Giffords, Kelly to headline on Mediterranean cruise

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her retired astronaut husband Mark Kelly will take to the high seas this summer as the headliners for a high-end Atlantic and Mediterranean cruise.

Giffords, who is recovering after being shot through the head at a constituency meeting in Tucson last year, will join Kelly for the cruise-ship speaking engagement in late July, said Mimi Weisband, Crystal Cruises' public relations vice president.

Kelly will speak to holidaymakers about the "human spirit" during the 12-day voyage from Lisbon to Rome, she said.

Giffords, who resigned from Congress in January to focus on her recovery, is not expected to speak at the presentation, although there will be a photo opportunity with guests.

The Arizona Democrat was left with faltering speech and a pronounced limp after a lone gunman opened fire outside a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store where she was meeting with constituents on January 8 2011. In all, six people were killed and 13 others were wounded.

"We are pleased they have chosen to do this," Weisband told Reuters. "She is still recovering and she has to be very thoughtful about the kind of travel she does," she added.

Financial arrangements for the couple's appearance were not disclosed.

The cost of the cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity begins at $5,410 per person and it is about 60 percent booked, Weisband said.

Giffords and Kelly, a former U.S. Navy pilot who commanded one of the last Space Shuttle flights, collaborated on a memoir, "Gabby," published late last year about her path to recovery and their lives together.

The couple have been inseparable in public in the aftermath of the shooting and have been send hand-in-hand during several public appearances this year.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor)


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