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£13 pints, £43 lunches and a roller skate rink: On board HMS WAG, Qatar’s World Cup cruise ship

Alcohol could also be banned in stadiums within the 2022 World Cup, however the Masters of the Sea pub is one place in Qatar the place the drinks are flowing. The pub is on board the MSC World Europa cruise liner, the bottom for the England help crew of wives, girlfriends and household. It’s designed to seem like a standard British boozer – darkish interiors, picket staircases and carpets, televisions taking part in the England matches – and friends are flocking there, in keeping with Sarah*, who’s staying on the ship together with her household for the subsequent few weeks.

That is the place spirits are highest, says Sarah, although she smarts on the label given to the boat by sure media: the “WAG Booze Cruise”. It’s the males, she says, who’re doing the consuming.

You are reading: £13 pints, £43 lunches and a roller skate rink: On board HMS WAG, Qatar’s World Cup cruise ship

“The ladies aren’t getting drunk. It’s solely sure teams of males from what I’ve seen. There are a great deal of males on board this cruise; it’s about 70 per cent males, 30 per cent girls. And the lads are all getting actually drunk.”

(Photo: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
‘Essentially the most annoying factor is the bizarre [food] system,’ says Sarah (Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)

On one explicit night, Sarah was strolling on the boat and located “one [British] man simply splattered on the ground in one of many lifts.”

The environment may be “rowdy”, she says. That is regardless of costs being excessive. “It’s about €15 (£13) for a pint, however no one appears to care. Persons are clearly fairly properly off. Or in the event that they aren’t properly off, they’re spending like one thing [has] gone mistaken.”

There’s even one bar obtainable 24 hours a day, although Qatar’s strict anti-gambling legal guidelines imply the boat’s on-board on line casino has remained firmly shut.

The MSC World Europa cruise liner value a reported £1bn to construct. During the soccer match it will likely be docked in Doha’s previous harbour – about 10 miles from the place the England soccer crew are staying – as a base for the intensive help networks who’ve adopted the squad to the Center East.

Visitors embody Raheem Sterling’s girlfriend, Paige Milian, Aaron Ramsdale’s fiancée Georgina Irwin, and Tolami Benson, girlfriend of Bukayo Saka.

Earlier than Sarah arrived on 20 November she had by no means been on a cruise, however had heard rumours about what it will be like – with a looping water slide that stands 11 decks excessive; a water park; shopping center; 7,000 different passengers; high-end eating places and friends getting dressed up for each meal.

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“To be sincere I assumed it was going to be a bit a lot,” she says, however having deliberate the journey for months, she was not deterred from attending. “It’s so completely different from what I assumed.”

The very first thing Sarah observed when she received on board the ship was the cleanliness: the interiors (together with installations of plastic dolphins and whales that gentle up the ceiling) had been glowing.

And she or he was greatly surprised by the sheer scale of every part. “The cruise ship itself is huge. It appears like hardly anybody is on it as a result of it’s so large,” Sarah says.

The liner has greater than 5,000 cabins, however the variety of passengers seems comparatively sparse, with lots of of empty deck chairs on the higher decks.

“I used to be apprehensive we must rush for a solar lounger within the morning,” Sarash says, including, “I assumed it was going to be like a metropolis nevertheless it’s not.”

Against this, the cabins are surprisingly small, she says. Rooms are priced upwards of £300 an evening, reaching £6,000 for the VIP suites.

Every cabin has a double mattress, tv and ensuite. Some have a balcony. Sarah thought her room can be fancier: “To be sincere, they don’t seem to be fancy in any respect. They’re like normal cabins. I used to be talking to 1 footballer’s accomplice who has children, and she or he is in an internal cabin with simply this tiny window.”

(Photo: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
The cruise liner has over 5000 cabins (Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)

And – as is likely to be anticipated for soccer royalty – safety is tight. “They examine your stuff everytime you get on or off for matches or if you wish to go for a stroll across the harbour. You’ll be able to’t go in regards to the cruise with out your safety move. They examine it on a regular basis,” she says.

Since their arrival, Sarah and her household have primarily spent their time curler skating and within the luxurious scorching tub on the higher deck. However there may be one factor she nonetheless wants to go to: the mega slide (the existence of which turned out to be extra than simply rumours).

“My mum was watching one man get down it the opposite day, however he saved stopping,” she laughs. “I believe the slide may be very gradual.”

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At mealtimes, friends will not be wanting choices: Mexican, Japanese and Italian, espresso retailers and steak homes. Sarah and her household selected to not go all-inclusive, one thing she now regrets.

“Essentially the most annoying factor is the bizarre [food] system. If you happen to’re not all-inclusive, you get breakfast offered for, however then each meal after that’s both €50 for lunch, or then €60 for dinner, and also you get just a few hours by which you get a drink included in that,” she says.

Sarah had anticipated night occasions on board to be just a little swankier – she has introduced alongside a lot of lengthy summer season clothes – however she says it’s way more laid again.

“I assumed it was going to be very excessive finish however really it simply appears very regular. There are many children having enjoyable within the play areas. A great deal of completely different age teams,” she says.

Largely, she has loved the expertise thus far. “There are employees in all places and they’re so good,” she says. “Everyone seems to be so useful. When you’re having dinner, there’s about 5 ready employees to 1 particular person which is usually a bit intense. You’ll be able to inform the cruise needs to deal with all of the friends like VIPs.”

(Photo: Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The MSC World Europa cruise liner value a reported £1bn to construct (Photograph: Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Company)

Sarah says the cruise isn’t actually about glamour, as she had anticipated – however about soccer. “There are followers from completely in all places and everyone seems to be making buddies,” she says.

“My mum was having a espresso on her personal and a few Saudi males stated she may sit with them, so she did, they usually had a beautiful time chatting. Seems one among their son’s goes to Leeds College”.

And the environment after a match is sweet. “If you happen to stumble upon an England fan, they’ll all the time say whats up,” she says. There’s loads of mixing between nations, too. “We sat with Iran on the England recreation. It’s so social.”

Regardless of being greater than 4,000 miles away from residence, dwelling on a mega-boat with £13 pints and lots of of different soccer households – whose pleasure and enthusiasm for his or her environment presumably hangs on England persevering with to win matches – Sarah feels optimistic in regards to the uncommon vacation.

“It appears like you’re surrounded by regular folks, I find it irresistible”. However she is there for just a few extra weeks but, there may be loads of time for cabin fever to set in.


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