Sorry if ever we missed replying to some of the questions from our recent posts about the cruise ship experience. We received lots of inquiries about our day tour at the MSC World Europa during the weekend and in lieu of the usual vlog which could take time to edit, we decided to drop a blog post instead.
How many of you can be as impulsive as we are in terms of “experience” buying (trips, hotels, buffet, etc) more than the usual product sale? The moment we saw this post from Discover Qatar, we immediately said we have to be there as soon as possible. Couldn’t think of a better plan for Jasmine’s birthday so we thought this could just be the perfect one for us… as always, a family getaway just for the three of us (insert Kuya Johann).
The booking is very simple:
- Just go to https://www.discoverqatar.qa/msc-cruise-ship-day-visit-pass/overview
- Choose the date
- Select your preferred ship (Word Europa or Poesia – descriptions are on the overview, make sure to read the inclusions as well to manage your expectations – in our case we chose MSC WORLD EUROPA, the biggest of the two ships)
- Indicate how many guests (adults QR182, Jasmine only paid QR99)
- BOOK online
- Fill out the passenger details (we used QID as our ID reference but they kept asking for the passport during the check-in so better bring both)
- Then pay online
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Day access to MSC World Europa or MSC Poesia (from 12noon to 2am)
- Access to all public facilities and attractions onboard (yes, FIFA Matches are also streamed live at the main pool deck on the 18th Floor)
- A variety of dining options (buffet and ala carte restaurants are available,different cuisines available)
- Day access pass (note: no room included here, but since we are the inquisitive type and we know that there are lots of activities and shows onboard, we immediately checked the digital board for schedules to manage our schedules: when to swim, when to watch FIFA matches, when to eat, and when to roam around/watch shows if any.)
- Hayya card to be applied for independently
- Food and drinks payable onboard (charged separately, it was not mentioned online but you will be asked to load at least 200 euro on one of your cruise cards to be used for all your expenses on-board, no other credit card allowed. While you can still do a top-up inside (in case you need more euro to spend), the unconsumed amount will be returned to your card after you disembark)
- Anything else that is not expressly mentioned above in Inclusions
GOING TO GRAND CRUISE TERMINAL
It is always our habit to check on location and access before going to any place. Especially now that the FIFA tournament is ongoing, accessibility has become limited. We were told that the only way to get to the port is through the Cruise Terminal bus (originating from the Al Ghanim Bus Station in Al Fardan Souq) and any UBER car with sticker.
Security is quite strict from the check-in area, which is a good thing (food MAY not be allowed since they are sold on-board). If you don’t want to be rushed, you may want to come a few minutes earlier than the 12noon check-in time.
NAVIGATING OUR WAY INSIDE THE SHIP
Guests are free to roam around the ship (public places from 6-7-8 floors to 18 & 19 floors), and check out different shops, restaurants, games arcade, and open areas like the scenic Panorama Lounge and the pool deck area. You will be on your own most of the time but assistance is always available (just ask any MSC staff for directions and other questions).
The most ideal place to stay for day pass holders is the poolside. Since MSC World Europa has 7 swimming pools spread across the ship, including one with a sliding roof, there’s always space to relax by the water and pool deck.
We chose to stay at the Botanic Garden lounge (indoor and cozier). It also leads to the main pool deck area. Towels are provided upon request at the TOWEL AREA (just present your cruise card). We noticed that the water is a bit cold (not temperature controlled), but there are jacuzzi for those who wants it a bit warm.
The only thing that we have to note is that while there are shower areas around the pool areas, there is no place to rinse with soap after swimming (unless you can do it on some partially covered shower like that on the Botanic Pool). But there are lots of bathrooms where you can freshen up and change clothes comfortably.
There’s also lots of activities onboard. Choose from amenity areas where kids can play for free (for day pass holders – parents are required to stay), different arcades (pay for play – around 1 euro to 2 euros per game only), and also shows that you can watch from light shows (which we missed because of exciting FIFA matches), to “broadway-type” shows (schedules are on the digital monitors around the ship).
EXTRA || We suggest you take heavy lunch before going to the port so you will only spend on afternoon snacks, if necessary. The Botanic Garden Pool also have vendo machines for snacks (payment thru your cruise card) and also a charging station (free).
Lunch buffet is priced at 50 euro/pax served from 12:00 to 4:30pm unlimited food and drinks on their 18th floor restaurant. Dinner buffet is at 60 euro/pax for a buffet which can be consumed either inside the restaurant or at the pool area while watching the FIFA matches (served from 6:00pm to 10:30pm). For beer drinkers – this unlimited food and drinks package is definitely a steal! Otherwise, if you prefer a specific cuisine, you can use your lunch or dinner ticket to any ala carte restaurants inside the ship.
Overall, it was a very memorable experience. It’s not as expensive as we thought it would be, but it can get really expensive depends on your consumption behaviour (if you include shopping, arcades, and more food and drinks). I mentioned earlier some tips on how to save, but it’s up to you to plan ahead and spend your euros wisely (1Euro = 3.75 Qar). And just like other travel experience, expect to shell out money to make it even more memorable.
It’s not often that we get to experience this in Doha. After FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the ships are expected to resume their normal cruise operations in the Middle East and a day pass may not happen again soon. We are also very fortunate to meet few FILIPINO CREWS on-board and they are just so fun to talk to (like missing a long lost relative, they want to assist you with almost everything).
If this is your thing, I would definitely recommend you guys to give this a try. Also, if you’re a FIFA World Cup ticket holder, and you’re planning to go with a family of 3, you may want to consider and compare the cost of staying overnight and experience the ship longer.
WATCH OUT FOR OUR REELS TO BE POSTED ON INSTAGRAM IN THE COMING DAYS!
BLOGGER’S REQUEST: Please consider this a personal request which I hope would not be taken negatively. You know we really appreciate all your LIKES, COMMENTS and REACTIONS on our posts. And I wish people will really see that there’s lots of you reading my blog or social media posts (right now people just see it and asks questions without liking and simply sending private messages). Your SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENTS help our post to be suggested by Facebook or Instagram to wider audience and expand its reach. I trully appreciate any and all types of questions – I’m always “game” in answering it especially we know it will help you plan out your activities as well. So maybe, instead of sending PRIVATE MESSAGES, it would be helpful to me if you can COMMENT ON THE POST ITSELF so our answers can be seen by other readers and avoid repetition as well. I know that you always find it a safe place to ask questions with me in private – I am sincerely delighted and my heart flutters. I hope you can still feel comfortable to ask questions even on public.
ALL EXPERIENCES SHARED HERE ARE OUR OWN. IN CASE THERE ARE ITEMS I FORGOT TO MENTION HERE, ASK ME ANYTHING RELATED TO THE EXPERIENCE IN THE COMMENT SECTION, AND LET’S MAKE THIS AN INFORMATIVE PLATFORM (NOT EXCLUSIVE) BUT FOR EVERYBODY.
Thank you and we love you all, our BLQ-adas!