Costa Mediterranea arrived at Doha Port, marking the Italian cruise ship’s maiden voyage to Qatar, and bringing with it 3,700 passengers and crew to the country’s shores.

The mega ship was welcomed by Qatar government officials and by Italian Ambassador to Qatar, HE Pasquale Salzano.

Minister of Transport and Communications HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, said they are pleased to see Doha Port play a significant role in enhancing Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination.

The development of Doha Port is part of our ongoing effort to make Doha a unique and attractive tourist destination in the region. Dredging and drilling has recently begun to deepen the Port, enhancing its ability to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships.’

The minister pointed out the role of Mwani Qatar, the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and the other stakeholders, in providing world-class services, putting Doha as a turnaround port for future cruise seasons.

Costa Mediterrenea’s arrival follows the signing of an agreement between QNTC and Costa Cruises last September. According to the agreement Costa Cruises’ flagship Costa Diadema will arrive in Qatar 16 times during its 2019/20 programme, the first cruise line to make Doha its turnaround port. The MoU also paves the way for cooperation to build attractive packages and special services dedicated to Costa Cruises guests in addition to co-marketing efforts and familiarisation trips.

QNTC Secretary General HE Akbar Al Baker,  said they are delighted to welcome Costa Cruises – as both cruise ship and partner – to Qatar shores and they look forward to the cruise line being the first to make Doha Port a turnaround port next year.

Our collaboration with Costa Cruises is helping to expedite the development of the cruise industry in Qatar and Costa Mediterranea‘s arrival marks another step towards our target of 200,000 cruise visitors by 2020.

HE Pasquale Salzano said he is very proud to board today Costa Mediterranea on its maiden voyage to Qatar. According to him, the top-level technology and customer service of the mega cruise ship – similar to others in the Costa Fleet – are designed to meet the best of Italian innovation, lifestyle and engaging hospitality.

Qatar cruise tourismContinued Growth for Qatar’s Cruise Tourism Sector

In the first three months of the 2018/19 cruise season, Qatar witnessed a 129% and 136% increase in the numbers of cruise ships and visitors respectively, compared to the same period last year. December 2018 witnessed the highest arrivals this season with nine ship arrivals carrying a combined total of 29,000 visitors, representing a 150% increase on the same period last year.  The top three cruise visitor source markets are Mexico, Spain and Brazil, followed by Germany, Italy, UK, USA, Russia, Switzerland and Austria.

Qatar’s cruise industry is set for further growth in the coming years, with projections showing the arrival of 200,000 passengers by 2020, thanks to the port expansion that now allows Doha Port to welcome the mega ship, Doha Port is expected to receive more than one mega ship at the same time.

Cruise Visitor Satisfaction on the Rise

In a bid to further measure and enhance the cruise tourism visitor experience, QNTC began taking visitor satisfaction surveys since last season. Opinion polls and surveys carried out by QNTC show that cruise visitors’ overall satisfaction is at 94%, up from 92% in the same period last year. In addition, 95% of visitors said they would recommend Qatar as a destination to family and friends.

For more information about cruise tourism in Qatar, log on the QNTC website at