Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I'm so overdue for an FAQ section on this site as this blog is accumulating more and more posts. I find people reach out to me and largely ask the same questions. So not that I don't love hearing from you all, because I most certainly do, but I figured I'd aggregate all of those questions for you in 1 place in hopes to answer the most often asked questions. I also hope to keep adding to this as needed so keep checking back.

I hear the guys go around knocking on cabin doors, is that true?
Yes, AJ did go around knocking on cabin doors the first cruise and visited with fans. Supposedly Howie stopped by a few cabins as well. AJ made his way to 2 decks. Thus there is always the possibility they'll do it again, but nothing I'd want to get my hopes up for.
When did they announce the themes last year?
Last year the themes were announced on August 19th, which was a little over 3 months out.
What's the deal with the pre-cruise party?
For both of the past cruises the Backstreet Boys held a pre-cruise event the night before in Miami. In 2010 they did an acoustic show with the option for a meet & greet; in 2011 they did a club event also with the option of a meet & greet. In 2013 they did no pre-cruise event. When they did have an event, it's something that wasn't announced until 1 month before the cruise. So please keep it in mind as you make your travel arrangements, but my advice would be not to count on an event.
Do you get the meet the guys?
Yes, you get to the Backstreet Boys at the meet & greet photo event. That is the ONLY time you are guaranteed interaction with them. That said, there are plenty of other opportunities during the cruise to see them and interact with them- both at official events and just roaming around the ship. I think a lot of it is luck and a lot of it is just how assertive/dedicated you are.
What's the deal with the plug situation?
I seem to remember 1 outlet in the room and maybe 1 in the bathroom. Basically count on a limited number of outlets. Some people like to bring surge protectors, however I've also heard they can get confiscated. So bring at your own risk. We had 3 girls in the cabin and managed just fine sharing. It just takes coordination and consideration of your roommates. I think the only thing I used an outlet for was my hair straightener and to charge my camera. I didnt need to charge my phone since I wasnt using. Overall it wasnt really an issue.
How do I buy VIP?
I think this is one of the most popular questions from new cruisers. You CANNOT buy a VIP for the cruise. They do have VIP sections for certain events, however its primarily designated for the boys, their friends, family, staff, etc. The staff have been known to hand out VIP bracelets to randomly chosen cruisers so its 
Tips for dressing around the ship/theme nights? How many formal outfits do you need?
So at night definitely consider the fact that you will be outside on a windy deck with the ocean. It will be chilly. Pack layers and plan your theme outfit accordingly. I know there were a couple times I had my nice theme outfit planned and it pretty much was all for nothing when I had to throw a sweatshirt on over it.

Some people like to dress up for dinner every night. So if that's something you like to do, pack a few nicer outfits. The dining room does have a dress code. Though if it's not your thing, there is nothing requiring you to get dressed up and you can always eat at the informal buffet should you choose.

As for walking around the ship during the day, many people opt for beach/pool type clothes. You'll also see BSB shirts floating around. I'd recommend something comfortable and something you're okay possibly running into a Backstreet Boy wearing.
How does the group photo work? How many people and when does it happen?
For the photo shoot- you basically get in a group with 10 girls and show up to the photo session at your designated time. On the past cruises its been held on the last day. Ideally you want to form a group with other people in your dining seating (either Group A or Group B) and you find all your Howie girls ahead of time. Sorry- but you know I speak the truth! If you don't have a group ahead of time, or your group is incomplete, don't worry. Rose Tours will make sure you have a full group before getting your photo taken and match you up with others who also need a group. But I think its best to be prepared if you're particular on who you stand next to.
UPDATE- On the 2013 cruise they changed the group sizes to 4-5 girls. For the 2014 cruise they have been promoting smaller group sizes thus I would anticipate it to be around 4-5 fans this upcoming trip as well.
What time in the morning do the events typically start?
Typically there were no events in the morning. The earliest we ever had something was noon- which was the photo shoot. So feel free to sleep in should your heart desire.
When should I arrive to the port in Miami the day of the cruise?
This is another common question and the answer is- it's really up to you. You can get there as early as you'd like. They let you on the ship as soon as its cleared by customs and the previous cruise has emptied off. The BSB cruise website says we board at noon, and generally speaking they'll let us on around noon or even as early as 11am. That said, it could be earlier or later. You just NEED to be there before the ship sets sails at 4pm.

The Backstreet Boys themselves generally get there on the earlier side. I'd say 10ish. They will check in separately in a special VIP area so they aren't mobbed by fans. They will also board prior to everyone else. If you want to see them board, get there early.

As for me, I personally get there as early as possible. In my head the sooner I get to the port, the closer I am to the front of the line to board, and the sooner I can get on that ship and start my vacation. I probably shoot to get there around 9-9:30. Im also a paranoid traveler and don't like to take ANY chances missing that ship. I also find these few hours while you're waiting in the terminal is a great place to meet up with friends you've been looking forward to meeting because once you're on the ship, all hell breaks loose.
Can you tell me more about the door decorations?
They hold a contest where you can opt to decorate your door with any sort of BSB-related decoration you'd like. The winner will be announced during the cruise and in the past the winner gets front row seats to the concert on board. If you're looking for ideas- generally the ones with a clear theme seem to do well. Lots of people put up collages of sorts but the themes help set you apart. I've seen a lot of people do Christmas themes, beach/cruise themes, and movie themes were popular. I also found that having something 3-D makes your door stand out. And this is something you don't have to participate in if you don't want to. No matter what you decide, just have fun with it!
Can you tell me more how the roommate match program works?
If you are a solo traveler and are so gung-ho about going on the BSB cruise but can't convince anyone back home to go with you, the roommate match program is for you! When you book your cruise you have the option to book a cabin with the roommate match program, and you will be matched based on several different criteria. You will not find out your roommate until a little over a month out from the cruise. I did this program the first year and didn't have any major problems. Most people I know who have done it were very positive with their experience. My biggest frustration was that I couldn't work on my door decoration until last minute. But I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is traveling solo.
Will I get sea-sick? If so, what should I do?
Hopefully not, but you should prepare yourself, particularly if you've never been on a cruise before. If you're prone to motion sickness, you should take even further precaution. Since I luckily don't really get seasick, here are some words of wisdom from my not so lucky friend who did....

If you're prone to motion seasickness, seasickness is nothing like it. It's much worse! And I found that regular motion seasickness medication didn't work. If Nick Carter points out that the ship is rocking, you will instantly feel it - even if you didn't before! Haha. I went to my doctor and she prescribed those bracelets that some people wear. I'm sure those and other knickknacks work for mild sickness, but I'm not willing to gamble my once in a lifetime experience again. I got REALLY sick. That said, not everyone will. I just think it's better to be prepared for it then to spend the first day curled up in a ball.  The best advice I have is to get on the boat and hit the Customer Service desk. For a couple of dollars you get four pills. Each pill lasts twelve hours. Most importantly - take it a half hour before the boat departs. Once you're seasick, it can't be undone.

To expand on her experience, guest services will give you medique (meclizine hydrochloride) 25 mg. It’s an antiemetic. Apparently good stuff.
What should a first time cruiser expect?
I would say to expect to have the time of your life with your friends, meet some wonderful new friends, no sleep. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Tons of great unique BSB events that you can only get on the cruise. On the flip side I would NOT expect to literally hang out with the backstreet boys for 3 days.
What's the best part of the BSB cruise?
Everything!! Seriously though, its such a unique experience that nothing else even comes close. A concert is only 2 hours of BSB but on the cruise is 3 days! And in that 3 days there are so many special moments that you can only get here. Like you'll be eating dinner and casually look across the room to see Brian eating with his family. Or you'll be chilling at the pool and see Nick walk by.

On top of that the events themselves are so unique. You get game shows, beach parties, deck parties, etc. I just feel like you dont get to see BSB in some of those environments anywhere else. Even outside of the events there is BSB-stuff everywhere! BSB TV, door decorations, music playing by the pool, etc. In the "real-world" I jump for joy hearing IWITW on the radio....on the cruise its everywhere. Like a magical Backstreet utopia!

Beyond BSB themselves- for me its all about hanging out with my friends & making new friends who all share the same level of passion I do for BSB. These people all understand 110% what the backstreet boys mean to me and its so nice to share this experience with them. You can walk up to anyone on that ship and just talk for hours to them sharing stories and experiences. This is really my favorite part! I know have so many life-long friends because of the past 2 cruises.
What's the worst part of the BSB cruise?
The only negative thing for me is that there is so much anticipation leading up to the trip and my expectations are so high for it that its tough for the cruise to live up to my expectations, though so far its been able to. Its just natural that things won't always go as you envisioned so I've found you can't let the little things get to you or it will ruin your trip. Things will inevitably go wrong. You might have someone spill a drink on your outfit you've been planning out for months. You might end up getting seasick. Whatever it is. Just stay optimistic and have the time of your life!
Any suggestions if I don't have anyone to travel with?
If you decide to come by yourself, they do have a roommate match program so they would pair you up with 1 other random roommate. I've heard mostly positive things about the program. Another idea is to search on the fanclub, twitter, or facebook for other people going and looking for roommates.There are a couple closed facebook groups that I'm more than happy to invite you to, just shoot me an email and I'll get you invited!
When we book a ticket, is there a payment program?
They do have a payment plan. If your room was $1000 you pay the $300 deposit, then $300 a few months later, and $400 for the final payment. And obviously that would adjust depending how much your cabin cost. Rose Tours requires 3 payments. But I know some people will call more frequently, say the end of every month, and pay less for each payment. I've found Rose Tours is very willing to work with you on your payment as long as they get their money at the end of the day.
How much time do you actually get with the Boys? 
So time with the boys...this is a tricky one to answer. As I've said numerous times, you need to go in with realistic expectations. If you think you're going to have dinner with Nick every night, you'll be sorely disappointed. There are 2000 girls on the ship and only so much BSB to go around. You can probably do the math. The only guaranteed interaction you have will be at the M&G/photo session. However I think its fair to say you'll see plenty of them. You'll prob see them wandering around the ship, at all the events, maybe catch them at a few of the meals, in the elevator, etc. My advice here is go in expecting very little interaction, and you can only be pleasantly surprised when you get more.
I'm traveling from overseas. Is it worth the thousands of dollars it would cost me to get there? Or should I just buy a VIP the next tour?
Well, I think so but with a few caveats. Obviously this is a trip you only consider if you can afford it. If you're going to rack up major credit card debt, it's not worth it. But assuming you can afford it, I think if the roles were reversed and the boys did a cruise outside the US; I would probably make a vacation of it and extend my trip. So I'd recommend anyone traveling to the states to take a few days to explore Florida, go to Disney World, or even fly to other major cities in the US that interest you.

I think a lot of this cruise is what you make of it. If you have a positive attitude and make the most of it, it will be a great trip and thus worth the money. My other advice is try to meet some new friends. That's one of the best parts for me. Being able to share your love for BSB with girls who feel the same. Plus theres a lot of down time. BSB doesnt entertain us 24/7. So having people to hang out with during those down times is great. The cruise is such a unique experience that you'll remember forever. A VIP is so quick. I def recommend the cruise over a VIP.
Do you have to participate in everything?
You dont have to participate in anything if you don't want to. A lot of people bring their boyfriends/husbands who dont really go to the events, they'll just choose to hit the casino or something instead. It's your vacation so you can do whatever you want. Some girls would rather go explore some of the islands rather than go to their beach party, because they've traveled so far to be there. But I do highly recommend in participating in everything they do.
Do you think booking the more expensive cabins are worth it in order to get better seats?
I personally don't think so, but I know many girls who disagree with me. My personal opinion on the matter is that its not worth the extra hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get a few rows closer. The lounge is small enough that even being in the last row isn't that bad. You'll have plenty of opportunity to see them up close around the ship and you also have to remember that not all the events are held in the lounge. Last cruise there were only 2 events in the lounge. Plus you could put that money towards another cruise or doing a VIP on tour. If you are lucky enough to book early and get a good reservation number, than you should be fine. My advice is save the money!

But to make Im impartial and present both sides, I have friends who did the suite. They like it and will do it again because they liked not having to worry about possibly being in the back and risk not being able to see.
If you book early, will you have a better seat for the BSB shows on board?
Yes, the earlier the book the better your seat should theoretically be. If you book a suite- it shouldn't really matter because you'll be guaranteed to be in the first 6 rows regardless. However if you're gonna book a cheap cabin like me, the earlier you book the better. They will assign the rest of the seats beyond the 6th row based on your reservation number. So the earlier you reserve, the closer you'll be to the stage.
How do they pick fans to participate in games/concerts/events?
Fans are picked differently depending on the event. For some events- like karaoke, you got an email before the cruise started and you could sign up. Then Rose Tours randomly selected a few people to be chosen. Then there's things like the prom queen, and those girls were chosen because they had a lucky item placed in their goody bags when they got in the room. So that was random.

The girls who got picked at the beach party were a mixture of the boys picking people on the spot. But also members of the Rose Tour staff seemed to be grabbing people to sign up as well. If you ever see a Rose Tour staff with a clip board before an event, thats generally where you should be. For the game shows- I think you have to show up early and Rose Tours staff was picking people. In 2013 they started drawing names from a bag, which I like because it gives everyone a fair shot. I think those are your primary ways to be chosen. I have yet to be picked for anything, so as always, take my advice with a grain of salt. But it seems to be a lot of luck or being in the right spot at the right time.
Will my cell phone work on the cruise?
When we're in the middle of the ocean- no, you will not have service. When we're docked in port, it will work, but if you're outside your country you will most definitely incur crazy roaming fees. My advice is to turn your phone off once we set sail and not turn it on until we're back in Miami. I've just heard such horror stories on coming back to obscene bills. If you simply can't go 3 days without your cell phone and need to get in touch with work or loved ones back home, I recommend checking with your carrier and adding the appropriate international voice/data plan.
When do we get the itinerary?
Two weeks before we set sail.
Do I have to tip?
No, your tip is included in your fees. Though feel free to leave an additional tip for your cabin steward or waiters if you feel they've gone above and beyond.
How much should I expect to spend?
In short, a lot. I'd budget at least $2,000 and even more depending on your cabin. The lowest I've heard someone spend on the entire experience was $1,800. Factoring in the cost of the cruise, travel, accommodations, pre-cruise shopping, merch/drinks on board, pre-cruise events, etc. It all adds up to a lot more than you'd anticipate.

How much cash/spending money should I bring? Do I even need to bring cash?
I personally am not a big spender on the cruise. The items that cost extra are drinks (including sodas), spa services, casino, shopping, specialty restaurants, excursions, cabanas, etc. But you don't pay cash for any of it- its all on your sail & sign card. You can tie your sail & sign card to your credit card and not have to worry about carrying cash at all on board.  Even the backstreet boys merchandise, you can charge to this card.
As for how much- it really depends on your spending habits. You can get out of there without spending any extra money- but realistically if you want some souvenirs and or splurge on any of the extras you'll want anywhere from $100-$300.
Are there professional photographers on board?
For BSB events- Justin will be taking pictures. He'll post them on afterward. Though in my opinion, there weren't a whole ton of pictures. There will also be a videographer, though for the 2011 cruise they never did anything with that footage. So I wouldn't count on these pictures, even though you'll see them feverishly taking videos/photo.

What does Group A do when Group B is having their event & vice versa?
Short answer- whatever you want! Generally when the other group is having their events, in some ways its a bit more relaxing because I know exactly where the boys are and that I cant run into them. But I also find I'm anxious because it KILLS me knowing they're doing a concert like 30 feet away and I'm not there. Some times the other groups event will be happening during your dinner. So you'll still have something to do. And if not Id suggest its a good time to relax, get ready for your next event, or even steal in a quick nap.
Will there be time to change for the theme nights?
In years past some people would get dressed before dinner- but i also feel it really depends on the theme. You could wear a prom dress to dinner, but not a Halloween costume. There is time in between events to change. Remember, they run on backstreet time! If they say the deck party starts at 12, you can safely assume the boys wont show up at that time. They're gonna be putting on a concert and then need to go get ready themselves. So dont stress about not having time.

The only caveat here is that like most events- the sooner you get to them, the better spot you'll have. So by taking that extra time to change later in the night, might set you back a tad. But if you're not the type who needs front row for everything, then you'll be fine. Plus its kind of hard to define what a good spot really is, because the guys move around the deck anyway.
How do you meet up with people? Should I bring walkie talkies?
I know I put walkie talkies on my packing list, and I've tried bringing them before but they ended up sitting in my suitcase. I found they were too burdensome to carry around. Maybe there are smaller models these days, but Im not sure. I ended up meeting my friends the old fashioned way, remember those days before cell phones? Yeah, we were able to function! So basically just deciding on when and where to meet. You can also call each others cabins, so jot down all your friends' numbers. Otherwise I find people generally hang in the same spots. Some will like to hang in the lido buffet, others by the pool, casino, etc. Generally if I wandered around for 10 minutes I could find my gang or I'd run into someone else I knew. The ship isn't that big.
I have a gift I'd like to give to the boys. How do I give that to them?
So here's the official word on gifts:
"Gifts will NOT be permitted at any BSB scheduled events. Gifts can be left at the hospitality desk. Please consult your itinerary for Hospitality Hours. Your gifts will be delivered to BSB."
I personally wouldn't want to leave a gift for them; half the fun there is seeing the reaction. But there is this option if you don't care about giving it to them directly. The only time you are guaranteed to interact with them is at the meet & greet, and they are VERY strict about not letting you bring anything in there. The only other way to get them a gift is getting lucky. You might have a chance elsewhere on the ship if you run into them. So if you're dedicated to the cause, you can carry it with you and hope you'll bump into one of the guys and give it to them then.
What do people wear to dinner?
Honestly you see a range of everything from fancier dresses to borderline t-shirts. You'll fit right in if you want to get dressed up. Though sometimes they have formal night where people do get a bit more dressed up. Personally I like to do a sundress to dinner on most nights.

FYI the dress code:
Ladies - 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.


  1. You are the best Laura with all your tips, I know if I need any info about the cruise, I will find it here ! Heck, I already printed and wrote down in my notebook your check list for the trip ! LOL Thanks for taking time to blog on here :-)

    1. Thanks Sandra!! Heck, I'm sure you inspired a lot of these questions, so thanks for your input as well :)

  2. Thank you soooo much for posting this! im a first time cruiser and will be traveling alone this year so needless to say im a little nervous and didnt really have any idea what to expect.(besides what they show on the videos from past cruises) this for sure helped a lot and ill be sure to keep following the blog. hope to see you on board!

    1. That's great. Thanks so much for the feedback, so happy I could help. Feel free to email me if you have any questions I may have missed :) Hope to see you on board as well!

  3. This is amazing!!! Thank you so much!! I can't wait to see all the amazing BSB fans in a few weeks!

  4. This is amazing!!! Thank you so much!! I can't wait to see all the amazing BSB fans in a few weeks!

  5. I see a lot of people talking about getting early/late dining groups together for pictures.... any thoughts on that? Where do I get the information specific to me, like the Group A or Group B?

    1. You'll find which dining you were assigned on your reservation/account. If you created a login with RoseTours you can login here:
      and it should tell you somewhere in there. We still don't know which dining (early or late) corresponds to which group (A or B) until we get the itinerary, which should come in a couple of weeks. Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks for the info! I will have to keep looking... i didn't find anything on the link you provided. We ended up emailing Rose Tours directly to find out that we are (I think) Early dining...

      Thanks for the help! I like the lately post with the helpful tips :) Keep it up - I'm a newbie, too!!

    3. Ok cool- That was going to be my second suggestion and just email Jeannie. Glad to hear you're finding the info helpful!

  6. A tip for those who get seasick (or for those who just want to prevent it), start taking some Ginger tablets before the trip, and bring them with you. It'll keep your stomach settled. A lot of those motion sickness meds also make you very drowsy.