No Two Fan Cruises Can Do It the Same

No one expected the co-headlining tour of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys to be highly successful, except for maybe the fans. The expectation was made false by the 2011 tour selling more than 500,000 tickets and grossing more than 10 million dollars. This month, Donnie Wahlberg along with his group's publicist will speak on the success of the tour and the extensive logistics required to achieve the uniquely designed concert. April 2012 brings the two groups to Europe where they will begin their international tour. It is scheduled, however, in the midst of these events that each group sail solo on a fan cruise.

NKOTB cruise
While bandmembers cringe when thinking about their first fan cruise in the early 90s, they now eagerly await their annual cruises created just shortly after their reunion.
The day tickets went on sale for the first cruise in 2009, blockheads crashed Rosetours' server. The second year, a site with greater bandwidth sold the cruise tickets, but blockheads again crashed the site. With each cruise selling out in approximately 30 minutes of open sales, both NKOTB management and Rosetours developed a process that enabled blockheads to make their cruise reservations without crashing the server. Even still, the cruise continues to sell out on the very first day. It is obviously a very successful venture both financially and personally as cruisers typically repeat year after year despite no decrease in cost. The 2012 cruise will take place in June, just after the NKOTBSB tour in Europe.

Backstreet Boys' Cruise
2010 marked the first fan cruise for the Backstreet Boys. They also collaborated with Rosetours; however, rather than chartering the entire cruise, they chose to offer it as a group (similar to how a wedding party might offer a block of cabins to their guests). Sales remained open until two weeks of sailing, and cruisers ended up dissatisfied by small spaces offered for group activities and constant distractions caused by the ship's many other guests.
It is perhaps because of the fan dissatisfaction that the Backstreet Boys decided to charter their 2011 cruise. Reservation sales, however, remain mostly unchanged from the previous year. This week, Groupon offered a 20% discount for fans who had still not made their reservations. This move was made in an attempt to sell more tickets for a cruise that sails in less than a month!

Comparing Cruises
With such a successful co-headlining tour, why is it that fan cruises are not equally successful. Both groups have achieved record album sales. Both groups most likely have the same number of fans. And each group's fans paid up to $800 for VIP meet and greets during the summer tour. Donnie Wahlberg frequently told media outlets that the collaboration tour made sense since so many blockheads are also Backstreet Boys fans. And, yet, there is quite a difference in these same fans' desire to cruise.
It is my personal opinion that the discrepancy is due to the age of each group's fans. While both can boast fan demographics showing ages between 10 and 45, the balance of ages differ for each group: blockheads tend to be mostly between the ages of 25 to 45, whereas Backstreet Boys fans tend to be mostly between the ages of 10 to 25. With that thought in mind, it is possible to assume that adult fans would not want to cruise with a majority of younger fans. It is also possible to assume that activities planned for the Backstreet Boys' cruise will be designed for their younger fans.

In the end, Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block must realize that a successful tour does not necessarily mean a successful fan cruise. Moreover, it may be beneficial to consider one's entire fanbase and past experiences before moving forward with repeat fan events.

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