March 28, 2020
(6 p.m. EST) -- In a virtual ceremony, Celebrity Cruises took delivery of new ship Celebrity Apex on March 27. Due to current travel and social distancing limitations, the handover was conducted via video conference between Celebrity executives and the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, where the vessel was built.
During the event, Captain Dimitris Kafetzis called for the exchange of American and French flags, and both countries' national anthems were played.
"Every delivery is unique just as every ship is unique," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. "While the circumstances are quite unique right now, it's fitting that such an innovative ship ... would have a digital-age delivery."
Additions include an expanded wellness program, three new stage shows and Craft Social, a bar offering light bites, draft cocktails, wines on tap and 50 microbrews served by a beer sommelier. S.T.E.M. classes for kids will also be available, including one on coding, taught in partnership with nonprofit organization Girls Who Code. (Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani will serve as the ship's godmother.)
Apex completed sea trials in February but has delayed its March 30 naming due to worldwide health concerns. The christening ceremony, originally scheduled to be held in Southampton to kick off a short season of sailings from the UK, will now be held in Florida later in the year.
"I look forward to calmer waters when we can welcome guests aboard the newest addition to our beautiful fleet," Lutoff-Perlo said during the handover. "I have great anticipation for her first sailing out of Barcelona on May 20th."