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Qatar to use cruise ships as floating hotels for 2022 World Cup

Emma Featherstone
A cruise ship in Doha, where the MSC vessels will be docked - Getty

Football fans travelling to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be left to stay in some unusual accommodation as it has been confirmed cruise ships will be chartered as floating hotels.

Organisers will hire two ships from MSC Cruises offering a combined capacity of more than 4,000 guests. The vessels' on-board features include swimming pools, spas, children’s play areas and a selection of restaurants.

The deal was confirmed by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for delivery & legacy (SC). Hasan al-Thawadi, the committee’s secretary-general, said: "We are pleased to collaborate with MSC Cruises to deliver this unique accommodation option for fans in 2022."

The two ships will be docked at the Doha port throughout the tournament, due to run in November and December, so fans will be given plenty of opportunity to explore the ships.

It is thought the vessels could host up to 40,000 over the month of football. Shuttle buses to the matches will be arranged.

The QE2 became a luxury floating hotel in Dubai Credit: Getty

Qatar has long discussed the idea of floating hotels as part of its plans to accommodate the fans who will be heading to the football tournament, which could be up to one million.

The Telegraph first reported in 2015 that the country, which has a population of just 2.7 million, was considering using cruise ships to make up for the shortfall of hotel rooms.

Previous ships that have been turned into floating hotels include the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), which was permanently moored in Dubai in 2018.

The SC has also suggested fans sleep in the desert close to the stadium as a way to cope with the shortage of hotel rooms.

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