A charter of record-breaking sailing ship Golden Horizon as a floating hotel for World Cup fans in Qatar has been called off.
Owners Brodosplit said the contract had been cancelled ‘due to non-payment’.
The world’s largest square rigger was due to be a spectacular sight as the football tournament kicked off in Doha.
The plan was announced in August by the Croatian Business Council, promising ‘first-class service, top-notch dining, and elegant cabins, all with a sea view as part of the luxurious experience on board. Golden Horizon will be docked in a premium location in the heart of Doha Port.’
Mario Lozančić, president of the council, said in Qatar: ‘This project is a testament to a great relationship between our two countries and we hope that this will only serve to strengthen our bilateral ties.’
Fans were offered packages for the Group Stage, Final 16, Semi-Final and Final or the full 31-day tournament.
Golden Horizon was due to set sail on October 21 and arrive in Doha four days before the tournament starts on November 20.
But a spokesman for Croatian yard Brodosplit, which built the ship, told me: ‘The charter for the World Cup has been cancelled due to non-payment of the contract.’
The CBC has been approached for comment.
Football fans will still be able to use other floating hotels for the event – MSC Cruises is sending its newest ship, MSC World Europa, to Qatar, alongside MSC Opera and MSC Poesia.
The news about Golden Horizon is the latest twist in the chequered history of the ship, which has been put up for sale for £100million. The website of operators Tradewind Voyages, based in the English county of Suffolk, simply declares: ‘2022 and 2023 voyages are now paused’. Most links about the ship and its voyages now go to: ‘Page not found’.