Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Survive a General Admission Event on a BSB Cruise

This is the first post in a 2 part series on GA events. I've done my fair share of Backstreet events. And if you've been a fan for as long as I have, you know there are very distinct types of shows- assigned seating and general admission. With assigned seating, you have the freedom to come and go whenever you want without worrying that someone will take your seat. Conversely, with a general admission event there are usually no seats and you are packed in like sardines with your fellow fans to take in the amazingness that is the Backstreet Boys.

I think we all know the drill when it comes to BSB concerts, but its a whole different ballgame on the cruise. You will experience both assigned seating and general admission events on the cruise. All events in the main lounge including the concert are assigned seating (thank goodness!) However any event that doesn't take place there is for all intensive purposes, a general admission event so you need to prepare accordingly. This includes the beach party, theme parties, sail away party, karaoke (at least in 2011), and even dining.

Each type of event has their pros and cons but the reality is you don't really have a choice in the matter. So here are a few tips to surviving a GA event on a Backstreet cruise:

  1. Wear comfortable clothes/shoes- I know we all want to look our best for the boys, but for a GA event I prefer function over form. The only time I'll dress to impress and sacrifice comfort is if I know I'll actually be meeting them. Which makes it a lot trickier to balance on a cruise. It's easier for me to dress more comfortable at a concert on land because I'll know definitively whether or not I'll be meeting them, which depends on whether or not I do a VIP. However on the cruise there's always that possibility you'll meet them.

    From my experiences with the GA events on board, I'd say wear layers. If you're outside it can go from warm and sunny to cold and rainy in a matter of minutes. You'd hate to lose your prime spot because you had to run back to your cabin to get a sweatshirt. The other most important thing is a comfy pair of shoes because you'll be standing for a long time and your feet will thank you later. Also consider that we're on a ship that moves, and if we're on the lido deck by the pool, it can get slippery. Heels may not be the wisest choice. But this is coming from a girl who trips wearing sneakers.

  2. Pack your bag wisely- Your purse will be your survival bag while you're standing there waiting for BSB to come out. And lets face it, you may be waiting a while. Make sure you have everything you need in there and even things you dont think you'll need. Room key, camera, Tylenol, makeup, sunscreen, water, and maybe a snack. This tip mostly holds true just for the beach party because you're out in the hot sun away from your cabin where you will really will be relying on what's in that bag.

  3. Before you Go- Go the bathroom. Eat something. Hydrate. Maybe not in that order. But you dont know when the next opportunity will be to go to the bathroom, so do make a quick pit stop to the ladies room. It's also really important for your health to eat and drink something before you go. Especially since you're in the Caribbean under a hot sun. You risk getting faint or dehydrated if your blood sugar is too low, which I believe happened to several girls last year at the beach party. The last thing you'll want is to miss the boys because you're not feeling well.

  4. When to Arrive- For a GA concert on land, I take the day whole day off and get to the venue as early as I can without going too over the top. However its a very different experience on the cruise because there are other events going on and you want to fully experience your vacation. Plus the Backstreet Boys are somewhere on that ship so you might miss them walking around if you're waiting for hours trying to get a good spot for an event later in the day.

    I think it really depends on what you're looking to get out of the experience on when to arrive. If you need to feel Nick's sweat spray on you at every event, be prepared to put in some time. If you're fine standing in the back and watching everyone in front of the stage fight like wolves, then come whenever you want. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you know it can hold true.

    Generally speaking though you don't have to expect to put in nearly as much time waiting as you would at a regular concert. Most events I don't think people get there much earlier than an hour out. I think the worst was at the beach party when fans started lining up close to 4 hours in advance.

  5. Play the Waiting Game- It's generally going to take a while from when you stake out your spot until you see any of the boys. If you have any basketball defense moves, prepare to break them out. You’re about to be surrounded by a lot of fans in varying degrees of inebriation all ready and willing to push you to get a few inches closer to BSB. Stand your ground but don't get violent. It's not worth it. Speaking of inebriation, I'd also advise against drinking alcoholic beverages during this time or you'll be running to the bathroom by the time BSB finally does come out.

  6. The Main Event- After putting in hours of waiting, the main event has finally arrived. My advice is to stay in the moment and not let your surroundings get to you. I know it can be difficult. You're inevitably going to be stepped on, pushed, beer spilled on you, etc. Just remember why you're there. Its to see the Backstreet Boys and have a good time. Not to pick a fight with the girls around you.
In case you can't tell, I'm not a huge fan of general admission events. But as I said, we don't have a choice in the matter so all we can do is prepare the best we can.

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