I'm proud to say I've been on all 3 cruises and will hopefully be going on the next cruise as well. Every cruise seems to keep me on my toes and have a completely different vibe from the previous. So I'm going to take a quick look down cruise memory lane and make some predictions for the 2014 cruise.
The first time the boys are brave enough to face the sea. This cruise was probably the most unlike the others because it was a half charter, a day longer, and they had a kick-ass pre cruise acoustic concert. So the trip translated into 5 days of Backstreet goodness. And with a half charter, that meant only 1 of each event- none of the group A/group B nonsense. We were all in the same dining and all got to see everything. This also meant that there was a lot more opportunity to see the boys during the downtime. They actually got to sit down and have dinner with us, knock on cabin doors, and hang out in the club with us after the events.
The other neat thing about this cruise was that everyone and their mother came, including Howie's mom! Most of their family was able to join and a lot of their friends were able to come as well. With that came pros and cons- I think it was neat to see all of their loved ones. But it arguably took time away from fans.
The boys were still quite scared and unsure on what to expect for this trip. That was really evident in their interactions with the fans. Moreover, the fans didn't know what to expect. There was no practically no camping out because we were all still learning the ropes. That and there were half the number of people on board.
Overall this trip felt more like you were on vacation and backstreet boys & their families happened to be there too. There were less events and a lot more downtime. You actually had time to sit by the pool and relax, go figure!
In 2011 they went to their first full charter and cut back on the number of days. Now we're down to a 3 day cruise, but the good news is they still kept a pre-cruise event so 4 days of solid BSB fun! There were twice the number of fans, and people started catching on to how things work. It became tougher to get closer to the stage at events. Fans came to reunite with old friends they had met from the first cruise.
The boys definitely felt a lot more comfortable on this cruise, knowing what to expect. I think they let loose a bit more, as evidenced during some of the theme nights.
This was the first year that we had to deal with early/late dining groups, which was certainly an adjustment.
Looking back I'd say this cruise had the most ideal Backstreet Events: Vacation Time ratio of the three cruises. Lots to do, but still had some time to relax and eat.
I'll cut to the chase, the 2013 cruise was nuts. They kept up a 3 day cruise, but got rid of the pre-cruise event so know we're down to 3 days of BSB excitement. That said- they sure filled those 3 days!
I think the fans were the most crazy this year. Felt like a lot of first time cruisers were on board due to the excitement of the 20th anniversary and Kevin's return. Meanwhile repeat cruisers now know all the ins & outs and tricks of the cruise. Fans were camping out by the stage for hours, even forgoing other events to do so. It just felt so much more chaotic to me.
The itinerary was also the most busy its ever been, primarily because of the addition of solo events. Not complaining, but it didn't feel like a vacation- it felt like a BSB marathon. I was forced to skip meals because there was just no time to eat. It left me feeling exhausted, and from what I could tell, the boys exhausted as well. There was a lot less of those random run-ins because there was no downtime.
I believe Leighanne and Howie's brother, John, were the only family members still brave enough to still board the ship with all of us. Its becoming clear that this is "work" for the boys, not time to vacation with their family in the Caribbean.
Rose Tours keeps honing the trip and making the events better. Boys are also getting really comfortable at the events and giving us what we want including more chances for interaction, more pictures, etc.
I have a few predictions for 2014. I think the fans are going to continue to get worse, in terms of camping out by the stage and mobbing the guys. Repeat cruisers are just getting more and more experienced on how to work the system and get their moments. This past cruise I was roaming the halls looking at door decorations and I see a bunch of girls camped out by the crew entrance where the boys would theoretically come out of the crew corridors to get back to their cabin. Oye! Every year seems to get progressively worse.
That said, it seems like a lot of repeat cruisers are not all eagerly signing up as they were in the past. Mainly for 2 reasons. First is cost- some can't afford yet another cruise so close to the last one and so close to the holidays. Second- I think a lot of fans have had their fill, so to speak. After a couple of cruises, some people got a taste of it and that was all they needed. Lucky for me, I don't fit in either of those categories.
Once again I think there's going to be very little to no downtime. At this point I dont think they'd take away the solo events, so I think we're going to have another very busy schedule. I also see the quality of the events just getting better as they need to continuously need to outdo themselves.
These are just a few of my predictions. Do you guys have any?