Monday, May 23, 2016

Welcome Back Cruisers

Well I'm finally back after an exhausting but super fun cruise/European adventure! Lots of fun stories and pictures to share. For now just a quick recap of my takeaways as I unpack, battle jetlag, and recoup!
  • Most. Epic. Concert. Ever! Seriously, that concert was the greatest. There was just so much energy from the crowd and it was super special to not only have an acoustic concert, but a set-list full of songs we haven't heard live in YEARS!! I could seriously watch that concert every day and never get sick of that. So freakin good!
  • Anyone else think that AJ was a rockstar this cruise?? At least in my humble opinion, he seemed to be going above and beyond every day to make sure he could get as pictures with as many fans as possible. Though all the guys were really amazing putting up with us <3
  • Loved that they brought back the solo events. It was great to give each guy his time to shine and give us cruisers that much more Backstreet in our day. I think my fave solo event was AJ...but then again, tough to compete with hearing new music!
  • Having that 4th day back was phenomenal! Really hope that they continue to keep it 1 day longer. It really makes a huge difference.
  • I have been going back and forth if I like the 2 days of ports/sight-seeing as compared to one day with the beach party. I did enjoy 'sleeping in' and leisurely exploring the ports (granted I didn't do excursions). Meanwhile it appears the fans who did do excursions went on little to no sleep. I got tired just thinking about it! All that said....I really do like the beach party and enjoy spending the day with the boys and I missed it this year. I know we can't have it all, but suppose if I were to plan up my dream itinerary, I'd love a 4 day cruise with 1 day beach party, and the other day as a free day to explore whatever port. Best of both worlds.
  • I also have been going back and forth if I prefer Carnival to Royal Caribbean. It seems that both had their pros and cons. Carnival had 24/7 pizza which was super handy after a deck party, though that's all they had and the line was atrocious. Meanwhile Royal had a lot more food options with no lines, but it ended at 3am. I loved Royal's main theater, a lot easier to see with no cocktail tables in the way. But on the other hand, I think Carnival's atrium worked better for the indoor deck parties. There were a lot more differences, perhaps I'll do an in-depth post later, but those are a few things that stood out to me.
  • I was happy to see Rose Tours trying new things years and taking some of our suggestions to life. I've been suggesting BSB trivia for years now, and they finally did it! I sadly missed it because I was at the preferred event, so curious to hear from other cruisers how that event was. Also, other new things like the Guinness Record was a lot of fun. 
  • Oh the preferred event. *sigh*. Not sure where to even start with this one. I know many fans left this feeling really disappointed. I rarely, if ever, complain about things on a BSB cruise..... Here's the thing - I loved the IDEA of the event, as I think many fans did, but unfortunately it failed in execution for numerous reason. Too many people, boys didn't/couldn't move around the room without being mobbed, boys weren't spread out enough, fans still were asking for pictures instead of mingling, an hour was clearly not enough time to get to everyone, etc. I actually wouldn't mind seeing them attempt this event again, but it just needs some tweaks and a lot more structure.
  • Selfie lines were great! I'm looking at you, AJ ;) Just wish more of the boys did this than the not-as-popular 'Mob the Backstreet Boy' approach. Ugh.
  • The little touches also don't go unnoticed... This was the first cruise we had a big screen on the pool deck and I thought it was an awesome addition to this cruise. I loved seeing pictures of fans scrolling; the movies playing; and of course live feeds of the events where possible. 
  • I noticed there were not a lot of door decorations this year. Not sure if people didn't know about it (as a contest was never officially announced), or its just a natural decline in interest every year. 
  • I'd be remiss not to talk about some of the negativity floating around on social media after this cruise. It honestly makes me sad, which is why I really try to stay away from it. It seems that as a whole, veteran cruisers were a little disappointed this time around with generally more aggressive crowds and some logistical mishaps.
    As far as the crowds were concerned- I agree the fans were definitely, how shall I put this, the most 'passionate' this time around. Lots more pushing, following the boys, and I even heard some fans were bitten??? Goodness, ladies, we're grown adults! I was really hoping those were rumors, bad sadly I don't think it was. I'm not going to dwell on this point though, we've all heard enough of it.
    It seems like fans were also disappointed with the majority of the deck parties being moved inside and the space not being very accommodating. I'm really starting to think BSB cruises are cursed with rain, we've had it every single time! It's easy to point fingers at the staff, we want to blame someone, but the reality is the weather just sucked this cruise and sadly the atrium wasn't the best place for a deck party. Sadly we can't control the weather.
Full recap and analysis coming soon, but wanted to share my initial thoughts. It feels weird to say, but I think this was my least favorite cruise. Not so much because of the pushing or whatever other reasons people didn't enjoy themselves, but I think it's because my personal experiences and interactions from the last cruise were just so hard to top. As much as I tell myself not to compare the cruises with one another, its hard not to! Just to clarify - that doesn't mean I didn't have a great time. It means that I rate this cruise a 9.7 out of 10 instead of a 10 out of 10.

What did everyone else think??


  1. Hey Laura,

    I have been waiting for your recap - your site is my go-to for cruise information and I was curious to get your feedback. I've only missed one cruise (of course the one Kevin showed up to - I vowed to never miss another) and I felt the same as you. Definitely my least favorite cruise, but that's like saying one of the BSB is your "least favourite" they are still awesome!

    A few quick notes:

    The first cruise had a big tv screen (here I am posing with AJ haha and I was super happy to see that return. I find that makes a big difference when you arent able to get up close.

    I found the "stage" on the deck to be way too low. If it was up a couple of feet higher that would have been awesome. Even if you were 4 or 5 people back all I could see were the top of the boys heads.

    LOVED the solo events - Kevin's was my fav - you can always tell that he puts a lot of effort into making his event something special. Side note: Nick just did an entire solo tour, its weird to me he never does a mini-concert type event and showcase some of his solo material.

    I was one of the ones who did the excursions. It was EXHAUSTING. I really did miss the beach party too - not that I've ever been chosen, but they gave a lot of opportunities for fans to interact with the boys.

    Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I think I prefered Carnival. They seemed to have a few more 'BSB touches' that RC didnt have - like BSB poker chips, and BSB cups. Maybe this was a Rose Tours thing though... Since this cruise was undoubtedly more expensive for them to put on, maybe those little touches were forgotten?

    I wasn't a part of the 'preferred event' (which I hear isnt a bad thing haha) and I did go to the trivia. I would say, there was MAX 20 people there - it wasn't all backstreet boys trivia - more like 90's trivia. Someone from Rose tours handed out a slip of paper, with 1-20 and a line written on it. Then she read the questions out and you wrote in your answers, she went over the answers at the end. I went hoping that there might be some BSB prizes like merch or something. They had a little trophy for the winner, and everyone got a 'participation medal' with BSB Cruise 2016 engraved on it and a bsb cruise button. I had fun :)

    I personally didnt do any door decorations this year and I always have in the past - I think where this one was to Europe I was more concerned with packing and making sure I had enough room in my luggage for cute dresses (that I didn't wear because it was too cold haha) Warm rain is one thing when we are in Miami or the Carribbean, but this time it was COLD.

    ok this is WAY too long - I look forward to your full analysis! haha

    1. haha hey girl! I love your full analysis!!
      I agree with your points...yes the stage was too low.

      Totally agree with Nick and the solo event - he has all these great songs and a mini concert would be AWESOME and i feel like he does these events I'm generally not excited about. As an American, I've already seen Dead 7 so there was less excitement for me.

      And I can totally see why you like Carnival more. I really went back and forth myself. I wonder if those things are Carnival specific or they just chose not to do drinks this cruise. I also felt like I wasn't hounded for drinks on Royal. Another thing I noticed is they didn't really push the professional pictures as much as they do on Carnival.

      Interesting to hear your take on trivia. A shame there wasn't more of a turnout. I definitely would've gone if I could! I think you ended up getting more in prizes than some girls did at the preferred event (yeah i said it! haha)

      Feel free to email me directly and chat more if you'd like :) I'd love hearing more about your personal experiences.

    2. I am waiting (not so patiently) for the usual 'post cruise survey' to be sent out. Did you get anything? I hope I didn't miss it!

      I also REALLY appreciated how FAST Justin was with posting our photos with the boys. They came at a PERFECT time for me (I had just missed my last connecting flight after a full day of flying home from Barcelona) I was very happy with my photo.

    3. Nope - no survey yet!! I have all comments ready to go for when I do receive the survey haha.

      And totally agree. Justin is a rockstar! Glad you liked how your pic came out :)

  2. oh ps. I have to mention that I was sad that BSBtv took a long time to get rolling and (at least in my room) the documentary was really jumpy. I wish they would have more old school interviews and concert footage rather than their official music videos we've all seen a BILLION times :)

    1. Yeah that was a bummer it took so long to get working! I kept flipping on the TV waiting for it to come on. I think i heard there was some technical issues but who knows!

  3. Just wanted to let you know it was nice meeting you at the cruise!


    Angela T. (the other Angela lol)

    1. Heyyy!!! Yes it was so lovely to meet you too, albeit brief :) Hope to see you on the next one!!

  4. This was my fourth cruise and unfortunately my least favorite, I’m from Europe so I’m used to a little bit of craziness, but this time it was to much. Some fans we not passionate, they were just aggressive.
    I feel it’s great that they want to take as many pics as possible with everyone and I do admire they patience, but I felt that this time it went to far with the selfies, I felt like the parties came in second place, they guys disappeared from them to early and I felt that they spent to long making selfie lines. Instead they should have worked the crowd and if it happened you got lucky taking a pic with one of the good for you, but don’t spend hours taking pics.

    I wont even mention the private event because it totally sucked, the idea was good in theory, but in practice they didn’t know how to handle it, we who followed the rules got nothing, while others didn’t and got pics. Plus I also heard that rumor that people without blue wristband were there, all because they complained about not getting a suite on the first day of sale, I got mine the second day, so it wasn’t impossible, it just luck.

    Then I think they should skip VIP, I feel its unfair that the guys spend a lot of time there and not everyone had access to it, and it was alway the same people who got wristband. In the end we all payed for the cruise and everyone should get the same treatment.

    The best part was the concert, just this made it all worth.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I do agree with all your points. I also wish they'd go back to entertaining us at deck parties and limit the number of selfies. I find that if that's all they're doing - then it forces you to jump in line and try to get a selfie. What else are we supposed to do if that's the nature of the event, you know?

      I also heard that non-blue wristbands were able to go the preferred event, which I'm not even going to comment on because its very upsetting on a number of levels. Not only did people pay $1000s of dollars more to be there, but by adding more people to an already crowded event just made it even more of a mess.

    2. Thanks for your reply! That's why my face cruise so far was 2013, the parties were great and it was really easy to get pics with them, without standing in line for hours.
      This time we tried once to get a pic with Kevin and after an hour waiting he left for the vip and said that he would continue taking pics there, we got really mad because by that time it was impossible to get in and after that we decided not to stand in line and instead enjoy the cruise with our friends.

    3. I meant fave not face haha but I'm sure you understood anyway ��

    4. Haha - yeah i figured it out ;)

      That's such a shame you didn't get your pic with Kevin! I feel like there is just so much luck with those things. There were many instances where I wanted to kick myself picking the wrong line or whatever lol

  5. I definitely missed the beach party. Of course I loved the opportunity to go to France and Italy but that 8am meet up time for the excursion was killer. I was actually glad the bus ride was long so I could sleep on the way to Pisa and Florence!

    1. Haha i bet you enjoyed that bus ride. My roommate who went to Pisa passed OUT when she got back. She was so tired haha