Qatar’s cruise season has officially kicked off after the world’s largest privately owned residential yacht docked at Doha Port yesterday.
According to the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), people from 45 countries live on board The World, some of them year-round.
The ship sails across the world and stays in most ports for several days, though will be in Qatar for just two before heading to Muscat.
— AustynZOGS (@Austynzogs) October 18, 2016
In a statement today, QTA added that cruise ship passengers will now be able to follow a new, quicker immigration procedure:
“Cruise passengers can now disembark within minutes of arriving and immediately begin enjoying their on-shore excursions.”
The World is one of 32 cruise ships that are expected to dock at Qatar’s ports from October of this year to April 2017.
That’s triple the number of ships that stopped in Qatar during the last season. At that time, some 4,000 tourist visas were issued to cruise passengers.
But how many tourists will enter Qatar during the upcoming season remains unclear.
QTA previously told Doha News that the 32 ships will carry 50,000 passengers. But not all of them will choose to disembark.
Some of this season’s mega-ships are also expected to dock in Qatar’s new, much larger Hamad Port.
And by the middle of next year, the Doha Port off of the Corniche will officially begin its redevelopment into a cruise terminal and tourism destination.