Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Port Change - Livorno, Italy

In case you missed it, according to the official Backstreet Cruise website, the ports have been changed from La Spezia, Italy to Livorno, Italy.  Here is the official announcement.

The BSB Cruise will be switching ports from La Spezia Italy to Livorno Italy. This port will be closer to both Pisa & Florence. Pisa will approximately be thirty minutes from the port, and Florence approximately an hour and fifteen to an hour & a half away. Travel time was previously one hour to Pisa & two hours to Florence. Excursions will be available for trips to both cities.

Personally I think this change will be for the best as it's closer to Pisa and Florence. Should make any day trips easier and give us more time in the port. Selfishly, I've already been to La Spezia, so I'm looking forward to exploring somewhere new. 

I think this change of port also serves as an important reminder to be very cautious with booking any excursions as the ports and days have been known to change in the past. Last year they kept the same port, but flipped the days on us, and we found out while on board. Thus I advise if you want to book an excursion, either go through the cruise line so it'll be covered in case of any changes, or make sure its refundable in circumstances like this. But I still advise to wait until we get the itinerary from Rose Tours just so you can plan accordingly.

Happy New Year to all cruisers around the world! See you next year ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Top 12 Rookie Cruiser Mistakes

Some fans are BSB cruise pros. They've been on all 4 cruises and can navigate these ships without a map. They can tell you how each deck party works. They can even probably tell you what order the boys will be standing in for the photo group. Others are not nearly up to speed. For many cruisers, especially this year, this is their first time on the high seas with the Backstreet Boys. This is literally a once in a life-time experience and it's important to make the most of it. Here are some mistakes for rookie cruisers to avoid in order to make the most of your Backstreet cruise.
  1. Not bringing comfortable clothes
    Yes, I know we all need to look cute for the boys at all times, but trust me when I say there is a lot of standing around. Pack comfortable shoes. You can still wear heels for the meet & greet, but I strongly encourage some flats too. I can't tell you how many girls I've seen at the deck parties in their 5'' heels who look utterly miserable.

    Also be prepared for all types of weather - hot, cold, rain. We've experienced them all. Take this into particular consideration when planning your theme outfits because we've had more than one deck party in the rain.

  2. Flying in the same day
    Just don't do it. Not worth the stress. Plus I find the boys will often have pre-cruise events that would require you to get in a day or two early anyway.

  3. Not meeting new people

    I can't encourage you enough to meet new fans both on board and before the cruise. Half the fun of the experience is being able to share it with other fans. Go out of your comfort zone and chat up your fellow cruisers.

  4. Travel with compatible friends
    Just because she's your best friends in real life, doesn't mean she'll make a good BSB cruise companion. You and your friends should envision the same type of experience. For some its a cruise vacation where BSB happens to be there too. And for others its a BSB event that happens to take place on a cruise. Slight but important difference.

    For example - some fans prefer to sit outside the boys' cabins all day while others want to sit by the pool and couldn't be bothered as to Kevin's current whereabouts. Some fans need to be front row for every event and are willing to put in the time, while others are perfectly content hanging in the back at the bar during the sail away party.

    There's no right or wrong way to do it, but make sure on the same page as the people you're traveling with. You don't want to resent someone for holding you back from how you want to experience the cruise

  5. Stalk the boys 24/7
    I suppose you can if you want....but I don't encourage it. It's all about striking a balance between enjoying the boys and enjoying your vacation. Plus you tend to run into one of them when you're not least expecting it.

  6. Have a realistic budget
    Budgeting for this type of vacation is tricky because there are so many hidden expenses that you don't anticipate. Even though the cost of the cruise covers pretty much everything you need once you're on board - shopping, drinks, excursions, will all be an additional cost. I also find that you're inevitably going to want to buy new clothes, theme outfits, get your hair and nails done, and even buying things for your door decoration. Not to mention airfare, hotels, pre/post-cruise associated costs, and potentially a pre-cruise event. It adds up!

  7. Over packing/ Under packing
    The reality is you're going to need a lot of different types of clothes due to the nature of a BSB cruise. You'll need swimwear, formal clothes, meet & greet outfits, theme night outfits, etc. It's not uncommon to change 4-5 times a day just given the schedule of events. Once we get the itinerary, I encourage you to plan your outfits and don't pack more than what is needed. Cabins are small and you don't have room for excess. Plus you'll likely want to go shopping so leave extra room in your suitcase.

  8. Take care of yourself
    We all daydream about running into AJ at the buffet, hanging out with friends by the pool, and rocking out at the concert. But what we don't envision is lying in bed sick in the cabin. I've had many friends who have missed events because they were seasick or just under the weather. Unfortunately it happens. You're traveling, you won't be getting a lot of sleep, you'll be pushing your body a lot, and most importantly you'll be in vicinity of Nick Carter who is notorious for being sick.
    This may seem obvious but stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, bring medicine, and be prepared for potential seasickness.

  9. Don't stress about the photo group
    Many fans like to have their photo groups pre-planned, and that's great if you found your perfect group and you're all set. However if you don't have a group planned before the cruise, that's 100% okay too. I personally think there's something to be said for staying flexible - you may meet new friends or if you're anything like me, you'll change your mind by the hour on who you want to stand next to in the photo. And if you don't have anyone to take a picture with, that's okay too. Rose Tours will pair you up with others who need a group.

  10. Embrace the fandom
    This is the one time you can REALLY let your inner fangirl out. Embrace it. You can comfortably dork out over unreleased songs or how you used to have posters covering your walls in middle school (and perhaps still do have posters covering your walls). I love seeing people get super into the theme nights or door decations (myself included).

  11. Strategize when to arrive early
    Here's my trick. I pick and choose the events I want to make the effort to get there early for. Anything with fan participation, it can pay to get there early (not always though). I don't think its realistic to be front row for everything, so I choose a couple of events to get there early to get a good spot. The rest of the time I try not to stress. I've also found that while other fans may be camped out up front for a deck party, if I'm running late I may see the guys headed to the deck party before anyone else gets to see their costumes. And that can be a lot of fun too!

  12. Stay positive
    With an event like a BSB cruise, our expectations can be almost unreasonably high, to the point where things will not necessarily go as you planned. You will have an amazing time, but speaking for myself, I know that emotions will sometimes get the better of me. An event may get rained out. Another fan may cut you off in your attempt to get a picture with Howie. Your run-in with Brian may not go as amazingly as you had planned it out in your head. Maybe Nick didn't notice the outfit you spent weeks putting together.

    Whatever happens though...don't let it get to you. Plus no one wants to be around someone who's constantly complaining. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and remind yourself how incredibly fortunate you are to be on the cruise in the first place.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Royal Caribbean Door Measurements

I recently went on a "regular" non-Backstreet Boy cruise and I have to admit that for the first 2 days I kept turning around expecting to see Nick or Brian. Only sad to see they weren't there. But on the bright side I actually found time to relax and enjoy the cruise, as well as measure the door on a Royal Caribbean ship. So at least I was semi-productive with my time.

I have to caveat though, I was on the Freedom of the Seas and the Backstreet Boys will be sailing on Brilliance of the Seas. They are not sister ships so I can't guarantee these will be the same measurements, but at least it's something.

Backstreet Boys Royal Caribbean Cruise Door Measurement
Royal Caribbean Door Measurements

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hayley's 2014 Cruise Review

Hi loyal-readers. I know I've been slacking in the writing department as we're in between cruise excitement, but fortunately I have another wonderful guest blogger and friend of mine, Hayley who is sharing her 2014 cruise experience with ya'll. I personally love reading other reviews because even though we're all on the same ship, we all have different stories and moments to share. This one is no exception.

A little more about Hayley - she is a Nick girl from Texas and one of the sweetest girls I've met. She's super friendly and loves meeting other BSB fans, so feel free to say hi and friend her on Facebook. I know she'd love to chat with you.

Hi, I’m Hayley. I had the fortune to meet the wonderful Laura on the 2014 BSB cruise, and I was more than happy to share my experiences as a first-time cruiser on her blog, which I read religiously before embarking on this journey. I first heard about the cruise in May of 2011, and immediately got on my phone to call my sister and try to convince her to come with me on the one coming up in December. The dates didn’t work for her, and I was way too scared to go alone. **Side note: major props to anyone who has the guts to go on the cruise by themselves. Y’all rock and can I have some of that courage?**  Fast forward to August 2013, and my sister and I were standing in line at the merch booth at the IAWLT concert, and I made her pinky swear that we would go on the next BSB cruise. There were witnesses, so she could not renege on the almighty and legally binding pinky swear.  January came, reservations were made—BSB cruise 2014, here we come!

We flew into Miami the day before because my anxiety couldn’t stand for a day-of arrival flight.  We stayed at a hotel right on Biscayne Bay and it was really nice. We arrived after midnight, so all we really did was sleep. The next day, we hailed a cab and arrived at the Carnival terminal around ten and it was already PACKED. There were already fans, four rows deep, waiting around the cordoned off area where the guys were going to board. The goody bags were just what I expected from my “research” of Laura’s blog, but the scavenger hunt was a new activity. My sister and I looked over the clues, but we were confused on the how the hunt was actually going to work. We were doubtful that we would be on the ship early enough to have a chance, so we didn’t really form a plan to look for clues. Then, the screams of fans told us it was time. The boys started arriving. Oh my gosh, y’all—nothing could have prepared me for this moment. It was so thrilling to be that close to the boys. I have been to a bunch of concerts, but had never been THAT close before. And then in one moment, I was closer to the Backstreet Boys than I had ever been in my life! My cheeks hurt from smiling when they finally made their way out of the terminal and into the gangway.

My sister and I went into this cruise vowing to not have unrealistic expectations. If we got a picture with one of the guys outside of the scheduled meet-and-greet, we would be overjoyed. I’m a Nick girl and She’s a Brian girl, so we hoped for our favorites, but we knew not to be picky.  Spolier alert: We were not disappointed. So, if you are looking to go on a BSB cruise for the first time, I think it’s important to set realistic goals, because you don’t want to be crushed when things don’t work out exactly as you had planned.

When we finally boarded the ship, it was a little overwhelming. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. So, naturally, we headed to the bar. We had to wait a while to be served, but as soon as we were at the counter, we were given recommendations for our drink order by some very nice fellow cruisers—a mom and her two teenage daughters.  Already, I was taken aback by how friendly the fellow passengers were. We took their recommendation and ordered a drink called “Kiss on the Lips” in the BSB cruise glass.  We then took the obligatory pictures with the large cardboard cutout of the guys. We wandered the ship a little trying to get our bearings, attended the super fun and super mandatory lifeboat training, and waited for the sail away party to begin. We were waiting outside on the Lido deck in the dreary weather trying to get as close to the stage as possible without being trampled when it was announced that the party was being moved to the atrium. Ultimate chaos. We rushed inside, but we weren’t quick enough to snag a spot on the railing.  We didn’t have the best experience at the party, because standing on our tippy toes and craning our necks to get a peek at the guys grew tiresome. Plus the boat began moving through very choppy waters in the middle of the party, so it was a challenge to stay steady (unfortunately, this was a common occurrence on the cruise). However, we met some very nice girls that stood at an angle so that we could see better and offered to send us photos of the event. Again, I was thankful for the kindness of strangers and I was hopeful that the evening would only get better.

As the party was dying down, I made my down the steps and came out on the landing by the atrium elevators. That’s when I saw Kevin. A crowd quickly formed and I was in the front row of the horde of fans. People were freaking out when Kevin passed by flanked by his bodyguard. By “freaking out,” I mean I saw one girl straight up slap another girl hard in the face because this girl claimed that the other had pushed her. The security guards did not see it happen, so the fan that assaulted the other was not led away in zip tie handcuffs like she should have been. This was my first time seeing fans getting more than a little crazy, and it was not my last. At that same event moments later my sister was waiting to try to snag a selfie with Kevin when another fan punched her hard in the arm. When my sister recoiled in confused terror, the fan pushed in front of her and screamed “KEVIN, I’M PREGNANT” before grabbing onto Kevin and taking a selfie. The overzealous, pregnant fan was gently removed by Keith (Kevin’s bodyguard) and Kevin dashed away to safety.

Next we had the game show: BSB loves the 90s. Laura already described it better than I could in her post and her pictures and quotes are spot-on. But, suffice it to say, that any moment where we can watch the boys just hang out and make fun of each other—on inflated furniture, no less—is a good time. It’s moments like these that allow fans to see just how much they are like brothers. Some of the highlights were Kevin’s near-constant Snoop Dogg impersonation, Nick’s cheating at, I mean playing, Mario Kart, and AJ’s less than stellar Skip-It skills. It was also at the game show that we were told by Jen that “We are not going to Half Moon Cay.” As you might guess, the reaction was not a positive one, but most people settled down when Jen explained that we were just switching days. The seas were so choppy that we were forced to re-route our course, making it impossible to make it to the beach the next day. While it ended up working out just fine, the planner in me was thrown by the sudden change of schedule.

After the game show, we took on the adventure of finding our assigned dining room, which was pretty tucked away. The host led me and my sister to our table where we discovered that our tablemates were the same girls who offered to share the railing at the sail away party! We also met a mother and daughter and a lone male cruiser (which pretty much made him a mini celeb in his own right, plus the fact that he is hilarious.) That dinner was one of my favorite moments on the cruise because it was the first time I had ever met so many people who had the same level of fandom as my sister and I and I loved the exchange of our favorite BSB-related memories and moments. It was this dinner that created a little BSB cruise family to share this crazy adventure with. We arranged a meeting place by the elevators for that night’s deck party.

We had heard that the Studio 54 deck party was being held in the atrium because of the weather, and based on our so-so experience at the sail away party, our hopes weren’t high. Deciding where to be at the start of a deck party is kind of like gambling. You don’t know where the guys are going to enter or where they’re going to go, so you just pick a spot and hope for the best. We settled on a spot two floors above the ground floor of the atrium, where the main stage and bar are located. It seemed like a long shot as it was relatively far-removed from the action. The boys finally arrived (Backstreet Time) and did their thing on the main stage. But then all hell broke loose when Nick and AJ hopped in the elevator and stopped at OUR floor. This spot of luck led to my sister and I getting selfies with Nick, Howie, and AJ all in the span of fifteen minutes.  

DISCLAIMER: Backstreet Amnesia is a real thing, y’all.

The brief moments spent with our esteemed gentlemen are quickly clouded over and exact word-for-word quotes go out the window. I remember that AJ said he liked my turban (it was leopard print) and that Nick looked just a little bit concerned with his daunting situation (the clamoring crowd of fans) when I asked for a picture. Anyway, needless to say, my steadfastly realistic expectations had just been blown out of the water. After the so-so Sail Away party, we could not get over our good fortune.

Switching the Day at Sea and the beach party threw us all for a loop, but it meant we were a day closer to our guaranteed moment with the boys.  We woke up really excited for the moment we had been waiting for—The Meet and Greet. We had a leisurely brunch and then got in line early for our photo session, which was already a couple hundred people deep. Because of the long wait, I had plenty of time to freak out about not having a group together for our photo. My sister and I kept our eyes open for any other singles or duos waiting in line. We were told in advance that if we didn’t have 4 or more in our group, we would be paired with someone, but it still made me nervous. I was also freaking out about picture position, and of course the little fact that I would soon be as close as I would probably ever be to the boys. As we waited, word spread about the positions of the guys and I really wanted to stand between AJ and Nick. My sister, who is much calmer and less prone to anxiety attacks, reminded me that everything at this point should be considered a bonus. The second before we got into the lounge for the photo, we met two girls who needed a group and it was fate—where they wanted to stand fit perfectly with what we wanted.

At that point, I was practically hyperventilating at the thought of hugging all five members of the group in the span of a minute. And let me tell you, when it happened, it was surreal. My biggest regret was that I rushed myself. I was very conscious that time was limited and didn’t want to get the “hurry up” warning. I had every intention to just hug each boy and say thank you. Well, I did that. I also managed to squeeze a few other things into that minute: almost tripped and fell into AJ, was mentally rushing Kevin when he was very sweetly greeting me in his Southern drawl (what is wrong with me?), broke away from Kevin when he pulled me into position for the picture (it was the wrong spot, but really, I repeat: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!), and had a one-sided conversation with Nick Carter after the picture was taken. (Read: total Nick girl) I say one-sided because after Nick called me “sweetie,” I had a complete synaptic collapse and was only capable of grinning like an idiot and nodding. After walking away in a daze, I ran back to give Brian a hug and then continued my mental breakdown in relative privacy. I cannot, on pain of death, remember ONE thing Mr. Carter said to me. Backstreet Amnesia was instantaneous. I just remember his friendly face and the kind way he spoke to me and it still makes me get all moony-face.

After collecting myself, my sister and I decided to go down to the pool for a bit. It was just what we needed after the stressful morning. At the pool we met more friends, drank beer, and went on the waterslides. Did I just describe the most perfect day so far? Why, yes. Yes, I did. It gets better. The next event was “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” I expected something like The Singing Bee, and I was right. I really enjoyed this event and appreciated how much effort they took with involving the fans in everything. The Guys vs. the fans makes for pretty good entertainment. My favorite moments included Brian impersonating Justin Timberlake when forced to sing a few lines of an N’sync song—“I’m gonna be seasick, ladies!,” listening to Howie singing Enrique Iglesias—“You can take my breasts away…,” and then Nick enthusiastically said “Ok, raise your hand if you’re a virgin!” (the rest of the guys groan, protest, or chastise Nick) and then Nick saying “Why didn’t anyone raise their hand?!” Nick—you’re so pretty.

After “Don’t Forget the Lyrics,” a bunch of us were hanging out at tables outside of the casino, waiting for dinner when we spotted Howie on his way into the casino. A couple of us, including my sister, rushed over to get a quick picture. I couldn’t get over the hype that you could run into a Backstreet Boy at any moment on this ship. My sister (the Brian girl), ran into Nick several times when he was almost completely alone. Understanding that he was trying to sneak away undetected, she just gave a quick wave or smile and went on her way. Keeping your cool is one of the most respectful things we can do as BSB fans and they obviously appreciate the heck out of that.

Dinner was a little more eventful as Kevin was tickling the ivories in the lounge right outside of the main dining room. He was preparing for his one-on-one time with the very lucky winners of the Scavenger Hunt. It was the moment for the Kevin girls of the group. They bailed out on most of dinner to get a moment with their guy and seeing their faces upon their return was another one of those “only on the cruise” moments. We had the concert next and then the Halloween deck party. We engaged in the debate of getting ready before the concert or after. We decided to live on the edge and attend the concert sans costume. It was fun to see the costumes of those who’d dressed early. Not everyone can say they’ve attended a Backstreet Boys concert with a mummy and the Bride of Frankenstein. 

The concert was amazing and it’s where some of us let our true fan freak flags fly. You truly jam out as hard as you want and you don’t care because everyone is doing it. Everyone is shouting the lyrics at the tops of their lungs and jumping up and down. My sister and I generally try to keep a low profile and avoid fan-girling, but when in Rome… Our friend, the solo male cruiser commented about our sudden shift, “Wow, I didn’t realize how big of a fan you were until I saw you guys at the concert.” If you’re going to go wild, the concert is the place to do it.

There’s nothing like a cruise concert. The guys are more relaxed and goof up tons of times to hilarious effect. I also really appreciated the cheesiness of the song intros—I hope they were winging it. The guys did a pretty great job with the choreography considering that the boat was rocking and roiling through the whole show. It was a sentimental and nostalgic show for me. Strong feelings and memories are attached to their songs and some new memories have joined the party. Now, I can’t hear “Straight through My Heart” and not think about how Kevin hates that song (it wasn’t on the set list initially, but Kevin accidentally promised it would be, so they had to accommodate) and Kevin doing the Carlton dance when making fun of the peppy chorus. “Hot Hot Hot” became a favorite after the concert thanks to the guys’ total synched choreography (HA). “Just to be Close” was such a special treat and when the idea of an a cappella concert was brought up, I shrieked like a five year old. WOULDN’T THAT BE AMAZING?! When the concert ended, we rushed down to our room to prepare for the Halloween deck party.

We got to the Lido deck with time to prepare ourselves for the general madness and mayhem of a deck party. The guys revealed their costumes (Wizard of Oz) and messed around a bit before dispersing for selfie hour. I found myself in a throng of girls surrounding Nick. Let me preface this by saying, I try my absolute best to follow rules, even the silly ones, and to avoid warnings. I absolutely hate the feeling of being reprimanded or getting in trouble for something like standing in the wrong place. I was really close to Nick and his bodyguard and the girls behind me started pushing forward, worried that Nick was going to walk past our cluster. I was literally being pushed into Nick’s bodyguard’s forearm, which he extended to protect them. Nick turns to take a picture with me and his bodyguard says to me “You need to stop pushing.” I said, “I’m not pushing, I promise. I’m being pushed into you.” Then he says, “Okay, but stop pushing.” I’m fully aware that Nick is watching this interaction. He’s not taking pictures with any of the waiting fans, but is silently watching. I was so embarrassed. It was fully a worst-case scenario for me. Nick very kindly takes my phone and snaps a picture of both of us.

I take my phone and leave and the bodyguard says “Thank you” to me. I’m not sure if he was thanking for me keeping cool and calmly leaving or what, but I spent the rest of the party in a funk. I felt like I looked like a crazy fan. This experience and the rain that eventually poured down on us (completing soaking my costume, which was still wet when I got back to Texas) really put a damper on the party for me. After the boys made their escape, we returned to our cabin to wring out our costumes and get some sleep before the Beach Party the following day.

My sister and I fully expected to be waiting around all day (or at least until noon) to be called to board a tender to Half Moon Cay for the beach party. We had blue wristbands, so we weren’t exactly VIP. So, we woke up expecting to have a leisurely breakfast and plenty of time to get ready. We’re up and about for no more than 3 minutes when they call blue wristbands to the deck to board. We threw on our swimsuits, grabbed some sunscreen, and ran to the boarding area. I looked a mess and totally had “just woke up” face. Not good. On the bright side, it was a beautiful day—the absolute opposite of the weather we left behind in Miami. My sister and I had never been to the Bahamas, so we were in awe of the beauty of the island. We found a spot near the stage but not too close and set our stuff down. We headed for the water and swam for about 30 minutes until the boat carrying the boys made a line for the shore. We were in the water when they arrived, but got out and made our way to stage shortly after.

The guys did their customary “just hanging out” stuff but with water guns and no shirts. They were plenty of beach games, which included the fans, and it was entertaining to see a Backstreet boy with literal egg on his face. After the water balloon toss, AJ tossed several of the extra balloons into the crowd. I turned my head to look out at the water, and I turn my direction back to stage to see AJ tossing a balloon and it was coming at me fast. It was such a direct hit to my chest, I was pulling shards of rubber balloon out of my swimsuit top. In summation, AJ threw a water balloon at my boobs. Only on the cruise. After the games were over, the vibe shifted to a deck party where each guy had a twenty-foot radius of fans waiting their turn. Before this happened, I literally walked into AJ when he was alone on the sand near the stage and he stopped for a photo. While, we’re trying to take the picture, some of the entourage started spraying water guns at us. AJ is holding me for a picture while we are being sprayed with water guns. AJ yells “Stop! We’re trying to take a picture, man!” and we get our photo. This moment is significant for me because it was pretty much the only time I got lucky enough to find one of the guys relatively alone.

I did wait in the water for a photo with Kevin. I actually enjoyed the wait because Kevin and his swoon-worthy bodyguard, Keith, are well versed in handling the crowds and keeping things calm. Kevin kept saying, “Be cool. I will rotate in a circle and I will take a photo with everyone.” Keith was keeping it entertaining by interacting with the fans. He actually smelled and fluffed a girl’s hair and finger wagged a girl for getting something signed and then requesting a photo.

My sister actually got lucky with one-on-one time with Kevin when she was swimming by herself. This is her story:
Hi, my name is Lauren and I’ve been a BSB fan since I was thirteen (I’m 31 now). Throughout my adolescence my walls were literally covered with Backstreet Boys posters and memorabilia. I even had a 7 foot promotional cut out that I stole from Sears (one of the sponsors from the Millennium tour). And while I met and hung out with member of BSB in my wildest dreams all the time, I never truly believed that I would have a one-on-one encounter with one of them in real life. As my sister mentioned earlier, we decided to be as realistic as possible, and since we had already gotten to meet AND hug the boys, I was pretty content with my cruise experience. This is probably why instead of combing the beach for potential BSB moments, I decided to spend our last hour or so in Half Moon Cay enjoying the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas. 
I wanted a little peace, so I decided to go swimming as far out as I could (there was a rope cordoning us off so we couldn’t swim off and get lost). I was floating out there peacefully, when suddenly someone popped up right next to me. I assumed that my sister had decided to join me, so you can imagine my surprise when I turned my head and came face to face with Kevin Richardson. Anyone who has met Kevin can attest that time seems to just sloooow down. We chatted briefly, and I asked him if he was having a good time. He said that he was really enjoying today and commented that he didn’t get to swim or tan last year because the weather wasn’t as nice. Ever the gentleman, he then reciprocated and asked if I was having a good time. I said, “Of course!” He then asked what had been my favorite part of the cruise. I said that today was amazing, but I also loved the concert, even though I now would never be able to listen to “Straight though My Heart” without wanting to do the Carlton Dance. He laughed and said sorry. I said it was worth it.

At this point people on the shore had spotted Kevin and were beginning to wade out to us. I turned to Kevin and said, “You better go now.” He laughed and drawled “Yeah” before diving and swimming past the cordoned area. After he slipped under the rope, the girls all arrived. Several had cameras and items that they wanted signed. Considering that Kevin had been standing in the water signing and taking pictures for the better part of an hour, I figured he deserved some peace. I said, “Girls, I think he just wants some alone time.” The girls looked a bit deflated, but they understood and headed back to shore. I began floating again and had just started to relax, when someone else popped up beside me. Sadly, it wasn’t another Backstreet Boy, but it was the next best thing, Keith, Kevin’s hunky bodyguard. Our encounter was short, but funny. He immediately asked, “Where is he?” I laughed and said, “He went off the grid.” Keith grumbled good-naturedly, “Well, how am I supposed to do my job?” I smiled and shrugged, and he dived under the water to go protect Kevin.

It was definitely a surreal experience to have a casual, non-rushed conversation with a Backstreet Boy. It was also pretty cool to be floating out there in that gorgeous water knowing that several Backstreet Boys were actually just a few yards away—Howie eventually joined Kevin past the cordon and they were just floating and laughing about something. It was little stolen moments like these that made my cruise experience unforgettable. Okay, now back to Hayley’s review…

After my photo with Kevin, I went back to my towel on the sand and just sat, soaking it all in. I’m a planner, so I researched pretty extensively before coming on the cruise, and pretty much all my info on cruises in general and BSB cruises in particular was gleaned from reading Laura’s blog, this blog. If you asked my sister, she would say one of most used phrases on the cruise and in the months leading up to the cruise was “Laura says…” It was my BSB cruise Bible. So, when I was sitting on my towel on the beach, I saw Laura on the beach and called to her like we were already friends; I mean, I already felt like I knew her through her blog. We chatted for a bit and I got to hear some of the experiences of  “the luckiest girl on the 2014 BSB cruise.” It was great meeting Laura and seeing that a lot of the feelings that she had expressed in her posts about past cruises rang true for me on the 2014 cruise.

After getting our fill of the beach, we boarded and made our way back to the cruise ship. More pool time, beer, and waterslides. Then it was time for the “Show ‘Em What You’re Made of” Premiere and Q & A.  They showed us about 15 minutes of the documentary (tears were certainly shed), and then the guys fielded questions from the audience. They strategically showed us pieces that wouldn’t give away any surprises or plot points, so the questions we could ask were kind of limiting. After about three questions were asked, I couldn’t think of anything new to pose a question. It did get repetitive and was not what everything I was hoping for.

The Anything But Clothes deck party had a different vibe than the previous ones. I’m not sure if it was because it was our last chance to interact with the boys or because there was a lot more flesh on display (both from the boys—primarily Nick and AJ—and from some of the cruisers), or maybe because it was the only deck party that was actually on the deck the whole evening. Needless to say, it was quite an experience. When else would you ever have the opportunity to eat chocolate kisses off of Howie’s chest or popcorn from AJ’s crotchal region? The theme lent itself to a super fun ABC fashion show, so there was more entertainment provided at this party than all the others. Our male friend was picked as a finalist for his gladiator outfit so he got to catwalk it up and chat with Kevin, who was serving as the MC. One of fashion show participants tried to dirty dance with Kevin and when it got a little too suggestive, Kevin tried to tactfully push her off his front side but was really awkward in the process. It is little moments like that that I will always cherish. The night was a blur of running around and taking advantage of the last few moments with our favorite guys.

My sister even finally got to have her moment with Brian. She had been foiled several times by some over enthusiastic fans who were more than willing to get physical. She was able to catch Brian as he came down the stairs from the deck and asked for a quick picture. Brian nodded to his bodyguard and said, “OK, just this one,” before posing for my sister’s selfie and dashing away with his wife, Leighanne. Brian is the only Backstreet Boy I didn’t get a picture with, but I’m glad my sister was able to get one, since she has always been a total Brian girl. We both ended the evening exhausted, but with huge smiles on our faces.

All of the guys were so amazing, patient, and kind. They took plenty of time to reach out to fans and take pictures. Seeing their dedication and love for their fans has made me respect them so much more as just genuinely good human beings. I consider myself so lucky to have been on this adventure. It breaks my heart that can’t attend the 2016 European BSB cruise, but I’m looking forward to another cruise in the near future. A big thank you to my BSB cruise family and all the people who made the 2014 cruise such a blast!

Monday, September 14, 2015

BSB Forever...But What About Those Other Guys?

In light of nsync and BSB joining forces for Dead7, I thought the timing of this blog was quite perfect. I have a very special guest blogger for you today. She is actually an Nsync fan… *ducks from flying objects*. Hear me (and her) out!! I’ve loved chatting with her and learning more about the Nsync fandom. For starters, just the fact that the nsync fandom still exists was a surprise for me. I’ve been learning so much from her, and the biggest thing I’ve actually taken away from our conversations is just how lucky the BSB army is to have all the opportunities we do. As easy as it is for us to complain the cruise is too much money, not the right region of the world, not the right cruise line, etc, etc, ….hearing from a fan in the nsync community has really put things into perspective for me and made me super appreciative of everything our boys do for us after all these years. Cruises, Concerts, VIPs, After Parties, books, TV shows, documentaries. The list goes on and on. 

I also thought this post was timely after 1D announced their hiatus. A lot of parallels were drawn to Nsync's 'hiatus'. So I’m thrilled to have my friend, TSL, shed some light on the nsync fandom. Her favorite Nsyncer is Chris and favorite Backstreet Boy is Brian. So without further ado…. 

First and foremost, I would like to thank Laura for being such a gracious blogger as to let this Nsync girl into her (and your) world and I am so honored that she asked me to be a guest on her beloved blog.  It’s been quite a fascinating experience to learn about each other’s fandom, and I think I can speak for both us when I say it has been a lot fun being each other's boy band tour guide! :)
Secondly, I'd like to thank you guys, the readers, for this opportunity to share some updates about my boys and my perspective on the Nsync fandom.  You may not have thought much about us since the heydays of TRL and would probably be surprised to know that yes, there are Nsyncer’s still going strong!

In truth, a lot of Nsync fans don’t even know what’s going on with the guys since each member has been doing his own thing for a long time now.  Plus, we don't have a formalized place to get official updates so it’s easy for the casual fan to miss out on what’s going on.  In all honesty, my own interest has waxed and waned over the years, but nostalgia and curiosity always pull me back in and I fall in love with them all over again!

So I thought I’d start off with an update on the individual guys, going in order of how their names appear in the band’s name:

The most visible of the members due to his successful musical career, movie roles, SNL appearances, and business ventures with Target and MasterCard, as well as his own clothing line and tequila brand (you might have seen his commercials; yes, that talking lime head is Justin).  He’s also well-known for his bromance with Jimmy Fallon (they even voiced those iPad/iPad mini commercials together). Oh, and did you know the McDonald’s catchphrase came from one of his songs? Youtube it and you’ll hear that familiar “bada ba ba baah - I’m loving it”

On the personal side of things, Justin has been married to actress Jessica Biel for almost 3 years and they recently had a baby boy, Silas, named after his maternal grandfather.

Happily married since November 2013 and lives in Florida where he runs a music studio, produces music for local artists, and is in a rock band called Nigel's 11. He has a charitable foundation and is involved in many local events benefitting underprivileged children.  Most recently, he had a small part in Sharknado 3 and I was surprised to learn he will be appearing in Dead 7 along with Joey.

While we sometimes wonder how each of the members feel about Justin, Chris seems to be the one that every member loves. I think it’s because he’s the most “normal” and unchanged by fame and they all have such an affinity for him. Case in point – his wife planned a surprise for his 40th birthday in which the other 4 guys showed up at his house and they just hung out until 6:00 in the morning. It was the first time they spent any alone time together in about 5 years, and I don’t think it would have happened for anyone else in the band.

Has become somewhat of a TV personality, having appeared in a few kid shows, a couple of cooking competitions on the Food Network, and Dancing with the Stars.  He also hosted some tv shows including NBC’s Celebrity Circus, The Singing Bee, and My Family Recipe Rocks (on the Live Well network).  Joey was on Broadway (in Rent, and Little Shop of Horrors) and earlier this year he was in Rock of Ages in Las Vegas.  Perhaps most famously, he was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and in fact, recently finished filming the sequel in Canada.  Oh, and of course you guys know that Nick asked him to be a part of his SyFy movie, Dead 7.

On the personal side, Joey has been married to his high school girlfriend for about 11 years, and they have two daughters, ages 14 and 5.

Hosts a radio show on Serius XM called "Dirty Pop" in which he plays a countdown of songs, talks about pop culture, and has celeb guests stop by. He’s currently broadcasting from New York while also working on the Meredith Vieira daytime talk show as one of her pop-culture panelist. Lance is probably most well-known for coming out as a gay man on the cover of People magazine in 2006. Since then, he has become a major advocate for the LGBT community, appearing in magazines, speaking at public and private events, and using his production company to create documentaries about LGBT issues.  Late last year, Lance got married which was documented in an E! special, Lance Loves Michael.

In 2007, Lance released a book, Out of Sync, which chronicles his struggle as a gay person growing up in conservative Mississippi and being in a world-famous band with a huge female fan base.  His book gave us a first-hand account of the band’s history but in doing so, caused a lot of heated discussion within our fandom as it exposed the circumstances that surrounded the band’s indefinite “hiatus.”

Oh, and if you’re wondering about his name, it isn’t actually “Lanceton.”  The band originally had a member named Jason (so the “N” came from his name) but he quit and was replaced by Lance, so the guys gave him this awkward nickname to fit in with the acronym.  Silly, I know, but hey it works.

The only member who is still single. He released an album, Schizophrenic, in 2004 and appeared on many tv talk-shows to promote it and was even scheduled to do the half-time show for the NFL Pro-Bowl, but it got cancelled after the fall-out from Justin’s performance with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl just one week prior.  In 2007, he was preparing to release a second album but his record deal fell through and it never got released.  JC considers himself a writer and producer more than a singer/performer and in fact invested in a music studio several years ago.  In 2013, he put together an all-girl group modeled after the popular “super groups” in Asia but it never amounted to much and disbanded.  JC appears happy to work behind the scenes with other artists and will occasionally perform with them, most recently with Smokey Robinson and the Blues Traveler.  He has done some light acting over the years and was getting ready for a huge cross-country tour of Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar but it was abruptly cancelled last year.  He may be most known post-Nsync for being a judge on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew for 7 seasons.

Ok, so moving on…

Here’s a trivia question for you guys: When did Nsync officially break up?  …Don’t know? Well neither do we! Sadly, I’m not even kidding.  This may not be common knowledge, but Nsync never officially announced their break-up.  In 2002, they told us they would take a half-year hiatus to pursue individual projects then come back together to work on their fourth album.  Those 6 months eventually turned into 2 years and all the while they repeatedly said that they did NOT break up. But as time went on, with Justin’s career blowing up and no reunion in site, we were left to conclude on our own that Nsync was not getting back together and had indeed broken up.  As such we can, to a certain extent, empathize with the One Direction fans.  Our band’s break up is a touchy subject in our fandom, so we hope the 1D’ers don’t have to go through what we did.

While we don’t know the exact date that the Nsync broke up, we do know the last time they performed (prior to the VMA reunion) was at their sixth annual Challenge For The Children charity event in July 2004. It was a rather poignant moment because they had not sung together since their Bee Gees tribute at the Grammys in February 2003, which in itself was a pretty big deal since Justin had already made a name for himself with the release of his first solo album.  Following the CFTC event, the buzz about the band’s break-up was even louder and in fact MTV reported that the boys would be meeting to discuss the fate of the band after that weekend’s festivities.  Well, the days came and went and no press-release about their break-up.  The following year, in 2005, the band fulfilled their commitment to host the CFTC for one last time.  Fans who attended described it as bittersweet – they were happy to see the band together but the spirit and mood was noticeably different; supposedly the guys appeared to be somewhat distant and disjointed.

We only learned definitively what happened thanks to Lance’s book. In it, he revealed that the band did indeed meet after the 2004 CFTC to discuss the state of things and it was then that Justin said he would not be coming back to the band.  There were some fans who challenged the validity of Lance’s account as they found inaccuracies in his statements and timelines throughout the book. Regardless, he gave the fans who were already leery of Justin more fuel for their disdain and countless arguments about his actions and intentions ensued.  The mere uncertainty of what truly happened created tons of blame and speculation about who-did-what-to-whom-and-why and caused major in-fighting among the fans.

For those of us who remain active in the fandom, the lines are still drawn: On one side are those who have extreme hatred for Justin and see him as selfish and egotistical.  On the other side are fans that support Justin’s decision to take a golden opportunity which he adeptly parlayed into an incredible career.  In the middle are fans like me who have a love-hate relationship with Justin: we are upset by his actions that led to the untimely end to Nsync and may not like him, but do applaud his accomplishments and acknowledge his meteoric rise to fame.

To me, the most hurtful thing was not that Justin left – after all, you can’t deny someone with immense talent who is destined for stardom – but rather, the way it was handled by everyone involved and especially that no one told us what was going on.  How could they not give us the courtesy and respect that we deserved after all we’ve given to them?!  …Argh, even as I type this, I can feel my temperature rising!  Sigh…but what’s done is done and we’ve all accepted that our life is now basically this:

So as you can see, we’re a very fragmented fandom, one of many emotions and differing opinions about our very own boys. But what we can all agree on is the absolute joy they gave us as a band, and we are completely happy and certain in our choice that Nsync was the right boy band for us.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it.  There’s so much more I would love to share, but maybe we can save that for another time.  For now, I will close by saying that Laura and I have had tons of fun talking about our boys and it’s been an incredibly enlightening experience! She is quite the ambassador for your fandom and I feel so fortunate to have met her.  I appreciate her taking an interest in my fandom and engaging in in-depth discussions with me.

At the end of the day, I am left with these final thoughts...

  1. Your band loves you and that is SO awesome! I have always had the utmost respect for the way BSB treats your fandom; they have been open and honest with you guys all along the way and I envy your ability to get the answers and closure you deserve. On top of that, Laura has shared all the tremendous opportunities you have to meet and interact with the band and I’m genuinely happy for you guys.
  2. No one band is “better” than the other. There are so many facets that make a band great and when it’s all said and done it's just a matter of personal liking. For example, why do some people like the color blue and others like the color red?  One is not innately better than the other and there is no right or wrong answer. Similarly, each of us likes one band more than the other for whatever reason; it’s just our preference…so no need to get upset about it! ;o)
  3. After all these years our boys still give us the feels!  Yep, we still go crazy for them and obsess over everything, but we’re also a lot more mature now. We can actually acknowledge positive things about the other band (gasp!) and even be critical about our own band (gasp again!)  So yes, the passion is still there…we’re just not as blinded by it as we were before.  So YAY to us for being older and wiser and sticking by our boys’ side through thick and thin, and especially for still having fun and keeping the love!! 
“You asked for it…Let’s show these young boys how to do it.”
- Justin with Nsync, 2013 VMA

Friday, July 17, 2015

18 Signs You're Obssessed with the BSB Cruise

Since we have a lot of time to kill in between now and the cruise....

18 Signs You're Obsessed with the BSB Cruise
  1. At any given moment you know exactly how many days we have left until the cruise (298 days...but who's counting?)
  2. Your YouTube home screen is full of BSB cruise videos
  3. You know the names of at least 2 Rose Tour employees
  4. More and more of your facebook/twitter feed is filled with fellow cruisers and Backstreet related updates
  5. You constantly stalk and twitter praying for cruise-related updates
  6. You already have your photo group planned for a picture that's 10 months away, but aren't concerned at all about planning that weekend getaway with your family that's in a week
  7. Memes like this make you giggle uncontrollably
    Credit to @CarterClan
  8. You have nightmares about missing the cruise, losing your passport, or the cruise being cancelled.
  9. Or if you're lucky you have good dreams about the cruise like running into AJ outside your cabin or getting a selfie with Brian at the deck party.
  10. Even though you have a big meeting/test the next day, you still find yourself up at 2am watching cruise videos.
  11. People ask you what you want for your birthday/the holidays/etc the answer is always money to put towards the next cruise,
  12. Anytime you meet someone else going on the cruise, they are instantly your new best friend.
  13. Every conversation you have leads back to the cruise somehow...
    "Speaking of Game of Thrones...did you know Nick likes that show? Oh and have I mentioned I'm going on a cruise with him and the Backstreet Boys??"
  14. Anytime you go clothes shopping you somehow end up buying something you "need" for the cruise instead.
  15. All other vacations now seem so dull because the Backstreet Boys aren't there to party with you.
  16. You've legit spent more time daydreaming about the cruise than you will actually be on board the cruise.
  17. You're almost just as excited to see Justin and their security team as you are the boys.
  18. Just the thinking about the cruise makes you want to stop everything and do this...

Please tell me I'm not alone, here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

21 Stages of Running into BSB at a Deck Party

Basically my experience at every deck party...
  1. Strategically find a spot that will allow me the best access to the Backstreet Boys
  2. Try and wait patiently for Brian, Howie, Nick, Kevin, or AJ to come towards me
  3. Wonder why all the boys seem to be on the opposite end of the ship, all the while internally cursing my friends for picking the worst possible spot on the deck to wait

    Courtesy of
  4. Panic and run to the other end side of the deck
  5. Immediately regret decision when I see my favorite Backstreet Boy go to where I was just standing and do something incredibly special with another fan

    Courtesy of
  6. Momentarily contemplate jumping overboard and cursing my horrible luck
  7. Get incredibly anxious when one of the guys finally starts to head in my direction
  8. Grab camera and frantically check to make sure its still functioning
  9. Make a deal with a nearby fan or friend to take pictures of each other when the Backstreet Boy finally makes their way over
  10. Have a mild panic attack as Backstreet Boy gets closer to me

    Courtesy of
  11. Brace myself for pushing fans
  12. Have the fleeting thought, "What the hell am I doing with my life as a grown-ass woman at in a mob of people at 2am?"

    Courtesy of
  13. Make eye contact with Backstreet Boy, and completely throw previous thought out the window
  14. Sputter out 10-15 seconds of small talk, trying not to sound like an idiot
  15. Get picture with said Backstreet Boy
  16. Maintain composure and thank him, all the while freaking out that a Backstreet Boy just had his hand on the small of my back and smells better than I ever could've dreamed
  17. Escape crowd
  18. Pray to the BSB gods that the picture came out okay, no one was blinking, and I didn't have anything stuck in my teeth
  19. Show picture to all of my friends...and random fans I don't even know because of course I know they're dying to see my picture too
  20. Make a list of all the social media sites I plan to post the picture on once I have an internet connection again, and eagerly anticipate how jealous everyone will undoubtedly be
  21. Wash rinse and repeat with another Backstreet Boy

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who Else is Cruising in 2016?

Well I'm excited to say that I'm officially booked on the BSB Europe cruise for 2016 and I couldn't be more excited! I'm rooming with 2 of my lovely past roommates - Cory and Anne Marie and we're ready to take the Mediterranean by storm. I'll be on deck 10, cabin 1074, late dining. Please stop by and say hi!

I think the madness that was the pre-sale yesterday and today is a good indication of the madness that is likely to ensue on board. I was fortunate to snag my cabin yesterday and I have a reservation number of 132865. I don't think it's fully hit me yet that I'm booked and going to be in Europe (AGAIN!) with the Backstreet Boys. And it'll be right around my 30th birthday. What a way to celebrate.

So who else is cruising and what's your cabin number?! Can't wait for round 5!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

11 Things that Can Only Happen on a Backstreet Cruise

Because let's face it, anything goes on a Backstreet Boys cruise. Don't miss out on these once in a lifetime experiences. Make sure to book your cabin when they go on sale next week! Seriously, you gotta trust me on this one. Don't miss out.

  1. Take selfies with shirtless Backstreet Boys in the ocean
  2. Eat candy directly from Nick's mouth. NBD.
  3. Witness AJ & Kevin fight with a giant inflatable penis
    (Well there's a sentence I never thought I'd say)
  4. Play air hockey with Nick
  5. Chat with Kevin in a bathrobe.
    (You know, just your Friday average evening)
  6. See AJ wear assless chaps.
    (Actually... knowing AJ you probably could see him wear this outside of a Backstreet cruise. But I'm still including it.)

  7. Hand pick chocolate kisses from Howie's body...and then eat them!
  8. See Nick dressed up as Dorothy
  9. Have AJ squirt alcohol into your mouth with a penis shaped water gun
  10. Play Volleyball with Brian
  11. Take shots with Kevin
    (Sorry I couldn't resist)

    Thanks to  my friends Nichole, Lucy, and Ashley for sharing their memories and pictures!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Inside Scoop for First Time BSB Cruisers

I'm anticipating many first time cruisers this year because we're headed across the pond to Europe. So while Rose Tours puts together a lovely FAQ page (which you should probably check out as it has a lot of logistical questions answered) many of you want to know the REAL deal about just exactly what goes down on a BSB cruise. You gotta know if it's worth the money. The short answer is yes. But just in case you're unsure, here's a quick rundown on some frequently asked questions from first timers.

What can I expect on a BSB cruise?
Expect to have the time of your life. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll sing, you'll dance. You'll get to meet the Backstreet Boys. You'll meet some amazing fans from all over the world and hopefully walk away with many new best friends. You'll act like you're 13 the entire time. You'll make some wonderful memories.'s awesome. You just gotta trust me on this one and then thank me later.

Will I get to meet the Backstreet Boys?
You WILL definitely get to meet the Backstreet Boys. I repeat... you will get to meet the Backstreet Boys and make a childhood dream officially come true. You can leave the ship and die happy. No but really, they have a meet & greet session where you are guaranteed to meet all 5 Backstreet Boys and get a group picture with them. And the meet & greet is included in the cost of the cruise, so not to fret!

Proof that you do in fact get to meet them AND get a picture AND they're in sailor outfits
Help! I really want to go but have no one to go with.
As my brother likes to tell me, "Track 3 - In a World Like This." You have a lot of options. Don't let not having a travel buddy stop you. If I let that stop me, I wouldn't have gone on that first cruise 5 glorious years ago and have this lovely blog. You have options. Rose Tours offers a roommate match program and they will pair you up with another cruiser in your situation. Its easy and it works. You can also scour twitter, facebook, the fanclub, or even let me know and I'll try to match you with someone. You're not alone. I guarantee there are others in the exact same situation and would love to room with you.

Also, its super easy to meet people on board. You can literally go up to anyone on that ship and start a conversation with, "So what is your favorite Nick hairstyle?" and proceed to have a 2 hour chat discussing the pros and cons of each of his dos. Any by 'anyone on that ship', I don't mean the Royal Caribbean staff. You might get yourself a few sideways glances.

The hair has come full circle.

Is it worth the money?
Yes, it's expensive. But it's worth every penny. Try not to think about the fact that you could go on a different cruise for half the price and twice as long. Think about how that cruise ship won't have this waiting for you when you board....

How much face time is realistic?
I wish I could tell you we all get to have an intimate lunch with Brian every day. But alas, there's simply not enough BSB to go around. The good news is it is very likely to run into them around the ship. They stay with us all 4 days and are often found roaming around the ship. It's not uncommon to see AJ grabbing lunch at the buffet or Howie shooting craps in the casino. 

Plus there are lots of opportunities to get a selfie, hug, autograph, picture, quick convo, or have Nick sign your body so you can get it tattooed when you get back home (yes this really happens and yes he'll actually do it). The boys really make themselves available during the cruise, especially the deck parties. And if you're patient, you'll hopefully go home with at least 1 or 2 pictures to make all of your friends back home super jealous. I mean, that is the ultimate goal, right?

What's the deal with the photo groups?
"Looking for a Kevin and Brian girl."
"Nick girl looking for a group."
"Need a Howie fan."

When you see these sorts of phrases, or any iteration thereof, it means people are looking to complete their photo group. And I'm sure some go-getters already have theirs figured out.

So as I said above, you'll get to meet the Backstreet Boys and part of that process means finding other fans to take a picture with. For the past 2 cruises they have done photo groups of 4-5 people. So if you're going to leave utterly devastated if you don't stand next to your favorite boy in the photo, you might want to think about getting a group together a month or two before sailing. Otherwise, don't worry about it. There will be other fans who need group members too and the staff will match you up the day of. There is NO need to start worrying about this now.

Is it worth it to get the more expensive cabins?
It's funny. My friends who have gotten the more expensive cabins insist it's absolutely worth it to get the front seats at the shows. Meanwhile my friends who have gotten the cheapo cabins insist it's not worth the extra money to get the better cabins. So what I've concluded - you can't go wrong. (Personally I fall in the latter category and have never felt like I missed out on anything.)

I do feel obliged to point out that this cruise is the first year that the better cabins come with an exclusive BSB event. I emailed Rose Tours trying to pry more info out of them, but sadly they don't have details yet. Color me crazy, but I would like slightly more info before shelling out an extra $1000+.

What sort of events do they have on board?
In typical Backstreet fashion, we won't get this information until 2 weeks before the cruise. So buckle up, you're in for a long wait. Though based on what has happened on past cruises, I expect that they will have some mix of the following events:
  • Sailaway party- Basically BSB in sailor outfits
  • Game show- An hour of watching Brian's competitive side come out
  • Deck/Theme Parties (x3)- Evening of trying to get selfies with the boys in fun costumes
  • Q&A- The boys answering actually decent questions that aren't the typical, "What advice do you have for the new generation of boybands?"
    (Its a tossup as to whether or not they'll have this event. But I really like the Q&A so I hope they do it!)
  • Concert- Please, for the love of Nick Carter, they better do a unique cruise concert like they did last year. That was amazing!
  • Meet & Greet-  Getting hugs from AJ, Brian, Kevin, Nick and Howie. Squeee!
  • Solo events (if we're lucky)
  • Beach Party- Shirtless Backstreet Boys. (Though in my personal opinion I'm doubtful we'll get one this year based on our 2 free port days.)

If you're a first timer and have any other questions, feel free to post below!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

BSB Takes the Mediterranean

Very exciting news today....not only do we have a cruise announcement but we're going to the Mediterranean! Check out all the important cruise info here on

Announcement Info
You want a European Cruise? We did it. You want a 4 day cruise?! It's on. You want all the details? Well buckle up, cause here they are:

MAY 10 - 14, 2016




Presale for past guests & fan club members: June 3rd at 12PM ET

General onsale: June 4th at 12PM ET

My Take
My head is spinning right now. Lots of info to process!

I'm excited for a completely new itinerary and new BSB adventure.
I'm excited to return to Barcelona and La Spezia.
I'm excited to explore Cannes for the first time.
I'm excited we're back to a 4 day cruise. That extra day is sooo nice and I think it will be very necessary for this cruise.
I'm excited that Rose Tours will be running it again; I wasn't sure if they were going to use a European group.
I'm excited that we're doing Royal Caribbean. Lets hope they have 2am pizza like Carnival does ;) I'm excited that my bank account will be completely depleted in no time!

Ok....well not so much that last one. But definitely a lot be excited for!!

Meanwhile the prices aren't as outrageous as I thought they would be. So that's encouraging. One thing I did notice is that the reserved seating now comes with an exclusive BSB party. Intriguing!

Any Questions??
First time cruiser? Need a roommate? Please don't hesitate to email me and I'll help answer any question you may have. Seriously any questions at all - I'm happy to help. Keeping in mind this upcoming cruise is a whole new ball game so I'll do my best! I also have had many cruisers email me in the past needing roommates, so I can do my best at a makeshift roommate match service. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2016 Cruise Teaser

So the boys just posted a little cruise teaser on their facebook page....

I'm hopeful and optimistic that this means we'll have a cruise announcement sooner than anticipated. The rumors floating around are that BSB and New Kids were swapping cruise times, meaning the BSB cruise would be slated for next May/June 2016. Again- nothing certain, just rumors. Based on that I was previously expecting an announcement in the September-ish time frame.

Meanwhile Kev also just posted a picture of the Barcelona cruise port so it looks like we're going to Europe, ladies (and a few gents)!

Barcelona Cruise Port
Of course living in the US, I'm biased and still hope they stick with Caribbean. But here are my thoughts on a Mediterranean cruise
  • Cost- I suspect in and of itself, just with conversion rates and everything, a Mediterranean cruise will be that much more pricy. Let alone the added flight expense (at least for me). I also figure it'll cost the boys a lot more to fly all of their crew and equipment, cutting into their margins too.

    How I feel thinking about the cost of a Mediterranean BSB Cruise
  • Location- While the Mediterranean would likely have much more exotic and fun ports to explore, it seems like a waste to visit those on a BSB cruise because I'd be so focused on BSB that I don't think I'd take advantage of the sites. I'll be the bozo who returns from Europe and doesn't see anything beyond the airport... 'What Colosseum? I have to go find Nick Carter!'
  • Crowd- The crowd will be completely different on a European cruise. I think a lot of Americans who were able to go in the past might not be able to afford the flight over to Europe. Meanwhile Europeans and others in the Eastern hemisphere who haven't had a chance to go in the past will now have the opportunity. Therefore I think we'd see a whole lot of first time cruisers if they do a European cruise. I also think the crowd will be completely different. Historically its been primarily Americans. A European cruise will mean a whole lot of different cultures and nationalities on board, and different fan behavior. Not sure if it'll be better or worse, but I imagine it will be quite different.
Looks like I have to start saving up and making sure my passport is up to date!