The drone show was one of the highlights of the ceremony in Doha
MSC Cruises officially christened MSC World Europa, its first LNG-powered vessel, during a traditional ceremony at the new Grand Cruise Terminal in Doha, Qatar, on 13 November.
Hosted in partnership with Qatar Airways, the ceremony was compered by Qatari comedian, producer and entrepreneur Hamad Al Amari and attended by MSC Cruises executives and thousands of international guests, media and travel agents. The quayside was decorated with displays of ceramic sculptures, woven baskets, handmade fishing nets and other crafts made by local artisans.
Her Excellency Sheikah Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, CEO and vice chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, served as godmother, cutting the ribbon to smash a bottle against the ship’s hull in accordance with maritime tradition. She was joined onstage by Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division; Marco Massa, captain of MSC World Europa; Diego Aponte, president of MSC Cargo; Akbar Al Baker, chairman of Qatar Tourism and CEO of Qatar Airways Group; and Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
Other highlights of the ceremony included a drone show, a video mapping display on the hull of the ship, musical performances by both the Qatar Youth Choir and international singer-songwriter Matteo Bocelli, a firework display and a gourmet gala dinner in the ship’s restaurants.
Spanning 22 decks, the 215,863gt MSC World Europa can accommodate 6,782 guests in 2,626 cabins and boasts a unique Y-shaped aft that leads to a 104-metre-long promenade with panoramic ocean views. The vessel also has multiple entertainment options, seven swimming pools, seven dedicated children’s spaces, the largest and most luxurious MSC Yacht Club to date, and 33 restaurants, bars and lounges. The latter includes signature MSC Cruises venues and new concepts such as the line’s first microbrewery, a gin bar where guests can blend their own botanical cocktails, Mediterranean fish restaurant La Pescaderia, and the first hydroponic garden at sea for growing micro herbs, salads and garnishes.
MSC World Europa is also the most environmentally advanced cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet, featuring LNG-powered engines and other technologies to boost energy efficiency and reduce emissions. The ship also has technology paving the way towards the uptake of carbon-neutral synthetic and other alternative fuels as soon as they are available at scale.
For the next month, MSC World Europa will remain in Qatar to serve as a floating hotel during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. At the end of December, the vessel will begin sailing a series of inaugural seven-night cruises from Doha to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Guests will be able to participate in 66 separate shore excursions during the cruises. In March 2023, MSC World Europa will reposition to Genoa, Italy, to offer cruises to Naples, Italy; Messina, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain; and Marseille in France. Between November 2023 and April 2024, the ship will sail itineraries from Genoa to Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), Palermo in Sicily, Barcelona, Valletta and Marseille.
Read our interview with MSC Cruises’ vice president of port development Elisabetta De Nardo to find out why the brand has based its first World Class ship in the Middle East.
Read our keynote interview with Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise division, to learn more about the innovations onboard MSC World Europa and the brand’s future sustainability plans.