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
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 post, Make 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
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 asRead More
As mentioned in My Cruising Family's previous blog post, I have written cruise reviews, excursion reviews, and more, to share my experiences, and to, hopefully, help other cruise-planning/cruising moms and families to plan the best cruise vacation for their families. That being said, I will share some of those reviews in this week's blog posts, starting with a review of our family's Carnival Splendor Cruise.Read More
While juggling life’s demands, planning a cruise can seem like an unnecessary use of your time, or like a luxury that you can live without. This working wife and mommy – yours truly – is quite familiar with the day-to-day juggle, and I am also quite familiar with the tools that can make planning a cruise a breeze!
So, what are some of the things that go into planning a cruise?Read More
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 thatRead More
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.Read More
The purpose of this post is to acknowledge that, sometimes, we may encounter circumstances in life that make cruising less feasible than at other times. In those moments, breathe, give thanks for life, and realize that, as long as there is life and family, there are opportunities for family memories to be made.Read More
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
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
I am Jamaican-born and first visited the United States when I was four years old. Then, after years of visiting the United States during Easter and summer vacations, I officially moved to New York, U.S.A. in 1991. I then visited Jamaica regularly during school vacations.
Being born and raised in the Caribbean, I am well aware of the beauty and diversity that the Caribbean holds, and while I know that a number of Caribbean islands, including my homeland, are tourist hotspots, I also know that there are a number of lesser known islands that offer much to be experienced.Read More
Cruising is amazing, fun, and relaxing all in one, and in order to get to that amazing, fun, and relaxing part, it is important to first take some time to ensure that all required paperwork is in place. Understanding what travel documentation is needed to cruise starts with understanding the types of cruises that exist. My hope is that the information in this post will help you to prepare well for your cruise by having all the documentation that you need, and then some.Read More
At the time of this writing, United States citizens are permitted to travel to Cuba; however, tourist travel to Cuba is prohibited for Unites States citizens. Therefore, those desiring to visit Cuba must obtain a license from the Unites States Department of the Treasury or certify that their travel falls into one of 12 categories of authorized travel. One such category permitting travel to Cuba is the people-to-people travel, which requires the traveler to participate in activities that are intended to "enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba."Read More