Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Recap 2016: Day 4 Part 2 (Sea Day)

Just to be Close to You: A Guinness World Record Attempt
Once the question and answer session was done then it was time for our Guinness world record attempt where they would find out how many nationalities would fit in the hot tub. All of the girls were pre-selected and were all brought up to the front of the stage and given numbers.

Now as an American you're going to have to let me rant for one quick second here. I understand they were going for a Guinness world record attempt but the reality is because the Backstreet Boys are from the US, no US fans were even eligible to participate in this event. Not a huge deal, enough time has past so I'm over it. But it definitely sucks they had an event where a good number of fans were ineligible to participate. Yes I know there are many unfair things about the Backstreet fandom, I suppose this is just another to add to the list. But its my blog so I get to voice my opinion :) I just think there could've other sorts of records that would've at least given everyone the chance to participate.

Anyway...This event was actually more fun than I thought it would be. They had fun Caribbean music playing (even though we weren't in the Caribbean this year). AJ and Nick actually both got in the hot tub which probably threw our numbers off a little bit. The other thing that surprised me is that the other back she boys did stick around to watch the events unfold. I just assume that only one of the boys would participate in the rest with the retreat back to the safety and comfort of their cabin.

Brian and Kevin watching the festivities

Overall I felt like there was a lot of energy on deck and it was actually quite official with a Guinness officiator, or whatever they're title might be. They had AJ and Nick getting the crowd pumped. I was initially torn if I would attend this event because I wanted to get ready for the preferred event, but I was happy that I stuck around.
AJ getting ready to get in the hot tub

Preferred Event
During this time slot those cruisers who bought the more expensive cabins had the opportunity to go to a 'preferred event'. There was no description of what this event would entail, so it was a complete surprise to everyone. Meanwhile the other half of the ship had the chance to go to a BSB trivia with Rose Tours. I'm still kinda bummed I missed that. From what I heard not many folks showed up but it sounded cool.

Since Rose Tours never did send a survey, I'm going to voice my honest opinion of this event here. I need to at least have the illusion that my opinion might be heard. 

What was Supposed to Happen
For those of you who missed the event, I suppose I should start with the general concept of the event. It opened with their manager Jen entering the room and informing us that it was going to be a "chill mingling" event. The fans would stay put and the boys would mingle around the room. Everyone wildly cheers! We're all excited and naively optimistic that this is what would actually happen.

What Really Happened
Sadly that concept fell apart REAL quick. Unfortunately many of the boys couldn't really leave the front stage because fans were crowding around. Nick was the only one who actually attempted to mingle around the room. And he's only 1 boy, so he didn't get too far. Thus I'd say the first 20 minutes or so people generally played by the rules. Brian sat up front talking to a crowd of people while the other boys starting mingling and sitting at tables with fans.

I'd say around the 20 minute mark is when things started to go down hill. The boys who were mingling SLOWLY moved from table to table, some hitting the same group of girls who already had a boy visit. Brian never moved from the front of the stage. Fans started approaching the boys and crowding the front area, asking for pictures thus making it even harder for the boys to mingle. By the end of the event, fans were frantically asking the boys for pictures and I'd say at least half the fans in the room didn't get to interact with any Backstreet Boy. And sadly it was the fans who played by the rules and patiently waiting who didn't get anything.

My Personal Experience
I had a seat in the back and I waited patiently for the first maybe 15 minutes sipping my champagne (though my friends will probably tell you I wasn't that patient :P). Once we got into the 20 minute mark and beyond...I realized how slow the boys were moving around the room. I'm kind of a numbers gal and I started doing the math in my head and realized that this wasn't working quite as well as they had hoped and previously indicated. So now I'm getting more anxious by the minute, but still try to wait a bit longer to see what will happen. 5-10 more minutes pass and Nick starts heading towards the back. I think to myself, 'Great!' I love me some Nick, so that would make me a happy camper. Sadly he veered off in the other direction before coming my way and my heart sinks.

Back to square one.

Around 30 minutes in I'm more than a little worked up having 0 interactions with any Backstreet Boy and watching other girls in the front having a grand ole time. I ask one of the staff how long the event is and he told me an hour and that the clock was ticking. At this point I give up on being polite and sadly resolve to being part of the problem. I still feel bad about it, but I suppose I've been to other events in the past where I patiently waited and end up leaving with nothing. In general I struggle to find the balance between being respectful and playing by the rules, but being assertive as well. There have been a few too many instances where I leaned more towards polite and left with nothing. I wasn't about to pay as much as we did for a suite and not get anything for it.

Brian had been chatting with a bunch of fans up front for a while so I thought if nothing else, I could at least sit near him and hear him talk and be part of that conversation. By the time I got up there he was pretty much done chatting and now having a loose sort of line to briefly chat with him and take pics. So I hop in line and scoot my way up to the front. I had a nice little moment with him where he asked how I was enjoying the cruise. I told him I was having a great time, and that I always do have a great time on the cruise, but the crowds were a little more intense than what I'm used to from past cruises. He gave me knowing look and said he agreed with me. I felt like we shared a moment haha

Me and Brian <3
After having my nice moment with Brian, I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I had some interaction with a Backstreet Boy. But there was still time left and I wanted to make the most of my time. Howie wasn't too far away and he was also chatting with a group of girls. Once again, I figured that it'd just be neat to eavesdrop into the conversation. He was talking to some girls about filming Dead 7, what that was like. I asked him if he would consider doing a sort of sequel (totally not considering that they all pretty much died in the movie. Oopsies) But hopefully he understood what I meant. He said that he'd be open to doing a movie again in the future but no immediate plans at the moment. When he was finished chatting with all the girls, he took a few pictures with the girls at the table so I grabbed a pic as well. I still inadvertently blocked him a bit. Oopsies again!
Me and Howito
There was still some time left in the event but it was clearly turning into a shit show at this point. Fans were really upset because the boys were starting to leave and many people didn't get any interaction at all, which made me incredibly grateful for what I got. It just shouldn't have played out the way it did. Period.

Suggestions for Next Time
I would actually love to see them try this event again (though I doubt they ever would because of the backlash on this one). I truly loved the IDEA of this event, it sadly just failed in execution. The key here is the event just needed a few logistical modifications to make things run smoother:

  • For starters they need to limit the number of people drastically. Maybe do Group A and Group B? There were simply too many fans in that room for the time allotted and only 5 backstreet boys. Something had to give.
  • I also think they should ban cameras from that event so that fans cant take pictures...make it 100% about the mingling. Unfortunately as soon as we see the boys are taking selfies, everyone wants pics and then there's no mingling. I'm just as guilty. I think they should just have Justin go around and snap candid pics for us instead.
  • The boys needed to spread out more. Since they all started in the front of the room, a few girls sitting up front had an amazing time because they had 3 backstreet boys visit. Meanwhile the fans on the side and in the back had no one. And sadly its the fans who played by the rules and patiently waited, ended up getting nothing. The other factor is that some of the boys *cough* Kevin *cough* sat and talked to the same group of girls for like 15-20 minutes. I know that's just Kevin being himself and I'm sure it was awesome for those girls (and I dont fault them at all!) But when there are a couple hundred fans in the room, it just doesn't work. I think staff should've helped manage the boys move around the room better.
  • One idea if they were to do this again, I almost envision the event like 'Backstreet Speed Dating'. Every fan has a chair and can't get up, perhaps in small groups at tables. But the idea that there is a set time limit of 5-7 minutes with each group of fans, and when times up, the bell dings, and the boy moves to the next group of fans. I think it would make it fair and eliminate a lot of the chaos we experienced this time around.
Many of my friends, myself included, bought a more expensive cabin JUST for this event..hence the high expectations and unfortunate general outrage when the event fell short. As I said, it was a great concept, as I think many people agreed. I was lucky and at least got a few quick interactions/pics. A lot of people I know essentially paid $1000 for a glass of champagne. I remain optimistic with a few logistical changes it could be a great event in the future.

Dead 7 Screening: Q&A
Before the screening, my roommate told me that she ran into Howie near our cabin door and apparently he complimented our door too. Eeek!! I wasn't even thinking about how the other boys would respond to the door, but that was super nice to hear :)

So I have been literally running from event event all day (not complaining by any means!) and there was still more excitement ahead, thus I continued my Backstreet marathon. Running across the entire length of the ship. Again.

Given I had already seen the movie, the idea that it was a "premier" and something new and special was slightly lost on me. I didn't feel the burning need to be there right when it started. But I understand why Nick wanted to do this event for his international fans who hadn't gotten a chance to see the movie yet. Of course as a Nick girl, you bet I still wouldn't miss this. Particularly because I wanted to hear the Q&A. 
I sadly missed the first couple of minutes, and they didn't skip a beat and were well underway in the Q&A. 

Nick making a funny face
Sidebar - just putting on my logistical hat, I honestly don't know why they had the Q&A BEFORE they showed the clip. Wouldn't it make more sense to see the clip and THEN ask questions? Or is that just too practical? So unfortunately the key when I was supershort I think it lasted no more than 10 minutes and I had missed the first few because I was still coming from the last event.

If you have 10 minutes to kill and want to watch (pretty much) the entire Q&A (minus the part I missed in the beginning), here you go:

Start at 7.48 for a funny story
My favorite part was when Nick shared one of his ideas about creating a movie based with the following premise:
  • Dark Comedy
  • Inspired by the Cruise
  • A fan kidnaps one of the Backstreet Boys, and according to Nick, "Let's just choose Howie"
  • Howie thinks the boys will save him
  • The Backstreet Boys hire someone like Liam Neeson to save Howie a la 'Taken'
  • The rest of the boys don't care and continue tour and figure out who to replace him with

The last thing I'll mention about this event, I was super duper close to getting picked to ask a question. I was able to capture the attention of the person walking around with a microphone and she was standing right next to me. She literally had the mic pointed in my direction and I was going to be next. However Nick decided to cut the event and put the movie on at that point. So close but so far! I can I can't be the only one who has these sorts of close calls with the boys right? Oh well no big deal but still a bummer.

Blackjack Tournament Finals 
I decided to go to dinner a little late because I wanted to watch the final blackjack tournament. I couldn't pass me up some AJ. As a bystander, I wasn't able to get super close to really see what was going on. But I still enjoyed just watching on and seeing AJ play with some fans.

AJ playing blackjack at the tournament finals

50 Shades of BSB Leather & Lace Deck Party
So one of the last or rather the last events of the cruise was leather and lace night. Queue the sad music that it was the last event :( The guys were running super late for this one and it was a shame because I was so tired. 4 days of chasing the Backstreet Boys around Europe was finally catching up to me. 

Sadly, once again they had to move the event inside due to rain. Which I understand is out of anyone's control. But deck parties are just not the same when they are inside. I was a couple stories up and waiting for the boys to arrive. Eventually I got tired of standing, so I sat down and leaned up against the chair. I remember closing my eyes and my roommate later would tell me that I fell asleep. I didn't think I did, but I don't doubt that it was true.

Me and my roommates waiting for the boys
The boys finally arrives in and entered to the famous Fifty Shades of Grey music. I was still at this point unsure what to expect and where the evening was going to take us. The guys were all on stage and bought a few lucky fans up to interact with the boys.

I just don't even know how to really explain this events if you weren't there but wowser.

Surprisingly AJ disappeared for the first little bit of this event. I would've assumed of all the Backstreet Boys he would've been the most involved and excited about this particular theme party. And on the flipside I thought Brian was more engaged than I thought he would be. This event was interesting for me because I honestly was uncomfortable at points. Even Kevin made a comment about saying that he was done. I enjoyed watching from a far and was just waiting for the boys to make their nightly rounds for selfies.

Door Decoration Contest
So around at some ungodly hour I was tired and wanted to go back to the cabin to just rest for a few moments. And when I went back to the cabin I noticed there was something on my bed. Well lo and behold it there was a note sitting beside 4 bags. The note read…

We won!!
I couldn't believe it we had one the door decoration contest!!! I was almost so happy that I didn't care how ridiculous this handwritten note signed by " - BSB - " was. Seriously though, this looked liked the cabin steward scrawled this out before sliding it under our door.

This was just the icing on the cake because I felt that I had already gotten my prize when AJ came to the door earlier in the cruise. I also felt really good about winning because I was able to showcase my strength as a fan - which is my creativity. Some people can sing, some can dance, some are artistic. I'd like to think I can be creative when I need to be.

Plus, it was very nice to be acknowledged. We did work really hard on that door and I personally think it was probably one of the best ones on the cruise. And just to clarify for any one out there we did not win the year prior.

So we ended up winning a little swag bag of goodies that included stuff that you found in the merch shop. It included a water bottle, a hat, a metal and the tote bag. Heck - it was probably worth $100 or so.

Now Im dying to go find my roommates and share the good news! I scamper back to the atrium and I was able to find a few of them. I casually just slip them over the note and I enjoyed seeing their reaction. So we were all very excited to win!

Later that evening my cabin mates and I found ourselves near AJ as he was making his rounds. I already felt like I had more than enough pictures with AJ but given that we just found out that we won, we thought it would be nice to close out the cruise and just thank him again if we had that opportunity.

As even more AJ luck would have it, we did get the chance to not only get a picture with him but also let him know that we won and we wanted to thank him for picking us as the winners. He exclaimed 'how could it be anyone else.' It was very nice to have that last moment with AJ. That was the perfect way to end the cruise in my mind.

Me and masked AJ

AJ signed our winning notice
So at this point in the evening the crowds are starting to dwindle and the boys were peeling off one by one. I was desperately not wanting the night to end. Brian must've heard my inner dialogue because not soon after AJ left, Brian made his way around the corner. I don't recall saying a lot to him but I was able to get my final pic of the cruise.

My final pic of the cruise

We knew we had an early morning ahead of us and we wanted a few hours of sleep. The next morning we left the ship bright and early. The interesting thing that I would later realize is that the boys actually left after the majority of the cruisers debarked. Typically on Carnival cruises they've historically always been the first off the ship. I have to admit I really did want to get one last glimpse of the boys before I left, but sadly we wanted to get to the hotel. 

Post Cruise
Oh I feel like stepping back onto land after a backstreet boy cruises just such an indescribable feeling. It's just a mix of every emotion you can possibly experience at once. I'm sad that such an amazing event is over. I'm sad that something that I had been looking forward to for over a year had finally come to an end. I'm upset that I won't get to see some of my friends in a long time most likely until the next cruise in some cases. I'm happy for all of the amazing experiences that I was so fortunate to have had. Happy for all the pictures, seeing all my friends, making new memories. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. In a weird way I'm also relieved that I can finally get sleep and give my body some rest.

There's just no other feeling like leaving a BSB cruise.

Overall this was a good cruise for me and I made a lot of great memories. I'm so glad I was able to go on my FIFTH backstreet cruise and experience my first European BSB cruise. Yikes, i'm still in disbelief over the fact that I've been on 5 Backstreet cruises. I never thought in a million years I'd be so fortunate.


  1. I love your suggestions for the preferred event (this is where we finally met!). Splitting the groups, helping the boys move along and banning cameras, letting Justin take the pics. Honestly I can imagine the exhaustion and frustration of the need to have selfies taken all the time, instead of being able to have a proper conversation with fans... we didn't actually get to interact with them at the preferred event but I do hope they try it again with adjustments as it was nice to just chill out in a room with them for a bit without being pushed and shoved.

    I have a bit of a bone to pick about the door decoration contest (don't take this away from the fact that I'm so happy for you as it was a long time coming, I read your previous post about your interaction with AJ at your door and cheered that it finally happened! I'm a huge Friends fan and that is just the best idea ever!)
    My gripe is that (as far as I'm aware) the door decoration thing wasn't encouraged or made into a cruise contest. I only knew about decorating your doors from your blog, FB posts in the group and people's comments but it was never made a 'thing' officially for new cruisers to know about it. I think it would have been more fun if they had announced it, and maybe somehow notified the cruisers of the winner?

    Funny that you unknowingly fell asleep during the last event! I guess it takes it toll. I was dozing off whilst stood waiting for AJ in the club, lmao, but I didn't dare go for a nap for fear of missing out on anything on the last night! Eventually I couldn't cope anymore and left, at about 3/4am, of course they came out just after and stood and chatted with our friends for ages!

    1. Glad you like my suggestions! As I said, i really do think the idea of this event is great, it just failed in a few ways in execution.

      And I do 100% agree with you on the door decoration. I think they really only promoted it one cruise, which is a shame. I really enjoy getting into it every year and I also enjoy seeing what other people do. But you're right, they don't advertise it. I think a lot of people dont really know about it.

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