Lionel Messi describes ‘big honour’ of naming Icon of the Seas

Footballing legend Lionel Messi said naming Royal Caribbean’s newest ship Icon of the Seas was “a big honour because I know what this ship means to Miami and the world”.

The Inter Miami captain used a football to press the button that released the largest-ever produced bottle of champagne to smash into the ship’s hull.

Royal Caribbean Group president and chief executive Jason Liberty said the line had chosen Messi to christen the ship first and foremost for his family values as he feels they resonate with Icon of the Seas, which is dubbed “the ultimate family vacation”.

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Liberty said: “Lionel Messi has won the World Cup, the Ballon d’Or eight times and was Times Magazine’s athlete of the year in 2023.

“He has ignited a new era for soccer in Miami and is a true icon of his sport. But his top priority is his family. Watching his love for his wife and three boys, it’s clear where his priorities lie.

“As a father of four myself, I can see it’s true where his passion lies: as a husband and father, who just happens to play football really, really well.”

Commenting on the ship, Liberty added: “Every once in a while, a truly revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. Today is that day as we launch the new era of multi-generational vacation experience on Icon of the Seas. There is no better example of this than this ship.

“This new class of ship defines what vacations can be for all members of the family – of all ages and interests. It’s pushed all the boundaries and reminds me of something Nelson Mandela once said: it always seems impossible until it’s possible. We have proved with this ship that the impossible is possible.”

Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Michael Bayley said: “Only the Royal Caribbean family is capable of creating this. We had a shared vision to create the world’s best family vacation and it’s come to life through Icon of the Seas.”

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