. More later. I promise.

      Prom Night
      I was still on a high from the concert, which made prom night that much more enjoyable from me. I was dancing around having a great time with my friends, and almost forgot that the Backstreet Boys were coming back out to party with us. In fact we were dancing so much that even my flip flops had to come off.

      We weren't even wearing heels and our feet were killing us
      I'd say the highlight of this event was Kevin being a part of it. All five Backstreet Boys came out to sing 'I Still' which was really special
      Kevin at prom night singing I Still
      I think I had more fun at Prom Night than 80s night, but only due to my own efforts. In my opinion the deck party itself was geared towards those 5 prom queens and not so much the rest of the crowd. They really didn't have too much going on aside from their activities with the prom queens. However before the night ended, I was able to get a picture with my unofficial prom king, Kevin. 

      Me and Kev
      Meeting Kevin was indescribable. After we took the picture he looked me directly in my eye, shook my hand and said "thank you." I was so taken aback by his actions that my poor brain just couldn't process what was happening fast enough. Never before have any of the Backstreet Boys actually initiated a conversation with me. Albeit an incredibly short conversation, but it still counts. He really made me feel so special and I'll never for that moment.

      After Kevin left, Howie was once again the only Backstreet Boy up partying until the wee hours of the morning. I was right there with him having a good time. I only went to bed once I saw his security guard return without him, figuring it was then safe to go to bed. If I recall correctly, that was around 5am. Sadly though I still didn't get to bed until 6 because I was up chatting with my roommate. Felt like an old fashioned Backstreet sleepover. I'm sure we would've stayed up longer, but we still had one more day of excitement ahead and needed to get some rest.