MSC Fantasia’s first call at Doha Port on Wednesday marked the first ever arrival of a mega cruise ship in Qatar.
In a statement, Qatar Ports Management Company- Mwani Qatar, exclusive operator of the state’s commercial and touristic ports, said it welcomed one of the largest ships in the world with more than 3,000 passengers and 1,300 crew members on board.
“Along with our partners, we are making great strides towards ensuring that Qatar becomes a key port of call on all cruise itineraries that cover this region,” stressed Mwani, adding that it ensured the safe and successful docking of MSC Fantasia.
Mwani said it also provided “a seamless tourist experience” to cruise passengers, easing disembarkation procedures for smooth entry to Doha.
A large number of passengers preferred visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, Msheireb, Souq Waqif, Katara – the Cultural Village, and The Pearl-Qatar while others had the chance to ride some dhows on the Doha Corniche.
Mwani noted that the receiving a mega ship like MSF Fantasia “reflects the hard work and great efforts exerted by all parties concerned .”
The arrival of the ship also enthralled residents walking on the Doha Corniche, commuters passing by the area, and those in nearby commercial buildings and hotels.
Some took pictures of the ship and posted them on Facebook saying the ship had seemingly dwarfed other ships roving in the area.
“One of the biggest cruise ships just docked at Doha Port… as you can see from the Horizon,” said one resident, who seemed to be staying in a high-rise building at West Bay.
Qatar’s 2016/2017 cruise season, which runs from October to April, will see the arrival of several cruise ships visiting the country for the first time, according to Mwani.
Mwani also noted that MSC Fantasia is the largest in terms of passengers visiting Qatar during this cruise season, with a total capacity of 4,500 passengers and 1,370 crew members.
From Doha Port in Qatar, the ship will sail to Mina Salman, Manama, Bahrain Island before heading back to Port Rashid in the United Arab Emirates.
MSC Fantasia’s Arabian cruise is part of its 25-night/26-day itinerary from Barcelona, Spain to other parts of Europe and the Middle East.
Launched in 2008, the mega cruise ship spans 333metres long, a beam of 37metres, and a draft of 8.65metres. It also consists of 14 out of 18 passenger decks with 1,637 of which 107 are suites, 1,149 balcony and 294 inside rooms. Gross tonnage is 137,940.
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