For a start, there’s the landscape. Dramatic limestone cliffs leading down to beautiful coves with red-gold sand and crystalline waters. Inland you’ll find terraced fields and soaring hills. It’s easy to find a spot to relax.
Then, there’s the history. The archipelago has been inhabited since 5900 BC, and you’ll find fascinating prehistoric sites all over the two largest islands, Malta and Gozo. Maltese culture is a unique blend of European, Middle Eastern and African influences, which is reflected in their food and architecture.
Popular Ports in Malta
All liners that cruise Malta dock up in the diminutive capital city of Valetta, which occupies less than a square mile of space on a small peninsula. Built in the 16th century by the Knights of St John, this gorgeous city is a UNESCO world heritage site, rich in history.
Visit St John’s Cathedral, a fascinating example of Baroque architecture. Stroll through the archways and greenery of the Upper Barrakka gardens, which overlook the ocean. Take time out to enjoy some traditional Maltese cuisine, such as rabbit stew.
As well as its rich history, Valletta also lives for the present moment. It was named European Capital of Culture in 2018 and offers an outstanding array of visual art shows, music performances and community event.
Most cruise liners stop only in Valletta, but several make a stop at Mġarr on the island of Gozo. This picturesque harbour town, with its clear waters and honey-coloured houses, is well worth a visit.
The forested hilltop above the town is dominated by the ramparts of Fort Chambray, built in the 18th century. The beautiful Ghajnsielem Parish Church is also worth a visit. But one of the town’s most popular attractions are the restaurants that line the harbour, serving delicious fresh seafood.
The next bay along from Mġarr is Ix-Xatt l-Aħmar, or ‘red beach’, so named for its red-tinted sand. This secluded cove is often quiet, making it a perfect sunbathing spot. But it’s also popular with scuba divers due to the shipwreck sunk just offshore. Several local companies offer trips.
What are the best cruise ships for a Malta cruise?
Malta sees less cruise traffic than other Mediterranean destinations, such as Spain and Fr
ance. Even so, you can still experience this off-the-beaten-track destination in comfort and style.
The Marella Celebration is one of the smaller ships on the Marella Cruise fleet, offering an intimate yet luxurious cruising experience. Begin your stay in The Oceans Beauty Salon and Spa, a two-storey spa that offers massages and other treatments to help you unwind, and continue by lounging at the outdoor pool. There’s a separate pool for children, and a Kid’s Club to keep them entertained. When it comes to dinner there’s no shorta
ge of choice, with six delectable restaurants to choose from.
The Jewel of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International’s ship, The Jewel of the Seas, will take you to Malta in style. This 10-storey ship has walls and elevators paved with glass, meaning that many private cabins and public areas have spectacular sea views. The ship offers lots of sporting activities, including a running track and a rock climbing wall. But it’s also a great place to relax, with a spa and a fantastic selection of restaurants.
Shore Excursion Ideas
There are so many things to do in Malta, from cultural outings to watersports. Here’s a list of shore excursions you’re bound to love.
Three Islands Tour
If you’re travelling with Marella Cruises and want to skip the coach tours for something a little more exciting, take this exciting tour of three islands. You’ll begin with an adrenaline-fuelled power boat trip around Malta’s east cove and over to the island of Comino. The Santa Maria Caves, which surround an amazing blue lagoon, are the star attraction here. From there it’s over to Mġarr Harbour, where you’ll climb aboard a 4×4 and go on a sightse
eing tour across the island. The tour ends at Hondoq Bay, one of Gozo’s most beautiful beaches.
Marsaxlokk and Blue Grotto Tour
This popular shore excursion takes you on a tour of Malta’s beautiful southern coast. You’ll drive to Marsaxlokk, the island’s largest fishing village, with a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured boats in the harbour. You’ll also
take a boat trip to the Blue Grotto, accessible only by sea, to marvel at the deep blue waters and amazing limestone formations.
Swim with dolphins
This once-in-a-lifetime activity is definitely one to be ticking off your bucket list. It takes place at the Mediterraneo Marine Park in Valletta. You’ll learn all about the dolphins and how to interact with them. Then you’ll be able to get into the water and spend time with these amazing animals.