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Qatar Brings in Three Cruise Ships for World Cup Hotel Space

The cruise ship MSC Opera entering port
MSC Opera (MSC file image)

Published Oct 14, 2022 9:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

The organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have chartered in a third cruise ship to provide another 1,000-plus hotel rooms during the month-long event. 

An estimated 1.2 million people will descend on the small Mideast nation for the games beginning November 20, and their needs will outstrip the 31,000-room hotel capacity in the capital of Doha. Qatari organizers are taking a variety of measures to make sure that attendees have somewhere to stay, including containerized "cabins" on the edge of the city, a tent "fan village" for 1,800 on Qetaifan Island, a variety of apartment options, and three cruise ships operated by MSC Cruises. 

Qatar previously chartered the MSC World Europa and the MSC Poesia for pierside accommodations, and it has now added the MSC Opera. Rates for a stay on board during the games are running at about $470 per night, declining in the final week of the games. A two-night minimum applies.

MSC Opera is a 2004-built cruise ship with capacity for 2,700 passengers. She underwent a thorough renovation in 2015, 
She was last in the news in 2019, when she collided with a moored river cruise vessel in Venice's famed Giudecca Canal. The technical cause of the incident was an ill-timed casualty related to loss of power to the bridge controls. The captain and multiple crewmembers were convicted and sentenced to prison for the incident, but were able to commute their sentences into monetary fines and continue their careers.

For those who are willing to commute by plane every day, the 115,000 hotel rooms in the neighboring UAE are available but filling fast. Bookings for rooms in the Emirates and for short-hop flights between Dubai and Doha are both rising steeply, according to The National.