(9 p.m. EDT) -- After 581 days of anticipation, the 2,910-passenger Celebrity Apex finally received its proper celebration, at a christening today at Celebrity Cruises’ custom-built terminal at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The ship’s godmother, Reshma Saujani, founder of the non-profit Girls Who Code and author of the best-selling book, "Brave, Not Perfect," christened the ship with her young son in her arms. To commemorate the milestone, Saujani’s family was in attendance bringing her the ceremonial bouquet of flowers onto the stage.
Following a bagpipe procession and honorary video montage of Saujani’s many achievements, Celebrity’s President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group Richard Fain shared celebratory remarks for the special occasion.
Saujani’s efforts to inspire young girls is being recognized by Celebrity onboard. The Camp at Sea program aboard Celebrity Apex will offer interactive beginner coding activities for kids as a larger part of its onboard STEM programming.
"Reshma is a visionary, leading the charge to challenge stereotypes and inspire a whole new generation of girls and women to bravely pursue tech jobs; just as Celebrity is working to close the gender gap at sea, growing our percentage of women serving as bridge officers to 30 percent in an industry where the average is 2 percent," said Lutoff-Perlo.
"It is Reshma’s game-changing spirit that makes her the perfect Godmother for a game-changing ship like Celebrity Apex."
Smashing Boundaries, Smashing Bottles
Acknowledging the challenges over the past 18 months, Saujani – a first-time cruiser -- noted that the moment was one of resilience for an industry that endured hardship, but succeeded despite it all.
In her brief speech, she honored girls and women around the world that persevere in their own challenges. The young women she serves at Girls Who Code have been a source of inspiration, especially during the pandemic, she said. Many were exceptionally brave and committed to their education over the past year, sometimes having to share one computer or mobile device between an entire family. Many had to use public Wi-Fi in fast-food restaurant parking lots to do their school work since they did not have internet access at home.
According to Saujani, these fearless and brave females are the ones that may one day "use tech to find cures to cancer, climate change and even Covid-19," earning applause from the audience.
Next to a bottle of Champagne so large that it is dubbed a "sovereign" (equivalent to 35 standard bottles of Champagne), Saujani proclaimed the familiar christening words, "I name this ship Celebrity Apex. Bless her and all who sail on her."
She then pushed an oversized button releasing a similar sovereign bottle of Champagne that was suspended beside the ship’s exterior. Cutting the cord sent the massive bottle hurdling toward the ship where it broke in spectacular display.
Second Edge-Class Ship, Several Firsts
This is the second of Celebrity’s Edge-class ships. Apex follows sibling ship Celebrity Edge with many industry firsts like "The Magic Carpet," a cantilevered bar and restaurant platform affixed to the side of the ship that can adjust its height for different panoramic views and experiences. The jogging trail that wraps the ship spans two floors including an inclination (rather than a stairway) that sets it apart.
Apex also has Celebrity’s "infinite veranda" concept. In these cabins, the balcony can be integrated into the cabin by opening the traditional glass doors and electronically lowering the exterior window to create instant outdoor space.
The ship also has the first-ever Montblanc lifestyle shop as well as outlets for Bulgari and Cartier onboard. On the wellness front, Apex offers the first F45 high intensity workout classes at sea, plus female-designed wellness content delivered via in-room TVs and a redesigned spa menu.
Specifically new to Apex is a casual pub known as Craft Social serving a rare selection of international beers. Eden, the two-floor aft lounge wrapped in a wall of windows, has a new dinner menu and entertainment programming.
Celebrity Apex, which was supposed to be christened in March 2020, has been sailing the Mediterranean since May 2020. Watch Cruise Critic's video report on the ship's pools and sun decks.
This week’s two-night christening cruise kicks off the ship’s inaugural U.S. sailing from Ft. Lauderdale. It will rotate between eastern and western Caribbean itineraries including ports of call such as Puerto Rico, Belize, Grand Cayman and St. Thomas.
According to Lutoff-Perlo, the winter sailings from Fort Lauderdale are seeing impressive demand as the industry recovers.