It is the first ever virtual delivery of a cruise ship, made necessary by the worldwide disruption to travel and the wider economy by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Celebrity Cruises Executives accepted official command of Celebrity Apex, the second ship in the line’s highly acclaimed Edge Series, via video conference with officials from Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.
Captain Dimitris Kafetzis ordered the exchange of the French and American flags, while each country’s national anthem played in the background.
“Every delivery is unique just as every ship is unique. While the circumstances are quite unique right now, it’s fitting that such an innovative ship as Celebrity Apex would have a digital-age delivery,” said Lisa Lutoff Perlo, President & CEO, Celebrity Cruises.
“The day is every bit as meaningful because I know the dedication and commitment from the shipyard team, the onboard crew and our Celebrity shoreside team that went in to bringing this ship to life,” she added.
“Celebrity Apex is a magnificent ship and I am so proud to welcome her into our family.”
“We had the honor of building the first Edge Series ship, Celebrity Edge, and so many wonderful ships throughout our partnership over the years. Celebrity Apex is exceptional, and we know she will be well-received and enjoyed for many years to come,” added Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
“I look forward to calmer waters when we can welcome guests aboard the newest addition to our beautiful fleet. I have great anticipation for her first sailing out of Barcelona on May 20th,” Lutoff-Perlo added.
Celebrity Cruises is part of the Royal Caribbean Cruises group, the flagship line of which is Royal Caribbean International. Both cruise lines, in addition to the TUI, Silversea, Pullmantur and Azamara brands, have suspended operations until May.
The vulnerability of cruise ships to the virus was laid bare in March when two Princess cruise ships were struck by an onboard outbreak.