Posts in Travel Planning
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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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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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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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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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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When Is The Best Time To Book My Cruise?

Simply put, the best time to buy a cruise ticket is as early as possible.  Why?  (1) Cruises can be booked with a deposit that is usually about $100-$250 per person, but can sometimes be as low as $49 per person, with final payment usually due around 60 to 90 days prior to sailing; (2) cruise lines will, generally, honor any price drops that occur after booking, so long as the price drop occurs prior to the date that final payment is due; and (3) it is best to book as early as possible to secure one’s preferred stateroom because the stateroom choices are more limited closer to sailing as more bookings are made and the ship fills up. 

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Getting To and From Guadeloupe

Our family is looking forward to cruising from Guadeloupe on our most port-intensive cruise yet, so I was quite concerned when I realized that the round-trip cost that I was finding for flights between New York City (NYC) and Pointe-a-Pitre (PTP) was over $2000 per person!  That doesn’t include checked bags, and we are traveling as a family of five! 

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