Qatar Charters Two MSC Cruises Ships as Hotels for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Qatar has signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to charter two ships to accommodate fans during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The two ships, with a combined capacity of nearly 4,000, will act as floating hotels during the tournament. They will be berthed at Doha Port.

According to Qatar, chartering cruise ships for fans has long been part of its accommodation strategy, with the country keen to offer sustainable solutions for the month-long tournament, which will kick-off on Nov. 21, 2022.

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MSC Europa

Under the terms of the agreement, the State of Qatar will charter MSC Cruises’ MSC Europa and MSC Poesia. Scheduled for delivery in 2022, the MSC Europa is currently under construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France. As the first LNG-fueled ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet, she will run on this fuel while at berth in Doha. Being the most environmentally friendly marine fuel currently available, her air emissions will thus be kept to a minimum, according to a statement from MSC.

The cruise ships will be served by shuttle buses which will take fans to Qatar’s transport infrastructure, including Doha Metro, from where they will be able to access stadiums, fan zones and other attractions.

In addition to floating hotels, Qatar’s other accommodation options will include hotels, apartments and fan villages.

Qatar Opens Cruise Season with Arrival of Boudicca

Boudicca at Doha Port

The 2018-2019 cruise season kicked off in Qatar with the Boudicca from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines docking at Doha Port last week.

The season, which continues until April 2019, is expected to see nearly double the number of cruise ships that arrived in the 2017-2018 season, according to a statement.

Of the 43 ships scheduled to call in Doha Port, 10 ships will be making their maiden calls to Qatar. Some 140,000 guests are expected.

There will also be five days with two calls, according to a press release.

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar’s major transport services provider, Mowasalat, recently signed an MoU to further develop tourist transport services, ensuring the growth in cruise tourism demand is matched with flexible and reliable transportation.

Qatar is expecting to receive 200,000 cruise visitors by the 2019-2020 season and has plans to turn Doha to a turnaround port.

QTA recently signed an agreement with the AIDA and Costa to place Qatar on the two companies’ winter itineraries as well as to cooperate in designing special promotion packages for their passengers.