The 2013 NACLNC® Western 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, family and friends 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. Cruise ships are a lot easier to board before they sail and if you don’t have that all important passport, you’ll either have to parachute onboard once we’re at sea or just wait at the port to greet us when we return from our 7-Day Weekend.
- 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: There’s no long-term child care at the port in Fort Lauderdale so make sure you’ve got the proper paperwork. But, child labor laws vary by country – if you get them on the ship and can’t bring them back in, you might be able to find them gainful employment on the cruise ship!
- Here’s a Tip – Pay Your Tips in Advance. You should have already, but if you haven’t, your gratuities can be prepaid, and I’m sure you’ll want to because of the great service. Some of the perks of being onboard for a 7-Day Weekend include not having to make your bed, change your sheets, wash or hang up your towels, so you should reward your stateroom attendant who did that for you (and put those cute towel animals on your bunk at night). Take a moment to remember the dining room waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter who kept you eating and drinking long after you lost all self control and shred of decency.
- 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. Whether you’re on a budget or just plan on competing to see who can run up the biggest bill, keep this in mind.
- This is One Place Where You Can’t Cash and Carry. Cash is not accepted onboard. Instead, you’ll use your SeaPass® card which functions as your ID, instant credit and cabin key. But in our great port cities you will need some cash or a credit card to buy souvenirs for everyone at home who is cruising vicariously through you.
- Get to Know Yourself. 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. When you check-in online for your cruise you’ll want to buy your soda, water or wine package (or all three). 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 ziplining or ice-dancing.
- Take Advantage of Early Check-In. Once you’ve got all your documents and know which drink package and excursions you want, check in online at Royal Caribbean’s website using the “Before You Board” page. You have to complete this no less than three days before sailing. Excursions do sell out, so check in well in advance.
- Get a Room (Really). You’ll be more relaxed if you fly in the night before and spend the night with your CLNC® peers in Fort Lauderdale. Being there a day early takes away all the anxiety associated with flight delays, travelling with your spouse and all the other rigors of travel.
- Travel Fast and Light. Carry a small bag onboard (meds, change of casual clothes and that smart, new bathing suit) so you can start exploring the hot tubs or the ship the moment you get onboard instead of sitting in your stateroom waiting for your suitcase to be delivered.
- You Can Dress Them Up – But You Still Have to Take Them Out. If you don’t want to go all the way with a formal gown or want to see your husband try and squeeze into that baby blue, ruffled tuxedo shirt left over from your wedding, don’t worry! Formal nights aren’t as formal as they used to be. We ladies can wear cocktail dresses and men can get away with a dark suit and tie.
- Keep Your Irons Out of the Fire. When you try and imagine all the possible, dangerous or otherwise hazardous items you aren’t allowed to bring onboard, irons probably aren’t the first thing that spring to mind. If you try and bring one onboard they will find it and confiscate it so that you won’t present a danger to other passengers. If you really need to, you can have clothes pressed for a fee, but a few wrinkles in your clothes won’t matter to your other 7-Day Weekenders, after all, we’re all in the same boat. I’d probably leave your hair dryer at home too because the ship will provide one for you.
- Disconnect – You Deserve It. Bring your cell phone, but don’t use it once we sail. You may get a signal offshore or in port, but it will probably be at international roaming rates. Check with your cellular carrier for exceptions. For example, 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. If you can’t disconnect you can buy Internet access from the ship or wait until we hit port and risk your passwords in an Internet café (Tom the Tech Tipper does NOT recommend that option). Instead, let your family and attorney-clients know in advance that you’ll be on a 7-Day Weekend. They’ll understand. Give them and your family the ship’s emergency number of 888.724.7447 just in case a real emergency or bad case of separation anxiety occurs.
- Limit Your Duty-Free Purchases to Diamonds, Gold and Jewels. Other than the two bottles of wine you’re allowed when you initially board, cruise ships won’t let you bring any other alcohol onboard. That means if you buy duty-free alcohol ashore you have two choices – drink it before you reboard (NOT recommended) or let the ship hold it for you until we return to Fort Lauderdale. Remember too that if you buy more than four ounces you won’t be able to carry it onboard the flight home so you’ll need to pack it in your luggage for the flight home. Instead, save your duty-free purchases for important things like souvenir sombreros.
- It’s a Good Time to Have Baggage. We all have baggage, so here are three tips on dealing with it. First, staterooms can be small so pack soft-sided or duffel-type luggage that you can cram into places hard luggage won’t to save precious floor (or deck) space. Second, bring one extra soft-sided bag that you can roll up and place inside your main bag. That way you won’t have to overstuff your main bag with all those souvenir t-shirts you bought in Jamaica. Finally, on the last night of the cruise you must put your main luggage outside your stateroom for collection so you’ll need to hold onto that small carry-on or rolling bag you boarded with to hold your pajamas, toothbrush and teddy bear.
- Speaking of T-Shirts, Order Your NACLNC® Conference T–Shirt In Advance. We won’t be selling CLNC® wear onboard, so if you want your CLNC® colleagues to pick you out of the crowd for networking, you’ll want to order your NACLNC® Conference T-shirt in advance. We’ve opened up a special store for 7-Day Weekenders on CafePress.com with lots of different clothing choices and even shot glasses, water bottles and travel coffee mugs. I’ve got my NACLNC® shot glass for the tequila shots and my NACLNC® travel coffee mug for the mornings after, so now I’m really ready to go! Check it out for yourself here!
Success Is Onboard!
P.S. Mandatory Conference Registration and Welcome Reception is Saturday from 7:15-8:30pm in the Solarium Bar on Deck 16, forward. See you there in your 7-Day Weekend Wear!
P.P.S. Comment and share your tips for the 2013 NACLNC® Conference Cruise.