Soccer star Lionel Messi officially names Icon of the Seas in Miami

Icon of the Seas — the largest cruise ship of the world — was officially christened during a special naming ceremony event last night in PortMiami featuring soccer sensation Lionel Messi and TV host Mario Lopez, who is known for portraying A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell.

“Our icon of Icon, will you please do us the immense honour of naming our beloved new ship, blessing her and all who sail on her for many years to come?” asked Jason Liberty, president and CEO for Royal Caribbean Group. “In keeping with that passion of doing things bigger and bolder, the bottle that we use to christen the ship itself is iconic. It’s the largest production model made and it’s for the most iconic ship in the world.”

In a twist on an old maritime tradition, Messi triggered the release of the champagne bottle against the bow of the ship with a soccer ball instead of the usual trigger release button.

“It’s been a long incredible journey, seven years, and really our dream has now become a reality,” said Michael Bayley, CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “You are seeing our biggest dream come to life with Icon of the Seas. What you see throughout Icon and its eight incredible neighbourhoods is more than 50 years of passion and innovation coming together to create the best family vacation.”

Bayley highlighted some of the distinct features of the ship, including the three-storey Ultimate Family Townhouse suite, which is sold out for 2024, and Category 6, “the first true waterpark at sea.”

Notably, Icon of the Seas is home to 40 restaurants, bars and lounges, seven pools, nine whirlpools, and six waterslides, and is able to accommodate 7,600 guests with 2,350 crew.

“Icon is the very best of all of us. It’s our past and present, and it’s also the future for what’s to come with Royal Caribbean,” Bayley added.