Posts in Vacation
Destination Wedding Q & A

Allan and I had the honor, pleasure, and privilege to attend my friend’s wedding at Beaches Negril in Jamaica this August. If you’ve been following My Cruising Family, LLC and you’ve been paying attention to our stories on this website, Facebook, and/or Instagram, then you know that we are preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. At this time, 10 years ago, we were preparing for our wedding to be held at the then-Beaches Sandy Bay in Jamaica with approximately 80 guests. So, to be invited to attend and to be able to attend my friend’s wedding with approximately 180 guests, this year in particular, at Beaches Negril, which is next door to our wedding venue was very special. However, some ask “WHY?” Others ask “HOW?” If you’re wondering or have ever wondered why couples choose to have a destination wedding and what the experience is like, this blog post is for you!

Here, my newlywed colleague and friend shares her experience!

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Interested In A Destination Wedding?

As you may know, My Cruising Family comes as a result of a destination wedding in Jamaica, West Indies, in October 2009.  That is when Allan and I married, which is why I consider that moment the start of our family.  This year, as we approach our 10th anniversary, Allan and I attended a spectacular wedding at Beaches Negril, just steps away from where we became husband and wife.  Traveling to Jamaica in August of this year for a wedding so close to the location of our own, exactly two months before our 10th anniversary, was sentimental to me.  Having the luxury-included Sandals/Beaches experience again after 10 years was wonderful!  So, what’s the attraction to a destination wedding?  How does one begin to plan such an event in one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, Jamaica? 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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