Posts tagged family cruise
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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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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Some Reflections From Our 14-Day Cruise

I type this at tens of thousands of feet in the air, while my 3-year-old son is sleeping in my mom’s arms across the aisle from me, my 7-year-old is watching a JetBlue’s Disney compilation, and my husband is watching another JetBlue feature as we fly home to New York City from an amazing 17-day Spring Break, which included pre-cruise and post-cruise stays in Guadeloupe, and a 14-day Caribbean cruise 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. 

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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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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. 

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CRUISE REVIEWS: Our Family's Southern Caribbean Cruise

Upon our return from this particular cruise, I didn’t do much of a review of the ship itself.  However, I can say that the ship was fine. We had connecting Promenade View Staterooms, which were very convenient because my mom and our two sons stayed next door, while my husband and I had some space to ourselves. It should be noted that Promenade View Staterooms are listed as double occupancy, but by calling Royal Caribbean and explaining our group’s dynamic, including the fact that our younger son was one-year-old at the time, and would have a Pack 'n Play to sleep in, Royal Caribbean was able to book three of us in the room given that one of three was a one-year-old.  It may not be an option on every cruise, but it does not hurt to ask.  After all, that’s how we learn things.  I know that, as a mom, I teach my children that it’s ok to ask questions.  I know that many other parents take the same approach, so if you’re one of those parents, let’s take our own advice on that.  Therefore, if you’re wondering whether or not this is a possibility on your cruise, I suggest calling and speaking with either your travel agent or the cruise line directly. 

This particular cruise was port-intensive, so our focus, as well as this review, was more on the ports than the ship.

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CRUISE REVIEWS: Our Family's Carnival Splendor Cruise

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.  

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Make Planning A Cruise A Breeze

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? 

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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

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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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What Travel Documents Do I Need To Cruise?

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. 

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Why Cruise?

Why cruise?

For our family, the answers are simple, and can be summed up in one word: value

As a mom, I value family time.  As Peta-Gaye, I value travel.  I have been blessed to merge these two values into one amazingly convenient experience over and over again through cruising.  With deals like MSC Cruises’ Kids Sail Free, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Free-At-Sea Offer/3rd and 4th Guests Sail Free, the overall cost of a cruise for a family of four or five can be quite affordable, and certainly valuable if one thinks of all that family will be receiving during the cruise. 

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Travel Insurance, Grandma, and Balconies... Oh My!

In January 2013, our then two-year-old son, my husband, and I traveled to Orlando, Florida, to witness our friends’ wedding onboard the Carnival Dream.  We arrived in Orlando, Florida, on the day before the wedding, and we stayed at a nice hotel as a part of the wedding group.  Two of my siblings reside in Orlando, so we welcomed the opportunity to have them visit us at the hotel.  We ordered dinner, and my son, my nieces, and nephews spent a nice evening at play while the adults talked, laughed, and had a good time.  After my siblings and their children left the hotel, we went to sleep to recuperate from a day of traveling and to prepare for the next day's wedding and cruise. 

What does this have to do with travel insurance, you ask?

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