Frequently Asked Questions
What is an educational CME AWAY™? Welcome to Sea Courses – specialists in creating the ideal CME conference. Founded in 1995 and developed by Dr. Martin Gerretsen and Mr. Harvey Strydhorst, we are recognized as leaders in health care conferences at sea, and now on land, around the world. Our courses cover a wide range of specialties in medicine. The programmes are designed to provide education with plenty of practical take-home tips, to create opportunities for networking between faculty and participants, and to foster health, wellness and rejuvenation.
How is an educational CME AWAY different from a home-based conference? Since our first voyage in 1995, Sea Courses has provided over 300 cruise and land conferences visiting the seven continents and the seven seas. Physicians find it increasingly difficult to have time to travel to local cities for their education – but a CME AWAY allows everyone to combine their education requirements with a family vacation.
Research by Sea Courses indicates there are two major advantages to a cruise or resort based conference. First, Inter-Professional Learning: very few home based conferences offer an opportunity for attendees from a variety of specialties to interact and learn from one another. Second, Longitudinal Learning: with the course sessions spread over several days, there is ample opportunity for attendees to interact with faculty and colleagues to discuss individual issues and learning needs.
Do I need to book both my cruise or resort and conference with Sea Courses? Yes. The ships and resorts provide many special amenities for our groups such as private meeting rooms, dining arrangements, cocktail receptions and more. Participants must book their trips with Sea Courses in order for us to be able to provide these services. It is highly recommended that your family and friends also book with Sea Courses so that they will be able to join you at dinner and be invited to join our complimentary partner’s events. One of our professional consultants will be happy to assist you with the reservations and ensure that you have the best available accommodation and fares.
How do I register for the course? You may either call us toll free at 1-888-647-7327 or search this website for the programme you are interested in and complete the “more information” form on the page. One of our professional consultants will quickly contact you with detailed information and a brochure including trip information, conference details and the registration link.
Are these programmes certified? All CME AWAY™ programs will be submitted for approval of CME credits applicable to family physicians and specialists in both Canada and USA. Once CME accreditation has been obtained, an official statement regarding the type and number of credits available will be stated on the conference program website. If you have any questions about a program’s certification, please contact our office at 1-877-647-7327.
How can I be sure there will be room for me in the course? As long as you book your trip with Sea Courses, there is usually room for one more! But, don’t delay as some trips sell out well in advance of departure and our most popular conferences may run out of meeting room space.
When are the CME sessions scheduled? Typically the course sessions are scheduled while the cruise ship is at sea and not while in ports of call. Similarly, if it is a resort trip, courses are scheduled to leave plenty of time to enjoy the facilities. A detailed schedule for each course will be provided.
When will I receive my credits? Attendees need to sign in at the start of the conference to confirm attendance. In most cases, the certificate will be distributed at the conclusion of the conference.
What is the tax deductible status of a CME AWAY™? Many physicians advise us they take advantage of the tax and business considerations that are available when they attend our programmes. Sea Courses is not permitted by law to offer specific tax advice and always refers clients to discuss the details with their accountants.
The following features of our CME AWAY™ conferences will assist attendees when considering the tax and business aspects of travel:
- We offer live, unbiased, accredited education.
- CME AWAY™ cruise and resort based conferences are considered international in location.
- There are valuable networking opportunities during leisure time between faculty and colleagues.
- Sometimes we are able to add local medical content.
- A mix of specialties is always represented at a Sea Courses conference.
If I have to cancel the cruise, is the conference tuition refundable? Each conference has a date when the tuition becomes non-refundable. Please make sure that you have appropriate cancellation insurance coverage that includes the value of your tuition. Your Sea Courses consultant can provide you with insurance details and a quote.
How much will it cost? One of the most attractive features of a cruise or all-inclusive vacation is the good value received for the money paid. On a cruise, your meals, accommodations, entertainment and most activities are included in the fare for you and your travelling companion. On an all-inclusive resort vacation there are often even more inclusions. It’s easier to stick to your budget. Typically the only extras are shore excursions or tours and, in the case of cruises, on board purchases such as alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, photos, etc. Alcoholic beverages and watersports are often included at all-inclusive resorts. Sea Courses always secures group inventory and guarantees the best available price at the time of booking.
What does my travel companion pay? Travel with a spouse or companion is important to our attendees. With our “Companion cruises or stays free” programme, basic cruise fare or resort costs are incurred by the conference attendee, and their companion cruises or stays free. Please note that additional cruise-related expenses (gratuities, port charges, taxes and fees) and travel-related expenses (flights, additional hotel nights, transfers and insurance) will be charged to each person.
Why are there no prices for cruise and resort conferences on your website? As a top producer of business to many cruise lines and resorts, Sea Courses is able to offer our guests very competitive prices and excellent value for their CME AWAY™ conference experience. For each of our conferences, Sea Courses negotiates preferred group rates and as part of our contracts, we are requested not to publish these rates on a public site. To receive a quote for a particular conference simply contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via the website (complete the information request form) or call us toll free at 1-888-647-7327.
Can my family and friends book the same trip even if they are not attending the conference? Yes, in fact it is highly recommended that family and friends also book with Sea Courses so they can take advantage of our special group rates and any group inclusions. They will also be able to join you at dinners, book any special tours that we offer and partake in any companion events. Your referrals of family, friends and colleagues are greatly appreciated and you will earn valuable Sea Bucks. Call Sea Courses for details at 1-800-647-7327.
What about sightseeing when in port or tours in resort? The cruise lines and resorts all offer excursions that have been tested over the years. In some cases, Sea Courses will offer our own custom designed and priced tours. We do this when we feel we can offer something even better for our clients.
What is better, a CME AWAY™ on a cruise or at a resort? Both of these options receive high marks from our participants. Each of them have their own appeal. Cruises let you see a variety of places without packing and unpacking. Ships can be large and be like floating resorts. Or they can be smaller, offering a more intimate and less crowded venue. Resorts are all about relaxation. In both cases, we plan our CME’s not to interfere with your vacation activities. If you are uncertain, our professional consultants can answer all of your question and help you choose the CME AWAY™ that is right for you.
What are the differences between categories of staterooms? Every guest can enjoy the use of any of the ship’s facilities. The price and the category of staterooms are based primarily on size, location on the ship and added amenities. Whatever category you book, you’ll enjoy the same courteous service, onboard activities and entertainment as everyone else on the ship.
Does stateroom location on the ship make a difference? Location may be important when choosing your stateroom. Factors to consider are your level of mobility (you may want a room close to the elevators), potential noise issues (rooms close to public areas) and sensitivity to motion sickness. In this case a mid-ship stateroom might be helpful.
Will I get seasick? It is unlikely you will notice any motion on today’s modern, large cruise ships. All ships today have stabilizers to smooth the ride, but if you are motion-sensitive, a mid-ship stateroom is recommended. And, if the seas do get rough, there are many preventative medications available on board.
Are cruises and all-inclusive resorts a good choice for single people? Cruising and resort stays are ideal for single people travelling alone, because it’s so easy to meet other people. Most ships and resorts have parties for singles, so you can get to know people right away. And Sea Courses always has a welcome reception to help you get to know your fellow CME travellers. As a Sea Courses’ guest, you will have the opportunity to be seated with other passengers in our group.
Is there smoking on board ships and at resorts? Virtually all ships and resorts have a smoke free environment for rooms and staterooms, private balconies and most public areas. Most will have areas where smoking is permitted.
What is the configuration for beds in the stateroom or hotel room? Most cruise lines will have staterooms with two twin beds that will convert to a double or queen size bed. Let your consultant know what configuration you prefer. Most resorts offer choices of king beds, queen beds or two queen beds. Once again, please state your preference at the time of booking. Bedding is often subject to availability. However, when you arrive at your room, if it is not what you have requested, ask your steward or call reception to see if it can be changed.
Are there activities for children on a cruise or at a resort? It depends on the cruise or resort you select. Sea Courses will always make it clear which ships cater to an adult audience or resorts are Adults Only. Conversely, we will offer and highlight cruises and resorts that are ideal for families. Such ships and resorts will have extensive facilities, well trained staff and coordinated activities. Although there are variations by cruise and resort, activities are generally geared to different age groups. This gives kids a chance to be with kids of their own age while mom and dad get a little time together. Naturally, many things like meals, excursions and entertainment can be shared by the whole family. And of course, children often travel at substantially reduced rates.
Are there cruises or resorts that fit all generations of my family? Yes there are. There is no question that some cruises and resorts are ideal for that large, multi-generation family getaway. But, it usually takes one of the larger cruise ships or resorts to provide the “something for everyone” experience. Small “boutique” resorts and ships simply can’t – and don’t even try – to appeal to multi generation families. Once again, your Sea Courses consultant will be able to guide you in this regard.
Are there babysitting services on cruises and at resorts? Unless you select and Adults Only cruise or resort, most will offer babysitting services from early morning until late evening. This may be individual service or as part of a group.
Can I get/send e-mails while on board a ship or at a resort? Yes, most ships and resorts offer Wireless Internet Access (Wifi). Sometimes there is a charge and packages are available. Sometimes it is free.
Can I call home from a ship or resort? Yes, you can, but it is often expensive. On most ships and at most resorts, cellphones work fine. We recommend you check with your service provider to arrange a deal for phone usage while you are travelling.
Do I have to tip and if so how much? For most of our CME AWAY trips, gratuities will either be included or pre-paid and detailed on our marketing material and on your final invoice. If it is a pre-paid deal, we will use the rate recommended by the cruise line or resort. However, on your trip, if you feel someone provided exceptional service, you are welcome to give an additional gratuity to the person.
What should I pack? Generally speaking travel has become more casual. The standard is often very casual during the day and casual to ”country club casual” (a little dressier) during the evenings. Formal dress is less and less required. Sea Courses will always provide you with packing recommendations, which will vary slightly by cruise line, resort and time of year.
What is the best time for dining? There is no one correct answer to this. It can vary by personal preference and perhaps which resort location or cruise itinerary you are on. Today, most cruise ships and resorts offer you dining options. You can pick your restaurant and the time you wish to dine. Sometimes this can be done on-line before you travel. In other cases, it is best to make your reservations as soon as you arrive on your ship or at you resort. Sea Courses consultants will advise you on what’s best for the trip you are on.
Are medical services available? Virtually every major cruise ship will have medical facilities and staff to handle minor medical problems and emergencies. Resorts will be able to call in local medical personnel, or take or direct you to local facilities. If you suffer from a medical condition, please make sure you are cleared to travel. And, we always strongly advise you to travel with sufficient medical insurance coverage for those unexpected situations. Sea Courses staff will always offer you the appropriate insurance coverage.
Can I extend my CME AWAY vacation? Yes, you almost always can. Sea Courses offers many exclusive pre- and post- trip tours. And even if we don’t, our Sea Courses’ consultants will be able to make customized arrangements to suit your specific requirements.
Do I need a passport? Yes. As of June 1, 2009, everyone travelling to/from Canada or the United States by air, land, sea or road will need a valid passport. Countries visited on your cruise (or at your resort) may also require a visitor’s visa. For Canadian and US citizens, our staff will provide information about the documentation required. For other nationalities, you should contact your country’s embassy before making your travel plans to determine the documentation required.
Should I get Cancellation and Medical Insurance for my trip? Sea Courses’ recommendation is an absolute YES. Insurance is for the unexpected. In a world where anything can happen, travel insurance is your ticket to safeguarding your trip. Sea Courses has partnered with Manulife World Travel Insurance to provide you with the products and emergency assistance services to cover all your travel arrangements..
Can Sea Courses book my flights? Absolutely! Although Sea Courses’ consultants are focused on finding you and arranging the very best CME AWAY to suit your personal requirements, they are also experienced in finding the very best and most suitable air arrangements. And if you requirements are more complicated, we have a dedicated AIR DESK which can take care of all of your travel needs.
Can Sea Courses book other vacation trips I want to take? Once again, the answer is absolutely yes. Sea Courses’ travel consultants are experienced with booking all types of travel. And, they know when deals are available. Whatever your requirements, let your consultant know what you are looking for. Or ask them to keep an eye out for any special trip you have in mind.