Posts in Cruising With Children
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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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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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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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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Our Cruise Is Approaching, But Our Children Are Sick! Now What?

Why am I writing this now?  Well, because, right now – today – just about one week before our family goes on vacation, both of our boys have what seems to be the common cold, with stuffy and runny noses, and coughing.  There have also been complaints of ear pain, which we know can happen sometimes simply as a result of congestion, but can also happen if there is an ear infection. Their symptoms started developing on the weekend, so I am thankful that we had that opportunity to treat them at home without having to take days off from school, day care, and work, and without contaminating other people’s children. Nevertheless, with our next cruise around the corner, I called the doctor’s office this morning to try to get an appointment as soon as possible.  

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After A Rough Hurricane Season, Can We Still Travel To The Caribbean?

When traveling with a family, especially a family that includes young children, we tend to be very thoughtful about our travel plans.  That being said, given the rough 2017 hurricane season, some parents may be re-thinking their planned family cruises and others may be reluctant to plan Caribbean family vacations at this time because of the idea that the Caribbean islands are in bad shape right now.  While a number of the hardest hit islands have a long road to recovery ahead of them, there are many available options in the Caribbean that were virtually unharmed by the 2017 hurricanes.

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5 Commonly Asked Questions

In an effort to assist those who are considering, planning, or already booked a cruise, I have answered many questions regarding cruising.  In answering those questions, I caution that there are some things that all cruise lines have in common, but there are other areas in which each cruise line differs.  Here, I have included a list of five commonly asked questions, as well as a list of some cruise lines and the corresponding links to how they address each question. 

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Why We Love MSC Cruises!

Cruising is our preferred way of traveling together as a family, as I truly think that it is the best vacation value, or in other words, the best bang for your buck, if researched well, and I love to research cruise options.  It was through researching cruise options that I initially came to admire MSC.  MSC stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company, as it began as a shipping company, but MSC has, at present, become the world’s fourth largest cruise line.  The basic information the cruise line provides on its website and in its literature is already impressive.  Add to that, we have now cruised with MSC and are booked to cruise with them again after enjoying a wonderful first MSC experience earlier in 2017.  Here are a few of the reasons we love MSC.  

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Myth vs. Truth: What Will You Believe?

We've probably all heard one or more of the following seven cruise myths, and unfortunately, such myths have kept some folks away from a spectacular vacation.  I am writing today to shed some light on a number of negative things that have been said about cruising.  Let's spread some truth, debunk some myths, and hopefully inspire someone to explore the awesome world of cruising!  

Myth #1:

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What My Cruising Family Packs: Carry-On Edition

Greetings!  

Today is a significant day in the countdown to our next cruise.  As embarkation day approaches, we are turning our attention to packing, so I will share a bit of that in this post.  Some may ask, “With all these hurricanes, are you still cruising this season?”  Our quick answer: “By the grace of God, yes!”  Anyway, that’s a discussion for another post. 

We usually pack the following travel-size items in our carry-on luggage

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Some Of My Cruising Family’s Favorite Things

Cruising with little ones?  Then these items are for you.  Here, My Cruising Family shares some of our favorite things to have during family cruises.  We hope that this information and the convenient shopping links help you to prepare for your upcoming travels.  

1.       Steri-Bottle Disposable Bottles

These sterile and disposable bottles are awesome when traveling with a baby who still drinks from a bottle.  This way, you can keep your regular bottles at home, without fear of them getting lost during travel, and you can easily toss the Steri-Bottle Disposable Bottles after baby’s feedings. 

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