A 3rd cruise ship has been hired by World Cup organizers in Qatar on Monday, October 10, to operate as a soccer fan hotel docked at the Port of Doha to add much-needed cabins for the tournament.
Geneva-based MSC Cruises revealed the agreement only 6 weeks before the World Cup is expected to start on November 20.
The 1,075-stateroom MSC Opera will be available from November 19 through to December 19. During this period she will join MSC Poesia and MSC World Europa. The flagship MSC World Europa will start work at the World Cup after being constructed in France.
Fares for the MSC Opera ship were listed on the company's website starting from US$470 per person/per night during the group stage, with a minimum stay of 2 nights.
Qatar doesn't have the hotel capacity for all workers, volunteers, fans, and teams at the World Cup and is creating camping/cabin sites, hiring liners, and encouraging fans to stay in neighboring countries and fly in for the games.
MSC Cruises previously signed a deal with the government of Qatar in 2019 to provide 2 ships with ~4000 cabins as floating hotels in order to help house the expected 1.2 million international visitors.
Prices on cruise ships fall during the tournament when 50% of the teams go home. During the round of 16 and quarterfinals, the cheapest staterooms on MSC Opera cost US$320, then US$220 during the final week.
Basic rates feature breakfast onboard with an option to pay an US$87 daily supplement for all meals.