Companies which have core moral values appeal far more to today’s consumer than in the past, Celebrity Cruises’ boss said.

The luxury line named women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai as godmother of Celebrity Edge.

Speaking at the 2019 Clia Conference in Southampton, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity’s president and chief executive, said she felt passengers on board supported the line’s decisions.

“I believe that you can still do business, do good and be highly profitable,” she said. “If you look at any research, more consumers than ever before are putting their wallets where their values are.

“I think that the world needs it more than ever right now. I see our business and the brand doing very well. I think that this is an important component.”

Lutoff-Perlo said the brand had to “keep pushing the envelope”, in terms of its values, in order to thrive.

Yousafzai was chosen by Celebrity because she was “a heroic transformational woman”, Lutoff-Perlo, who admitted her “jaw dropped” when the activist’s name was put forward.

Although there were initial doubts over whether Malala would accept the traditional maritime role, Lutoff-Perlo said Celebrity’s moral values helped persuade her.

“We had a tremendous amount of evidence to show that we are not some luxury cruise ship sailing around the world, Malala was just not interested in that,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “We had done so many good things and stood for so many of the same things that the [non-profit] Malala Fund did.

“She stands for advancing women.”