The renovated and refreshed Norwegian Jewel will make her way into Sydney Harbour tomorrow morning for her second season – with amazing new facilities and new shows.
The refreshed ship features redesigned staterooms, renewed public spaces and recreation areas, new and updated restaurants, bars and lounge and two brand new shows “Rock You Tonight” and ship exclusive “Velvet”.
The Australian hit musical “Velvet” presents the best of the disco era, with songs like “Turn the Beat Around,” “Enough Is Enough,” and “Boogie Wonderland” together with cabaret, circus and burlesque elements.
The show is loosely based on the 70s icon Studio 54 and follows the story of a young man who finds himself as he meets with the unusual people in the nightclub.
Brenda Edwards, a 13-year veteran performer in some of London’s finest West End Musicals such as Chicago, We Will Rock You, Hairspray, Carmen Jones, Moby Dick and Carousel leads “Velvet” with her powerhouse vocals.
Ms Edwards’ partnership with Norwegian came about in the style of modern entertainer where the Senior Director of Entertainment for Norwegian Cruise Line saw one of her videos online.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and live in the United Kingdom with my 2 children and Husband. I used to be an Accounts Payable Manager for about 20 years, until I entered and became a Semi Finalist on the UK’s X Factor Competition in 2005 with Sharon Osbourne as my mentor.
Can you tell us what the show is and what is your character?
The show is called “Velvet” it’s a Disco music show of now, I play the role of the Diva who is more like Mother Nature guiding a young man through his coming of age journey.
How did you get into singing and performing?
I have been singing for as long as I can remember, both of my parents died in a car accident and so I was raised by my Grandmother who was a Preacher in our local Pentecostal Church, which I attended 5 times a week so, I grew up singing Gospel, and became the choir mistress for our local division, I would also perform regularly in a choir called C.O.G.I.C (Church of God In Christ) there were about 500 members who would come from all the cities and towns in and around the UK.
Is this your first time performing on a cruise ship?
No, I have performed a four to five day stint on a few other ships but I’m excited to perform the first half of the season of “Velvet” with Norwegian Cruise Line, it’s the longest stint that I have ever done on a ship, after which I will pass on the honour to The Voice USA finalist, Frenchie Davis.
What’s it like performing on a cruise ship compared to your other gigs?
I actually find it very similar as most of my performances are in theatres, I love the acoustics of a theatre, I think because of my big voice it works very well in these big spaces and the Stardust Theatre on board the Norwegian Jewel is fantastic.
What are some of the differences performing on sea vs land?
The main thing is that you’re always in motion obviously at sea, so you really have to be on the ball just in case the ship encounters a big wave all of a sudden (so heels are not always necessarily a girl’s best friend) lol.
How long will you be sailing on Jewel ?
My current contract finishes 30th January 2019 in Sydney, I hope to get to come back again though as it’s been great experience.
What are some of your bucket list destinations?
I’m actually excited about going to Australia being from the UK, I love Home and Away and Neighbours, I’ve spoken to a lot of Australians since being on board and they don’t seem to be so excited about it, but I have watched both programmes since they first aired, they were my Nans favourite daytime soaps. I would love to go to the Summer Bay Beach, it always looks so gorgeous. I would also love to go to Bermuda.
What have been some of the highlight destinations you have already visited?
Singapore – it’s so clean, but I couldn’t find a trash can anywhere.
And Florida – the freeways and shopping malls went on forever.
What’s the best thing about working with Norwegian?
Definitely the people, the rehearsal period working with all the talented cast, crew and creatives was so much fun we’re all like a little family, there is no room for any ego’s or tantrums and everyone is so caring and supportive of each other, it makes what I’m doing not seem like a job at all! I feel very honoured to be a part of “Velvet”.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.