A few months ago Natalie Bassingthwaighte thought cruises were for retirees.
Flash forward to now and the outgoing Australian singer and actress is already planning a cruise for her 50th birthday in two years after a European summer sailing the Mediterranean blew her mind.
“It completely took me by surprise and I am quite genuinely obsessed with cruising now and feel like it’s the only way I want to travel,” she told news.com.au.
Bassingthwaighte sailed aboard Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit and Virgin Voyagers’ Valiant Lady (whose sister ship Resilient Lady comes to Australia for the first time this summer) for the new travel show Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays on BINGE and Foxtel.
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She didn’t hold back on making the most of it, even getting some fresh ink at Valiant Lady’s tattoo parlour.
The Rogue Traders star now has the elements of earth, wind, fire, water, and spirit permanently on her arm.
But the best part, Bassingthwaighte says, is getting to visit multiple destinations without having to repack her luggage.
The highlight off the ship was visiting one of the most recognisable statues in the world, the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.
“Egypt had been on my bucket list since I was a kid. I was a huge ancient history buff and to be able to see the pyramids in real life and in particular the Sphinx, that was just so mesmerising,” she said.
“It was really surreal. The size of it and the size of each brick, your mind is blown at how on earth that could have happened in those days.”
It wasn’t the only surprise for Bassingthwaighte in Egypt who said she got asked for a photo while in a public toilet.
“I think it was the blonde hair, I don’t think they knew that I was known in my country,” she laughed.
Away from the desert, it was Portofino in Italy which stole Nat Bass’ heart.
“The crystal clear waters and the architecture, and the food … if I’ve visited somewhere I’m like ‘I don’t need to go back now, tick, bucket list done’ but I would absolutely go back to Portofino again and explore it some more,” she said.
Bassingthwaighte said her travel buddy, Australian actor Matthew Le Nevez, lost his phone there and some kind locals jumped at the opportunity to help and take him into town in search for it.
She said seeing different parts of the world really helps her appreciate humanity.
Before Bassingthwaighte rose to fame in the early 2000s as Izzy Hoyland on Neighbours, she had a dream of being a Jazz singer on a cruise ship.
While the 48-year-old has gone on to have a successful singing career, she never got to live out that first dream – until her trip this year.
Bassingthwaighte told news.com.au she gave a surprise performance on-board.
“Another bucket list ticked,” she said.
She now has her sights set on a two week birthday cruise extravaganza in 2025 to celebrate turning 50, where she’ll visit Mykonos and Santorini.
“I had this whole thing planned in a few years to have it at my house, [now] I’m like, ‘hell no, everyone’s going to come on the cruise, everyone’s going to pay for themselves and we’ll just have the best time of our lives,’” she said.
She has already worded up her friends.
Bassingthwaighte visited Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa in Israel, Alexandria in Egypt, and Heraklion in Greece on her Silversea cruise.
She visited Toulon and Corsica in France, Marina Di Carrara, Santa Margarita and Portofino in Italy, and Ibiza in Spain with Virgin Voyages.
“It really is a privilege to get to travel. I know not everyone is able to do to it, so to be able to do it in such style and luxury was a whole other level,” she said.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte’s episode of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays airs September 26 on BINGE and Foxtel