How We Made Our Biggest Cruise Decision Yet

I am excited to say that My Cruising Family was recently featured in a Travel Pulse article on selecting an expensive vs. inexpensive cruise.  I invite you to read, enjoy and get some pointers from it.  Since then, I’ve decided to share with you some specific factors that informed our most recent decision on a cruise.  I think this is a decision that families, in particular, are likely to find themselves making.  In planning an upcoming cruise, our family recently assessed whether to book an expensive vs. inexpensive cruise.

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Destination Wedding Q & A

Allan and I had the honor, pleasure, and privilege to attend my friend’s wedding at Beaches Negril in Jamaica this August. If you’ve been following My Cruising Family, LLC and you’ve been paying attention to our stories on this website, Facebook, and/or Instagram, then you know that we are preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. At this time, 10 years ago, we were preparing for our wedding to be held at the then-Beaches Sandy Bay in Jamaica with approximately 80 guests. So, to be invited to attend and to be able to attend my friend’s wedding with approximately 180 guests, this year in particular, at Beaches Negril, which is next door to our wedding venue was very special. However, some ask “WHY?” Others ask “HOW?” If you’re wondering or have ever wondered why couples choose to have a destination wedding and what the experience is like, this blog post is for you!

Here, my newlywed colleague and friend shares her experience!

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Interested In A Destination Wedding?

As you may know, My Cruising Family comes as a result of a destination wedding in Jamaica, West Indies, in October 2009.  That is when Allan and I married, which is why I consider that moment the start of our family.  This year, as we approach our 10th anniversary, Allan and I attended a spectacular wedding at Beaches Negril, just steps away from where we became husband and wife.  Traveling to Jamaica in August of this year for a wedding so close to the location of our own, exactly two months before our 10th anniversary, was sentimental to me.  Having the luxury-included Sandals/Beaches experience again after 10 years was wonderful!  So, what’s the attraction to a destination wedding?  How does one begin to plan such an event in one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, Jamaica? 

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Real Talk: It’s Been A While!  Where Have You Been? 

Well, My Cruising Family, LLC is still here.  Prior to this, our most recent blog article is the one that showcases our most recent international trip, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, Colombia, and Panama, which was in October 2018.  The year 2018 was a very busy travel year for My Cruising Family, with international travel in March, June, August, and October.  While it was a blast, before the year was out, I had already started to feel as though, as a mom and just as a person, I needed to slow down on travels to focus on not just self-care, but family care.  Travel is amazing for self-care, but too much of it can be draining.  Balance is the key. 

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Our Pullmantur Monarch Anniversary Cruise 2018

Beginning Our Baecation 2018

For months, my hubby and I had been looking forward to our 9th anniversary celebration.  Although we went about business as usual on our actual anniversary this year, we had an amazing trip planned for the following week. 

On October 14, 2018, my hubby and I flew from New York/JFK to Bogotá, Colombia, and connected in Bogotá to our flight to Curaçao. 

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What Can You Really Do On A 3-Day Disney Cruise?

Glad you asked! 

 

We have taken a 5-day, an 8-day, a 14-day, and multiple 7-day cruises, and with that experience, we can truly say that, during our 3-day Disney Dream cruise, from August 24, 2018 to August 27, 2018, we felt as if we received the value of a 7-day cruise.  Since returning from our cruise a little more than a month ago, I’ve been saying that we received the value of a 7-day cruise, and some folks have asked what I mean by that, wanting to know exactly what value such a short Disney cruise can offer. 

 

Here’s a glimpse into each day of our August 2018 Disney Dream cruise!

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5 Things You Must Do When Planning Your Disney Cruise + A Bonus Tip

Today marks exactly 3 weeks since we returned from our 3-Day Disney Dream cruise.  Since then, I have had many conversations with folks interested in cruising with Disney, and I promised each of them that I would prepare a blog post with tips for planning a Disney cruise.  While there are many general cruise-planning tips, some of which I have already shared on this blog, today’s blog post is specific to Disney cruising, and especially short Disney cruises.  Why is that?  Well, I truly believe, now, from experience, that, with the advice I am providing here, you can get about a week’s worth of pixie dust in a 3, 4, or 5-day Disney cruise!

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Our August 2018 Disney Dream Cruise!

Today, September 1, 2018, marks one year since My Cruising Family, LLC went live online, and we hope that the experiences that we have been sharing with you have been informational, helpful, and inspiring.  In August 2018, with lots going on from summer camp to priority projects at work, we did not publish any blog posts; however, we did experience an amazing family cruise! 

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Video Recap: St. Maarten - Anguilla - St. Barth

This week, we got around to uploading our video coverage of our recent St. Maarten - Anguilla - St. Barth adventure!  We did not share every single moment in video or photo because we truly do believe in the full experience of getting away from the day-to-day and spending time together as a family, which means that we will not always have a camera rolling.  That being said, I hope that what we have captured and what we share with you here is inspiring and helpful.  

Here's our recap!  

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Carnival Horizon

Carnival Horizon is the newest ship sailing from New York City, and it is certainly filled with New York style!  Carnival Horizon arrived in New York in May 2018, and is sailing from Pier 88 at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal throughout Summer 2018 before repositioning to Miami in September 2018.  Carnival Horizon offers a number of firsts at sea, including the first Dr. Seuss water park at sea, and the first Victoria's Secret boutique at sea. 

Speaking of boutiques, earlier this summer, I had the distinct pleasure of joining Carnival Cruise Lines for the unveiling of the Fun Shops onboard the Carnival Horizon, operated by Starboard Cruise Services.  These Fun Shops are like no other, as they offer dynamic, fun shopping experiences at sea

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How To Island-Hop In The Caribbean

I had already visited a number of Caribbean countries, as well as Honduras, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Germany prior to making the decision that I want to visit all countries in the Caribbean before venturing back to Europe or elsewhere.  So, how will we island-hop around the Caribbean? 

It is, of course, no secret that My Cruising Family loves to cruise.  However, we do enjoy other modes of travel too.  In fact, our most recent family vacation was not our typical cruise, but rather, it was a land-vacation that, by the grace of God, and with intentional planning, we managed to turn into an island-hopping experience. With catamarans, speedboats, and ferries to many neighboring islands, St. Maarten/St. Martin is perfect for those who desire a land vacation, but also want to explore other islands.    

Cruising may seem like the most obvious answer to those who want to island-hop, but

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How We Packed "Carry-On Only" For A Family of 5

For our family's most recent 5-day vacation in St. Maarten, we were able to travel with carry-on bags, no checked bags, and it was great! Packing for our two sons, using one Rume Garment Travel Organizer ("GTO"), allowed their items to fit into one carry-on, which made it super easy to use only carry-on bags, and also helped us to organize in a way that made unpacking simple.

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Updates: The Whirlwind of Juggling as a Mompreneur

This blog post is yet another untraditional post in that it is more of a personal note to those of you who have been following My Cruising Family’s journeys thus far, and who have come to expect regular blog posts.  It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post as life has been feeling like a whirlwind.  Whew!  

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Feature: 51 Travel Essentials Travel Experts Never Go on Vacation Without

With summer right around the corner, we figured that many of you are looking for "must have" travel items for your summer vacation.  Yes, there's a Christmas tree in the photos below, but that's because one of our "must have" items came at Christmas time: I bought the Rume Garment Travel Organizers  (GTO) as part of my family's Christmas gifts, and they are a hit because they really work!  With My Cruising Family's next family vacation right around the corner, we are about to pull out our Rume GTO, which allow us to pack lots of clothing in one light garment bag that then folds to fit the standard sized carry-on. 

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Video Tour Of The MSC Fantasia

Just how big are cruise ships these days?  How do you even get around onboard such big vessels?  Can you walk from the front of the ship all the way to the back of the ship?  Have you ever wondered any of these things?  

Well, we hope to answer those sorts of questions through this blog post and video. 

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Our Stay At Canella Beach Hotel

It has been about two months since our family experienced an amazing 14-day Caribbean cruise from Guadeloupe.  As you may already know if you’ve been planning a trip between New York and Guadeloupe, finding flights can be challenging, depending on the time of year that you are seeking to travel.  We are thankful for Norwegian Air that flies non-stop between JFK (New York, USA) and PTP (Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe), seasonally.  Our flight to Guadeloupe this March was within Norwegian Air’s PTP season.  However, it was a bit more of a challenge to find return flights to New York because we returned after the season ended.  Thanks to Air Antilles and JetBlue, it worked out very well for us.  I have an entire blog post to assist in planning flights to and from Guadeloupe, here.  Norwegian Air flights from New York to Guadeloupe will generally arrive in PTP after 6 PM, which means that, if you’re planning to sail from Guadeloupe, you may want to fly in a day in advance, and that will then require a pre-cruise hotel stay. 

We flew into Guadeloupe on Saturday, March 17, 2018, and our ship, the MSC Fantasia, set sail from Guadeloupe on Sunday, March 18, 2018.  So, for one night prior to our cruise, we stayed at Canella Beach Hotel.  We arrived at Canella Beach Hotel within about 20 minutes of leaving the airport.  The front desk staff greeted us warmly, and spoke English quite well, which made check-in very easy.  For our family of five, our pre-cruise stay at Canella Beach Hotel, Duplex 322 and 323,  was comfortable and convenient.  

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What Do Mothers Really Want For Mother's Day?

A few days ago, as we are approaching Mother's Day, I came across the question: What do mothers really want for Mother's Day?  Here's my answer. 

As the working mother of two rambunctious young boys, age 3 and age 7, and being in the first year of building my blog and travel business, I would love a day of

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ANNOUNCING OUR FIRST GROUP CRUISE!!!

Why cruise with a group?  Well, the answer is simple.  Many cruise lines offer amenities to groups, which usually include onboard credit or some other perk(s).  After much research – because, you know, I always RESEARCH EXTENSIVELY before selecting a cruise – My Cruising Family has decided on the cruise line, ship, and itinerary for its FIRST GROUP CRUISE!!!  My extensive research for our individual family cruises sometimes means changing my mind, and for this group cruise, that process was no different.  I had a number of other cruise lines and sailings in mind, but when looking at the VALUE received, Norwegian Cruise Line tops the list. 

We will be sailing onboard the Norwegian Dawn from San Juan, Puerto Rico, from March 24, 2019 to March 31, 2019!  Are you super excited yet? 

Did I mention the ports of call yet?  Oh yeah… Castries, St. LuciaBridgetown, BarbadosSt. John’s, AntiguaSt. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands… and Tortola, British Virgin Islands!  Excited now? 

AND, a wonderful perk is that it only takes a $50 per person deposit to lock-in the stateroom of your choice on this group cruise, as well as TWO PERKS of your choice AT TRULY NO ADDITIONAL FEE!  Of course, staterooms/accommodations, meals at complimentary restaurants, spectacular entertainment, and most shipboard activities are already included in your cruise fare.  However, with this group cruise, we are offering even more already included!  Every stateroom will be able to receive two of the following perks:

-        Ultimate Beverage Package *1st and 2nd Guests Only*

-        Prepaid Service Charges *1st and 2nd Guests Only*

-        Commitment Ceremony 

-        Internet Package Per Cabin 

-        $50 Per Port Shorex Credit Per Cabin *Maximum of 4 Ports*

-        Specialty Dining Package *1st and 2nd Guests Only*

-        Cocktail Party Per Cabin

-        20 Photo Package Per Cabin

-        $75 Onboard Credit Per Cabin

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Cruise Therapy?

If you know me or if you’ve been following this page, then you know I love to travel.  Even if you don’t know me, but you take a look at this website, blog, My Cruising Family’s Facebook page, or My Cruising Family’s Instagram page, then you will see that I love to travel.  In a recent conversation, what I’d been feeling inside for a while and what I’d been examining was called out when the person I was speaking with said that travel is sometimes just a band-aid for something deeper.  Have I been using my travels and travel planning as a band-aid or pain-reliever?  Well, honestly, YES, I have.

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A Shore Excursion Fail

On March 19, 2018, my mom, my husband, our 7-year-old son, our 3-year-old son, and I happily got off the ship at our first port-of-call on our 14-day MSC Fantasia Caribbean cruise: St. John’s, Antigua!  We thought that, on that day, we would experience the most amazing adventure to start out our cruise, but it turned into a disappointment. Of course, as in most disappointing life experiences, there is a lesson, and as such, I am writing this blog post to share the lesson with you. 

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