We can safely say that the first annual Soap Cruise 2007 certainly won’t be the last. That was screamingly apparent during our travels through the tropics this past week! I only had two expectations when I was told I was to cover the Soap Cruise 2007. I knew it would be loads of work and a thrill for the fans coming along! What I didn’t expect was to have a blast myself! The actors truly had a fantastic time, and all agreed they’d be happy to cruise with us again in 2008. The fans? All we heard was how this was the best vacation of their lives and how thrilled they were to be able to be so up close and personal with the stars in a way that they’ve never been at any other event. The Soap Cruise 2007 was worth every penny… or in our case, worth every shot, every video and every word.

I’m truly amazed at the fan’s reaction to the actors during Thursday’s Meet and Greet that was held as soon as we got on the ship. I had no idea of just how crazy in love the fans were with these daytime actors and yes, I do tend to wander through the message boards. Seeing them first hand was quite an eye-opener and a blast! With eyes wide, we took on the fans, running from person to person to capture the moment on video and on camera. A few surprises? As I’ve already mentioned in the boards, Brandon Beemer (Days Shawn Brady) and Nadia Bjorlin (Days Chloe Black) are dating and though neither preferred to comment more on their relationship, they were happy to allow a few photos of them cozying it up!

I’m no Bingo buff, and I admit I’ve never been to a ‘real bingo’ so I’ve nothing to compare this to, but I did find it a good time. Perhaps listening to the male actors sexy voices calling out letters and numbers made it what it was?! I purposefully didn’t play because I felt the prize – signed scripts from your choice of show- should go to the fans, not to media! (I considered trying to win one just to put it up for a contest but it didn’t feel right!) Fans adored Friday’s afternoon Celebrity Bingo and how the actors on upped each other with witty comments made in those familiar sensual voices to tantalize the fans. In fact, this is where I met our Soaps.com Soap Cruise 2007 winner, Lori Kaplan and her husband Ysaac. Read about her experience here. When Lori found me, she presented me with a jacket embossed with my name, title and the name of the site! How sweet is that and even better that I was able to wear it since! Lori was a little nervous since she thought she was to interview Tyler Christopher the next day, but she didn’t show on camera when I later videotaped the interview where Tyler lets Lori know that he and fiancée Brie were still in the midst of making plans for their upcoming nuptials next year! I think Lori got to see a side to most of the actors and realizes that they’re just regular folk like us! Highlight of this event was the not only meeting Lori (the new Barbara Walters) but videotaping the interview between she and Tyler. You’ll see this along with various other clips of the cruise, as soon as I’m finished producing them!

The VIP breakfast on Saturday, made for a great Q&A session where fans were able to get on video and on the microphone to discuss the shows, characters, the writer’s strike and how the actors felt about message boards in particular. All 11 actors agreed that going into message boards only spelled heartache and pain. Austin Peck made fans roar with laughter when he admitted he never went back to the boards when he read a fan refer to him as ‘Hairy Monkey Boy’! Poor Austin had to suffer through being called that for the rest of the trip but it was all in good fun! Jacob Young admitted he has browsed a few but despised them for the same reasons that Austin mentioned. The actors found that fans could be really harsh on them. Taping this whole exchange, Soaps.com’s Julie Clark Robinson (read about her experience here) chimed in that at Soaps.com, our guidelines not only state that fans cannot bash the actors but that we strictly enforce these guidelines. The actors perked up when she mentioned this and gave a few heartfelt “thank-yous”. I think those should go to the moderators and to the Editors for making Soaps.com boards stand out as actor-safe boards! Julie Pinson (Billie Reed, Days) was questioned about ad libbing and mentioned she does this from time to time. She discussed this scene that we all recently watched post-cruise.