When the Norwegian Pearl sets sail from the Port of Miami today, it’s not the standard cruise from NCL. Rather, the whole ship has been chartered by Sixthman for the 4th annual Cayamo. The premise is that rather than your usual onboard entertainment for a cruise, different bands and singer/songwriters perform across the various venues on the ship. It is, for all intents and purposes, a music festival, but rather than suffer camping, muddy fields and not be able to wash properly for the duration, it’s on board a cruise ship where you get to stagger back to your cabin at any point you need to refresh, food is free (or you can eat at the speciality restaurants for a surcharge), there is hardly a queue at the many bars dotted around the ship (in fact, you often get servers walking round the ship offering to take drinks orders as you lounge in the sun) and you get to sleep in a bed where the linen is changed every day by cabin staff. Oh, and this is all whilst the ship sails through the Caribbean and back to Miami. And you know what? It’s every bit as good as it sounds.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended Cayamo for the past 3 years and I can honestly say that they have been some of the best holidays I’ve ever had. It’s not just the fact that I can see some of my favourite musicians like Shawn Colvin perform in intimate settings, or the fact that I may be in the buffet waiting line and Emmylou Harris is 3ft away from me, making herself a coffee. It’s also a chance to discover and love new artists like Katie Herzig or Lissie. It’s not just a cruise to the Caribbean; it’s you, surrounded by 2000+ like-minded people who are all there for the love of music and thus the camaraderie is like nothing I’ve ever experienced elsewhere. As someone once described Cayamo: “It’s when a group of people get together and forget about all the ills of the World for a short period and are all united by their shared love of music.”
For the first time since it first set sail in 2008, I won’t be onboard. There are various reasons why I couldn’t join in this year, but whilst I may be a bit jealous and well, quite gutted that I won’t be going this year, I know that those going will have an absolute stellar time. I look forward to seeing who the performers are next year (if there is another Cayamo next year!) so I can hopefully see my Cayamo Family again.