How does it feel to name a ship?
I believe in ritual. I think it’s essential for human happiness. Every culture has understood that, but we’ve lost it in the West recently. So when you get to step into an ancient ritual, like a christening, it’s a joy.

Have you cruised before?
This is my maiden voyage! Ocean cruising has never really appealed to me, but this did, especially as I got to bring my mom and dad, and my sweetheart. It’s a great way to travel with people you love.

New York skyline
New York is Elizabeth Gilbert’s most inspiring city

As a writer, where in the world has inspired you most?
My favourite place is always going to be New York – it’s the city that made me who I am. But I could really go back to India. It’s the only country from Eat Pray Love that I haven’t returned to, but I can divide my life into before and after I spent four months at the ashram. My bucket-list cruise would be the Ganges.

You like to take your time when you’re travelling. Do you feel a cruise gives you enough chance to connect with local people?
I think you can connect really quickly, and that’s all I ever want. The question that travelling asks is: do you want to know this human being who’s in front of you, or not? Do you want to stay in your own trauma, your own world, your own headphones, or do you want to make eye contact and engage?

Where are you off to next?
Norway and the fjords – I’m going stand-up paddle-boarding for my 50th birthday. There’s something about being near water that makes me feel as though everything is all going to be all right.