Posts tagged Family Cruising
How We Made Our Biggest Cruise Decision Yet

I am excited to say that My Cruising Family was recently featured in a Travel Pulse article on selecting an expensive vs. inexpensive cruise.  I invite you to read, enjoy and get some pointers from it.  Since then, I’ve decided to share with you some specific factors that informed our most recent decision on a cruise.  I think this is a decision that families, in particular, are likely to find themselves making.  In planning an upcoming cruise, our family recently assessed whether to book an expensive vs. inexpensive cruise.

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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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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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My Cruising Family's Caribbean Cruise Packing List

My Cruising Family presents to you My Cruising Family's Caribbean Cruise Packing List.  We hope that this helps to put our blog posts, WHAT MY CRUISING FAMILY PACKS: CARRY-ON EDITION and WHAT MY CRUISING FAMILY PACKS: CHECKED LUGGAGE EDITION in a much more mommy-friendly package for you.  Please utilize this checklist when preparing for your next cruise, and please also provide us with your feedback.  Happy Packing!  

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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. 

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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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It's Not Always Smooth Sailing

So, as I sat, reclined on our couch in the living room, after 9pm on a weeknight, excited about travel and all the information I’m preparing to share with you on this blog about traveling together as a family and how great and awesome it is, my six-year-old provides me with material for this particular blog post.  It’s not what I had initially planned to write, but hey, if it’s one thing being a mom has taught me, from the moment a routine ultrasound appointment turned into an unexpected admission to Labor and Delivery, is that life, especially life with children, is unpredictable. 

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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. 

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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

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Organized Island-Hopping and Further Globetrotting

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. 

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