Once it was a three-star bed and breakfast or a capacious pitch on a camp site. Now fans travelling to the World Cup in Qatar are to be offered a very different experience after organisers confirmed they had chartered two cruise ships to serve as floating hotels in 2022.
The two vessels, hired from company MSC cruises, come with swimming pools, spas and a dinosaur playroom (for children). They also offer a combined capacity of 4,000 cabins. Rates are yet to be confirmed, although current MSC cruises run from £599 per person, and anyone hoping to experience life on the open waves will also be disappointed as both boats will be berthed throughout the tournament.
The deal was announced by Qatar’s supreme committee for delivery & legacy (SC) whose secretary-general, Hassan al-Thawadi, 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 onboard a cruise ship, with a fabulous view of West Bay, and fast access to all the stadiums and fan zones
Qatar has long considered cruise ships a ‘sustainable’ part of their plans to accommodate the 1m-plus fans projected to attend the tournament in a country with a population of 2.7m. The Gulf state has a shortage of pre-existing hotel rooms and as many as 40,000 fans are anticipated to end up sleeping on ships, with the vast majority taking up spare capacity on existing vessels. One other suggestion floated by the SC has included fans camping in the desert close to the stadiums.