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Surviving the NKOTB Cruise

By Kelly

I haven’t been a New Kids on the Block fan since 1991. But that didn’t stop my older sister from booking a NKOTB Cruise for us without asking. And the tickets were only half-refundable, leaving her with nothing but money spent, so… I just came back from the NKOTB Cruise 2012.


It was absolutely, and unexpectedly an ideal cruise for me. Not because of the access to the now Old Kids (I get that some girls my age are still fans, and I respect that, but they really don’t do much for me these days), but because for once on a cruise I actually slept a solid 10 hours a night, tanned for hours, read four books and caught-up on a slew of recent movies, in some cases three times over (Marmaduke is awesome. I actually watched a movie about talking dogs who want to fit-in at the dog park three times.) For once, I was on a cruise where I wasn’t over scheduled or rushed to get to the next thing, since I didn’t care about the next thing. There was very little on this cruise that I actually wanted to do, since all the activities were focused for a very specific audience, so I just did whatever I wanted, which was the most relaxation I’ve had in about three years.


I also got usually-crowded parts of the boat to myself since there were activities involving the Kids constantly (game shows, solo concerts, talks, pictures with fans…) and that’s where just about everybody else was. I gleefully avoided the crowds while getting the sushi stand, the bars, the back deck/pool, the workout room and the casino all to myself.


But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t go to at least one concert. I did. There was one in the Bahamas that was required if you wanted to hang out on a gorgeous private beach with its own marina. I did, so I bobbed out in the water for five hours as far away from the “ship-faced” concert as I could get, so I could avoid the hordes while schools of silvery fish (outlined in blue) swam right up to me in the almost florescent turquoise water. It was the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen in person, and the longest I’ve ever been allowed to stay on a beach during a Carnival cruise. In the past, they’ve been so jam-packed with excursions that I’ve never had a chance to lie on any beach for more than an hour.


But at night—when the New Kids kicked-off the deck parties that began at midnight and ran until 2 a.m. or sunrise—I crawled into bed and went straight to sleep, not even remotely tempted to feel guilt for what I was “missing,” or entertain the nag that I wasn’t grabbing this cruise by the fins. My sister, on the other hand, was having the time of her life up on deck getting her fedora signed by all five Kids (Yes! There’re five! I always thought there were just four.), or posing for pictures with them.


Not that I didn’t have my fair share of run-ins with the Kids. I often clipped one while slipping past to access the deserted parts of the ship. The most memorable sighting was standing next to Donnie Wahlberg in the breakfast line (who was my favorite when I was 10) as he proceeded to sing to himself to clue me into his presence in case I wanted to fawn over him. But I just turned to the line cook and ordered an omelette with no onions. If I had said anything to him it would’ve been, “Your brother was awesome in The Departed,” so I think it was best not to speak.


So I certainly had a constant brush with the has-been stars that girls on this cruise were crawling over each other to get to, so if you’re a true fan, I suspect it’s worth the hefty investment and recommend it! But I’m just happy to come back well-rested and tan.

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