Shortly after our actual room service showed up. Be warned: when you order toast on Carnival, they mean "toast, singular." Malina and I had a lovely picnic on the queen bed we were sharing, then got up to get ready for the 10:30 photo op.
We lined up right at 10:30. Things seemed to go much more smoothly this year. For one, most people had come prepared in groups of 10. We also started a lot closer to the scheduled start time than last year. The boat cooperated by not lurching in all directions as it did Sunday morning 2009, and I wasn't super hung over as I had been the year before, which helped (mostly me). Some people did not like the set up of the pose, but I liked having half sitting and half standing. I especially liked getting to sort of hide in the back by standing.
For the first time ever, I stood next to Jordan in a photo. My reasoning was this: I have about 8 pictures with Joe and 1-2 pics with every other NK, but zero pics with Jordan. I wanted a shot at a croppable one. Here it is (and here are the rest):
Me: Hi, can I hug you?
Me: I'm going to stand with Jordan though.
Joe: Ok, Jordan is over there.
Really? REALLY? Sigh.
After the photo, we had a leisurely brunch upstairs, and then we kind of found ourselves at a loss for what to do. We weren't down for the Back Rub (which already had a crazy line anyway). Normally I would have used the afternoon for pool time, but the last thing we wanted to do after a day at Half Moon Cay was spend time in the sun, so we kind of bummed around. First we walked through the halls of a few decks looking at doors and saw some really awesome ones. My vote would have gone to the cruiser who mounted a video player to her door showing a loop of her performing NKs songs in 1991.
Eventually we found ourselves on the shaded area of the pool deck. I had (another) plate of cheese fries and managed to get cheese sauce on my dress. I went downstairs for the Tide stick and to change, and who shows up to have a 10 minute chat while sitting in the seat I was just in 30 seconds earlier? Jon. He had gotten up to leave just as I got back to the Lido deck.
And then, the kicker. Around 4:45, Elizabeth and I decided we were going to go down the water slide. We get up to the Sun deck to find Jon having his own personal meet and greet. I tried to get in line for a photo. Nope, they weren't taking any more people. Ok, so I guess I only had a curse with running into Jon, but I was starting to think the curse was real!
Have you ever failed at a water slide? We have. Elizabeth went first, and we could hear her laughing from inside the slide. She had gotten stuck. A lot. Sorry Biff, but I thought "She must be doing it wrong." The operator must have thought so too, because he kept saying "No, put your head down. Your head down!" I got in thinking, "Watch me put my head down. I got this."
I got about 6 feet. Then I stopped completely. The operator helpfully turned up the water, which did nothing except splash past me as if to say, "You're supposed to be sliding down, like this." I went down the entire slide by sticking my legs out and then pulling myself forward with my heels. It was less of a ride and more of an ab workout.
We went back to our table on the Lido deck to listen to Danny's 5:00 fitness talk, which was another of the mystery events. It probably had an official name. I don't know what that was. I had been picturing the Carnival gym staff on stage demonstrating various exercise techniques under Danny's guidance. Not so much. It was just Danny with a mic taking questions from the audience. I could not hear what any of the questions were, but we could hear his answers. Some of the advice was good (although nothing I hadn't heard before from my trainer), and other parts were. . . odd. Among other things, we learned:
- All the NKs like to floss
- Jon gets bloated during concerts because he eats too close to showtime
- Danny pees several times per day
It was about 10:30 when the concert finished, and the deck parties never really got going till after 11, so we went back to our rooms for a bit. I was headed up to the Lido deck around 11:15 in the glass elevators in the atrium when someone said "Is that Joe?" My immediate response was to hit every button in the elevator trying to get it to stop. That didn't work, so I ran down two flights of stairs and then strolled casually over to where the crowd was assembled.
Much like Jon had done earlier, Joe was having his own photo session with a bunch of fans. Yay! I waited my turn, and then made up for my conversation that morning with this genius statement: "Hi, I have 100 extra moxie points because I'm mac pack number 3100-something." Joe: "Ok." SMH. I really should not talk. I'd be much better off just smiling and nodding. Anyway:
I said thank you, walked slowly away for about 10 ft, and then took off at a dead sprint back to my room where Malina, Jaime, and Melissa were still getting ready. Like some kind of sitcom, I burst in the door, screamed that Joe was upstairs taking pics right now, and go go go! Malina ran out with her shoes in her hand.
With those girls taken care of, I finally got up to the Lido deck to meet everyone else. It was pretty empty so we decided to walk around and see if we could find any more NK photo ops. We strolled around for about 20 minutes and ended up at the Atrium bar for a drink. I told the bartender she had gotten a cute pic with Joe earlier.
Bartender: I wish he was performing down here. There would be a big crowd.
Me: Um, yeah, that would be good.
Bartender: But he's in the piano bar.
Me: Hmm (not paying attention)
Bartender: Didn't you want to watch him perform?
Me: I'm sorry, what?
Bartender: Right now, up in the piano bar
Me: (Already running away)
We raced back upstairs to find that Joe had been singing in the piano bar since just after I had gotten my photo. They weren't letting anyone else in, so we had to stand outside, with me pressing my ear to an opening in the partition to try to hear better. Thankfully they let more people in and we were able to get a spot in the very back and saw at least 30 minutes of the performance. This was the highlight of the cruise for me. I was in absolute heaven. My pics didn't come out and I didn't even try to get video, but Malina got some:
He finished around 12:30 or 12:45. I really didn't know how the night was going to get any better, but up we went to the party. The deck seemed extra crowded that night and people were paying more attention to the balcony than other nights. There was barely room to dance. Drank enough Sunday to be level 2 drunk: tipsy but not in danger of falling in the pool.
(You'll notice I haven't said anything about VIP. I never went up there so I don't really have anything TO say. They seem to have changed the set up this year. There was some kind of bracelet system, and the whole VIP area was much bigger. It looked like there were as many people upstairs as downstairs, and that was in a much smaller area. The biggest benefit I can see would be open bar, and lord knows I had had enough of that Friday. However, I have seen a lot of people who have solo pics with NKs in tuxes, and I can't pretend I wouldn't have liked that.)
Highlights of Sunday night included the world's longest (and worst) conga line around the pool, Jon leading a chant of "the roof is on fire," Joe doing Here We Go Again with the other 4 NKs as back up dancers, and Donnie and Jon dancing to La Bamba.
I called 4 a.m. my bedtime again and had my last sleep of the cruise.
Monday morning I awoke at 8 a.m. to the entirely-too-chipper PA announcer and looked out the window to see we were in port. We had a lovely long breakfast next to the pool and then said our goodbyes.
Andrea and I shared a cab to the airport and just happened to leave at the same time as NKOTB. When our cab driver saw them get escorted to their town cars, he said "Who are those men? Did they get arrested?"
My flight to Boston (for work) was packed with BHs but sadly no NKs. Meeting everyone on the plane was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.
I'll miss you all terribly in 2011, but I already have my fingers crossed for a 2012 cruise. If it is within your means to be on the boat in 2011, I cannot recommend it enough.