It was the naming ceremony of Celebrity Edge on Tuesday night, the newest ship to join the fleet of luxury cruise company Celebrity Cruises.
And there to officially launch her was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai.
Activist Yousafzai is co-founder of the Malala Fund, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for education rights for girls around the world, which has recently partnered with Celebrity Cruises.
“I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere,” Malala said at the event.
“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. But to continue making progress for girls’ education, we need support from leaders in every sector,” she added.
The night featured a moving performance of ‘Rise Up’ by Grammy-nominated artist Andra Day, and was attended by over 3,000 guests, including employees, crew members and students.
“We are honoured that Malala agreed to be the godmother of this ship, a role that reflects centuries of maritime traditions,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Celebrity Cruises’ parent company.
“We are especially proud because Malala’s example of relentless persistence and achievement is an inspiration to our crew, who have all worked so hard and made real sacrifices to build better lives for themselves and their families.”
Whilst Malala followed tradition by blessing the ship “and all those who sail upon her”, it wasn’t the quintessential champagne bottle that was smashed across the ship’s Parabolic Ultra Bow, but a bespoke 18-litre bottle of Badoit French mineral water.
The new ship comes as the result of four years’ graft by a team of thousands – from engineers and architects to artisans and designers – and is the first Celebrity Cruises ship to launch in six years, aimed at millennial travellers seeking a younger, cooler luxury cruise experience.
The new ship will make its maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 9, and its first season at sea will begin next year – set to include seven-night eastern and western Caribbean trips and seven to 11-night sails in the Mediterranean, stopping off in cities such as Barcelona and Rome.