I am so enjoying all of your communications in anticipation of the 2011 NACLNC® Conference cruise. I can’t wait to spend those seven days with all of you. Until we meet up on March 13th, here are 15 ideas for having the most fun possible on our cruise.
- Be on the lookout for fun and games. Besides the usual suspects of Bingo and the casino, there are card games, scavenger hunts, late-night game shows in Studio B (not for children or the weak of heart) and other activities (like the rock-climbing wall) all day and practically all night if you want. Unless your sole ambition is to be the anchor-person in the tug of war, you’ll need to save some energy for the CLNC® Beach Olympics.
- But at the same time, RELAX. It’s more than an educational experience. It’s a cruise, a vacation and your chance to get away. If you try and do everything you’ll wear yourself out so save some time for just you! Plan on spending some time at the spa and treat yourself to a massage, facial or a mani-pedi.
- Take some time out for a meal. Everyone jokes about how much food is available on a cruise ship, but do more than just eat. Your CLNC® colleagues will be instantly recognizable by the pirate booty we’ll be passing out at Registration so every time you sit down for a meal look for a new networking opportunity. I know it’s fun to eat with your family, but while your spouse is climbing the rock wall and your children are surfing the FlowRider®, take some time to make a new friend. Find another CLNC® subcontractor or retie the connection with one of your classmates from the CLNC® Certification Seminar.
- Have some fun in the sun. Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen. You’ll need it every day. If you bring a big, floppy hat, make sure it has a chin-strap to keep it from blowing overboard when it blows off (and it will).
- When it gets too hot (and it will), put yourself on ice – skates that is! There’s a great ice skating rink available and no better way to create a unique memory of the Caribbean than by ice skating hand-in-hand with your partner (or a new one) or just taking the time to perfect your triple axel.
- Check out a sunset or a sunrise at sea. There are few things more beautiful than a sunset at sea. As an added bonus they’re free! Get out on deck either just before sunset or early in the morning (even if it means staying up all night).
- Take a walk in the moonlight. If you’re out late, the period just after the late seating dinner is a terrific time to stroll the deck with someone special, a good friend or just by yourself. That’s when Tom and I will sneak up to the front of the ship and take turns doing the Titanic thing (he tends to hog).
- Leave your inner introvert at home. With the exception of your CLNC® colleagues, you’ll probably never, ever see your fellow travelers again so let yourself shine! If you can juggle jellyfish try out for the talent night. Find that dark karaoke bar and sing your lungs out or maybe even take that turn Dancing with the CLNC® Stars at one of the many onboard clubs. You’ll probably find me in the hip-hop club bustin’ a move (or two). I’m glad I’ll be surrounded by nurses if I bust something else.
- Anticipate smooth sailing, but prepare for heavy seas (not CLNC® consultants). If you don’t know whether or not you suffer from sea-sickness make a stop at your local drugstore and stock up on Dramamine®, Bonine® or those small wristlets that activate your pressure-points. All work equally well. If in doubt you can also ask a friendly doc to prescribe one of the patches. Just a warning, the patch is known to make you groggy (But you’ll save money on drinks!).
- When in port, explore more than the surf. On St. Thomas and St. Maarten, get out and explore the island before you hit the beach. You’ll have more than enough beach-time at Coco Cay in the Bahamas and, to most of us, beaches look the same everywhere (think about it, sand, crystal-blue water, palm trees and cabana boys in Speedos®). Soak up some of the local traditions and culture first, then hit the beach where you can relax on the sand with one of those cold drinks with the little umbrellas. The memories will last longer than a tan and won’t itch like sand in your swimsuit.
- Wear your souvenirs. Over fifty percent of cruisers buy souvenirs. I don’t know how many bedazzled starfishes you need, but t-shirts make great souvenirs. Plan on wearing them on board and it’s less you have to pack. Of course, you may need to bring an extra fold-up bag to get all those dirty souvenir tees home (and maybe a haz-mat tag to keep TSA from searching your luggage).
- Churn and burn! Let’s face it, you’re going to be eating more than you’re used to. You may even eat more than you’ve ever dreamed of (or maybe you have). For some reason, calories build up faster on a cruise ship than you can infiltrate an IV. Ameliorate some of the effects by taking a walk around the deck and skipping the elevators when moving between decks. If you’re serious about exercise there’s a great health club onboard so you can pump some iron for long-lasting calorie burn. But if you’re only going for the treadmill, why not breathe the fresh air on deck while you walk?
- Hang up the phone and turn off the laptop. You can buy an hourly, wireless Internet pass once you get onboard to avoid international roaming charges on your laptop. That way you can update your Facebook status with all the fun you’re having and communicate with your attorney-clients. Keep your cell phone switched off or in “airplane mode” so as not to incur expensive international calling rates (except on St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands)). Check with your carrier before you go to be sure you know what you’re getting into. I’m looking forward to seven days without my iPhone® and email. Really, I really am.
- Buy yourself a round, or two or three. I know some of you are so tough that you take your caffeine cold instead of warmed up and poured into a coffee cup. Soda bills can add up quickly onboard, especially if you’re traveling with children. Save yourself a few dollars by purchasing an all-you-can-drink soda plan before or after you board. Even though you’ll be surrounded by water, if you want bottled water you can buy a water package in advance too. Finally, if you like your wine (I do), you can purchase a wine plan in advance. My last information was that pricing varies with the quality of the swill so call Royal Caribbean at 800-555-WINO for pricing and wine options (just kidding, the number to call is 800.398.9819).
- Don’t miss the special NACLNC® Networking Events. We have a raft (no pun intended) of special events planned for you and you want to make sure you don’t schedule that massage with Rolando and his magic fingers during any one of them. Remember also that your family, cruise companions and cabin mates are invited to ALL of the networking functions. Look for me, your CLNC® peers and the pirate flags.
- Sunday, March 13 from 1:30pm-4:00pm – MANDATORY NACLNC® Conference Registration. Go to the Conference Center on Deck 2 to sign in and collect your CLNC® Pirate Booty. This will be the only registration day and if you miss it, you’ll end up walking the plank and won’t get to attend any of the extraordinary sessions or events listed below! Get registered early so you can be on deck when the ship sails at 4:00pm.
- Every evening at 8:30pm – NACLNC® Networking Dinners. Every evening starting at 8:30pm, join your fellow CLNC® Pirates of the Caribbean in the Main Dining Room for late-seating dinner. We have a special section just for CLNC® consultants, their guests and families. To make the most out of this unique opportunity, be sure to sit with someone new every evening. Nothing’s better than networking over dessert!
- Monday, March 14 from 7:45am-3:00pm – CLNC® Beach Party at Coco Cay. Find us on the beach at Coco Cay and join your CLNC® shipmates and their travel companions for some quality beach time, sand in your swimsuit and an open air lunch in on Coco Cay. Then, from 10:00am-1:00pm, help make American Gladiator look like a kindergarten recess with our exclusive CLNC® Beach Olympics. You can choose to play, participate, cheerlead or just heckle the amateur Olympians. CLNC® consultants, families and friends of all ages are invited. We’ll have beach games for all skill levels (including total lack of skills). A fun time is guaranteed for the survivors and spectators.
- Monday, March 14 7:30p-8:30pm – Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception in Pharaoh’s Lounge and it’s formal night, so put on your tux, little black dress or something fancy so you can strut your CLNC® stuff at our 8:30pm NACLNC® Networking Dinner! After dinner if you want, hit the ship’s casino while we’re dressed and we’ll all look like extras from a James Bond movie!
- Tuesday, March 15 from 7:45am-2:30pm – NACLNC® Poolside Networking and Pickle Eating Contest. I’m just kidding about the pickles but serious about the networking. Join us anytime at poolside for some networking and tanning. Hang out with your CLNC® colleagues and their guests for a few minutes, a few hours or the entire day. Just bring plenty of sunscreen and remember, this is the one time it’s okay to look like an iced wedding cake. One reminder, no Speedos® are allowed (Sorry!).
- Tuesday, March 15 at 3:00pm – Matinée Ice Show. Take a break from the poolside networking, slip on your jeans and join us in Studio B on Deck 3 at 3:00pm for a performance by the Freedom of the Seas ice skating team. Just like a hockey game, seats near the ice go quick so you’ll want to be on time for this “cool” show and find room in our special seating area (limited seating)!
- Tuesday, March 15 from 7:15pm-8:15pm – Private NACLNC® Welcome Reception. Get dressed for networking success and boogie back down to Studio B. If you’re not bringing your spouse (or they’ve already walked the plank), bring your cruising companions or cabin mates instead!
- Friday, March 18 at 7:00pm – Special CLNC® Night at the Arcadia Theatre. We’re turning the “dinner and a show” formula upside down. Before we go to dinner, we’ll enjoy one of the ship’s special shows with our own special CLNC® consultant and guest-only seating section (limited seating). Join us on Deck 2 in the Arcadia Theatre at 7:00pm for what’s guaranteed to be the biggest show you’ll see that night! As an added bonus, it’s formal night again so we’ll all look pretty swell when we parade to dinner after our show. Heads are sure to turn when we enter the Main Dining Room. I’m sure you’ll want to be there.
- Saturday, March 19 from 7:15pm-8:15pm – Private NACLNC® Farewell Reception. It will be our last night on the ship and what better night for a farewell reception (funny how we worked that out)? Time to toss your shawl over your shoulder in your best mysterious woman manner (guys can wear mirrored sunglasses) and head back to Studio B for the last time to raise a farewell toast to all your new best CLNC® friends. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have some hors d’oeurves and possibly a drink or two or three.
Finally, remember you’re not there just to have fun, you’re there for the premier educational and networking experience for legal nurse consultants. Yes, that means you do have to come to class but we’ve scheduled them for the last two days when we’re at sea so you’ll be tired of all the fun, ready to quit relaxing and yearning to sink your teeth into some great content.
Success Is On Board!
P.S. Comment and share your own favorite things to do on a cruise.
P.P.S. If you are joining me on the cruise, watch for an email from me on February 22, 2011 which will give you the link to the textbook. Then on February 24, 2011, you’ll receive very important announcements which you’ll want to read and print before you depart for the cruise. Next, on March 1, 2011 you’ll receive final important instructions.
P.P.P.S. Make sure you, and everyone in your party, have your passports. You’ll need them to get on the ship. Don’t worry if you don’t look like your passport picture now. By the end of our seven days together, you will!