Footballer to attend naming ceremony in Miami
Lionel Messi has been named as the 'icon' of Royal Caribbean's new Icon of the Seas.
Widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, the Argentinian footballer will attend the naming ceremony for the ship to be held in Miami in January 2024.
In his role as 'icon', he will "bestow safekeeping onto the new ship, its crew and the millions of families" who will sail on board in years to come, the line said.
Messi's new role follows the announcement Royal Caribbean and Inter Miami FC have formed a multiyear partnership, and will work together on "local initiatives in South Florida", said Royal Caribbean.
Icon of the Seas will depart on its maiden voyage on 27 January 2024, and will operate seven-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings calling at Royal Caribbean's private island destination in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Michael Bayley said: "Icon of the Seas is the culmination of more than 50 years of delivering memorable vacations and it's set to live up to its name in more ways than one when it changes the vacation industry in January 2024.
"It's that ability to make such a widespread impact and change the status quo that the icon of Icon [of the Seas] must personify, and Lionel Messi has proven to be the perfect example of that for years in the world of sports and, most recently, in introducing a new era of excitement and passion for football in Miami and the US."
Messi commented: "I'm thrilled to join the Royal Caribbean family to celebrate the arrival of the game-changing Icon of the Seas. Icon is beyond anything else that's out there for family vacations, with incredible never-before-seen features all designed for making memories together."