MSC Bellissima Makes Maiden Visit to Doha

The Port of Doha last week welcomed the MSC Bellissima for its maiden call in Qatar, following an announcement that two MSC ships will be chartered by the government of Qatar to accommodate football fans during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The MSC Bellissima, which was launched earlier this year in Southampton, England, will sail eight seven-night cruises during the winter season – November 2019 to March 2020 – in the Gulf region.

MSC Cruises believes its partnership with Qatar Airways makes Doha a convenient and easily accessible port for guests from the UK, France and Italy who can embark MSC Bellissima as part of a Fly&Cruise package with the five-star-rated flag-carrying airline, according to a statement. 

Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises said: “We are especially pleased to celebrate MSC Bellissima’s maiden call to Doha. It was the opportunity to celebrate another milestone of the broader partnership that our Group enjoys with Qatar and its people.

“MSC Bellissima is the largest and most modern cruise ship deployed in the region. And, together with MSC Seaview – which from next season will be calling weekly, she is a testimony of our commitment to develop further the potential of Doha as a homeport.”

In addition, MSC Cruises will also deploy the MSC Lirica in the Gulf for this winter season with 11-night cruises as well as 14-night cruises that call also to India.

The MSC Europa, scheduled for delivery just months ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and one of two ships to be chartered by Qatar for the month-long tournament, will be the first liquefied natural gas-powered ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet and she will run on this fuel while at berth in Doha.

She will be joined by MSC Poesia which is also fitted with a wide range of cutting-edge environmental technologies for cleaner air emissions and minimised environmental footprint.

His Excellency Mr Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications, added: “Doha Port is playing a key role in reinforcing Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination through securing and receiving international cruise ships, as well as providing all the facilities necessary for the growth of a sector that is considered a key contributor to the economic diversity pursued by Qatar National Vision 2030.” 

His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council and Group CEO of Qatar Airways, said, “Our partnership with MSC Cruises goes beyond adding Qatar to cruise itineraries, to supporting the development of Doha Port and ultimately offering unique accommodation experiences to the visiting fans in 2022. Together with the high-end experience aboard MSC Cruises’ ships, Qatar’s unique and authentic tourism offerings, and state-of-the-art sports venues and transport systems, fans are in for a truly unforgettable World Cup.” 

Photo: MSC Bellissima (Photo: The Peninsular)

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