Posts in Tropical Cruise
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. 

Read More
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!

Read More
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

Read More
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

Read More
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.

Read More
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. 

Read More
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! 

Read More
All-Inclusive, Caribbean, Caribbean Cruise, Cruise, Cruise Activities, Cruise Reviews, Cruise Tour, Cruisetour, Cruising, Cruising With A Child, Cruising With Children, Excursion, Excursions, Family, Family Cruise, Family Cruise Line, Family Cruising, Family Time, Family Travel, Family Vacation, Globetrotting, Guadeloupe, Globetrotter, Island Hopping, Island-Hopping, Islands, MSC, MSC Cruise, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Air, Onboard Activities, Pointe-a-Pitre, Shore Excursion, Shore Excursions, Tour, Tours, Travel, Tropical Cruise, Vacation, Vacation Planning, Martinique, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad, St. Vincent, SVG, The Grenadines, Bequia, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique Cruise, Guadeloupe Cruise, Trinidad Cruise, St. Vincent Cruise, Catamaran, Grenada CruisePeta-Gaye DanielBequia By Sailing Catamaran, Bequia By Catamaran, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Vincent, Bequia, The Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago, Maracas Bay, Maracas Beach, Maracas Beach Trip, Creole Bus Sensation, Grenada Cruise, Cruise to Grenada, Cruise to Trinidad, Cruise to Guadeloupe, Cruise to Martinique, Cruise from Guadeloupe, Cruise from Martinique, Cruise from Barbados, Cruise to Barbados, Cruise to St. Kitts, Cruise to Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Nevis, Discover Nevis and Beach, Relax on Bayahibe Beach, Be Live Canoa, Dominican Republic, Cruise to La Romana, Cruise to Dominican Republic, Family Cruise, Family Cruising, Cruising With Children, Cruising With a Toddler, 14 Day Cruise, 14-Day Cruise, 2 Week Cruise, 2-Week Cruise, Caribbean Cruise, 14-Day Caribbean Cruise, 14 Day Caribbean Cruise, 2-Week Caribbean Cruise, 2 Week Caribbean Cruise, Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe Tourism, how to get to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Martinique Cruise, Barbados Cruise, Barbados, Trinidad Cruise, Cruise to Trinidad and Tobago, Cruise to the Grenadines, Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesComment
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. 

Read More
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. 

Read More
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. 

Read More
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. 

Read More
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.

Read More
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. 

Read More
Caribbean Cruise, Cruise, Cruise Activities, Cruise Tour, Cruisetour, Cruising, Cruising With A Child, Cruising With Children, Excursion, Excursions, Family, Family Cruise, Family Cruise Line, Family Cruising, Family Time, Family Travel, Family Vacation, MSC Cruises, MSC, MSC Cruise, Onboard Activities, Shore Excursion, Shore Excursions, Tour, Tours, Travel, Tropical Cruise, Vacation, Vacation Planning, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, RCI, CCL, NCL, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, HAL, DCL, Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruise LinePeta-Gaye Danielkids club, children's club, ships, fleet, stateroom, staterooms, family stateroom, family staterooms, suite, suites, onboard youth program, onboard children's program, onboard kids program, onboard kid's program, onboard kids' program, gratuities, tips, service charges, automatic gratuities, automatic service charges, automatic service charge, gratuity, pre-paid gratuity, pre-paid gratuities, prepaid gratuities, prepaid gratuity, drinks, drink package, drink packages, cruise drink package, cruise drink packages, Beverage Package, Cruise Beverage Packages, Cruise Beverage Package, excursions, excursion, tour, tours, cruisetour, cruisetours, cruise ship excursion, cruise ship excursions, independent excursions, independent excursion, cruise line policy, cruise line policies, viator, shoretrips, shore excursioneerComment
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. 

Read More
CRUISE REVIEWS: Our Family's MSC Divina Cruise

Although this was my 5th cruise, this was my first MSC cruise, and I loved it.  My mom, my husband, my 6-year-old son, my 2-year-old son, and I sailed together on the MSC Divina, from March 25, 2017 to April 1, 2017, from the Port of Miami to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Nassau.  We had two Bella staterooms on Deck 8, one room across the hall from the other: balcony stateroom 8251 and inside stateroom 8253.  We had a wonderful time!  The crew and staff were generally very helpful and cheerful.  Our stateroom steward, Lynyrd, was excellent in keeping our rooms in order and providing any requested services, such as

Read More
Not To Be Missed On Your Next Cruise

There will be many activities to choose from during your cruise.  However, My Cruising Family recommends attending the following events.  As with all the information we share here, we hope this is helpful to you and yours.  

**MANDATORY** Muster Drill:

Prior to your ship setting sail, you will be required to attend a muster drill.  The purpose of the muster drill is to familiarize all guests and crew with their assigned muster station, which is, basically, the location at which guests and crew are to assemble in the case of an emergency.  There are multiple muster stations on the ship, and to allow for an orderly evacuation, if necessary, each guest and crew member should report to his or her assigned muster station.  The muster drill also includes information on how to put on life vests, which are included in each stateroom. 

Note: Generally, the life vests that are in the stateroom are adult-sized.  If cruising with infants, toddlers, and/or other small children, you may need to request the appropriately sized life vest for the child.  However, My Cruising Family has experienced at least one cruise line that

Read More
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! 

Read More
Caribbean, Caribbean Cruise, Cruise, Cruising, Diverse, Diversity, Family Cruise, Family Cruise Line, Family Cruising, Family Travel, Family Vacation, Globetrotter, Globetrotting, Island Hopping, Island-Hopping, Islands, Land Vacation, MSC, MSC Cruise, MSC Cruises, Travel, Tours, Tour, Shore Excursions, Shore Excursion, Tropical Cruise, Vacation, Vacation Planning, Flights, Pointe-a-Pitre, PTP, JFK Airport, SXM, Air Antilles, Norwegian Air, JetBlue, Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe Cruise, Kids Sail Free, Martinique Cruise, Martinique, Travel PlanningPeta-Gaye DanielPointe-a-Pitre, PTP, Guadeloupe, JFK Airport, Norwegian Air, Air Antilles, JetBlue, Spring Break, Airline, Airlines, Flight search, Guadeloupe flights, SXM, Martinique, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Guadeloupe Tourism, Caribbean, Tropical Vacation, Family Cruise, Family Vacation, Family Travel, Black Family Cruise, Black Family Travel, Black Family Vacation, African-American Family Travel, African-American Family Cruise, African-American Family Vacation, Trinidad Cruise, Grenada Cruise, Dominica Cruise, Martinique Cruise, Barbados Cruise, St. Lucia Cruise, Cruise to Guadeloupe, Cruise to St. Lucia, Cruise to Barbados, Cruise to Trinidad, Cruise to Tobago, Cruise to Trinidad and Tobago, Cruise to Grenada, Cruise to Dominica, Cruise to Martinique, Cruise from Martinique, Cruise from Guadeloupe, Fly to Guadeloupe, Fly to Martinique, cheap flights, how to get to Guadeloupe, Southern Caribbean Cruise, Southern Caribbean, MSC, MSC cruises, MSC Fantasia, MSC PoesiaComment
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:

Read More
Cruising During Hurricane Season

My family and I are excited about our upcoming cruise, and as embarkation day approaches, we have watched, heard, and read a lot about the hurricanes that have already occurred this hurricane season.  Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th, but hurricanes are said to be more likely from mid-August to mid-October, also known as the “season within the season” or “peak season.”  Some may ask, “With all these hurricanes, are you still cruising this season?”  Our quick answer: “By the grace of God, yes!” 

We have cruised during hurricane season at least twice before.  Our upcoming cruise is a combined birthday and anniversary celebration.  Therefore, it stands to reason that the cruise will take place at or near the time of the birthday and anniversary being celebrated.  Furthermore, if you read My Cruising Family’s very first blog post, you know that I am an advocate for purchasing travel insurance before cruising, especially before cruising with young children.  Children are unpredictable.  Life is unpredictable.  As my husband said, “Cruising during hurricane season is the same as cruising any other time.  All travel involves some level of risk.”  Purchasing insurance takes those risks into account and provides peace of mind. 

Hurricanes should always be taken seriously.  However, that does not mean that successful travel plans cannot be made during hurricane season, even if those plans are to the Caribbean, Mexico, and/or parts of the United States that are vulnerable to hurricanes. 

Read More
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

Read More