Friday, May 25, 2018

Farewell and Thank You

It’s with mixed emotions that I want to let you know this is my last post. This blog has provided me a creative outlet and been a great way for me share my experiences and tips when it comes to cruising with BSB. Most importantly I’ve met some wonderful friends along the way. That said, I think it’s time for me to move forward and I’m excited to embark on the next chapter of my life.

Thank you to everyone who has read this over the years and I hope the information that lives in this blog will continue to help new cruisers in the years to come.

Happy cruising,

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Post-Cruise Survey

Fellow cruisers - you should've received a survey from Rose Tours in your inbox. I usually spend more time than I probably should on these things, but if nothing else it's nice to think that our voice gets heard. If you haven't filled yours out yet, I always encourage you to keep your comments constructive rather than critical. Complaining for the sake of complaining won't get us anywhere, so really take some time to think about what Rose Tours can actually do to help make our experience better for next time.

I also encourage you to leave positive feedback as well for aspects of the cruise that you enjoyed so that they continue to do things we like.

That said- here are some of the comments I left in my survey in no particular order:

  • Loved the Millennium deck party!! And Fast Times at Backstreet High was also amazing. Go figure we want to hear BSB music on a BSB cruise ;) I’d love to see more of that…themes that lend themselves to BSB music being played at the deck parties.
  • I personally loved the balance of the deck parties this year – I think having 2 theme nights where the boys primarily performed and entertained us and 2 that were a bit more interactive (aka pictures with fans) worked well.
  • Selfie lines! Yes, please! When the boys decide to pictures with fans, lines are the way to go. I think they help so much keeping fans civil and reduce the pushing while keeping things fair.
  • I say it every year, but I wish they did more for the fans who decorate their doors. I’m glad that this year they at least made an announcement. I believe the winners got merchandise but in my opinion they should either have better prizes (like a pic with the boys which would cost them nothing) and/or pick more runners up.  We spend a lot of time, money, and effort on those and a little more recognition would go a long way
  • I'd love to see them bring back the beach party and/or Q&A or some other group event. The beach party is always a fave of mine and I felt like we could've used 1 more group event during the day be it a Q&A, a karaoke type event, etc.
  • Love the solo events – keep on doing those! I also appreciate that they try to switch it up for us year after year and try new things. I also liked that 3 of the solo events incorporated fans and gave more fans a chance for their special moment.
  • I’ll say that we love the to attention to detail that Rose Tours puts into the decoration and it’s a shame that just a few bad fans ruin that experience for others. I hope that doesn’t deter decorating in the future. Perhaps there should be consequences for people who steal the decorations as to discourage that behavior in the future. Ex: No photo session or they can’t cruise again in the future. 
  • Along the same line of thought as the prior comment, I know the Backstreet Boys didn’t necessarily go over the ‘rules’ of the cruise during the sail away party but it may be helpful to have them go over some general guidelines (aka not stealing decorations) and perhaps fans may be more inclined to listen if it comes from the boys
  • Minor point but I wish they didn’t do hoodies in white. I’d prefer other colors.
  • I wasn’t in group A but I heard several complains from fans in that group that the schedule wasn’t ideal…so perhaps take into consideration the flow of events for both groups of fans so that the days are more balanced for both groups
  • I'm not sure whose idea it was, but the fact that the buffet served food besides pizza after midnight was awesome!!! That has been a recommendation of mine for years and I think it made a huge difference. Rose Tours, if you have any control over that, please do that again in the future!
  • I continue to love the concerts that are unique to the cruise where the guys sing more rare songs. Keep on doing that!
  • When I think about the game shows, it seems like the physical challenge type of mini games work better than trivia based questions. Thus in the future I think picking game shows that are more physical are better. 
  • When I think about the game shows, I love Jen, but I do think having a proper host personality would enhance the game show a lot more and keep things on track. It might work well to have 1 of the Backstreet boys host the event or bring on a professional host. I wonder if you could even leverage Carnival's cruise director? But I really felt a difference at Brian's solo event with the guy who hosted his solo event - He had the personality to host a show and I thought it worked well.
  • This was the first cruise after 6 times that I finally had a bad seat in the lounge. Man oh man do I feel bad for cruisers who get those crummy seats. I honestly don't know what could be done to improve that experience on a sold out ship, but to me it's such a shame when we all pay tons of money to be there and some fans literally have a pole in front of them or are in the back corner of the room and cant see a darn thing (aka me this time). Perhaps you could implement 'stand-by upgrade seating' if fans don't show up 15 minutes after the event starts or maybe do it on a rotational basis to at least make it more fair. I understand those aren't the best solutions but trying to think of something outside the box. Hmm....
  • I still love the outfits the boys do for the sailaway parties. This is a nice, fun touch that hasn't gotten old yet!
  • I know we've done both 3 and 4 day cruises in the past and I really do enjoy the 4 day cruise a lot more - I hope you can continue that in the future. That extra day gives us a lot more time to spread the events out and makes a big difference.
  • I loved that Kevin 
    • a) made an announcement on the speaker system. I would love to see you encourage more of this from the boys in the future 
    • b) he went around signing doors. Again, hope you can pass that feedback along that we appreciate that. It goes back to how much time we spend on those doors and its a very nice gesture.
  • I continue to love BSB TV and appreciate that you had new footage this year. Honestly if you sold that footage on a DVD, I would buy it. 

Anything else major I'm missing??

Here is a link to the survey in case you missed it. Make sure to submit feedback!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Post-Cruise Recap

Welcome back cruisers. I'm in the throws of post-cruise depression. Not to mention I'm still exhausted and busy digesting everything that happened the past 5 days or so. But here's some of my quick down and dirty thoughts about this cruise while I catch back up on life and write a proper review.
  • Overall I thought this cruise was phenomenal and ranked right up there as one of the best. I think they really tried to make up for the last one and they knocked it out of the park.

  • Highlight for me was Millennium Night. And funny enough the Fast Times at Backstreet High was also one of the best deck parties but it ended up being completely overshadowed by Millennium Night. I know they didn't end up doing as many selfies but I absolutely loved that about both nights because they sang BSB songs. I felt like we got 2 extra concerts and not just any concert, but freakin the entire Millennium album.

    I would best describe Millennium night as...okay you know when you're hanging out with your friends and you just put your iPod on a Backstreet shuffle playlist and then sing along and tell funny stories in between the songs? Well imagine you're doing that but WITH the Backstreet Boys performing those songs and goofing around with you. And then Nick and AJ decide to spontaneously jump in the pool with you while Kevin is off serving drinks to you. Definitely a deck party for the record books and I hope the boys take note that we want more of this!!

    Millennium Night (Not sure who put this together to give credit to, but I loved it! and think it sums up the cruise)
  • Another highlight for me was the concert. I feel like I leave every cruise and say 'that was the best concert ever' and this was no different. I loved the funny interludes and untold stories that we've never heard before. And I loved the setlist. My fave was Climbing the Walls <3

  • Sneak Peak with AJ and Kevin. AH-MAY-ZING! It makes me feel good that they acknowledge the fans who go on the cruise are superfans and that they trusted us to play new music. This is an example where it seems like fans behaved and didn't try to sneak in cameras (at least i haven't heard about it yet) and I hope that it pays off and they'll trust us to do more of this in the future.

    As for the music - it was almost too much to process at one time but I loved hearing a lot of the new songs. I do hope there is more uptempo songs on the new album because based on what Kevin shared it seemed there were definitely more slower songs. AJ's new music also sounded great and I hope that he can actually follow through and actually release them!

  • I'm not sure who this Nick Carter we got on this cruise was, but I was super glad to have this version of him. Historically he is notorious for being the least accessible but this cruise he stepped up in the best of ways and we noticed! I loved his little game the first day on trying to find him for a selfie and the fact that he did a random selfie line on the third day for hours on end - LOVED IT!

    I thought Kevin and AJ both were also both rockstars in terms of taking pics with fans. They've always been great in the past so I wouldn't expect anything different this time around. Both Kev and AJ were super accessible and stayed out super late on multiple occasions taking pics with the fans with their massive selfie lines. And I find whether you're first in line or 500th in line they are still as nice and engaging.

    Meanwhile I thought Howie and Brian weren't as great about pictures as they normally are or the other 3 boys. I heard that AJ even tried to encourage Howie to start a line and his response was that he'd rather be drinking on stage. Not gonna lie, a little disappointed. And not to say that he didn't do any pictures, because he certainly did.  I think Brian made it up to the top deck on the 2nd night for pictures and did pictures side-stage or randomly around the ship for a bit. So I certainly give him credit, but I suppose when he's always the first to peel away from the deck parties it's easy to see that he's missing from picture time.

  • I think this may have been the only cruise that we had all deck parties outside. And I loved it!! It makes a huge difference and I hope our bad weather curse is over.

  • I can't stop picturing Nick dressed up as baby spice and it makes me laugh without fail. The Spiceboys costumes were epic!

  • Overall I thought the vibe of this cruise was laid back, appreciative, and nostalgic. As far as the fans I didn't personally experience any pushing or excessive amounts of rude, aggressive fans. Now granted I wasn't up front except for 1 event so maybe that was it. But coming off the European cruise, I could definitely feel the difference.

    I thought the boys overall seemed to have their guard down and were just loose and having fun - sharing stories and just reflective of their 25 year journey of how they've gotten to where they are today. I loved it!

  • For me the only negative of this cruise actually came from the fans. I could not believe my eyes that people were stealing the decorations on the 2nd day of the cruise! Shame on you for ruining this for others. I agree with the announcement that "this is why we can't have nice things." I wouldn't be surprised if they don't do those next cruise as a result, and that would make me really sad.

    Similarly I heard that fans were stealing door decorations and Kevin's signatures from the doors. Again, just so disgusting and selfish and I hope Backstreet karma bites you in the ass.

  • And I'll end with... 3 words...