This article has been reposted compliments of Gaither Homecoming
Caribbean Cruise Memories from Russ Taff
Russ Taff has been on nearly every Caribbean cruise in Homecoming history! Now, with our next Caribbean Cruise a year away, we wanted to share with you some of Russ’s favorite experiences in the Caribbean so you can still jump onboard for next year!
Here Russ shares some of his fondest Caribbean Cruise memories and even offers some helpful packing advice, along with some cruise photos!
The Caribbean Cruise is a totally different vibe than the Alaskan Cruise—which I also love—because for me, the pace seems to be a little more relaxed, more like we’re on “island time.” The artists all work just as hard, we have just as many concerts, but there is something about looking out at that turquoise water, or wandering down a long beach feeling that tropical sun on your skin… It’s like all of the stress in my life just evaporates, and I feel so peaceful and grateful.
My favorite port-of-call is the ‘private island’ day. The cruise company owns this small island that is only used as their private port of call. It is GORGEOUS, with a long, long beach to walk. Bill and Gloria rent a special pavilion area for the artists and their families, and it is one of the most fun, relaxing days of the whole cruise for me—I look forward to it all year!
Russ’s favorite cruise memory ever…
We have some friends in Nashville who have a condo on Grand Cayman Island. When Charlotte was just a couple of months old and Madi Rose was four, they let us use it to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Thirteen years later, their vacation trip there happened to coincide with our cruise, and Tori and I and the girls got to go back to the condo and spend the whole day with them—as well as Bill and Gloria and Sue Buchanan, who are long-time friends of theirs, too. We ate lunch at this little local restaurant they knew about, and Madi Rose and Charlotte played on the same beach they had visited when they were so tiny—it was a blast!
Wondering what to pack? Russ has some good advice!
Even if you look kind of stupid in hats (like Mark Lowry and I—we have REALLY big heads), you need to find one you like and plan on wearing it. Also, bring a higher SPF sunscreen than you think you need. You can’t mess around with the Caribbean sun; you can get really burned without realizing it. I have seen so many people over the years get really red the first day or so, and then spend the rest of their cruise having to stay out of the sun!