Malala Yousafzai Christens Celebrity Edge at Port Everglades

The Celebrity Edge was officially christened during a Tuesday ceremony pierside in Port Everglades by godmother Malala Yousafzai.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yousafzai was joined by all on board to “bless this ship and all those who sail upon her.”

The naming event brought together more than 3,000 guests, employees, crew members and students to commemorate the debut of Celebrity’s first new ship in six years and first new ship series in more than a decade.

“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’s 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.”

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, added: “I am so very proud to have Malala Yousafzai as the godmother of Celebrity Edge. 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. The ceremony today was both touching and symbolic of what Celebrity Cruises stands for. I am grateful to Malala, her family and Malala Fund for embracing today’s events and look forward to continuing our work together around the world.”

“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. I am so grateful to Celebrity Cruises for their generous support and investment in the potential of girls everywhere,” said Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund.

Photo: From left: Richard D. Fain, Malala Yousafzai, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo and Capt. Costas Nestoroudis, christen Celebrity Edge at the ship’s Naming Ceremony.

Malala Yousafzai named as godmother of new Celebrity ship

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Nobel Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai, has been named as the godmother of Celebrity Cruises new ship Celebrity Edge as part of a two-year partnership between the line and the Malala Fund.

The 19-year-old, whose mission is to secure 12 years of safe, free, quality education for every girl, will christen the ship in Fort Lauderdale on December 18.

Celebrity president and chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said the association with Malala Fund and choice of Malala as godmother for Edge “felt so right” for the brand, which shares a commitment to diversity, inclusion, gender equality and education.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, Lutoff-Perlo said: “The tradition of Godmother is one of the purest in a commercial world.

“Who do you believe embodies what you want the ship to carry as its karma and who should be its guiding light. You get one chance to truly choose someone that epitomises what a ship stands for. Malala represents hope, gender equality, education and is a great equalizer. I am humbled by her own personal story and what she has done to raise awareness. As Richard [Fain], our chairman says, Malala is an honest-to-God hero, who will be an inspiration to our crew and to our guests.”

Malala began her life as an activist at 11 years old, writing a secret blog about life under the Taliban, who would not permit girls to go to school.

She was targeted for her advocacy and, at 15, was shot on her school bus. Malala survived the attack and continued her campaign for girls’ education around the world.

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In 2014, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient, donating her entire prize earnings to finance a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. With Malala Fund, she continues to fight for every girl’s right to education.

Lutoff-Perlo said that Malala’s dedication to girls’ education sets an example worth following.

“Partnering with Malala Fund was a natural fit as we share the same passion and commitment to an incredible cause,” she said. “We believe in opportunities for all, especially as our crew on-board represent more than 50 different cultures – and amazing stories of achievement, education and economic advancement.”

Lutoff-Perlo said Celebrity had been working on the partnership, which sees the line commit an undisclosed amount of money to the Malala Fund for two years, for some time.

“When we started this journey, we had a 50:50 chance that they would agree to partner with us and Malala be Edge’s Godmother, so we couldn’t be more honoured or thrilled that she has accepted.”

Lutoff-Perlo explained there would be many ways for crew and guests to get more involved in the partnership.

“There will be specially-commissioned Malala Fund/Celebrity merchandise which guests and crew will be able to buy on board, with all proceeds going to the fund. A documentary about Malala will be played on the in-cabin TV channels, and Malala’s book ‘I am Malala’ will also be on sale,” said Lutoff-Perlo.

And she confirmed that UK agents would also play a part.

“They will absolutely be invited to Florida next December to witness Malala naming Celebrity Edge,” he said.

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Richard Fain, chairman and chief executive of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said: “This young woman is on a powerful mission, and we support it 100 percent. We are deeply honoured to name Malala the Godmother of Celebrity Edge, and we’re excited to team up with her and the Malala Fund to champion the global right to education.”

Fain added: “Malala Fund also advances one of our company’s key philosophies: that education is a great equalizer, providing opportunities to people who need it most.”

Malala Fund interim chief executive Philippa Lei said: “We cannot get 130 million out-of-school girls into classrooms on our own. We are grateful to generous partners like Celebrity Cruises who support our work to help every girl learn and lead without fear.”

Celebrity previously partnered with breast cancer charities for its Solstice Class ships, inviting breast cancer survivors, who had done extraordinary things, to be the Godmothers.