Qatar will charter two cruise liners, with a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins, to act as floating hotels for accommodating fans during the FIFA World Cup 2022.
In this regard, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) on Monday signed an agreement with MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) Cruises in the presence of HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti.
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 in November 2022.
"The ministry 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 FIFA World Cup," HE al-Sulaiti said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar will charter MSC Cruises' Europa and Poesia. Scheduled for delivery in 2022, MSC Europa, the first liquefied natural gas-powered ship in MSC Cruises' fleet, is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France.
Being the most environmentally friendly marine fuel currently available, the vessels' air emissions will be kept to a minimum. It also features advanced waste and water treatment systems, besides a wide range of cutting-edge environmental technologies for cleaner air emissions and minimised environmental footprint.
"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," said Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the SC.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises, said the tournament is one of the world's most popular events and "this will be another opportunity for holidaymakers from across the globe converging in Doha to experience our ships and enjoy the unique international experience that only MSC Cruises can offer."
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.
In addition to floating hotels, Qatar's other accommodation options will include hotels, apartments and fan villages.
"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," said Yasir al-Jamal, chairman of the SC's Host Country Operations Office and vice chairman of the Technical Delivery Office.
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