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Drone show lights up Doha as MSC World Europa is named in Qatar

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L-R: Captain Marco Massa, Her Excellency Sheikah Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani and Diego Aponte precide over the ribbon cutting ceremony as MSC World Europa is named
Performances by the Qatar Youth Choir and Matteo Bocelli, video mapping, a dazzling drone show and a finale conducted by godmother Sheikah Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani were among the highlights of the spectacular naming of MSC World Europa in Doha Sunday evening.

Thousands of guests including distinguished dignataries from Qatar, MSC Cruises and its partner Qatar Airways, international media and travel agents from around the world gathered on a balmy winter evening on the quayside at Doha in front of the new ship and alongside Doha’s impressive new Grand Cruise Terminal.

Gulf region commitment

MSC Group Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said choosing Qatar for the naming ceremony shows MSC Group’s commitment to tourism in the Gulf region.

‘Together with partners Qatar Airways, the celebrations are part of MSC’s overall commitment to Qatar, reinforcing our commitment to supporting the growth of international tourism here, as well as the broader Middle East region,’ he said.

The ship will be berthed in Doha for the entire durtion of the World Cup acting as a floating hotel for football fans and then will commence weekly itineraries calling in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for winter 2022/23.

Environmentally advanced ship

Vago added, ‘MSC World Europa is the most innovative and environmentally advanced cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet. On top of ground-breaking advances in terms of reduction of emissions and energy efficiency, the LNG-powered ship also paves the way towards the uptake of carbon-neutral synthetic and other alternative fuels as soon as they are available at scale.’

Local touches

Hosted by comedian, producer and entrepreneur Hamad Al Amari, event guests made their way to the seating area following a blue carpet route featuring displays by local craftsmen and women showcasing basket weaving, wool braiding, handmade fishing nets and ceramic sculpturing.

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A cutting-edge video-mapping projection onto the ship’s hull, huge drone show and a grand finale performance by international singer-songwriter Matteo Bocelli, presenting his solo work for the first time ever in Doha, were highlights of the naming celebration.

In the presence of Vago, MSC Cargo President Diego Aponte and Captain Marco Massa, MSC World Europa was named by Sheikah Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, CEO and vice chairperson of the Qatar Foundation who cut the ribbon to send the bottle smashing against the hull.

Break with tradition

It was a break with tradition for MSC Cruises which has seen Sophia Loren acting as the godmother for 17 MSC Cruises ships in a relationship spanning nearly 20 years.

The glamorous night culminated in a spectacular fireworks display against the modern Doha skyline, and a gourmet gala dinner in the ship’s restaurants.