Malta is ideal for anyone wanting to embark on a Mediterranean Cruise, choosing either an Eastern or a Western itinerary depending on the Cruise Liner of choice. With its excellent flight connections to Dubai from Malta International Airport, the Cruise Terminal is just 20 minutes drive away from the airport. There are daily flights from Dubai with Emirates Airlines with comfortable timings for your arrival time in Malta to enjoy taking in the History & Culture of this Mediterranean gem. Alternatively, you can fly out of the Gulf and Middle East region to a European airport such as Rome, Frankfurt, Paris, Munich, Amsterdam and many others using major airlines that offer code share options, or direct flights to Malta on the national carrier, Air Malta.
Throughout history, up until some decades ago, most commercial and social activities in Malta were centred around the Grand Harbour. The Cruise Terminal situated at the Valletta Waterfront and it welcomes a substantial number of cruise ships a year, whether as port of calls, turnarounds or home porting operations.
The Maltese Islands is the ideal pre or post Cruise destination for those wishing to enjoy a couple of historic and cultural sights. With affordable accommodation in a variety of star classes, self-catering or boutique hotels, both Malta and Gozo have more to offer in heritage, culture and experiences across their 316sq km than any other ‘country’ of its size. With a good public transport system, several taxi companies and self-drive companies offering vehicles to rent, there will hardly be a stone that is left unturned when you begin to explore the countless possibilities that await you here. 7000 years of history will take you across both islands, visiting our group of UNESCO World Heritage Temples and our UNESCO World Heritage Hypogeum underground temple.
With the Liners all arriving in the Grand Harbour, the UNESCO World Heritage City of Valletta is literally ‘up the road’. One can either take a leisurely stroll from the terminal up to the City Gate, or hop in to the public elevator beneath the imposing bastions and massive rock face that form the foundations of this European Capital of Culture 2018. If you only have one day to enjoy the Maltese Islands, without a doubt it is a priority to visit St John’s Co Cathedral in the centre of Valletta. Do not let the humble exterior fool you. This baroque cathedral holds unparalleled beauty and indescribable beauty within its walls. Shrouded in the memory of the days of the Knights of St John, its sacred floor is covered with the grave markings of many a gallant gent or priest that served the Grand Masters loyally. Deep underneath the Cathedral in the crypt lies the tomb of the most infamous Grandmaster of all, Jean de Valette, who led the Knights to victory in the 1565 Great Siege against the Ottomans. To top it all off, the museum holds the only signed painting known to date, by the artist Caravaggio – the beheading of St John the Baptist.
The Grand Harbour is the largest European natural harbor, in itself already a beautiful sight to see, with the infamous Three Cities on the opposite side of this haven, welcoming you to cross over in one of the traditional Maltese Dghajsa’s, and take in the wonders of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua.
If you happen to be in Malta in October, this Grand Harbour is the start line to the Rolex Middle Sea Race, an annual event that draws the world’s finest and hardiest professional and amateur sailors, to circumnavigate the middle of the Mediterranean on a tough 700 nautical mile offshore Classic.
Before or after your Cruise, you can indulge in the local cuisine, fresh produce and variety of fish, poultry and other dishes served to your heart’s delight. The old fishing village of Marsaxlokk is notorious for restaurants that serve up freshly caught fish in delectable ways. Local wines are the way to go if you wish to sample sun kissed grapes carefully grown on the hills of Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Gozo is the home to the seductress Calypso, a nymph that captivated the heart of Ulysses in Homer’s The Odyssey. But a word of warning, you may not want to leave here once you have been wooed by the magical touch of this sultry romantic island.