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Qatar World Cup: ‘Hotel’ cruise ships get ready to on-board football fans from opening day

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Qatar World Cup: ‘Hotel’ cruise ships get ready to on-board football fans from opening day

Three cruise ships designated for hotel stays during FIFA World Cup drop anchor at Doha’s Grand Terminal.
Image Credit: Supplied

 

Published in Gulf News, on Oct 23rd, 2022, Gulf News Report

Three designated cruise ships will accommodate football fans – take a look at likely rates

Dubai: Finding it difficult to book a room in Dubai from November 20? Try the cruise ship.

It’s now less than a month before the all-eyes-on FIFA World Cup, and cruise ship ‘hotels’ are attracting football fans’ as an alt-accommodation. The lowest room rate on a cruise ship hotel in Doha during the tournament is ‘still’ around Dh640 per night, on board the MSC Poesia, according to listings by the World Cup accommodation agency. An estimated 1.2 million will descend on Doha for the matches, and their needs will outstrip the 31,000-room hotel capacity in the Qatar capital.

The on-board rates will scale higher once the tournament enters final stretch from early December.

 

Organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have chartered at least three cruise ships to provide several thousand hotel rooms during the month-long event. The MSC Poesia and MSC World Europa will be permanently moored at Doha’s Grand Terminal, just 10 minutes by shuttle to the heart of Doha, Souq Waqif. (The naming ceremony for the flagship MSC World Europa will take place on November 13 in Doha, officially inaugurating the city’s brand-new Grand Cruise Terminal.) Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman – Cruise division at MSC Group, said, “It is only fitting that this event marks the coming into service of the highly anticipated MSC World Europa, the first in our trailblazing ‘World Class’ ships. She introduces a new cruising platform that boasts future-proof marine and onboard hospitality technologies.” “The ship will become the biggest and most environmentally high-performing passenger ship to sail out of Doha and across the Middle East and welcome guests from around the world for the winter 2022-23 season.”

The MSC Opera, a 2004-built cruise ship with a capacity for 2,700 passengers, will also be moored at the Qatari capital’s Grand Terminal for 30 nights, from November 19 to December 19.

These ships offer stay options for football fans over and above Doha’s hotel room capacity of around 31,000.

How much does a cabin cost?

Accommodation options onboard the MSC Poesia are relatively affordable, priced Dh646 per night. However, there is a minimum stay of two days onboard this vessel, and most cabins are nearly sold out for November. The ship has a capacity of 2,500 passengers. Rates for stay during the games are running at about QR1,240 per night onboard MSC World Europa. The vessel has six swimming pools and 14 whirlpools, a gym, and multiple dining bar and entertainment options. It can hold 6,774 passengers. A junior suite, including single and two bunk beds, is priced QR5,080 a night. Guests can avail of a balcony suite on board the ship at QR2,280 for check-in on November 24 and check-out on November 25.

Close to the tournament phase from early- to mid-December, there is a minimum stay of two to four days for all suites onboard the MSC World Europa. Prices would then rise to QR4,320 for two nights on MSC Poesia and QR2,960 on MSC World Europa, depending on the dates. While booking options for the MSC Opera are yet to go live on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 official hospitality website, the likely tariffs should be QR1,710 for a two-night minimum stay during the group stage. The ship will provide 1,750 passenger cabins for visitors to Doha from November 19 to December 19.

Post the World Cup, the ships will head directly into the peak winter season for cruises.
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