Doha – Football fans prone to seasickness may need to consider alternatives, but supporters with sealegs will be able to stay on one of two giant cruiseliners during the the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Organisers said Monday they had agreed with Swiss-based MSC Cruises for two of its 16 ships with a combined total of 4,000 cabins to be berthed in Doha Port during the tournament.
The vessels “will give fans a spectacular view of (Doha’s) West Bay skyline”, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery said in a statement.
“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 November 21, 2022.”
British tabloids have speculated that alcohol could be permitted onboard despite Qatar’s strict Islamic rules governing alcohol consumption, leading to headlines encouraging “booze cruise for fans”.
Under the agreement, the value of which was not given, the MSC Europa and MSC Poesia will be used to accommodate fans.
The MSC Europa will be delivered in 2022 and is due to be powered by liquefied natural gas, the statement said. The MSC Poesia features three swimming pools, 14 bars and a waterfall, according to the ship map.
Gas-rich Qatar opened a new temporary passenger terminal at Doha Port in October as it seeks to increase the number of cruise ships calling in the Gulf state.
Authorities said the terminal will serve until the completion of a port expansion plan due in 2022.
Qatar expects to host some 1.5 million visitors during world football’s premier event.