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The Final Day
It is always a sad day when it’s the final day of the NKOTB cruise. Nobody ever wants the cruise to end and that is echoed by Donnie Wahlberg every single night during the deck parties. This final day is no different except for the fact it is our photo group day and a surprising, welcome addition to my cruise history-the NKOTB Acoustic Concert and last but not least, GPS Love Fest deck party – that is the theme that always ends the cruise.
On every NKOTB cruise, one of the most sought out ‘events’ is…the photo group picture. Yes, 10 lovely fans team up together for a 2-minute photo opportunity with the men. There are 2 fans per new kid. Most fans create Facebook groups well in advance of the cruise in order to get their ‘10’ because you cannot get in line for your photo group picture unless you 2 fans per new kid.
My First Year
I jumped in with a group looking for 2 ‘Danny’s’. My sister and I didn’t care who we stood next to…I thought to myself this was my first cruise, a lifetime opportunity. Just to be in a photo group with the new kids was all I needed. It is apparent that the groups missing fans need Danny or Jon’s – they are the least popular to stand with – I get sad about that because they are all great. It is what it is.
My Second Year
We were very lucky to have our entire photo group created well in advance of the cruise. We had 10 fans and we really didn’t see any of them until it was time for picture day—and it was awesome! In 2016, I was lucky to stand next to Donnie…that was great! This turned out to be the most successful photo group because we never lost anyone and were ready and stayed together.
This Past Year
We had our photo group set early as well. This year I was a ‘Joe’ girl. However, they decided to crack down on the rules a bit. Your whole group of 10 needed to be in the same dining group – early or late. We were a mixed group just like the previous two years. By Day one, we only had 9 and needed 1 fan to make ten. One of the girls in our group was flexible so a ‘Danny’ or ‘Jon’ would be great! Our goal was to recruit one prior to the photo group day, which just so happened to be the last day of the cruise.
Needless to say, on the very morning of the photo group, we still needed a ‘Danny’ or ‘Jon’. After walking around with signs and trying to ‘buy’ someone to take the spot (yes, I said ‘buy’ where part of the group pitched in money), the only way we could complete the photo group was if I gave up my Joe spot. If I was giving up my Joe spot, then I wanted Jon because I had already had a photo next to Danny. I was being stubborn and I was sad as well.
My fellow photo friends kept telling me that if I didn’t want to do that they would keep looking, time was not on our side and we needed to be ready to walk through the doors and take our photo – remember, if we did not do so, we had to go to the back of the line…and that would be hours and hours of a wait – and we still would have had to find someone. I didn’t like our chances so this year I stood next to Jon. Two minutes later, the photo group was over—but before it ended; I gave a big hug and short message to each one of them. While very short, it was one of the best moments of the NKOTB cruise for me.
NKOTB Acoustic Concert
We all were so looking forward to this concert. Based on the other cruises, this was a bonus! The concert was going to be on the lido deck at 5 pm. However, there was an issue…the weather! It was raining. Not just raining…pouring! The concert was canceled – bummer. But one of the new kids came to the rescue with his own musical performance and others were scattered throughout the ship taking selfies.
More Joe Time—A Different Perspective
Joe was in the center of the ship elevated on an area above the bar. He had a piano and sang many songs, some his and some Frank Sinatra, and some other songs just to pass time. This was not the same as Joe Time on Day 3 (click here to read about that).
By the time we got to the area, it was already packed. It was like being at a stand-up only small arena with a bar in the middle. There was no way we could get anywhere close and the stairs were packed with people so much that you couldn’t get down them. You could see Joe from many different floors as well as the elevator—that is where we were for a while and it was funny to watch others sit – yes with a chair – in the elevator while it went up and down. What was interesting was that the elevators were behind Joe…hmmmm?!?! The funny thing is, we were watching through the elevators too and kept pushing the button so the elevator part would be out of the way. When the elevators went up and down, it was clear glass.
While we enjoyed the show for a short time, we didn’t stay around for this Joe Time. We decided to walk around the ship and look at the decorated cruise doors…and sign some of them as well!
GPS Love Fest Deck Party
The goal of every last night on the cruise is to stay up until dawn. This is what NKOTB, especially Donnie and Jon, strives to do. The past two years, I couldn’t do it…I just was so tired. This year was going to be different! I am going to stay up all night and not sleep.
The deck party started around 11 pm or so. By this time, it stopped raining but the deck was wet and the weather was cold and windy. I was wearing layers – on a cruise – layers and a scarf! It was insane. This was not ideal at all and was probably the worst bout of weather in my NKOTB cruise ‘career’.
One of the girls who has been on the past 2 cruises with us she scored some VIP passes to the Deck Party! This is where NKOTB enters the deck party and takes breaks. The DJ is also stationed there along with ‘guests’ and family members of the band. This was awesome! Maybe we will meet them again, take selfies, or better yet – meet other ‘celebrities’. This was exciting as I have never been a VIP before because it is just so expensive!
It was nice to be in an area that was not crowded and crazy. However, the weather was freezing on the VIP deck and very windy as we approached New Orleans. We didn’t get to meet any celebrities or any relatives of the band, but I enjoyed being in an area that was less crowded and you could see everything it was a nice change.
The Final Hours
Many of us went back down to the lido deck after awhile because we were just so cold-for most of the night, I felt like I was back home and not on vacation. My goal was to stay up all night. Unfortunately, the last two kids Donnie and Jon, called it a night and said goodbye around 4:30-5am. I recall some fans who said this was the first cruise where they left early and didn’t stay up all night! While I was exhausted, I was bummed I wasn’t able to make my goal-to reminisce back to the days where you pulled an all-nighter for an exam. It is what it is. Our small group that stayed out this late said goodbye and I headed up to the room to ‘rest’.
Until Next Time
I was able to sleep for about 2 hours. It was a good thing. We had to debark early and pick up an Uber to our hotel near the airport. I don’t recall leaving the boat but it is always a sad time because it all comes and goes so quickly! The NKOTB cruise is nothing like I have ever experienced before. The entire band is like family and you feel it even though there are 2500+ fans with you. Many of those fans become friends! I have met so many great people on these cruises. During this cruise, they announced NKOTB Cruise X (Number 10). The rumor is it will be the last one and I am already booked!!!
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If you haven’t read all of my NKOTB Cruise posts, I welcome you to do so!
I assure you the build-up to the cruise and the first day or so is quite exciting while the end is a bit deflated—which is exactly how any vacation is when you have to go home!
For more information on the NKOTB cruise, the best boy band ever, visit www.nkotb.com.