Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Recap 2016: Day 1 Part 1

It's always so exciting starting off my cruise review, starting at a blank screen and anxious to let all my stories fill the page. So without further ado, I'm going to dive right in!

I generally don't like to spend a lot of time going through my pre-cruise adventures but I'll do a quick overview.

Long drive to Newark airport. Long plane ride to London. Long layover at Heathrow. Not quite as long flight to Barcelona. Rain. Sagrada Familia. Rain. Another church. Lunch. Rain. Another Cathedral. Time to head to the cruise terminal!

2 things I want to discuss before jumping into the fun stuff.
  1. I have a new appreciation for all you non-Americans who have traveled to the US for past cruises. It's something I've 100% taken for granted how quick, cheap(ish) and easy it is to cruise in my home country. The travel itself is incredibly exhausting and the time change on top of it - forget about it! I found it difficult to start the cruise already zapped of some energy.
  2. This was the first year that my friends and I did Airbnb for our accommodations. We got a 3 bedroom apartment with a kitchen and the 8 of us had SO much fun hanging out before the cruise. I think we'd be inclined to try this again in the future, and I encourage other larger groups of cruisers to do the same. The alternative would be to get 4 hotel rooms and this way we saved money on the room, got excited for the cruise together, and were even able to cook some meals to save more money.
Me and the gang before we head to the port
The morning of the cruise I wake up, and it feels so surreal that the day has finally arrived. For many reasons, it just didn't feel like a typical BSB cruise to me. I suppose it's because we were in a new city and headed to a new cruise line, new terminal, etc.

I am amazed that we got 8 girls ready, packed, and out the door....not just on time, but early!! I suppose anytime you tell us that Nick, Brian, Howie, AJ, and Kevin are waiting, we can actually get ready on time. I feel like that's a good trick for any husband/boyfriend to use in the future. Hmm...

Anyway, we took a cab over to the terminal and it finally started hitting me. I was going on cruise #5 with the Backstreet Boys!!! Seriously, I love my life.

The terminal experience was wildly different from what we're used to sailing out of Miami. The nice piece is that we were able to check-in right away. No waiting around. However the bad piece is that we were able to check-in right away. And by that I mean, there really wasn't a way to watch the Backstreet Boys board which is always a thrill. Yes, I could've waited outside, but I didn't know that at the time! I felt like a first time cruiser. I was just going through the process, expecting to be held up at some point, but before you knew it, I was on the ship!

So while I missed the boys actually board the ship, my understanding is that due to the overwhelming reception they received in Barcelona airport, they had to have military personnel escort them on board. Oy. I had a feeling in my gut that this was probably a good indication of what we can expect with the rest of the cruise.

Getting on board earlier than normal was super nice this year. Even lunch wasn't open yet! It allowed us time to explore the ship a bit, get our bearings, take pictures of all the cute BSB decorations on board, and of course, take pictures with the infamous cardboard cutouts. Which later we found out, Kevin also participated in the fun. I don't know why seeing the boys take pictures with their cardboard cutouts is so amusing to me. But it is.

Kevin with cardboard Kevin

After I posed with with the elevators (well that's a weird sentence taken out of context!) I was able to get a leisurely lunch with my friends and catch up with everyone. It was so nice!! We then headed to our cabin a bit early (read as, snuck into our cabin a bit early) and started getting our door decoration up.

Having fun putting up my door dec

My cabinmates and I decided to reuse our 'FRIENDS' themed door decoration from last year, for numerous reasons.
  1. We didn't want to travel with anything bulky across Europe for 2 weeks
  2. It was already done and given our busy schedules, we just didn't have the time to start from scratch. But I feel obligated to point out we did make some updates - about 50% of the memes were new this year. I'll post those later :)
  3. Save money
  4. We couldn't come up with another concept we loved as much
  5. As far as we know, AJ never did get to see the door last year and I still reallllly wanted him to see it in person (yes I know, I'm still stuck on that idea even 2 years later!) We knew we were on the same deck and same side of the hallway this year, so fingers crossed!!
The final product...
B.A.C.K.S.T.R.E.E.T <3
B.A.C.K.S.T.R.E.E.T <3 Part 2
Ok. Back to the cruise. Next up it was time for the muster station drill. I know girls had been camping out by the stage with their suitcases waiting for the sail away. I can't imagine how they felt when they were told they had to move for the drill. Speaking of, Royal Caribbean was A LOT more strict than Carnival with this. They actually took roll call.
I headed down to my station and had a pleasant surprise when I ran into Nick and Brian on the way to their own muster stations. Eeeep! My first Backstreet Boys sighting!!! There were a lot of fans surrounding them both but Brian stood up on a chair real quick and joked around that we all needed to go to our muster stations and get our life jackets on. I remember laughing at the time, but now I can't remember exactly what he said. Knowing it was Brian, I'm sure it was funny though :D

After the muster station drill, there was quite the comical scene of every single fan on board stampeding up the stairs/elevators to the pool deck. And I can't laugh too hard because I was one of the girls in the stampede. I didn't stand a chance to get anywhere close, so I honestly don't know why I even bothered.

Sail Away Party
I found myself off to the side of the stage, which conveniently was the side that the Backstreet Boys entered the event. So I got a nice up close view of all the guys in their sailor outfit get-ups as they made their way to the stage. I then decided to head to the upper deck so I could get a good view.

Captain BSB
Overall I found the sailaway party to be fun, probably not one of the best, but still had a great time. It was raining so that dampened the mood a little bit (pun not intended!). They did their typical cruise introductions. Made funny jokes. Nick did an impromptu poll on which Backstreet Boy is the freakiest of the group. They also took a poll of first time cruisers, second time cruisers, third time, etc. The comical part is that they seriously had no idea how many cruises they had done. They kept going back and forth. Guys, the answer is 5. You've done 5 cruises *shakes head*.

 The boys poll the audience on who has cruised before. Bonus - The clip starts off with Nick talking about Howie's underwear.

The poll did reveal that there were a lot of first time cruisers, which was to be expected. So as the deck partied continued, the boys were mingling around the deck and I noticed Brian head upstairs on my direction. Queue the nervous butterflies! Unfortunately he came close-ish but not quite close enough. Isn't that feeling the worst?? So close but so far.

However my luck hadn't completely ran out as AJ popped up behind me and without any trouble at all my friend and I were able to get pictures and a brief convo!! We told him about our door decoration and we officially challenged him to Friends trivia. He seemed receptive and seemed to grasp what we were telling him. Thus the first seed has officially been planted.

Picture with AJ. Check!
To be continued...


  1. First of all, I have been waiting eagerly for your cruise recaps! Even though we have email, I still love reading your posts :)

    So bummed I never got to see your door, especially since you had a lot of new stuff!

    I was pretty confused when I first got to the terminal as well because we were able to go in right away. I was warning Joe about the screams when the Boys arrived and then nothing happened lol.

    Looking forward to hearing the rest so I can relive it all over again!


    1. Hey girl!! I know, i feel bad I've been so slow and i still only got a half a day up. Just been crazy at work and trying to find the time to write in between :P

      And at least i wasn't the only one confused about the terminal. It was weird though, right??

  2. I love your review and cant wait for the day 2 one!! I personally haven't been on a bsb cruise yet (a crime, I know) because i'm underage! I'm planning on going on the 2017 one, when i'll be 17. Any tips or info on that next cruise yet? ;)

    1. Hey Sarah!! Glad you're enjoying my review, sorry I'm being so slow about it. Ugh, adult life! haha
      That's so exciting you'll be able to go on the next one. I was hearing rumors that it'll be back in the Caribbean next spring. Of course those are just rumors. I really think they'll bring it back to the US though.

  3. Well... I've finally geared myself up to start reading your 2016 review! I had an absolute whale of a time and I've been really looking forward to reading your perspective (having obsessively read all your previous posts on the run up to what was my first cruise), but a few weeks after the madness, as the post cruise blues set in I couldn't bring myself to! Can't explain but I'm sure you know what I mean...
    Interesting you mention about missing them get on the boat...we had never been on any cruise at all so had no idea what to expect in terms of checking in, when the boys arrive, etc. We were fully expecting to be queueing for hours in a crowd to get on. As it happened there weren't any crowds, groups of people sort of hanging around, so we thought we may as well get on... we sailed through check in, and as we got upstairs through what I can only remember as the boat security(?) heard screams... looked behind us and there they were just arriving! So we just stood there while they all walked passed us (officially the closest I'd ever been to a BSB, what a way to start the cruise!). We were also with Kevin when he was getting his photo taken with the cardboard cutouts, and he came past us again when he was walking around the ship to get his bearings while it was quiet (shook hubby's hand) :D
    I love your new appreciation for having to deal with time difference ;)

    1. Hey Emily! I totally understand needing to take time to digest the cruise. I feel like we all process it differently. But I'm glad you enjoyed my review and had a fun experience boarding as well!
      And yes - definitely a new found appreciation for the time difference!! haha