JO KESSEL: How I lived the high life aboard England WAGs’ floating palace


It’s hard to tell which twinkles more at night – Doha’s skyline or the £1billion new cruise ship docked opposite waiting for the World Cup Wags to arrive.

What is clear is that the 6,774-passenger MSC World Europa will be just the job when the wives and girlfriends of Gareth Southgate’s England squad arrive this week.

The Daily Mail has already given a sneak preview of HMS Wag, as the ship has been dubbed. Now we get to sample the sort of delights they can enjoy.

‘It’s our biggest, shiniest and most bling ship,’ says Bernhard Stacher, MSC’s vice-president of global hotel operations.

The ship, which has been chartered by Qatar for the duration of the World Cup, has 22,000 Swarovski crystals in its showcase central chandelier, while another 8,000 sparkle from a sweeping staircase in the Yacht Club, a private enclave reserved for guests of the floating palace’s 152 poshest suites.

The Daily Mail has already given a sneak preview of HMS Wag, as the ship has been dubbed. Now we get to sample the sort of delights they can enjoy

The 6,774-passenger MSC World Europa will be just the job when the wives and girlfriends of Gareth Southgate's England squad arrive this week

The 6,774-passenger MSC World Europa will be just the job when the wives and girlfriends of Gareth Southgate’s England squad arrive this week

Reporter Jo Kessel poses at the glamorous champagne bar on MSC World Europa, where £400 bottles of Armand de Brignac bubbly await

Reporter Jo Kessel poses at the glamorous champagne bar on MSC World Europa, where £400 bottles of Armand de Brignac bubbly await

Another attraction is Venom Drop – the longest dry slide at sea, which twists helter-skelter-style as it plunges 11 decks

Another attraction is Venom Drop – the longest dry slide at sea, which twists helter-skelter-style as it plunges 11 decks

With exclusive access to a VIP lounge, restaurant, pool and grill, it is the obvious choice for the glamorous England entourage.

Yacht Club suites offer a personalised service with a round-the-clock butler. ‘All guests need to do is to show up – we do everything else,’ says Yacht Club director Cristian Comirla as he shows me MSC’s most opulent accommodation – one of two 104 square-yard Owner’s Suites at the front of the ship – for at least £5,459 per person a week.

If this has been booked by Jack Grealish’s girlfriend Sasha Attwood, she’ll have the same view as the captain – as well as a lounge four times bigger than a regular cabin. Better still, there’s a hot tub on the balcony roomy enough for her and several other Wags.

There’s lots to lure Wags out of the Yacht Club. If Charlotte Trippier – wife of Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier – is looking for tasty treats, I recommend that she asks the butler to book her into the Kaito Sushi Bar and the Chef’s Garden Kitchen to order the glazed beef short rib with cauliflower puree and check out the first ocean-going hydroponic garden, which grows without soil.

If this has been booked by Jack Grealish's girlfriend Sasha Attwood, she'll have the same view as the captain – as well as a lounge four times bigger than a regular cabin

If this has been booked by Jack Grealish’s girlfriend Sasha Attwood, she’ll have the same view as the captain – as well as a lounge four times bigger than a regular cabin

The ship has been chartered by Qatar for the duration of the World Cup in Doha, Qatar and will host the England squad's partners

The ship has been chartered by Qatar for the duration of the World Cup in Doha, Qatar and will host the England squad’s partners

Another attraction is Venom Drop – the longest dry slide at sea, which twists helter-skelter-style as it plunges 11 decks. Perhaps Kyle Walker’s wife Annie is brave enough to give it a go.

From the bottom of the slide you can see across to Stadium 974, a football ground built out of 974 shipping containers, which will be dismantled after the tournament.

Games will be shown live on the big screen in MSC World Europa’s English pub, Masters of the Sea, where the alcohol flows freely as the ship isn’t subject to Qatar’s rules. At the glamorous champagne bar, £400 bottles of Armand de Brignac bubbly await.

And what about the spa? After soaking in MSC’s largest thermal jacuzzi, the Wags can cool off in a snow room – a chilled space in every sense of the word.

If Charlotte Trippier – wife of Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier – is looking for tasty treats, I recommend that she asks the butler to book her into the Kaito Sushi Bar and the Chef's Garden Kitchen. Pictured at Pride of Britain Awards 2022

If Charlotte Trippier – wife of Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier – is looking for tasty treats, I recommend that she asks the butler to book her into the Kaito Sushi Bar and the Chef’s Garden Kitchen. Pictured at Pride of Britain Awards 2022

The most popular products here are £140 bottles of Age Repair Miracle Drops, said to be good for reducing wrinkles.

‘These can be used from age 30 onwards as a preventative,’ the facialist tells me. If money were no object I’d snap them up – as well as a £3,100 Salvatore Ferragamo bag from the ship’s luxury accessories shop and a £22,000 Effy ring with a rare yellow diamond from its jewellery store.

HMS Wag is sure to be more fun than the alcohol-free, out-of-town Souq Al Wakra Hotel where England’s 26-man squad will stay.

If the boys lose, the girls will still have a great time – and if they win, MSC World Europa is the place to celebrate. There’s even a £60,000, 18-carat gold Hublot timepiece in its World of Watches shop to make the perfect blingy reward for England captain Harry Kane.

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