Each year I save my pennies until I have enough to pay for my most-anticipated vacation, the Cayamo cruise.  This year's cruise sailed from Miami to The Dominion Republic, St. Maarten, and St. Barts, and featured  Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning artists alike, including Lyle Lovett, John Prine, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Keb Mo',  Sarah and Christian Dugas (of The Duhks, who play Lafayette often), Edwin McCain, Shawn Mullins, and, new to the boat this year, The Civil Wars.

You may have seen The Civil Wars on the Grammys Sunday night, they were the ones who came out and said "we'd like to thank all of our opening acts tonight", played a condensed version of their song "Barton Hollow", and then introduced their 'friend' Taylor Swift.  John Paul White and Joy Williams make up the duo who won Grammys for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album.  They were on the Cayamo cruise until Wednesday; when we docked in St. Maarten, they left the ship to fly to LA for their appearance on the Grammys.

Sorry, I'm jumping around a lot here... let me concentrate (which is difficult to do, coming straight off of a 7 day Caribbean cruise!).

Five years ago, I 'happened' across a website for a new cruise called Cayamo.  It's a music cruise featuring singers/songwriters (some up-and-comers, some who have been in the business for decades).  On that inaugural cruise, Lyle Lovett, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain and Brandy Carlile were all on the bill, plus several others that aren't really on the mainstream radio "radar".  You probably don't recognize many of the names, but most of them have written songs that other singers have made famous.

I've made all 5 of the Cayamo cruises so far, and, if I still have a job this time next year, I'll be going 6 for 6!  (And if you have never been on a cruise, you need to start - SOON!!  Check out a great cruise at a great price, it's the CJ and Debbie Ray Sail Away 2012!)

I didn't get many pictures of artists on the boat, but I did get some great shots of the scenery from our ports of call.  Here's my personal beer commercial pic: