This cruise was a long time coming. I had only tried to get on this cruise 3 times before. So the 4th time just had to be the charm. I say this with humility and gratefulness. As a fan of NKOTB (New Kids on the Block) for basically my entire life, I have evolved as a person as well. Much of this has been explained in past posts, that can be found on this website. Vacation started with a road trip after red eye flight to New York City to see my other favorite band Dave Matthews Band in concert in Saratoga Springs, NY. That was a great time to reflect, jam out in the car, and see a concert I have been wanting to see for YEARS. The next day my cruise roommate Liberty arrived in NYC. We then spent the next 4 days exploring NYC only first timers could, by seeing every attraction we could fit in our schedule. We even went to GMA (Good Morning America) the morning of embarking on the cruise to see Midnight Red perform, to be surprised that Channing Tatum, and Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo were there. All of which I am a fan, and pretty sure my roommate realized the talent of Midnight Red as I did while they opened for The Wanted on tour recently. Should mention that the morning of the cruise was rainy, for which us in the NKOTB world joke always happens since their reunion. Many significant events or concerts seem to have rain associated with them. The time for me to experience NKOTB Cruise 2014 was finally here! No more planning, no more exploration of NYC, and according to the annual cruise oath from Donnie Wahlberg, no more worries, fears and stress. These 4 days were for enjoying life, and that was exactly what my motto ordered. Yes, there was an itinerary of events to attend, but did I memorize them? No, I just showed up. BEST thing to do on this cruise. You should know not stressing about things going as planned is really not my style. I have OCD tendencies, but vowed to myself I needed an escape. Well escape I did. The events were great from the NKOTB Feud Game Show... #EmpireCondoms for #DaddysSpecialTreat. I love inside jokes. The concert didn't disappoint among other events such as screenings. I was just there to PARTY, and well as evident by losing my voice by the second day, it was a BLAST. In fact, days later as I write this, I am still without a voice. I met so many people I now call friends, reunited with friends I met from events of the past 6 years. In case you didn't know, I love club/dance party atmospheres. I thrive in them from my love of music and dance. Thus, the parties with NKOTB every night were right up my alley. It has been said many times before, but Donnie Wahlberg can really rock a party! The rest of NKOTB lend their hand in the fun as well. You can watch YouTube videos, see pictures, but to experience it, is an entire different animal. This was great for my NO EXPECTATIONS (encounters with the band, special treatment, etc.) attitude. The point was not to rely on what I have heard other explain for their experiences on past cruises. I wanted to soak it ALL in, and well I did as mentioned before. It was great to see that I didn't get seasick as well as paced myself with alcohol consumption. Many didn't do this the first night, and suffered the following day. I really hope all of you are feeling better! Apparently, my sea legs aren't that severe, thus not really swaying on land. Enough of the formalities. One of the important/included events of the cruise was the photo op with the band. For those who are new, that's when you gather a group of your 9 fellow Blockheads to stand with the member of NKOTB of their choice for a group photo. Basically a mini meet & greet. Funny enough, gathering a group together can become a stressful thing for Blockheads. However, despite word of joining a group just days before the cruise as our other group fell apart weeks ago, it came together really well. Everybody involved was happy with their spot, and while in line, we got to chat as Blockheads do. We all "clicked" really well, as dinner plans and party plans were made. ;-) Finally as it was our turn to take this infamous cruise photo, it really went smoothly. Getting a hug from every member is essential to the experience. As I approached Donnie Wahlberg & before I could say anything, to my surprise Donnie said "I'll be looking for you tonight." I responded with "Sweet, I will be in red clothes." It was GPS theme night (represent where you are from). Yep, you guessed it, red Arizona Wildcats attire. Just had to represent my Alma Mater. ;-) Back to the bewilderment of Donnie Wahlberg recognizing me. Holy crap! Did NOT expect that at all. Later on in the day after a moving wedding ceremony, Donnie made his way through the crowd to continue to fulfill his promise of a selfie with everybody on the cruise. Luckily enough, the man made it to my general area, spotted me, and demanded he take a selfie with me. As you can tell, Mr. Wahlberg didn't like the first one, and demanded another one with better light. Next, what happens at about 4 in the morning on the last night/party of the cruise? Why, a Danny Wood selfie! Again, didn't expect it, but opportunity arose. Capped off a great cruise. Every fan (Blockhead) of New Kids on the Block should experience the cruise at least once! Yep, NKOTB Cruise 2014 hooked me, and well thinking I want to go again next year! In the meantime, I think I will go to Vegas for NKOTB After Dark in July to celebrate their 30 years in the business.
Most of my photos from NYC and the cruise can be found on my Facebook or check my Twitter/Instagram timelines!