MSC Cruises will christen its new ship MSC World Europa in Doha on 13 November ahead of the vessel’s maiden season in the Middle East.
The 6,774-passenger ship, the first of MSC’s World class series, will inaugurate the Qatari capital’s Grand Cruise Terminal – capable of handling up to 28,000 passengers a day.
The ceremony will held in partnership with Qatar Airways as part of Qatar’s Vision 2030 plan to triple its number of international tourists by the start of the next decade.
World Europa will then sail its maiden voyage on 20 December, offering seven-night cruises to Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.
From March 2023, the vessel will move to the Mediterranean operating seven-night cruises to Genoa, Naples and Messina, as well as Malta’s capital Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille.
Meanwhile, MSC Opera will also offer seven-night itineraries in the Gulf to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas – as well as Muscat and Khasab in Oman.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chair of MSC Cruises, said: “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.
“Qatar will continue to play an important role in our strategy to expand our presence in the broader Gulf region as we see greater demand from our guests to visit this culturally rich and yet not fully discovered part of the world. I would like to thank Qatar Airways for its collaborative partnership and strong support in making this event happen.”
Vago said it was “only fitting” World Europa’s “state-of-the-art environmental technologies” were able to be showcased at the new cruise terminal, adding the ship would become the “most environmentally high-performing” vessel to sail the Middle East when it launches.
Akbar Al Baker, chair of Qatar Tourism and chief executive Qatar Airways Group called the naming of World Europa would “another landmark event” as Qatar looked to grow the “important tourism sector” of cruise.
“As Qatar places great importance on sustainability, it is fitting that we host this ceremony for such an environmentally-focused cruise ship. 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 said.