Three Weeks. (Did you hear that to tune of “Three words…”, Group B?)
That’s how long it takes to recover / process everything from the 2018 Backstreet Boys cruise. Why? BECAUSE IT. WAS. EPIC. (And also because the Boys released a new single mid-cruise-recovery so we had to switch gears for a minute and that is why this is JUST now getting posted.)
We know you’ve seen the pics, watched the videos, and read the reviews, so we hoped to talk in a little more detail about the little things you might have missed that you should DEFINITELY look forward to on the next cruise (assuming there is one).
FULL DISCLOSURE: This was actually my first time on the Backstreet Boys cruise, while it was Kristie’s 3rd. We went boarded with the promise to tell the whole truth about the cruise and nothing but the truth to give everyone the most realistic idea of what you’re getting into when you book a BSB cruise. Let me tell you — it exceeded ALL of my expectations! Yes, there are things that could be worked on (and we’re going to address them at the bottom of this post), but I can 100% say that I will be on board for future cruises and, if you can, you should be too.
So, with that being said, let’s move on to the good stuff…
1. The Costumes.
Holy cow! Tierney Burchett, who is the main person in charge of the Boys’ wardrobe, went above and beyond to nail the costumes for each theme night this year. We obviously never expected to see all five of the Backstreet Boys dressed as the Spice Girls, but they were… down to the details. The fake nails, the wigs, the platform shoes, the boobs – wow!
We were also super impressed by the pirate themed costumes, but we maybe could have done without the wigs. We also want to know who put a grill in Brian’s mouth for Con night?! Epic.
2. Brian Filling A Fan’s Cup At The Sail Away Party.
Less than 15 minutes into the Sail Away Party, a girl behind us held up a cup, motioning for Brian to pour his champagne into it. He took the cup but mouthed to her that the drink was warm, so he took her cup over to the Boys’ personal area and filled it with ice first before pouring the drink and reaching over to give it back to her. We’re not sure how many people saw this interaction, but it’s the little stories like this that we love the most.
3. AJ, Brian, and Nick headed out into the crowd during the Sail Away Party.
AJ was barely onstage before he was elsewhere. We didn’t even see him leave, but his voice boomed from far away like the voice of God as the ship began to sail away. Instead of staying on stage for the few lucky folks to be at the front of the stage, he and Brian both made their ways out into the crowd for the majority of the party. Nick followed soon after, walking over pool benches, stopping for selfies with fans before perching onto the bar to chat with even more fans.
It was clear from the beginning that these Boys were determined to make this cruise everything fans had always wanted and a really good vibe to kick everything off with.
4. The Backstreet Shadows.
Who knew the Backstreet Boys would have so much fun with a projector behind a screen before the Double Trouble game show? There was weird dancing, a three headed Backstreet Boy, and …kissing? The shadow entertainment was only a precursor to all of the fun game show shenanigans with the Boys split into teams with fans on both teams and quick games that no one was quite sure how to play. The main take away was that Backstreet choreography CAN be done while wearing a sumo suit.
5. The Sneak Peeks!
Obviously we can’t say much about what we heard during the sneak peeks of AJ’s new country-inspired solo album and potential songs on the upcoming Backstreet release, but we can say that Kevin was the PERFECT person to preview the music. He gave us the backstories we wanted to hear, kept it real (“you may or may not EVER hear this again”), and, as always, was a true perfectionist, wanting us to hear the songs in the best version possible.
What we can say is that after hearing songs that both AJ and the group have recorded, we are more excited than ever for the future. REALLY. GREAT. STUFF.
6. Howie Was The Star Of “We Got It Goin’ Con” Night.
Howie Z. …you heard of him? Well, everyone who was present for Con-themed night on the cruise does! Our regular Sweet D. transformed into Zorro for the night and really OWNED the stage for the whole night. Honestly, he owned a lot of things for the whole cruise and it was pretty amazing. Howie really does flourish on the cruise and we never want to cruise without him.
7. The Storytellers Concert Was A Fan’s DREAM.
Any concert that opens with “I Wanna Be With You” from the very first Backstreet Boys’ album and omits “I Want It That Way” is a concert that is tailored for fans and we can not tell you how much we loved it. There are no words. From beginning to end, Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick sang a lot of the songs that aren’t normally a part of their setlists (even though they had lyrics on a screen to remind them) and told us all of the best stories behind a few of them (and going off on tangents, as the Backstreet Boys do). We learned about Kevin actually meeting up with the rest of the guys while they shot the “Bigger” music video (and what a hassle the video was to make), how “Quit Playing Games” was originally just Kevin and Brian, that Nick feels like “If I Knew Then” was the closest track to a club song the Boys recorded and SO much more.
We could go on forever honestly and would LOVE for them to do a small tour of concerts like this at some point.
8. Ummm, They Sang The ENTIRE Millennium Album.
We know it’s been all over the internet since the cruise (and during the cruise), but it’s worth mentioning again that 19 years after the release of Millennium, the Boys came out in all white to recreate the iconic album cover and SANG. THROUGH. THE. WHOLE. ALBUM.
That includes “I Need You Tonight”, “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now”, “Spanish Eyes”, “No Once Else Comes Close”, and “It’s Gotta Be You”. REGJIRJHOHRWJG)GWJB. It’s overwhelming to even think about again.
Oh, and should we even mention that sweet Kevin Richardson couldn’t make it through his verse in “The Perfect Fan” without crying? Bless him.
9. The Return of Nick And Knight?
Personal Note: No one was happier than Kristie and I when Nick started playing “If You Want It” on the cruise. We never attended any of the Nick & Knight concerts together, but we’re HUGE fans… so this is as close as we got to going together. Thanks, Nick!
Another moment you might have missed? Brian filling in momentarily for Jordan by doing the classic “Right Stuff” NKOTB dance move and lifting his shirt to show off his abs ala Mr. Knight. Very appreciated.
10. The Backstreet Boys Were TROOPERS During Meet and Greet.
Picture it, the middle of the ocean, 5am… and the BOAT. IS. ROCKING.
Rocking is not an exaggeration. It was like a scene from Titanic. (Ok, maybe that was an exaggeration, but still…)
This is also the morning Group B has their meet and greet photos. EVERYONE IS THROWING UP, SITTING DOWN, HOLDING ONTO WALLS, LAYING ON THE FLOOR, PRAYING THEY DON’T PUKE ON A BACKSTREET BOY…
Then there were the Backstreet Boys. They were being human and a few of them were nauseated and also fighting the sea sickness, but they made it! All five made it through roughly 900+ fans without vomiting on any of them. In fact, they went beyond that, dressed as pirates in a fairly stuffy room, staying playful, and not making it look like we’re all actually holding on to each other so we don’t fall in our photo.
11. We Only Heard “I Want It That Way” Once!
A true fan’s paradise. (We know there are fans that love it, but the majority of us could live without it. If you’re one of those people, don’t get offended. We still love you.)
12. Brian Tried To Get As Many People Involved As He Could.
Let’s be real here – every year, someone has SOMETHING to say about Brian’s solo cruise events. We’re taking up for him on this one. As he explained, he wanted an event that was “family and friend friendly” and there is something to be respected about him taking ownership of his event and doing what he wants.
The highlight of the “game night” is that he wanted the most fans possible to get a chance to play with them on stage and that’s exactly what happened. It really was like taking a peek into game night at his home (a cool aspect), with winners winning gambling chips and selfies with the Littrells. It was a chill and great way to end the solo events.
We’d also like to add that during Group A’s event with the Littrells, an announcement went out over the intercom asking the emergency team to come to the hot tub area (where fans had been waiting for hours to get a spot for the deck party that night). We’re told that Brian bolted toward the door to find out if everything was okay. While this story isn’t related to the event, we love any chance to talk about the hearts the Boys possess.
13. Kevin Came Over The Announcement Speaker On The Last Night.
Just as the reality of that the cruise was ending was setting in on most of us, a familiar God-like voice came over the intercom. That’s right – it was Kevin Richardson, announcing that the deck party would be starting a little later, but also thanking us for cruising (“wherever we may be… in your room, by the pool, in your shower, walking around”). In fact, as always, any chance Kevin got, he was thanking us for showing up and we always hope that he knows we are just as thankful in return.
We should also mention that before he made the announcement, Kevin was roaming the guest hallways, signing doors with decor on them and even knocking to visit a few lucky fans!
14. Nick Stopped To Chat With Fans In The Cafe… Then Spent Hours Taking Selfies.
On the first day, before the Sail Away Party, you could find him in the cafeteria, grabbing food and casually chatting with fans with his lunch in hand before tweeting fans to find him and he’d take a selfie with whoever did. Soon, there was a line of 50ish fans on the upper deck and the first selfie line of the cruise was in full effect.
On Saturday, fans looking for pizza or ice cream happened upon on a pleasant surprise when they found Nick yet again with a selfie line in the middle of the cafeteria, where he remained for at least 4 hours, only stopping for restroom breaks and only ending because the concert was about to happen. Every single Backstreet Boy tried their hardest to give fans everything they wanted on this cruise and this was an example of just that.
(Sidenote: The next day was Nick’s HQ Trivia and we swear that he must have been a game show host in his past life.)
15. Howie Tried To Invite Everyone Onstage.
If you weren’t at the Cinco De Howie event, you missed out. Again, Howie was in rare form and we were LOVING it! From giving a play-by-play of what Jenn was telling him to do to putting his own twists on the games that were played, every person involved in Howie’s event has a story to tell.
And that is…a lot of people. Toward the end of the event, when told to bring 10 or so girls onstage, Howie decided to throw caution to wind and proclaim “Everyone just come on up here!” Quickly, he was reprimanded as the stage could only hold so many people, but he was a gem about taking a photo with those who made it up.
Did we mention what a good time it was?! Whether you were involved or watching, it made for a great Saturday afternoon pre-deck party event.
16. AJ and Brian Performed “Mr. A” and Kevin Brought Back “Nobody But You”!
“Let me introduce you to the coolest guy I know…”
Again, a song only the most hardcore of fans seemed to know, but plenty were singing along to toward the middle of Millennium night. There’s no real word to describe the rest of the night after that other than surreal. It was truly a Backstreet Boys + Fans party and it’s one we can’t tell you about. You had to be there. (Seriously…BE ON THE NEXT CRUISE!)
Oh! And then Kevin took the stage to perform “Nobody But You” complete with original dance moves. Was this even real?
17. Speaking of AJ, His Selfie Line On The Last Night Lasted Until 5am.
At the Sail Away Party, AJ made the announcement that he would be in the same spot for a selfie line on the last night of the cruise and, making good on his promise, there he was….for hours. Long past the time that the deck party was actually over, AJ was committed to taking selfies with every fan that stood in line and we heard that it didn’t stop until close to 5am (2 hours before the ship started letting people off).
There was also the time that he stood in the hallway, chatting and taking selfies with fans the night before, like the great guy that he is.
18. Kevin Was Bartending.
WHO GETS A DRINK MADE BY A BACKSTREET BOY? More than a few fans on the 2018 cruise. We’re not talking shot into your mouth. We’re talking a real glass with a real drink. We vote Kevin to be the next James Bond.
19. AJ and Nick Jumped Into The Pool…With Fans.
You’ve all seen the videos, the photos, and read the stories. It was another had-to-be-there indescribable moment.
Picture it — Kevin and Brian onstage singing / rapping along to Kriss Kross’ “Jump, Jump”, AJ jumps into the pool with fans, then Nick, then more fans, while Howie sits on a speaker watching it all happen… just as it begins to rain. Sound like a weird dream? We’re pretty positive that it might have been.
20. Brian Tried To Learn Sign Language.
The video speaks for itself. ❤
21. AJ Plays The Drums Now??
Ok, are we the only ones who didn’t know AJ played the drums so well?? But right there, before our very eyes, there he was. Is there anything he can’t do musically?
22. The Boys Did EVERYTHING They Could To Make This The BEST Cruise Yet!
If you didn’t catch our drift from the rest of this post, there was 100% effort from Kevin, Howie, Brian, AJ and Nick on this cruise. They tried their best to be present, to reach out to who they could, to entertain, to appreciate, to stay, and to be human. For each of them, doing their best looked different, but it was each of their own personal bests and honestly, the cruise left us feeling excited about the future. It was a refresh and the re-connection that we needed. We can’t WAIT for what comes next.
A Few Truths
- There were SO many fans helping other fans onboard – moving to give everyone around them an opportunity, taking candid photos of other fans in a moment they might want to remember, and so much more. There were so many online friends meeting for the first time or excited for a reunion with each other. It is so nice to have 2000 people in the same place that love the same thing, sing the same songs, and have all the stories to share.
- In the same vein, a lot of the complaints that fans have are because of other fans. It has nothing to do with the Backstreet Boys themselves and a lot to do with ourselves and perceptions that are skewed by a multitude of factors. We can do better, friends. Stop pushing. Stop shoving. Stop being jealous in an aggressive way. Most of all, stop blaming the Boys. Imagine 50 people pushing toward you while screaming. Would you stop to chat? We have to stop sabotaging ourselves and it really does seem to be a feasible goal. We’re almost there!
- Backstreet Time is still real (of course). The solo events / concert ran on time, but if you’re thinking the group is going to show up to a party at the time, you’re kidding yourself. It’s important to prioritize what means most to you. If you are someone who HAS to be up front for the deck parties, BE PREPARED! It gets hot on the deck and you’re going to be there for HOURS. The closer it gets to time for the party to start, the more crowded you’re going to get. We don’t recommend it, but we know there are people that do. STAY HYDRATED! Honestly though, we showed up around the same time as the Boys every night and still had a really good time and the ability to move around.
- STOP. STEALING. DECORATIONS. I know, I know — “well if I don’t do it, someone will” — but no one likes a thief. You didn’t pay for the decor so it doesn’t matter what they’re going to do with it by the end of the cruise. It’s not yours. If you must steal it, please wait until closer to the last day so it can look nice for most of the cruise. Do you think people didn’t work hard getting it just right for us? It’s rude, if nothing else.
- If you can cruise, DO IT. There really is something special (and maybe addicting?) about this fan experience that is unlike any other and if you can swing it, you should definitely try it at least once. All of the positives far supersede the negative. We won’t be missing it again, for sure.
- To those of you who introduced yourselves, WE LOVED MEETING YOU GUYS!!
You can find our cruise photos here.
Our cruise videos are here.
And of course, the professional photos here.