Hello everyone! Only a few days until we leave for our Caribbean cruise on the MSC Musica! My wife and I are both excited and ready for a vacation to get away from some of this cold weather.
As this is the first trip we’ve taken since I started this website back in November, I thought I would try to document our vacation, before and after, and develop some kind of a format through trial and error for our upcoming trips. I also plan to expand this website from just being cruise-based to a discussion of all our travels, whether by sea, land, or air.
So where to begin? The itinerary for this cruise is a 7-night cruise out of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. With the exception of one port, we’ll be making stops at several islands that we haven’t been to yet. The port that we have been to is St. Maarten. We visited the island once before, back in Feb. 2012, on the Carnival Victory. The ports that will be new for us are La Romana (Dominican Republic), Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Tortola (British Virgin Islands).
Before we get on the ship though we have to get to the Caribbean. We’ll be flying JetBlue to Santo Domingo with a layover in New York’s JFK. We’re hoping that, with all the cold weather and storms that the Northeast has had this season, we don’t get stuck at JFK.
Once we get to Santo Domingo, we’re staying two nights at the Hotel Atarazana near the Colonial Zone in the city and not far from the cruise port. We’re looking forward to having a couple days to explore the city before we start our cruise and of course I’ll be taking lots of pictures for souvenirs! Taking pictures is half the fun of traveling for me.
We pre-booked four shore excursions, in St. Maarten, Guadeloupe, Antigua, and Tortola, and we’ll let you know what we thought of those when we get back and post more details of our trip.
For this trip, we’re trying something different as far as our luggage goes. In the past we have used a carry-on sized bag (on wheels) and a small backpack as our “personal item” so we don’t have to check any bags. Although that has worked fine for us, we decided on this trip to try larger backpacks so we can fit everything into one bag and also be more mobile. Our upcoming trips will be longer than one week and dragging a wheeled piece of luggage through city streets is not so practical. We’re going to test out how these backpacks work for us.
I decided on an Osprey Farpoint 55 after reading many online reviews and then going to REI to try one on. My wife didn’t feel the Farpoint was too comfortable on her so she opted for a Gregory Z40. With a little “retooling” of our packing techniques we got everything into the backpacks and ready for action. We have used packing cubes on our past trips and are using them in these backpacks since they allow you to organize things so well. One thing that is different is that my backpack doesn’t have a lot of little compartments to put things so I decided to put things into various sized Ziplock bags and then put them into the smaller spaces in the backpack. It looks like that is going to work out. My wife’s backpack has more pockets and so far she is happy with it.
So that’s about it for now. We’ll be posting all the details of the trip, and a few pictures too, when we return. Until then….happy cruising!