Inside ‘HMS Wag’: England football’s plus-ones enjoy £1bn Qatar cruise ship
The ‘world’s newest cruise ship’, docked off the coast of Doha in Qatar, offers guests unabashed luxury, including crystal staircases, expensive jewellery shops, snow rooms and a 24-hour butler service.
The brand-new 215,863-GT MSC World Europa cruise ship, which was named on 13 November, has been dubbed the HMS Wag in the British press, after it emerged the wives and girlfriends of the England men’s football team are living it up offshore by staying on the vessel during the tournament.
The £1b liner has 2,633 cabins holding 6,700 passengers and is described by the owners as an “ultramodern urban metropolis”. There is an impressive array of activities on offer, with 33 onboard restaurants, including an American-style steakhouse, a Latin American street food joint, a seafood restaurant, an Asian grill, a sushi bar, ice cream parlour and three 24-hour buffets.
There’s an onboard pub, Masters of the Seas, which boasts its own microbrewery, as well as a cocktail bar, spirits and cigar lounge, jazz speakeasy and Champagne lounge. (Because the vessel is docked offshore, guests are permitted to consume alcohol.)
The 11-deck Venom Drop slide
Guests can also enjoy theatre performances, a games arcade, dodgems and ‘Venom Drop’ — the longest dry slide at sea — that twists as it plunges 11 decks.
MSC World Europa has two Owner Suites, each totalling over 1,600 square feet between indoor areas and the private balcony. Each suite has a double bedroom with walk-in wardrobe, a bathroom complete with full-sized bathtub, and a separate living-dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows. The balcony has an alfresco dining area and whirlpool.
Spanning two decks, the Duplex Suites offer a whole floor featuring a dining area, lounge and guest bathroom.
Meanwhile, the exclusive Yacht Club area — comprising 152 suites — spans two decks at the front of the ship. The lower deck features a bar and grill, while the upper deck is home to a private pool and whirlpool, besides loungers and private cabanas. It features a sun terrace, swimming pool and restaurant, as well as a glass staircase encrusted with thousands of Swarovski crystals.
The Yacht Club’s ‘crystal staircase’
The “royal” suites reportedly go for £6,000 per week. The MSC Yacht Club also offers a 24-hour butler and concierge on hand to attend to guests’ every need.
HMS WAG will likely prove more entertaining than the alcohol-free, out-of-town Souq Al Wakra Hotel, where England’s 26-man squad are staying.
A Royal Suite
Qatar is in the spotlight as the controversial host of the World Cup, thanks to widespread human rights abuses and accusations of corruption. Ex-England footballer David Beckham has been criticised for signing a deal worth a rumoured £150m to be an ambassador for the tournament.
And, on Monday, a superyacht was grounded off the coast of Doha, after hitting a reef.
The ‘World Galleria’
The England men’s football team are gearing up for their second World Cup game against the USA tomorrow (Friday 25 November 2022), after routing Iran 6-2 on Monday.