Final thoughts from the cruise…
In addition to the videos I’ve posted here on the site, all the rest from the cruise (as well as some other random stuff) can be found here. Please enjoy & feel free to share!
As soon as I got back, I started putting a playlist together of songs that would always remind me of those moments on the Lido Deck, at Half Moon Cay, or even just in my cabin with the girls. Most of these will get the same reaction from fellow cruisers, but a couple of them are specific just to the three of us. Even so, I’ve chosen to share my playlist in case anyone either wants it or at least wants a good jumping off place for starting their own. Without further ado, here’s playlist “6196:”
“Tonight (I’m Fucking You),” Enrique Iglesias
“Fuck You,” Cee-Lo Green
“Shout,” Isley Brothers
“My Prerogative,” Bobby Brown
“Rocketeer,” Ryan Tedder w/Far East Movement
“We Speak No Americano,” Yolanda Bee Cool & D-CUP
“Let’s Go Higher,” NKOTB
“O-Face,” Jordan Knight
“Up & Down,” Jordan Knight
“Hey Mickey,” Toni Basil
“Dirty Bit,” Black Eyed Peas
“I Got a Feeling,” Black Eyed Peas
“Dude Looks like a Lady,” Aerosmith
“Let’s Get Physical,” Olivia Newton-John
“Baby Got Back,” Sir Mix-a-Lot
“Poison,” Bel Biv Devoe
“Material Girl,” Madonna
“Like a G6,” Far East Movement
“Apache,” Sugar Hill Gang
“Dynamite,” Taio Cruz
“Black & Yellow,” Wiz Khalifa
“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” Brian Hyland
“Livin’ on a Prayer,” Bon Jovi
“Push it,” Salt & Pepa
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper
“Call it What You Want,” NKOTB
“Party All the Time,” Eddie Murphy
“Super Freak,” Rick James
“Hip Hop Hooray,” Naughty by Nature
“Low,” Flo Rida
“Party in the USA,” Miley Cyrus
“Jump Around,” House of Pain
“Ladies’ Night,” Kool & the Gang
“Iesha,” Another Bad Creation
“Just Dance,” Lady Gaga
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” Whitney Houston
“Sweet Child of Mine,” Guns ‘N Roses
“Rock with You,” Michael Jackson
“One Song,” NKOTB
“Good Vibrations,” Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch
“I’m on a Boat,” the Lonely Island ft. T-Pain
“Motown Philly,” Boyz II Men
“Mony Mony,” Billy Idol
“I’m in Miami, Bitch,” LMFAO
And lastly, I think my cruise posts would be remiss if I didn’t include a little list of some things I’d do differently next year/if I get to cruise again. Whether this is a list of things to remember for myself for the future, or advice for future first-time cruisers, here they are, in some kind of order of importance:
1.) Easily the most important: for two seconds, stop taking picture after picture of the guys and take pics with and of your girlfriends. You’ll never forget what the guys look like, and others will get the shots you’re missing. No one will have backup photos of you and your friends if you don’t stop for a second and capture those memories. Trust me. I don’t have near as many photos of me & the girls (especially of me with the girls) as I wish I did. Furthermore, this goes double for anywhere that’s remotely as beautiful as Half Moon Cay (as I expect Nassau probably is, too). Places like that are literally surreal, and made for photo ops. Take them. Come home with a camera, memory card, or computer full of pics of you, your friends, and the guys. Trust me.
2.) Visit wherever you’re scheduled to go. As I said, we didn’t get off the boat in Nassau. If next year’s cruise destination is different, who knows when my next chance will be to see Nassau, and I was just there. I do have a tiny regret about wasting the opportunity, even though the day was lovely. In addition to not missing rare and beautiful sights like these, my point is to perhaps spend a little time with your roomies in advance budgeting your time and figuring out what’s important to each of you so that you can make it all work. (Hint: it is okay to split up if necessary.) If next year’s trip is to Bermuda & Jamaica, I’m coming home with stories from both. If it’s from Europe, Mexico, or hell, Alaska, expect to read stories from wherever we go. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to wish you’d at least gone for a quick walk around the port.
3.) Take advantage of the sun. I didn’t bother to get a base tan before I left. (I did have a good base color thanks to an amazing spray tan I do myself, but it was just color.) Besides the day I spent at HMC, and a few hours at the pool at the Lido Deck one afternoon, I didn’t really come home as brown as I could (and should) have! And believe me: I packed plenty of sunscreen (enough for the three of us, in fact), so that wasn’t a factor. I just take the sun where I live for granted, and it wasn’t a big lure. As a result, I came home much lighter than I’d have liked to.
4.) Unpack! When we first got to our room, we were just sort of sitting around, waiting for Donna and for our luggage to show up. Next year, I’d make a priority of getting (and staying) organized as soon as is possible. That way, we wouldn’t be tripping over suitcases for the length of our trip. (We did get sort of organized eventually, but none of us ever completely unpacked, so there were always neatly folded suitcases in the way. Our room was like an obstacle course.)
5.) Bring an extra camera battery. Though I charged my camera every night (and often during the day, too), I could only take pictures until I had one bar left (just in case I happened to run into one of the guys on my way back to the cabin, of course). One of the girls I know said she bought several extra (generic) batteries on eBay before the cruise and always had charged back-up batteries on her. Genius! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve already bought a spare charger, so next year I plan to have an extra camera battery or two wherever I go so I don’t have to worry about it.
6.) Plan door decorations as soon as possible. This is a challenge because if you want to win the contest (and I do…prizes are usually good!) you have to follow the theme. In our case, we had an idea and stuck to it, but we weren’t organized about communicating. I emailed the girls with my idea, they both said it was fine with them, and we made plans to bring materials of our own and do it in the hotel, or on the boat, or… Next year, I’d like to have one person collect everything before we even leave for Miami, or at least plan all together what we’re going to do and also the when & where we’ll actually be doing it, so it gets done and up on time.
7.) Have a photo group ready ahead of time. Lots of people did this one. I admit, I thought last year when they were putting groups together months before we left that it was silly. Turns out, the choices are simple: either do it early, be organized, and breeze through the process without drama, or else don’t care who you stand with or what happens…otherwise, there’ll be drama. I don’t really care about meet & greets, so I could stick to the latter…but who doesn’t want a chance to hug & chat with their fave? Especially because in my case, that was the only face time I got on the whole cruise. That’s fine, because the NKs were just a perk for me on a fantastic cruise, but if you’re going expecting to talk to the guys, take my advice here & plan ahead.
8.) Stay up on the Lido Deck all night on the last night. Watch the sun come up with your friends, with or without any NKs present, and with or without going back to your room to change into PJs. This one’s simple: you’re already dead from lack of sleep, and wherever you’re about to go you’ll be sleeping (on a plane, shuttle, or in a hotel). Stay up and watch the sunrise. Say goodbye.
9.) Hit the breakfast buffet. I didn’t even think about it, or realize it existed, until after the cruise was over this year. Given the way Donna & I attacked the hot buffet when we got back to Miami, it would have been nice to know we had the option while still on the ship, too. I even heard they serve breakfast until 11 or 12. Good to know!
10.) Meet as many friends as you can. Okay, I did this one this year too. It just was such a great experience, this one’s a reminder to myself to do so again next year. Whether they’re Twitter friends, friends of friends, or just new people – where else do you find a boat full of really amazing people who already have the rarest and most amazing, beautiful thing in common. As Donna said, we’re home on the ship. Go meet the family! Make some memories!
And that’ll do it for me with this year’s cruise wrap-up. Unless anyone has questions…feel free. Otherwise – hope those that have already had the chance to see NKOTBSB (Chicago, and moving forward) have enjoyed the hell out of it. I know I can’t wait!