The capital of Qatar, Doha, and home to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is preparing to host its first-ever cruise ship naming ceremony in November.
MSC Cruises will official name its new ship, MSC World Europa, in Doha on November 13th, 2022, before berthing the ship in the city’s cruise port to be used as a floating hotel during the FIFA World Cup.
Although the name of MSC World Europa is already known, the naming ceremony, also called a christening elsewhere, is an ancient maritime practice intended to bless the vessel with good luck.
As part of the naming ceremony, MSC Cruises will also be officially inaugurating Doha’s new Grand Cruise Terminal.
In a statement, MSC Cruises said the decision to name MSC World Europa in Doha was a reflection of its overall commitment to Qatar and the continued importance of the Middle East, where MSC Cruises is brand leader.
MSC said it supports Qatar’s Vision 2030 pledge to triple the number of international tourists visiting the country by that year.
After the FIFA World Cup, MSC World Europa will reposition to Dubai, where she will commence a months-long winter cruise season in the Arabian Gulf, sailing roundtrip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam and Doha.
“We are incredibly proud that in November we will name our most innovative, futuristic and the world’s largest environmentally-focused cruise passenger ship in Doha,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division of MSC Group.
“MSC World Europa represents the future of cruising, a totally new platform that will provide our guests with an unforgettable cruise not experienced anywhere before, so it is fitting that this monumental event will take place in one of the seven new Urban Wonders of the World and inaugurate the city’s magnificent new Grand Cruise Terminal,” he added.
Vago said that Qatar will continue to play an important role in the cruise line’s expansion plans in the Gulf region as it sees greater demand from guests to visit this culturally rich part of the world.
MSC World Europa is the first in a new class of ships for MSC Cruises called the World Class. She is the first LNG-powered ship for the cruise line, and the largest it has ever built. MSC World Europa will also be the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in the Middle East.
The World Class ships are just slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels (currently the largest in the world). Like the Oasis-class, they feature multiple onboard zones, a dual superstructure, and a host of onboard attractions and amenities, such as the world’s longest dry-slide at sea, which descends from the sun deck at the back of the ship down to the promenade level.
“Qatar has taken important steps to position itself as a world class destination for cruise passengers and the naming ceremony of MSC World Europa in Doha is another landmark event as we grow this important tourism sector,” said Akbar Al Baker, Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive.
“In addition, the opening of the new Grand Cruise Terminal is a state-of-the-art facility that firmly puts Qatar on the map for cruise ships and positions Doha as one of the most modern ports in the world,” he added.
The ship naming ceremony will take place at Doha’s brand new Grand Cruise Terminal, a 24,000sqm facility that will handle up to 28,000 passengers a day and has the capacity to host two mega-cruise ships at the same time.
For the upcoming winter season MSC World Europa will be joined by MSC Opera, which will also offer seven-night itineraries in the Gulf region with calls at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas island, plus two destinations in Oman – Muscat and Khasab.