The 2011 NACLNC® Eastern Caribbean Conference Cruise will be here before we know it. Whether you’re a veteran cruiser or a first-timer, I want all Certified Legal Nurse Consultants to have a good time and smooth sailing. Please pay special attention to these important instructions.
- Make Sure You Have Your Passport to Fun! You and everyone in your party will need a current and valid passport not only to board the ship but to get back into the United States when we return. Conversely, if you meet an attorney in St. Thomas, you can jump ship, stay for a meeting, then fly back to the States later. Don’t worry if you don’t look like your photo now – you will by the end of the cruise and La Migra will let you back into the country anyway.
- If You Want to Take Your Children and Bring Them Back, Make Sure They’re Papered. If you’re bringing a minor child and their last name differs from yours, you’ll need family legal documents allowing you to take the child out of the country, including a passport and possibly a notarized or certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. THIS IS IMPORTANT: You don’t want to find out that you have to leave your child unattended at the port for the week, or can’t bring him back into the country afterwards.
- Here’s a Tip – Pay Your Tips in Advance. Your gratuities can be prepaid, and I’m sure you’ll want to because of the great service. There are recommended gratuities for the dining room waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter for bringing you plate after plate of delicious food. Then there’s your stateroom attendant who cleaned up after you all week. You can prepay in advance or just wait until the last night of the cruise to add the tips to your final bill.
- Here’s Another Tip – All Drinks Have Tips Added In. Speaking of tipping, anytime you buy a drink for me or one of your CLNC® colleagues, the ship will conveniently add a 15% gratuity. Plan ahead if you’re on a budget.
- Leave Your Cash at Home Where It’s Safe. Cash is not accepted onboard. Instead, you’ll use your SeaPass® card which functions as your ID, instant credit and cabin key.
- Know Who You Are Before You Leave. The name on your cruise reservation must match the name on your passport or legal documentation. If it doesn’t, contact University at Sea® at 800.422.0711 and fix it today.
- Don’t Take a Pass on the Sodas or Wine. Buy your wine package ahead of time by calling 800.398.9819. This will keep you from having to wait in line once you’re onboard and you can spend your time doing more valuable things like tanning. If you want a fountain soda package, you’ll need to purchase it onboard, so if you don’t want to wait in line this would be a good time to quit your Coke® habit.
- Check-In Early to Save Time. Once all of the above is done, check in online at Royal Caribbean’s website using the “Before You Board” page just like you would an airline. If you haven’t done this yet, you can do it today and it will save time when you arrive at Port Canaveral. You do have to complete this no less than three days before sailing.
- Don’t Miss the Boat. Be sure to get to the ship on time. It’s a lot easier to catch before it leaves the dock. I’m not kidding about this. If you need to, fly in the night before. You want to be sure you’re onboard when your ship sails! Consider trip insurance if you’re coming from a delay-prone airport. Also, Saturday, March 12th, Daylight Savings Time begins. Set your clocks forward one hour and make sure to set an alarm clock (you can’t rely on the hotel’s wake-up calls).
- Travel Fast and Light. Carry a small bag onboard (meds, change of smart casual clothes and bathing suit) so you can start having fun the moment you get onboard and before your suitcase gets delivered to your room.
- You Can Dress Them Up – But You Still Have to Take Them Out. We’d all like to see our man looking like James Bond in his tuxedo but to be honest, March of the Penguins was so last year. Formal nights aren’t as formal as they used to be. Men can get away with suits and ties and ladies can opt for cocktail dresses instead of formals. Or you can opt to go all the way. After all, when was the last time you got to do that?
- You Can Blow Dry Your Hair But Not Iron It. When you’re dressing for formal night, keep in mind that that the ship will provide a hairdryer (low temperature) in your cabin but not an iron. Just hang the item in a steamy (but empty) shower for a few minutes.
- Forget About the Dirty Laundry. You can have laundry done on the ship or you can just pack enough clean clothes so that you won’t need to do laundry. They can also press your clothes for a fee.
- Disconnect – You Deserve It. Bring your cell phone, but don’t use it once we leave Port Canaveral. You may get a signal offshore but it will be at international roaming rates. Check with your cellular carrier for exceptions. For example, St. Thomas is billed by AT&T at regular U.S. rates, but if you use your AT&T phone while on the ship, even for email, you’ll be subject to maritime roaming costs (trust me it’s expensive!).
- Really Disconnect – Email Can Wait Until You Get Home. You’ll have to buy your Internet access from the ship or else hit an Internet café while you’re in port. Better yet, rather than spending your port days checking email, let everyone know in advance that you’ll be on a week-long class-cation. They’ll understand. Give them and your family the ship’s emergency number of 888.724.7447 just in case a real emergency occurs.
- Limit Your Duty-Free Purchases. Speaking of ports, cruise lines are pretty smart and won’t let you bring any alcohol onboard. If you buy duty-free alcohol while in a port, the ship will hold it and deliver it to you when you disembark. Then you’ll need to pack it in your luggage for the flight home. Better yet, don’t buy any – the extra couple of dollars you save won’t offset the dry-cleaning cost if a bottle breaks in your packed bags. Save your duty-free purchases for important things like jewelry and cheap souvenirs.
- Give Yourself Some Credit. While you’re in port, they’ll be happy to take dollars, pennies, pounds or pesos. Major credit cards are also accepted with Visa and MasterCard a little more widely than American Express (but don’t leave home without it anyway).
- Pack It So You Can Stuff It. Soft-sided or duffel-type luggage will fit in places hard luggage won’t. You’ll also need a small bag (same one you boarded with) for the last night of the cruise. On the last night, you must put your luggage outside leaving you with only a carry-off or small rolling bag for your essentials.
Success Is Onboard!
P.S. Mandatory Conference Registration is Sunday from 1:30-4:00pm on Deck 2 in the Conference Center. See you there. Ahoy!
P.P.S. Comment and share your tips for the 2011 NACLNC® Conference Cruise.