Here are the pros/cons that I initially posted but I've updated them with my current commentary in red.
- Lots of energy. I'm excited for the deck parties with a full deck full of fans. I suspect it will blow last years' deck parties out of the water (pun not intended)
I truthfully didn't feel much of a difference between the half and full charter deck parties. It may have been slightly more crowded up front, but not by a whole lot. It wasn't the level of energy I was anticipating, thus I'd actually remove this as a pro.
- Less door vandalism. I'm hoping that by not having ‘non-fans’ on board there will be a level of respect for all of the door decorations
I wish I could say that the vandalism disappeared but that was not the case. Fans were still caught stealing items off of doors as well as messing things up. I have to remove this as a pro as well.
- We’ll hopefully get a sail away party. Fans who went on the NKOTB cruise said this was one of the best events, and we couldn’t do that on the half charter last year
We did get the highly anticipated sail away party and I don't know if Id call if one of the best events, but I definitely had a great time and consider this a huge perk of the full charter. That said, you can argue the sail away party was just a better version of the welcome aboard cocktail reception they had last cruise. The goal of both of these events were the same, just done in a different way.
- No non-BSB fans and significantly less kids. I think it will be neat to know everyone on board is as excited to be there as I am and we all have something in common
I still stand by this point and really enjoyed knowing everyone on board was a Backstreet fan.
- I suspect more decorations, posters, etc around the ship pertaining to the BSB cruise.
Well, we had a lot less door decorations but I'm not sure that was necessarily related to the half vs full debate. We did have a few more posters and banners around, which I think everyone enjoyed. You can't tell me you didn't have fun inappropriately posing with that cardboard cutout in the lobby. So I still consider this a pro.
- Hopefully less issues with weather ruining deck parties because we will have the whole ship, allowing them flexibility to move events around if needed
We did have "bad weather" again on the that last night and fortunately were able to move the event into the atrium this time around. I have to use quotation marks here because when I went outside, the weather actually seemed to be the nicest of the trip, but maybe I missed something. The fact that everyone was still able to attend the pj party in spite of bad weather is a definite plus of the full charter.
I do however have a counterargument. Karaoke was cut short due to rain and even with the flexibility having the full ship they weren't able to move the event indoors. I could even further reason that they most likely would've had that event in the main lounge like they did in 2010 if they didn't have to accommodate the whole ship and do it outside. Thus you could possibly argue we actually lost out on karaoke time due to the full charter. Obviously we couldn't get rained out if we were in the lounge. Hopefully you understood my ramblings. I know its a bit of a stretch but it makes sense in my head.
- Give more fans the chance to go and us the opportunity to meet more fans
Nothing has changed here. More capacity equals more fans the opportunity to go. Definite pro.
- Bottom line: More fans = more craziness and less possible face time with the boys
I think most if not all the second-time cruises experienced less face time around the ship and it was definitely missed by all. Absolutely a major con for the full charter.
- Along with my first point, there will be less of a chance to have your special moment with one of the guys. Last year AJ made great strides to knock on fans’ doors and only made it through 2 decks. This year there will be twice as many fans and even less of a chance for moments like that.
This I have mixed thoughts on. I personally thought they did a good job of giving fans their special moment at the events, but there was virtually no chance of anything happening outside of a designated event. And that's really what was impacted by the change to a full charter and what my original point was getting at, thus this is still on the Con list.
- BSB will have to do all events twice. This mean that you will have to miss events when its not your group. I’ll be so upset if I found out the other groups concert/games was better.
This is probably one of the biggest downsides of the full charter in my opinion. Even though the concert was mostly identical, Group A didn't get to see Kevin perform drowning. And the game shows were completely different. I didn't like missing either event at the time; I really felt like I was missing out. And not as big of an issue, but I also don't like trying to swap stories/videos/pictures after the fact and constantly have to ask which group people were in. Big con.
- There is no ‘non-fan’ buffer to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Yes, I think this is also part of the reason why we didn't see the Backstreet Boys out around the ship as much. They weren't seen as often in the casino or even in the lido buffet. I stand by this being a con.
- More crowded and less chance to get into events not hosted in the main lounge. Last year many people were denied access to the club on the last night due to room capacity. With 2X the numbers of fans, there will be that many more disappointed fans
Well, seeing as how they didn't have the chance to do much outside the official events, I suppose this is a moot point. I still think this point would've held true but in fairness I suppose I should remove this from the con list.
- Possibility of less events all around because they have to do everything twice and only have 3 days to do it in.
Don't need to say much here, we definitely had less events, though we picked up a few events in the process. Overall we lost the Q&A, an extra game show, and a separate cocktail welcome party (it was combined with the deck party this year). The only thing we gained was the sail away party. In the end we still lost out with the number of events so its a definite con.
- Events may be more rushed
I didn't feel that any of the repeated events were rushed in order to accommodate the other group so I'd remove this from the con list.
- People will miss out on being able to eat dinner in the main dining room with them. I know not everyone was able to last cruise, but I think the majority of the fans did get that experience. With a full charter, a lot of people will not be able to eat with them and enjoy some of their interactions in between courses. And this is assuming they will even have the luxury to join us for dinner at all. I could see them being too busy since they now have to do all events twice.
I'm only aware of Brian and Kevin who were seen eating in the main dining room (please let me know if you saw any others). I'm surprised that they were able to eat with us, but considering the ship is divided into 2 seatings and 2 main dining rooms- I think its safe to say most of us missed eating dinner with a Backstreet Boy. Last year's dining experience WITH the Backstreet Boys was a ton more fun and I genuinely missed that. This one stays on the con list.
- I suspect that they will be more drained all around due to the sheer amount of people, number of events they have to do, and lack of time spent with their family
I still agree with this point. The boys seemed exhausted by the end, but it could've been from the shorter cruise, not necessarily switching from half to full charter. I still don't think it helped matters that they had to do things twice so I'm keeping this as a con.
- Due to my prior point, I'm worried that they will not be around the ship as much for a potential chance encounter. And those are the best! I loved standing innocently in line for some french fries and chicken fingers and then I see Howie walk by. And try not to judge me on the fried food, but I cant help that its delicious, free, and available practically 24/7.
Well I did get my fried treats again this year, but no bump-ins with Howie or any of the other boys. Most definitely still a con.
- With 2 groups there’s a good chance your friends may be in a different session for the events, photos, and even dinner.
As I predicted, this was an issue. I had a few friends in the other group and didn't get to see them quite as much as I would've liked. Plus when I did see them, we couldn't always talk about the events b/c our experiences were different.
- Too much estrogen on board. This scares me a little. lol
Oh yes!! I felt a ton more drama this year with all the extra girls on board.
It goes without saying that I still had a great time on both cruises, but if I was running the show, they'd be going back to a half charter in a heartbeat.