CELEBRITY Cruises has delayed the official naming ceremony for its new vessel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Celebrity Apex was due to have been named in Southampton on March 30 but will now be formally inaugurated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in October.

The decision has been announced by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and chief executive of Celebrity Cruises.

She said: "Those who know me, or even know of me, know that I’m not much of a traditionalist. One tradition I do cherish, however, is the tradition of launching a new ship with a groundbreaking naming ceremony.

"I believe the karma and energy around the naming of a ship is important to its future, its guests and its crew.

"To that end, we believe that continuing with the naming ceremony in the current environment would be inconsistent with the spirit and intention of such an important and meaningful event.

"We have therefore made the difficult decision to postpone our formal naming ceremony until later this year and will name Celebrity Apex when she arrives in Fort Lauderdale to begin her Caribbean season."

As reported in the Daily Echo, Celebrity Apex is one of the world's most hotly-anticipated cruise ships.

The £1 billion vessel has innovative features such as the Magic Carpet restaurant, which rises and falls between decks on the side of the ship and the twin-level Edge Villa suites with outdoor plunge pools.

Capable of carrying 2,900 passengers, she has 29 restaurants and bars, plus a three-storey venue called Eden, which transforms from a ‘chillful’ lounge in the morning to a ‘playful’ performance area in the afternoon and a ‘sinful’ restaurant in the evening.

Former Dragons’ Den star Kelly Hoppen was recruited to design much of the interiors.

Speaking two years ago Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “When Celebrity Apex launches in Southampton in 2020 it will be another incredible moment for our company and for the UK & Ireland market, especially as it will be ten years since we last named and operated a brand new ship from the UK.

"In 2010 Celebrity Eclipse changed the face of UK cruising with our modern luxury approach.

"Celebrity Apex will continue our tradition of reimagining what is expected from all aspects of a holiday at sea and elevate modern luxury cruising in ways never seen before.”