Porthole’s Five Faves
Five favorite moments of this year’s NKOTB cruise!
Yes, they still got the Right Stuff —and eight sold-out cruises to prove it. If you happen to be among the gaggle of girls who fell in love with the New Kids on the Block circa the late ’80s, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
After experiencing our first NKOTB cruise last year, it was basically a no-brainer that my Blockhead-in-crime, Emily, and I would board a subsequent NKOTB cruise, this year setting sail from New Orleans to Cozumel aboard Carnival Triumph, for five days of giddy, glorious mayhem with Donnie Wahlberg, Joe McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight-Rodriguez, and Danny Wood.
Upon reflection, it’s hard to narrow down the best-of-the-best times spent on the cruise, but here are five of my favorite NKOTB cruise moments.
My first favorite moment actually came before the cruise even set sail. There I was in the Fort Lauderdale airport about to board my flight to New Orleans. At the gate by 6:30 a.m., I sleepily turned around to see Danny Wood standing just feet away from me! (OMG! What do I dooooo???)
Of course, my stunned 13-year-old self took over and essentially froze my stunned 40-year-old self so that all I could finally muster was a shy, “I think we’re going to the same place” — complete with a simultaneous punch to his arm. No, it wasn’t a hard punch (plus, have you seen this guy’s guns?), but it was clearly lame enough for him to respond, “That’s what you’re going to do? You’re just going to punch me?”
Eventually, after spending the hour-long flight convincing myself that yes, I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me, I gathered up the nerve to approach him again at baggage claim, this time having a normal “can’t wait for the cruise” conversation plus a well-deserved selfie!
It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for since booking the cruise. The countdown is finally over and we’re trying our best to take advantage of this very moment. While sailaways are the best part of every cruise, a NKOTB cruise sailaway starts with a traditional pledge as the crowd repeats after Donnie Wahlberg that we “hereby pledge to spend the next four days having the time of my life!”
Then, the crowd goes wild as the ship pulls away from port and our favorite New Kids descend upon the Lido Deck and take to the three stages to sing, dance, chat with the crowd, and basically get us pumped up for what the next four days will bring.
Cue the Concert
By far the biggest highlight of the cruise was the concert held in the intimate 1,400-seat Rome Lounge. A true-blue, boy-band concert complete with strobe lights, confetti, and a song list complete with all our faves, both old and new.
Between songs, like a New Kids timeline, the five — all original members — would talk through their experiences and share stories from the early days until today. As emotional Blockheads, we laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, and it was the best. night. ever!
Just the Three of Us
Beyond the concerts and photo sessions, in between power shopping in Cozumel and standing in line to peruse the NKOTB store, we were, of course, on a cruise ship, and I knew better than anyone that there was much more to explore than the areas where the dedicated events were taking place.
So one night, when the rest of the crazy Blockheads were lining the Lido Deck hours before the next party, Emily and I decided to belly up to the quiet Alchemy Bar, not a soul in sight. Typically a crowded spot during a regular Carnival cruise, it turned out it was just me, Emily, and Olga the mixologist who personally concocted some amazing cocktails for us. (We recommend the Cucumber Sunrise or The Remedy.)
The best part about this time was the break from the crowds and the craziness. We actually lost track of time as we finally had the chance to chat, reminisce, and look up old high-school friends on Facebook (of course) before becoming one of the crazy Blockheads lining the Lido Deck.
Every night of the cruise featured a different themed Lido Deck party (Purple Night, Neon Glow Night, Halloween Night, and GPS Night) and each would go later and later into the wee hours. The final night of the cruise, however, Donnie Wahlberg promises to party until the ship literally pulls back into port.
It’s hard to flake out when the music keeps going, and you never know what one of the guys will do (pull fans on stage, tell a great story, etc.) Each hour the crowd thins a little at a time, but Emily and I swore we’d do our best to literally party like it was 1999 (i.e., when we were 23 years old) and make it as long as possible. We called it a night, er, morning, around 4:30 a.m. … pretty darn close to the actual 5:30 a.m. arrival! There’s always next year (we hope!).
— Jodi Ornstein
Photos: Jodi Ornstein
Sign up for weekly cruise news, fun contests, and exclusive offers delivered right to your inbox!