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Brangelina's Wedding Cruise

Breaking news…Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are hoping to get married on a cruise ship.

Not so fast, star chaser.

It's not a cruise ship you're going to be on, unless you're among the 50 people who are the invited guests. That's right…five-oh…50.

And if you think this most celebrated bride and bridegroom are leasing Oasis of the Seas — or more appropriately the "Celebrity" Solstice — for the event, think again.

How about the Hebridean Princess?

This is a ship that regularly sails in and out of Scottish ports and celebrity guests are not new to it. Queen Elizabeth paid a reported £125,000 to take her Royals on a family vacation three years ago, and four years before that when the whole gang was on board to help her blow out 80 candles.

There is no date for the wedding…there never is for celebrities of this caliber, in the hope that nobody will notice. Their plans were to make it official later this summer in France, where they live, until their 11-year-old son Maddox suggested a Scottish cruise. It's possible that "this summer" will require a date change, or appeasing Hebridean Princess guests not on the 'A' list because cruises for this one-time car ferry are currently being sold  on the website right into September.

Brangelina, as the world calls them, are said to be paying more than twice as much (£300,000) as the Queen did and, more than her, they hope to avoid the paparazzi, because they can't swim and take pictures at the same time. They can, however, ride on boats in the same waters and take pictures so you can be sure there will be a rush on small-craft rentals once the departure date leaks out, and it will.

Just as news of Maddox's plan did.

Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie photo by Eva Rinaldi

Carnival Legend
12 nights
September 13, 2013
London (return): Stavanger, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Glasgow, BelfastDublinParis
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $58

Olympics, Cruise Ships Messengers

   Photo credit: Matt Deegan

As we were watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games from London the other day, watching athletes mingle in the human melting pot in the center of the stadium, once again it was obvious what's good about the Olympics.

Medals aside, the Games bring the world together. People from different countries, and different cultures, get to know each other. Maybe they become tweet pals. At the very least, they find out for all their differences there are so many similarities…everywhere. The Olympics help to bridge the differences.

So do cruise ships.


Last week, the Queen ElizabethCunard's newest cruise ship — made a port stop in Kiel, Germany. Now, granted it was a long time ago, but it was the Germans who in one world war bombed the London where right now their athletes compete…and who were the instigators of another world war. Regardless of who was on which side, there were reasons for deep-rooted hatred.

So when this big new ship sailed into the Kiel Fjord, guess what the German people did? They lined the shores and gave it a standing ovation. They fired water fountains and not bullets, and their firefighters were escorts and not first responders. And all that was before the people on board disembarked to mingle with the people of Kiel.

While much less dramatic, this is what happens whenever a cruise ships visit a foreign port. The passengers mingle with the locals. They get to know each other, to learn from each other, to dissipate any real or imagined differences. Maybe it doesn't happen all the time, but it happens lots of times.

Just like in the Olympics.

Carnival Valor
6 nights
September 9, 2012
Miami (return): Key West, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay
Inside: $349
Cost per day: $58

Sampler Cruises in Faraway Places


Last week, we wrote about "sampler" cruises on the West Coast of North America. It also applies on other coasts.

If you happen to be going to London after the Olympics are done and you're not sure how you feel about cruising, or you want to take somebody who is a reluctant cruiser, here's one way to find out…

You can take the Grand Princess (above) on a three-day, round-trip cruise from Southampton. The ship makes stops in Guernsey (England) and Paris. Departure is September 1 and fares start at $499 per person.

Think of it as a weekend in Paris (even if you don't get to Paris until Monday).

If you happen to be going to Australia next year, P&O has all kinds of sampler cruises to introduce you (or your companion) to cruising.

The most attractive one we found — at a reseller called cruisesalefinder.com.au — was Sydney return, three nights sailing off the east coast of Australia for $398 on the Pacific Jewel. Besides the attractive pricing, it's a food and wine cruise, leaving March 28 — like late August in North America.

Think of it as a weekend picking grapes in an Australian vineyard.

Norwegian Sun
9 nights
August 2, 2012
Copenhagen (return): Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $77

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