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.