So we've covered Friday (and Family Feud) and Saturday in some detail. Let's wrap this baby up with Sunday!
Sunday, which included the photo op, concert, and white night, I most remember as the day of waiting in line. First on our agenda was the photo op, scheduled from 10:30-1:00. The night before, we had planned our group of 10. It was me and Malina, Jennifer and her roommate Lisa, and the 6 girls from Minnesota I'd been hanging out with. As luck would have it, our favorites were evenly split. We decided Saturday night to meet around 9:30 to form our group and head toward the line.
Knowing we had to be cute and photo-ready at 9:30, we got up around 8:00. (Remember I'd gone to bed sometime after 4:00, so I was like a zombie. Once again, thank goodness for room service coffee!) You know that in a cabin, you only get one power outlet, so everyone brings a power strip. What we didn't count on was that at least half the girls on deck would be using that power strip at once. Between hair dryers, curling irons, and other beautifying instruments, we blew out the power! We had lights, but no one's outlets worked. Luckily they worked in Jennifer's room, so we went up there to finish getting ready. This was one of the many points where we really missed cell phones. There's no way to reach all your friends to tell them what's going on unless they happen to be in their rooms.
In any case, we finally managed to get ready and met up with the rest of our group upstairs. I have NO idea why, but some groups had lined up super early for the photo op. It makes sense when you're going for good seats, but why for the photo op? There were 200 people already in line when we arrived. (I know because we were group 20.)
They said no cameras would be allowed in, but what they really meant was nothing other than your room key. I had brought a little wristlet of mints, lip gloss, and a compact, but everything was sent back to the rooms before you were allowed to get in line.
I guess because we were gunning it back to Miami, the boat was VERY rocky Sunday morning. That mixed with hungover and sleep deprived girls was not a great combination. Many of us were pretty queasy. I saw one girl go down and crack her head on the floor. I'm not sure if she passed out or what. It was scary! Medics came in and took care of her.
We weren't the only groggy ones either; NKOTB had not actually arrived to the shoot by 10:30. I forget what time they actually did arrive. I want to say after 11. Anyone remember? First, they took individual pics with all the Blockheads in wheelchairs. Then the line actually started to move. Just before, line wranglers came down and handed us each a ticket with a group number on it. If one of your group was MIA, she had to go to the back.
And things got stricter from there. Repeated over and over as we crept slowly toward the front was "No hugs, no autographs." Knowing there were at least 1000 of us in Group A, I had figured as soon as we got the itinerary that we wouldn't get more than one minute for the photo op. But it was probably closer to 30 seconds. Here's a complete play-by-play of mine:
Me: [sitting on arm of couch where Joe is sitting] "Hi."
Cameraman: "Everyone sit on your man."
Me: "ON your man?"
Joe: "No, you're fine."
Me: [thinking] "Hmph, I haven't eaten THAT much chocolate lava cake."
Camera: Click! (Just once, so don't blink!)
Cameraman: "Next group."
Me: [to Joe] "Ok thank you."
Joe: "Thanks" [wink, smile]
Still, we're cute, right? Nice to have a group photo where I know and like everyone in it. You get a free download of your group photo, but split the cost of the $10 download with your group. The quality is worth it.
After our photo, we walked back to our rooms (past some of group B that was already in line for their photo op that started at 2:00 p.m.!) to change into our swim suits. After some more coffee, we spent the next few hours vegging in the sun. Heaven!
The sun out at sea is pretty intense, and there's no shade, so 2-3 hours was all I could take. Even slathering on SPF 30 several times I still got pink. But it was very relaxing to lie there and read with incremental breaks to stand under the sprinklers in the pool.
While we were up there, Jon came around and spent about 45 minutes playing with Colorblind Fish's baby boy. SO CUTE! They'd go in and out of the sprinklers, both smiling and laughing. There weren't many people back there, and we were all chill. I didn't see anyone try to approach Jon. Aside from stealing a few glances every now and then, I mostly continued to read my book. But more and more people began to trickle into the area, and eventually Jon left. It may just be that he had to go back for Group B's photo op.
We'd had enough of the sun at this point, so we went down to the buffet for a late lunch. And then, you guessed it, we geared up to wait in line for our concert that night.
We had blue wristbands, which was 4th in the hierarchy of groups. That placed our zoned seating for the concert in the round booths along the perimeter of the floor. (Personally, I think the people that got front of the balcony had the better seats, but no one asked me to do the zones.) Having had a few events in the lounge by this point, we knew that none of the booths would mean a great view, but some of them would be downright awful. That made us determined to get first choice of the booths.
Group B had their Q&A session at 5:45; our concert was scheduled to start at 9:00 in the same lounge. I asked one of the crew where we could begin the line for the concert, separate from the Q&A, and we plunked ourselves down, first in line.
Now, did we waste our time sitting in line so many hours? Maybe. But I'm not sure what else we would have done. I certainly didn't want to be back in the sun. Group B was having their photo ops that afternoon and then their Q&A, so it's not like we could have been hanging out with NKOTB at that time instead. Shopping? The casino? Meh. The only thing I could have REALLY gone for would have been a nap, and sitting outside the lounge talking and reading wasn't too far off. (There was also a poker tournament going on all day Sunday.)
As the afternoon wore on, we took turns going back to our rooms to shower and get changed for white night. Just as I got to my room, Donnie, Joe, and I think Jordan got on the PA system to make announcements. Donnie said they'd be on deck partying until the sun came up, and after 2 a.m. we were all supposed to "grab the ass of [our] favorite New Kid." Joe said he was about to go have "Speedo fun on the Sports deck." Did I know very well there would be no such thing? Yes. Did I run up to the Sports deck anyway on the 1% chance that I was wrong? Yes I did.
Eventually I did make it back to my room to change. Most people wore their white outfits to the concert. I know I've mentioned this before, but as fun as white night was, it was NOT easy to find a white dress in the northeast in April. So please NKOTB, maybe we can have themes in February or March this year? Pretty please?
Around 8:00 I was getting pretty hungry, so I ducked out to the buffet. But I was also scared about spilling, so I came back with a plate of all white food.
Now, I said we were first in line. I don't know how long we were there on our own. 20 minutes maybe? But it's not like we arrived just as another group did. And we sat with the group behind us for several hours, so we weren't exactly strangers by the time the doors opened. Still, those punks kept trying to scoot up around us to get in first. You know me; I turned around and made it clear that we had been there first and would be going in first.
But do you know what those jackasses did? When the doors opened, and we were going to sit in the booth, they ran up, and climbed over the back of the booth to get in first. There were 4 of us, and they pushed one right off the edge of the bench. (Are you girls reading this? You suck.)
Once the concert started, we got to stand up on our benches so we could see over the heads of everyone in the rows. (Then the booth jumpers started complaining they didn't want to stand and couldn't see over us.)
Even though the concert was shorter than a regular show, it was still awesome. One of the highlights was Troy Kids taking the stage to sing Games. Another was everyone singing Happy Birthday to Jordan while Jon held a chocolate cake with candles. And, my personal favorite, was the attempt to sing "I'll Be There." Security was tight, and I saw more than one person have her camera or memory card taken away because she was caught recording video.
After the concert, we headed up to the Lido deck once more for a quick bite at the buffet and the final party. This time was a bit different because, for one, we were expecting more. Saturday everything was a bonus. Sunday, we expected NKOTB to show up because of the PA announcements. Second, this was, as Donna Summer says, the last dance, last chance. If, like me, you had spent 3 days on a boat with the New Kids and only been able to manage "Hi" and "Thank you," you hoped to change that come Sunday night.
Copied from a previous entry on this blog:
Once again, there were a bunch of people camped out around the stage and more waiting behind the rope to the side of VIP. Since it was the last night, my friends and I decided to see if we could get in. We went inside to where another group was lined up in front of a security guard. After standing there for about two minutes, I felt pretty grossed out because I could see the guy looking us all over (surefire way to send your self-esteem to the basement). But, we were told we could go in. After going through the hallway though, a female guard at the deck entrance told us to leave. So we looped around, were told to go in again, and again were told by the woman to get out.
That was enough VIP for us. We spent the rest of the night on the balcony across from VIP, watching Donnie and Jordan sing along with the music being played on the speakers. And looking down into a sea of white was pretty sweet too!
Eventually the crowd started to thin out and we went to bed. I missed Donnie jumping in the pool, but I needed that few hours of sleep I got.
That was Sunday. Quickly, Monday morning we arrived in Miami at 8:00 a.m. We scrambled to shower, get ready, and pack up. Of course we had packed almost nothing beforehand. Our door decorations were still up and everything. So it was a rush. People were leaving the boat, the stewards were making sure everyone was up and moving, and the hallways were packed. I finally got to take my cell phone out of the room safe and reassemble it (had the battery out because I was very afraid of roaming charges). Since I only had a carry on, I just rolled upstairs to the buffet for coffee and breakfast before leaving the ship and hopping in a cab for the Miami airport.
Before I had even left the port, Jordan was tweeting about cruising in 2010. And by the time I got home that night, I knew I wanted to be on the boat again!
So, that's it. I'm sure I forgot a few things, but I've done my best to give you a good picture of SS NKOTB in 2009. Hope you liked it!