Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to charter two cruise liners to accommodate fans during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The cruise liners, which feature a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins, will act as floating hotels during the tournament. They will be berthed at Doha Port, giving fans a spectacular view of the West Bay skyline.
Chartering cruise liners for fans has long been part of Qatar’s accommodation strategy, with the country keen to offer sustainable solutions for the month-long tournament, which will kick-off on 21 November 2022.
His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transports and Communications, congratulated the SC for its collaboration with MSC and said significant progress had been made in accomplishing the country’s ambitious plans in the field of transport and communications, which will serve all visitors during the FIFA World Cup and provide an exceptional experience.
Al Sulaiti said: “The Ministry of Transport and Communications has completed the development of Doha Port to accommodate multiple large passenger ships and enable the port’s capacity to receive the largest cruise ships in the world, serving fans and visitors who come to Qatar during the 2022 World Cup.”
Al Sulaiti also noted that the Ministry has completed the development of standards to facilitate access to Qatar’s transportation system, in addition to providing a comprehensive information portal on mobility and applications that visitors and fans will be able to use during the tournament.
His Excellency Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the SC, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with MSC Cruises to deliver this unique accommodation option for fans in 2022. We are sure fans from all over the world will be excited at the prospect of staying on board a cruise ship, with a fabulous view of West Bay, and fast access to all the stadiums and fan zones.”
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “We are delighted that Qatar has selected our ships to ensure that tourists who visit the country during the upcoming FIFA World Cup have high-end accommodation and services available to further enrich their experience. The tournament is one of the world’s most popular events and this will be another opportunity for holidaymakers from across the globe converging on Doha to experience our ships and enjoy the unique international experience that only MSC Cruises can offer.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the State of Qatar will charter MSC Cruises’ MSC Europa and MSC Poesia. Scheduled for delivery in 2022, MSC Europa is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France. As the first liquefied natural gas-powered 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 be kept to a minimum. She also features, like all cruise ships from MSC Cruises’ fleet, advanced waste and water treatment systems, in addition to a wide range of cutting-edge environmental technologies for cleaner air emissions and minimised environmental footprint.
In addition to floating hotels, Qatar’s other accommodation options will include hotels, apartments and fan villages.
Yasir Al Jamal, Chairman of the SC’s Host Country Operations Office and Vice Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office, said: “We are determined to deliver a range of accommodation options which will suit every taste and budget in 2022. It is important we provide sustainable solutions for the country while ensuring an unmatched fan experience.”
In 2022, 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.