Posts in Travel
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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What's The Best Way To Pick A Cruise?

I recently responded to the question, “What’s the best way to pick a cruise?”  A lot of this information will be similar to an earlier blog postMake Planning A Cruise A Breeze.  However, this question came after that blog post, so I think it's worth sharing my response here.  Let me start by saying that this is really subjective.  For some, this decision will be primarily driven by dates.  For others, this decision will be primarily driven by cost.  There are many cruise options out there, so the quick answer about the “best way to pick a cruise” is to know the factors that are most important to you and your family, and to prioritize those factors accordingly.  As an example, I share with you, below, what My Cruising Family’s decision-making process usually looks like when choosing a cruise. 

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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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What My Cruising Family Packs: Checked Luggage Edition

My Cruising Family’s philosophy is that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, especially when cruising with children.  The below list should be repeated for each person cruising. 

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