Celebrity Cruises has officially taken delivery of new ship Celebrity Apex, thanks to a virtual ceremony with shipbuilders Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

During a video conference call with shipyard officials, captain Dimitris Kafetzis ordered the exchange of the national flags where the cruise line and shipyard are based as the French and US national anthems were played.

It is not known when Apex will sail its maiden voyage, but the line’s president and chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said she had “great anticipation” it would be on May 20.

Celebrity’s parent Royal Caribbean Cruises suspended sailings for all of its brands as the coronavirus outbreak forced countries around the world to impose travel restrictions to stop the virus spreading.

The line’s global sailings – including Apex’s – have been suspended until May 11.

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Speaking at the virtual delivery ceremony, Lutoff-Perlo said: “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.

“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.

“Celebrity Apex is a magnificent ship and I am so proud to welcome her into our family.”

Lutoff-Perlo also added: “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 20.”