Florida Port Welcomes Newest Edge Class Celebrity Cruise Ship

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Port Everglades had a homecoming ceremony for the newest Celebrity Cruises ship, Celebrity Ascent, as the vessel begins homeporting from the booming South Florida cruise port.

The ceremony included a plaque-and-key presentation and other traditions to welcome the ship and cement goodwill between authorities and executives to ensure good sailing for the vessel.

Celebrity Ascent Welcomed to Port Everglades

On Wednesday, November 29, 2023, Celebrity Ascent was officially welcomed to Port Everglades with a plaque-and-key ceremony aboard the vessel, a time-honored tradition for welcoming new homeported ships.

Port Everglades CEO and Port Director Jonathan Daniels presented a plaque with the ship’s photo to brothers and Co-Captains Dimitrios and Tasos Kafetzis, commemorating the ship’s deployment to Fort Lauderdale. At the same time, a special gift was also presented to Laura Hodges Bethge, president of Celebrity Cruises.

In addition, all three – the co-captains and Hodges Bethge – were presented with challenge coins by Port Everglades Deputy Director Glenn Wiltshire. This military tradition symbolizes pride, camaraderie, and excellence, all qualities embodied by Celebrity Ascent, her officers, and her crew.

Port Everglades Welcomes Celebrity Ascent
Port Everglades Welcomes Celebrity Ascent

Also in attendance with well wishes and good tidings for Celebrity Ascent and all who sail on her were Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Steve Glassman, Port Everglades Association Executive Director Lori Baer, representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other authorities and dignitaries.

Naming Ceremony Coming Soon

While the new ship has now been officially welcomed to her new homeport, Celebrity Ascent has not yet been named. That ceremony is scheduled for Friday, December 1, 2023, with the ship’s godmothers – Captain Sandy Yawn from Bravo TV’s Below Deck, and her sister Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism – christening the ship.

The naming ceremony will also include appropriate benedictions and other festivities, including live music and media attention as the new ship prepares to set sail for what will hopefully be a long service life as the fourth in the innovative Edge class of vessels.

Sailing With Celebrity Ascent

Celebrity Ascent will also be one of six ships homeported from Port Everglades during the winter sailing season. Her Edge-class sisters, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond, will also be sailing from Fort Lauderdale, along with Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection, and Celebrity Silhouette.

During her first winter in the sunny Caribbean, Celebrity Ascent will offer alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Celebrity Ascent at Port Everglades, Florida
Celebrity Ascent at Port Everglades, Florida (Photo Credit: Lisa Bronitt)

The Eastern Caribbean cruises will visit top luxurious destinations such as St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San Juan, Tortola, and the Dominican Republic, depending on the departure date. Meanwhile, the Western Caribbean itineraries will visit such iconic hotspots as Nassau, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman.

Both itineraries will offer ample days at sea for guests to enjoy all that Celebrity Ascent offers, including world-class entertainment, the relaxing Rooftop Garden, the adults-only Solarium, and the cantilevered Magic Carpet that is the signature feature of all Edge-class ships.

Read Also: Florida Homeport Could Top 4 Million Cruise Passengers

The 141,420-gross-ton Celebrity Ascent can welcome 3,260 guests aboard at double occupancy, and up to 3,937 passengers when fully booked. The ship is also home to 1,400 international crew members dedicated to the cruise line’s exceptional service.

Celebrity Ascent will enjoy a full winter season in the Caribbean before her next transatlantic cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on April 14, 2024. That 13-night sailing will take the ship to the Mediterranean, where she will spend the summer visiting top European ports, before returning to Fort Lauderdale in early November.

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