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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CRUISE REVIEWS: OUR FAMILY'S MSC FANTASIA CRUISE

This was my second MSC cruise and my seventh overall cruise.  However this was the 1st time that we had booked a 14-day cruise!  Yes, FOURTEEN DAYS!  My mom, my husband, my 7-year-old son, my 3-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Fantasia, from March 18, 2018 to April 1, 2018, roundtrip from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis.  We had two Fantastica balcony staterooms on Deck 10, right next to each other: 10208 and 10210.  We loved our clean and spacious staterooms!  We booked this cruise for the amazing itinerary!  I was a bit disappointed when a portion of the itinerary changed – the initial itinerary included Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Dominica; and St. Maarten/St. Martin.  After the damage caused by the 2017 hurricane season, those three ports were removed from the itinerary, and, instead, an extra stop in St. Kitts was added, as well as a stop in La Romana, Dominican Republic.  We made the best of it!  Truly, the itinerary was still FABULOUS!  We had a wonderful time!  The crew and staff that we dealt with the most, which were our room steward, wait staff and other dining room staff, and the photo team were consistently pleasant and really made this voyage GREAT! 

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Some Reflections From Our 14-Day Cruise

I type this at tens of thousands of feet in the air, while my 3-year-old son is sleeping in my mom’s arms across the aisle from me, my 7-year-old is watching a JetBlue’s Disney compilation, and my husband is watching another JetBlue feature as we fly home to New York City from an amazing 17-day Spring Break, which included pre-cruise and post-cruise stays in Guadeloupe, and a 14-day Caribbean cruise from Guadeloupe to Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada, with multiple stops in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Kitts & Nevis. 

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Things To Know Before You Contact A Travel Agent

I’ve heard the saying: “The internet is for looking, while a travel agent is for booking.”  Although I agree 100%, I think an explanation of that statement is warranted. 

Nowadays, we all know of travel websites through which virtually anyone can book a trip, including our favorite type of trip, a cruise.  So, why even bother to contact a travel agent? 

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Why I Unplug During Family Vacations

As I write this, I am some tens of thousands of feet in the air, on the way to Guadeloupe for My Cruising Family’s Spring Break 2018 cruise.  I will schedule this to automatically post on the My Cruising Family blog, and we will be enjoying a fun-filled, yet relaxing, family vacation. 

On prior vacations, I did not even take my laptop because of my deep-rooted, genuine, desire to unplug, breathe in the fresh Caribbean air, and have not a care in the world, except to admire God’s handiwork and connect even more as a family. 

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5 Things To Do Before You Cruise

In preparing to cruise, there are many things that I do for our family before sailing.   Today, hoping to help you to prepare for your cruise, I share 5 of those things with you.

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Feature: 63 Travel Bloggers Share Their Favorite Travel Items

With My Cruising Family's next cruise right around the corner, we are in crunchtime to pack, confirm activities that we've planned, and all around prepare for our longest cruise yet: our 14-day Caribbean cruise onboard the MSC Fantasia!  That all being said, this week's blog post is not the traditional My Cruising Family blog, but it is still quite informative and helpful.  

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Making The Best Of A Family Cruise To Cuba

On the 6-month anniversary of the existence of this blog, My Cruising Family has decided to share a blog post that combines our review and our tips/advice from our most recent cruise.  It had been my intent to share a review of our first Cuba cruise soon after our return to the United States, but those plans changed after the unexpected loss of my brother the day after we returned from that cruise. 

My Cruising Family visited Cuba for the first time in October 2017, via cruise ship.  The Norwegian Sky, to be specific.  After eventually sharing our photos and stories of the amazing time we had during our cruise, a number of people have asked us for recommendations on how to make the best of a visit to Cuba, especially with two young children.  Here are some of our recommendations. 

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My Cruising Family's Caribbean Cruise Packing List

My Cruising Family presents to you My Cruising Family's Caribbean Cruise Packing List.  We hope that this helps to put our blog posts, WHAT MY CRUISING FAMILY PACKS: CARRY-ON EDITION and WHAT MY CRUISING FAMILY PACKS: CHECKED LUGGAGE EDITION in a much more mommy-friendly package for you.  Please utilize this checklist when preparing for your next cruise, and please also provide us with your feedback.  Happy Packing!  

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Dear Overwhelmed/Tired Mom

Dear Overwhelmed/Tired Mom,

Let me start by acknowledging that I don’t understand.  I say that because I can sometimes be annoyed by people who tell me that they understand what I’m feeling when I don’t think that they do.  Many times, the person means well, and I think the person means to convey that they hear me, they care, and they have been through similar experiences. 

There is only one you, so only you know what it’s like to walk in your shoes.  Only you know what it’s like to wake up in the morning, Mondays through Fridays, to get yourself ready for work, and also to get your children up and awake, showered, clothed, and fed before school.  You may drive them and yourself to school and work, or like me, you may walk or drive a portion of the way, then take a train – in our case, at least 3 trains – just to get to school and work.  Only you know how you feel during and after the shuffle, hustle, and bustle just to get your children to school.  Only you know how you feel walking into your place of work before 9am, yet feeling as though you have already completed a full day of work.  Only you know

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My Cruising Family's Anniversary!

January 19, 2018.  Today marks 5 years since My Cruising Family’s first family cruise. 

Sidebar… It’s funny because my first cruise – not a family cruise – was in 2005, prior to becoming a mother and prior to meeting my husband, yet it was on Disney Cruise Line, which is probably the first cruise line that comes to mind when you hear the words “family cruise.”  I’ve got to let you know that Disney is loads of fun for adults without children, as I experienced it first-hand in 2005.  Nevertheless, I now say that that Disney Magic cruise, being my first cruise, was a sign that I’d be loving family cruising years later, and that I’d be a resource for all things related to family cruising. 

So, back to January 19, 2013.  My husband, our then 2-year-old son, and I sailed on the Carnival Dream’s 7-day Western Caribbean itinerary.  Little did we know then what we know now, and what we put into practice as we now usually sail as a family of four or five. 

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Pause. Reflect. Dream. Give.

Hello cruisers, soon-to-be-cruisers, cruise-daydreamers, and everyone in between!  A month ago, I shared with you that My Cruising Family suffered a loss in the sudden passing of my brother, which has led to a whirlwind of emotions, and also to a season of pause and reflection. As a result, our website posts and social media activity has slowed a bit. 

While we plan to resume blog posts in the near future, this season of pause and reflection, which we did not plan, has led us to take the time to DREAM BIGGER and to GIVE FROM THE HEART.

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A Great Cruise And A Sudden Loss

My Cruising Family experienced an amazing Norwegian Sky cruise to Cuba and the Bahamas, from October 9, 2017 to October 13, 2017.  For a photo review of our recent Cuba/Bahamas cruise, please view our Facebook album, My Cruising Family's NCL Sky Cruise, at http://bit.ly/2zy6nVG, or follow My Cruising Family on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mycruisingfam/

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On Shore: Getting Back To Port On Time

I recently received a question regarding boarding times, distance to the cruise port, and recommendations for getting to the ship on time, and the blog post in response to those questions addressed these concerns for cruise embarkation day.  This blog post will address similar concerns about getting back to the ship on time when in a port-of-call. 

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Getting To The Port On Embarkation Day

I recently received a question regarding boarding times, distance to the cruise port, and recommendations for getting to the ship on time.  The general rule of thumb to address all three of those areas is to pay close attention to the documents provided by the cruise line.  Specific cruises differ with regard to the time that guests should arrive to “check in” at the port.   Keep in mind, that most, if not all, cruise lines require online check-in which will then produce cruise documents for guests to print and take along to the port.  So although I say “check in” at the port, what that entails on embarkation day is usually guests presenting their printed cruise documents, along with their passports, for a fairly quick process at the counter with an agent from whom guests will receive their stateroom keys and a number to be called to board the ship. 

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