Kristin Chenoweth has done it all. The Emmy and Tony awards-winning performer wowed audiences on Broadway by starring in many shows, including “Wicked,” and received accolades for TV work on “Pushing Daisies” and “Glee.” She’s even played Carnegie Hall — twice. Next year, Chenoweth adds a new title to her stellar resumé: godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas.
Chenoweth is an ambassador for the ship and, since she has the energy and enthusiasm of a half dozen cruise directors put together, she’s a good one at that. So don’t be surprised if you see her onboard once the ship set sails in Fall 2014. But chances are she’ll be without a clipboard.
“I’m really hoping to be a part of the ship, not just as a spokesperson, but as a passenger,” Chenoweth explained when she chatted with us about her passion for travel:
What do you like best about cruising?
I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a cruise. This spring will be my first time!
What’s your idea of a great vacation?
A perfect day on vacation is anywhere near the water. I love to be IN the sun, lying out by the ocean. I love to read and just relax. In my job, I’m always traveling, so I like to just veg out.
When you were a child, what kind of vacations did your family take?
One time, we took a road trip (a la “Vacation,” the movie). We went to the Grand Canyon. We got a flat tire, and my dad had to change it on the highway. It’s funny now, but then he wasn’t laughing.
You say you’re on the road a lot — have you gotten very good at packing?
Packing is always an issue for me. Most of the time, when I travel, I’m working. So I have to pack my costumes and props for the show. Then there’s all the shoes. (That’s my weakness.) I do like the expandable bags. Much easier for a return trip! LOL
What’s your best packing tip?
I always have a bigger mess returning home, which is why I keep my dirty clothes in a separate compartment — and a shrink-wrap bag. So it sucks the air out of the bag and takes up less room.
What’s your favorite cruise ship port?
New York is a melting pot of all types of people. I grew up in Oklahoma — which I’m very proud of and love — but there’s not a lot of diversity there. Here in New York, I’ve grown really accustomed to having friends from all different walks of life. And I appreciate that.
Where do you like to go in New York?
I love Café Lalo. It’s very sentimental for me because I would go there when I had zero money. When I first moved to New York, my two roommates and I lived around the corner. We had a one-bedroom. Two people slept in the double bed, and we rotated. I was working at the Paper Mill Playhouse and was making a few hundred dollars a week. Once a week after the show on Saturday night, I would come back into the city and meet my roommates. I would save all my money, and we would have dessert at Café Lalo. Back then, that was a splurge. And when I think back to some of the happiest times I’ve had and where I was in my life, it’s there. I spent a lot of time at Café Lalo with my very closest friend, Denny. We would either get the German chocolate cake or the chocolate shake. And sometimes, he would get pumpkin pie. Occasionally, I try to go there because it reminds me of that time.
Where else do you suggest cruisers go when they’re sailing out of New York?
As far as activities, I like going to the West Side Highway. And now there’s the whole pier. I like to put my headphones on and walk. It’s where I like to spend a lot of my alone time, especially when the weather is nice and I can just walk. The water is very, very calming to me. That’s why I like to go there. I usually start around 76th Street, and I can walk all the way down to 14th and come back. It’s a great walk. Walking is underrated as an exercise. And that view is beautiful.
What’s your favorite time of year in the city?
Christmas time is very special. And whenever my family is in town, I still am a sucker for the Radio City Christmas show. I love it. The first time I saw it was probably 20 years ago. I thought I would never be tall enough to be a Rockette. But I could play one of the munchkins.