TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
PORT EVERGLADES — After four years of planning and building, Celebrity Cruises’ latest marvel, the Celebrity Edge, joined its fleet following a star-studded naming ceremony in Florida.
In attendance were over, 3,000 guests, employees, crew members and students who were all there to commemorate the debut of Celebrity’s first new ship in six years, and its first new ship series in more than a decade.
The cruise line’s most esteemed guest, however, was the ship’s godmother, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who stepped aboard to “bless this ship and all those who sail upon her”.
Yousafzai, now a college student at Oxford University, is the co-founder of the Malala Fund, which advocates for a world where every girl can learn and lead by investing in local education activists, holding global leaders accountable, and amplifying girls’ voices around the world.
She discussed those issues in a one-on-one interview with Celebrity’s President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
“I am so very proud to have Malala Yousafzai as godmother of Celebrity Edge,” said Lutoff-Perflo. “Malala embodies our commitment to opening the world through education and gender equality. Seeing her aboard our ship sends a powerful message to our crew who represent over 70 diverse nationalities, and our guests who we sail all over the world.”
Celebrity is partnering with the Malala Fund in supporting its mission to see the 130 million out-of-school girls around the world get the 12 years of free, safe and quality education they deserve.
“I’m fighting to ensure millions of girls stuck in situations of poverty or war that they didn’t create can learn what they need to choose a future for themselves,” said Yousafzai. “But to continue making progress for girls’ education, we need support from leaders in every sector. I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere.”
The naming ceremony was hosted by designer Nate Berkus and also included a performance by recording artist Andra Day, who sang her Grammy-nominated single ‘Rise Up’ as well as the Oscar-nominated single ‘Stand Up For Something’. Both songs were chosen for their bold statements about the power of girls’ education.
Celebrity chose to forego the traditional champagne bottle at the launch, and instead smashed a custom-made, 18-litre bottle of Badoit French mineral water across the ship’s Parabolic Ultra Bow.
Celebrity Edge will begin its inaugural season sailing alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries before heading to the Mediterranean for a range of seven- to 11-night voyages in 2019. The ship will be joined by Celebrity Apex in 2020, and two additional sister ships in 2021 and 2022.
Bookings are now open.