Attention fans: The 2013 NKOTB Cruise will run May 18 to 22. Ticket pre-sale for fan club members begins September 13, with ticket sales open to the public on September 14. For more information, visit NKOTB.com..
Maybe it’s because I’m a “Blockhead.”
But while typical Caribbean cruisers sail for the culinary offerings, leisurely pace and sunny ports of call, fellow New Kids on the Block diehards (“Blockheads”) only had eyes for the five super cute passengers on Carnival Destiny. And for a mostly female, Fifty Shades of Grey-reading crowd, the 80′s icons — Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joe McIntyre, and Danny Wood — provided four days of pure grown-up boy band delight.
Although I’ve been on many traditional sailings, this was my first music theme cruise, an at-sea genre that’s exploded over the past decade, with acts like John Mayer, Weezer, and Kid Rock regularly hosting sold-out float-fests. Prices on these theme cruises tend to be two to three times what you’d pay for a “normal” cruise. For instance, an oceanview cabin on our four-day cruise cost around $1,000.
I went in with few expectations beyond what I’d read on Twitter from fans who had been on past adventures (this was NKOTB’s fourth year at sea, all of them sold out). For me, cruising from Miami to the Bahamas’ Half Moon Cay and then Key West were mere details to the bigger fantasy itinerary — spending four days breathing the same air as my teenage crushes (the youngest of whom is now pushing 40!). Many of the cruisers’ stories were the same … we wanted a chance to escape the reality of full-time jobs, family responsibilities — “grown-up life” — and relive our fun and carefree teen years when all we could do was swoon over those five Boston boys who were “Hangin’ Tough” for every “Step by Step,” begging us to “Please, Don’t Go, Girl.”
For those four days and nights, we weren’t going anywhere but to the pool deck and wherever else on the ship that NKOTB was scheduled to appear — and appear they did. From the moment I stepped foot into my cabin and flicked on the TV to the all-New-Kids-all-the-time channel (accordingly dubbed “NK TV”), I knew this wouldn’t be like any ordinary cruise. Gone were my interests in bingo, formal night and ice sculptures; instead, I was planning how to manage outfit changes for the special events, including a Meet-and-Greet photo session where you were guaranteed a hug and a smile from each of the band members. Among some of the other equally-fan girl-lovin’ highlights: “NKOTB Squares,” a sexy and hilarious spin on “Hollywood Squares” that the band members and their crew “played;” Town Hall, a very informal poolside press conference; solo performances by four of the five band members; even a full concert on Half Moon Cay’s white, sandy beach that was capped off with, yes, water games with the superstars. For true fans, the wow factor on this trip was as big as the crowds that gathered each night to dance and party for hours with their favorite boy band.
For fans hoping to party like a teenager with adventures sure to evoke moments of crush-worthy nostalgia, the NKOTB Cruise presented “The Right Stuff” indeed. Take a look…
Get your very own Lido Deck subscription.