Qatar’s tourism sector is witnessing a further boost from the busy 2022/23 cruise season as mega cruise ships and cruise liners make maiden and return visits to Doha Port, it is learnt.
The arrival of cruise ships and luxury yachts has been bringing thousands of international visitors to the country, significantly contributing to domestic tourism and other sectors.
Italian cruise ship 'Costa Toscana' – one of Costa Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally advanced ships – made its second voyage to the country Sunday, carrying 3,798 passengers and 1,441 crew members, Mwani Qatar said.
The 337m-long and 42m-wide cruise ship can accommodate around 6,500 passengers and hosts a waterpark, 13 swimming pools and hot tubs, 13 restaurants and 19 entertainment lounges.
The 2022/23 cruise season also saw German cruise ship 'AIDAcosma’ make it maiden call to Qatar and is expected to visit Doha again Monday, in addition to 11 scheduled voyages.
'MSC World Europa', which served as a floating hotel during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year; and French cruise ship 'Le Bougainville' will return to Doha Port on January 26, according to Qatar Tourism.
Managed by the Swiss-based MSC Cruises, 'MSC World Europa' sails under the flag of Malta and is the most innovative and environmentally sustainable vessel in the company’s fleet, featuring the latest technologies that reduce emissions and rationalise energy use.
The 131m-long and 18m-wide 'Le Bougainville', which was launched in 2019 and is operated by French cruise line Ponant Cruises, features innovative and environmentally-friendly equipment, elegantly designed cabins, and spacious suites spread over five guest decks, according to Mwani Qatar.
'Costa Toscana' and 'AidaCosma' will return to Qatar on January 29 and 30, respectively. Mega cruise ship 'Mein Schiff 6' and luxury ship 'Ocean Odyssey' are also scheduled to make calls to Doha Port this season, which will conclude in April.
Doha Port also welcomed the maiden voyage of the superyacht 'Emerald Azzurra', which sails under the flag of the Bahamas, as well as cruise ship 'Artania', this month.
Apart from the colourful buildings and green scenery at Doha Port’s Mina District, cruise ships have also become one of the main attractions at Qatar’s latest tourism destination.
The area near Doha Port’s newly renovated Grand Terminal currently is also hosting an array of activities as part of the third Qatar Balloon Festival, including the much-anticipated Night Glow.
Some of the festival’s side activities include entertainment shows such as live stage and dance performances, roving mascots, kite-flying and children’s games, among others.
An illuminated 'Costa Toscana' after sunset. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam