Kelly Clarkson Wants to Send Your Favorite Teacher on a Free Cruise — How to Enter

The singer and talk show host chatted with T+L about her partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line, traveling, and her passion for helping educators.

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson . Photo: Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

As a pop star, talk show host, and mom, Kelly Clarkson knows the meaning of needing a vacation and has teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to bring the opportunity for some free R&R to teachers across the country.

Clarkson, the daughter of a teacher, has teamed up with the cruise line as part of their Giving Joy initiative to send 100 teachers across the U.S. and Canada on a free sailing aboard Norwegian's newest ship, Norwegian Prima. The 5-day sail will kick off in Galveston, Texas on Oct. 27 where the first-ever American Idol winner will perform and give them the grand sendoff they deserve.

Additionally, the top three grand prize winners will receive an additional 7-day voyage for two from the U.S. or Canada, as well as a $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 donation respectively for their school.

Teachers can be nominated for the trip until Friday. The contest kicked off earlier this month, aligning with Teacher Appreciation Week.

The "Stronger" singer, 40, is also the godmother of the cruise line's Norwegian Encore.

Travel + Leisure spoke with Clarkson about her passion for helping educators, why she is such a big fan of cruises — and what is weighing down her suitcase when she travels.

Travel + Leisure: How did this particular partnership with NCL come about?

I've been working with NCL for a few years and it made sense. I always do stuff for educators on my show. I'm a teacher's daughter and I'm all for them getting a better wage. They are an underserved community.

I always say traveling is so important. I remember after winning Idol, I think Australia was one of the first places I went and then London. I didn't know anything outside my bubble [of Texas]. It was so cool to learn about the people, the architecture, and the history.

When I became a mom [to children River Rose Blackstock, 7, and Remington Alexander Blackstock, 6] I wanted my kids to be able to travel with me for work. I think [River's] first place was Vietnam. River's been everywhere and Remington's been a few places as well. I think that's just as valuable [as formal education.]

With NCL, I think it is so cool to give something amazing to these teachers. Anyone can nominate these amazing teachers and they're able to win this cruise and have a good time and have some time off, but they're also able to go to these different places and bring that back to the classroom.

Norwegian Cruise Line Prima ship
Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

T+L: Did watching your mom as a teacher inspire you to keep educators in mind when giving back?

For the most part, I was super blessed with amazing teachers. Even as a teacher's kid I was one of those kids, and adults, who learn better immersed in it. I had amazing teachers that took the time to navigate how to not teach us always in a traditional sense. My mother was such an amazing teacher.

T+L: When it comes to your own travels, since you're so busy with your schedule, do you actually relax on vacation?

As hard as I can work I can play just as hard. I can chill. I can do nothing! I can read a book or two all day long by a fire if my kids are away or we'll go four-wheeling on our ranch [in Montana]. I know people see me working hard, but mama knows how to rest as well!

I warned everyone when I turned 40 I was going to do two things: First I bought myself an airstream and No. 2, I gave myself this summer off and am doing no jobs.

T+L: Do you have any big trips planned this summer? Maybe a cruise?

My kids are actually demanding a cruise now that they know I'm the godmother of a ship. They've watched all the YouTube videos about it and are ready to go. But I definitely want to spend a lot of time on my ranch because this is my first summer to actually enjoy it.

I've been on cruises and I think the coolest thing about it is not everyone can always agree on where to go so you get to hit all these spots and ports in all these different places. That's a win, especially for a larger group or family.

T+L: Do you have any great travel hacks?

With jet lag, you have to make each other stay up. There was literally one time in Switzerland when we were so jet-lagged and were walking around this hotel and then we went to the spa and we close our eyes in the lobby of the spa. We are just taking a nap in the lobby of the spa! You need to be with those friends and family you can get mad at and who yell at you to stay up. You're in an amazing place so you have to.

T+L: Is there something you always need to bring on a trip? Something you can't travel without?

I'm an avid reader because of my mother but I can't get into reading books on a screen. I think, 'What if I'm in the mood for something fictional? or 'What if I'm in the mood for a biography?' and I get very panicked. I end up carrying a library with me and hurting my neck. I'm like Rory on Gilmore Girls! You will see me in the same black yoga pants and t-shirt every day but I've got all the books.

For more details on the NCL contest visit

This interview has been edited for content and clarity.

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