Malta’s location in the centre of the Mediterranean has for centuries been established as an important port for call. Its natural harbours and experienced sailors have been used and taken advantage of from prehistory to date. In fact, over the past years, cruise liners have included Malta as one of the top destinations in Europe, visiting all year round, so much so that Malta has been awarded the Seatrade Insider Award for 2008 as being the Destination of the Year.
The imposing historical bastions that enclose the harbour are the first scene to be taken in by passengers. This scene has welcomed over 250 cruise ships a year, and over 400,000 passengers all eager to come ashore and explore our beautiful Maltese island, if only for a day. The Grand Harbour is Europe’s largest natural harbor and welcomes a large number of cruise ships as a port of call, turnarounds, as well as home porting. Today, the Valletta Port is one of the top ten cruise ports in the Western Mediterranean Region.
Valletta – Capital city of Malta
Whereas some city centres are often located miles away from the port and thus require a substantial amount of travelling time, Malta’s capital city Valletta is within walking distance of the Valletta waterfront, allowing for the passengers to explore at ease! Valletta is UNESCO world heritage site and a centre of theatre, history, café life, wine bars and shopping. If you do not intend to walk to the centre, the new Valletta Waterfront Cruise terminal is itself a one-stop shop whereby cruise ships and their passengers can find all their needs catered to; check-in and baggage facilities, porterage, tax-free shopping, a tourist information service, food and beverage facilities, retail facilities, taxi services, and a public bus service.
Thanks to Malta’s small size a lot can be seen when stopping over by cruise liner. Visitors can book a range of guided tours to the three cities (Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua), Valletta, the Medieval “silent city” of Mdina or the prehistoric temples. One can also visit the Crafts Village in Ta’ Qali. If the stop over allows for a full day trip, visitors can also experience the small tranquil sister island of Gozo. Many cruise visitors are often so impressed with Malta that within a few months they come back for a longer stay in order to explore the Maltese culture and way of life.
When the cruise begins or ends in Malta, it would be a great idea to stay for a few days in a central Hotel in Malta in order to explore what the islands have to offer. The Maltese Islands offer a great selection of 5-star and 4-star hotels, not to mention varied shopping facilities, wide-ranging cuisine, historical sites and archaeology, spa and sporting facilities, as well as ample entertainment options and nightlife.