Tag Archive for Caribbean

Hotel Atarazana in Santo Domingo

Hotel AtarazanaIf you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic and you’ll be staying in Santo Domingo for one or more nights, you should consider staying at the Hotel Atarazana. We stayed here two nights before our Caribbean cruise in February 2014.

With only six rooms, the hotel is small, and more of what I would call a Bed and Breakfast, since breakfast is included in the room rate. The hotel is quite popular and well known in the area. It is rated highly on TripAdvisor, which is why we decided to give it a try. We really enjoyed our stay here and would highly recommend it to anyone.

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Our Experience on the MSC Musica: The Goods and the Bads

MSC Cruise Summary 8For our recent Caribbean cruise in February 2014, we decided to try sailing on the MSC Musica since it had an itinerary that wasn’t offered on any other cruise lines. Having sailed in the eastern Caribbean twice prior to this, we had already been to many of the islands and this itinerary went to several that we had not yet visited.

Since this was our first cruise with MSC we didn’t know what to expect. MSC is an Italian cruise line and their slogan is “The Mediterranean way of life” and we weren’t sure just what that meant. We’ve sailed on several cruise lines over the years and we decided to give MSC a try.

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The Many Uses for a Horn

While in Martinique on our recent Caribbean cruise we noticed how the tour bus drivers make extensive use of their horns to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians, much more than we do here in the U.S.

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Great Shore Excursions – St. Martin Seaworld Explorer

Underwater Adventure 6On our recent Caribbean cruise we stopped at the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin and took a shore excursion called “Underwater Adventure and Magnificent Views” offered by our cruise ship, the MSC Musica. It turned out to be a great trip, and we were taken around the island with a few stops and a scenic viewpoint, but here I’m going to talk about the highlight of the excursion, the underwater adventure part.

If you’re not familiar with the island of St. Maarten, it is divided in half, the south side of the island, where all the cruise ships dock and the airport is located, is Dutch. The capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg. The north side of the island, called St. Martin, is French, and its capital is Marigot.

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Summary of our Caribbean Cruise on MSC Musica

Warning: This is a rather lengthy article.  If you’re going to brave it, get a big drink and kick back in a comfortable chair.

Trip dates: February 6 – 15, 2014


Thursday Feb 6, 2014 – The Trip Begins


MSC Cruise Summary 22Got up bright and early (well not bright, but early) at 2:45 AM. It was a balmy 28 degrees outside.

We got ourselves ready and took Supershuttle to the Austin airport to catch our flight to JFK. The shuttle van picked us up in front of our apartment at 4:05 AM. They were about 10 minutes later than they said they would be. We were also supposed to be the last stop but we were actually the first stop so we had to sit through picking up two more people and got to the airport ½ hour later than we were supposed to but we still had enough time.

Our flight on JetBlue departed Austin at 6:07 AM, touching down in JFK at 9:39 AM, about 40 minutes earlier than scheduled. We then had about a 2-hour layover until our next flight, also on JetBlue, which took off at 12:06 to get us to Santo Domingo at 4:13 PM, about a 4-hour flight. All the announcements on the JFK to Santo Domingo flight were in Spanish first, then English, which gives you an indication of the number of Spanish speaking passengers.

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Guadeloupe in Pictures

A few pictures from our recent trip to the island of Guadeloupe.

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