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Other Mediterranean Ports Dubrovnik, Gibraltar, Istanbul, Kotor, Kusadasi, La Goulette (Tunis), Lisbon, Madeira (Funchal), Malta, Odessa, Sevastopol, Varna, Zadar

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  #1  
Old February 4th, 2009, 05:27 PM
mickeysgal mickeysgal is offline
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Default Malta. Did you enjoy this port?

I'll admit it. I know nothing about Malta. Have any of you stopped here on a cruise? What did you enjoy? What didn't you enjoy? Any recommendations?
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  #2  
Old February 4th, 2009, 05:43 PM
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I'll admit it. I know nothing about Malta. Have any of you stopped here on a cruise? What did you enjoy? What didn't you enjoy? Any recommendations?
Malta is a fabulous port. Make sure you get up early enough to see you ship come into Grand Harbor, it is a magnificent sight. There is so much to do in Malta, especially if you like art and history, that a day doesn't do it justice. I would recommend doing a private tour with your own driver. That way you will get to see much more, and can tailor the tour to your preferences. Private drivers are not really expensive, especially if there are 4 of you to a car. The 'must sees' are a very personal matter, I lived there for 6 years and didn't see everything. Nowadays, when I go back on a cruise I always try to see Valetta and St John's co-cathedral, the Mosta Dome, Mdina, one of the Neolithic temples (Mnadra and Hagar Qim are my favorites, but Tarxien is good too), if its summer the Blue Grotto is fun in the early AM, not as good as Capri tho. There is a Roman Villa near Mdina, catacombs in Rabat, and if you are interested in World War 2 history, plenty of that to see too, especially across the harbor in the 3 cities.

I do hope you chose to go there, it is a magical place, even for one day. My only caveat is that the driving tends to be a bit random at times!
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Old February 4th, 2009, 08:16 PM
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Malta is breathtaking!!! Coming into the harbor is unbelievable. We were on the Millennium in 2000 and Malta was added to our itinerary. I was not happy as it took a sea day away from us. Anyway, the morning of our arrival I woke, opened the draperies and gasped! It was so beautiful I cried. My husband bolted up in bed because he thought something was wrong. The white cliffs, the blue sea. And the history is fascinating. A wonderful port.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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Malta is beautiful! As everyone else said, sail-in and sail-away are breathtaking! So much to see and do, we had a private tour for 8 - Mdina, fishing village (Marsaloxx - had fish that was caught the hour before!), one of the Neolithic temple sites, Upper Gardens and St. John's Co-cathedral.. Malta is very clean, and the people very friendly.
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  #5  
Old February 4th, 2009, 10:45 PM
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Default Loved Malta

Not to be redundant but Valetta was great and what little we saw of the outlying areas were equally and pleasantly surprising. Great contrast: historical town yet modern and sophisticated people and stores. Add the Hypogeum to list the attractions already mentioned. Impressed enough that I hope to vacation on the islands in future.
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  #6  
Old February 5th, 2009, 09:36 AM
mickeysgal mickeysgal is offline
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Wow - I'm so surprised and happy to see the positive responses. It's not one of the standard ports (like Rome, Livorno, Naples, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, etc.) or at least not on the itineraries that I've been reviewing and I was hesitant about this one. Now based on these responses, I'm really looking forward to it.

Anyone else with any shore excursions to recommend?
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  #7  
Old February 5th, 2009, 01:55 PM
wripro wripro is offline
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Go to a site called Touringmalta.com. It has great excursions and will tell you all about them. You can book through the site as well. I am using them this June.
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  #8  
Old February 5th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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I also signed up for the above mentioned tour guide. It was very inexpensive for the 10 of us compared to most other ports. Not leaving until August, so can't say how good they are.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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You will love Malta. I did not know anything about it (but my husband who is a history buff did) and we have a wonderful day. It was our favorite of the whole 19 days. We hired a private driver who was a wealth of knowledge. She know so much and could show us so much. And she know people everywhere including the mayor whom we ran across in our touring. There is a hyperceum (sp?) that has just opened and fascinating. You need tickets prior to the day of the tour so if you are interested, book it ahead of time.
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  #10  
Old February 5th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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We knew nothing about Malta before our cruise and were pleasantly surprised. We did a private shore excursion with Joan Sheridan and had a wonderful day. We went to the Terxian Temple, a fishing village for lunch, Mdina and Valletta.
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  #11  
Old February 5th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Malta was one of my favorite ports. We did a private tour (sorry I didn't arrange it and don't have details) that included the Hypogeum, which was fascinating.

http://www.heritagemalta.org/hypogeum.html
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Old February 10th, 2009, 04:13 PM
syesmar syesmar is offline
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Default Hop On Hop Off Buses

You might be interested to know that there are Hop On Hop Off buses in Malta (http://www.maltasightseeing.com/home.html). Representatives selling tickets were right as we came off the ship. We took the Blue Tour originating from Valetta (they amend their schedule a bit from the brochure for cruise passengers, or at least they did the day I was there). You can download their brochures for complete itineraries, but some of the stops included the Craft Centre, Mosta, Mdina (NOT TO BE MISSED), and St. Paul's Bay. I cannot say they will do the same for others, but for our group, they allowed us access to the Red Tour after our trip had ended so that we could have access to Malta without having to walk into town. Valetta is quite beautiful! I was pleasantly surprised from this port of call!

Shopping Tip: I found beautiful glass jewelry here for a fraction of the prices in Italy.
Planning Tip: We were there on a Saturday, and a number of the attractions in Valetta had already closed by the time our Blue Tour was over, so you may want to check out open/closing times and plan accordingly.

Last edited by syesmar; February 10th, 2009 at 04:14 PM.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syesmar View Post
You might be interested to know that there are Hop On Hop Off buses in Malta (http://www.maltasightseeing.com/home.html). Representatives selling tickets were right as we came off the ship. We took the Blue Tour originating from Valetta (they amend their schedule a bit from the brochure for cruise passengers, or at least they did the day I was there). You can download their brochures for complete itineraries, but some of the stops included the Craft Centre, Mosta, Mdina (NOT TO BE MISSED), and St. Paul's Bay. I cannot say they will do the same for others, but for our group, they allowed us access to the Red Tour after our trip had ended so that we could have access to Malta without having to walk into town. Valetta is quite beautiful! I was pleasantly surprised from this port of call!

Shopping Tip: I found beautiful glass jewelry here for a fraction of the prices in Italy.
Planning Tip: We were there on a Saturday, and a number of the attractions in Valetta had already closed by the time our Blue Tour was over, so you may want to check out open/closing times and plan accordingly.
This sounds like a good one to try. How long is the Blue Tour and the Red Tour? Just not sure if we have time to hop on and hop off the bus and see all the sites we want to see for both of these tours. Thanks!
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Old February 10th, 2009, 08:52 PM
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we simply walked...only weird thing was most of the stores close for the afternoon...even with a cruise ship in port for a limited time....lots to see and do in port
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Thanks for the info. Malta is close to the top of my list in 'want to visits' -now it is even closer to the top. Not certain if we want to go on a cruise, or spend more time there. Sounds first rate.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:47 PM
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Malta was my favorite Port on the 21 day cruise I just returned from! MOST unexpected.

The ship's captain darn near "commanded" us all to be topside for the sail in to Port. It was his favorite sail in and, as he promised, it was stunning!

I was so fortunate to have booked a private tour with Vince DeBono of
www.guideinmalta.com. It was 5000 years of history in one far too short afternoon. I regret I had neither paid much attention to this Port, nor studied it somewhat, before hand. Fortunately, Vince made up for that. Many, many sites in Malta pre-date the Pyramids by 1000 years! If you do plan a longer, land tour, I'd certainly contact him for direction as to how best to plan your stay.

Toured Valletta, M'dina, etc. & an ancient site he literally had a key for and unlocked for us. Fascinating to see and to speculate its purpose and use so MANY centuries ago.

I agree with the OP who said this Port deserves a full day port stay.

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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
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The ship's captain darn near "commanded" us all to be topside for the sail in to Port. It was his favorite sail in and, as he promised, it was stunning!
This post made me smile after a very long and trying day at work. Thank you!
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Old February 11th, 2009, 09:01 AM
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We loved our visit to Malta also. just returned from 21 days on the NCL Jade and it was our last port before returning to Barcelona. AMAZING day! I think everyone on the ship was up on the top deck when we entered port on a gorgeous early February morning. A group of 10 from our roll call had pre-purchased Hypogeum tickets for the 1PM slot and six of us took the city bus and the other four had a private driver for the day. AMAZING place! We found the city buses very easy to use and the locals extremely friendly and helpful. Many speak English well. Wish we had more time as we never got to see Mdina (I did buy some glass items from there, however). We covered all the high spots in Valletta, including the amazing co-Cathedrals, St. Paul's ship-wreck church, fort, and the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Unfortunately the Armory was closed when we went, so just saw the outside part.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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I would also be interested in how long each tour was if you didn't get off at any stops (which, of course, we would). Also, if doing only one, which would you recommend?
Thanks.
Ellen
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  #20  
Old February 11th, 2009, 01:58 PM
syesmar syesmar is offline
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Default Hop On Hop Off Times

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Originally Posted by In Toronto View Post
I would also be interested in how long each tour was if you didn't get off at any stops (which, of course, we would). Also, if doing only one, which would you recommend?
Thanks.
Ellen
The Blue Line, touring the Northern part of the island, was scheduled for 3 hours. For our cruise, the intervals b/t the next bus was less than 1 hour, which was an unexpected blessing. The buses were more like 15-30 minutes apart. I think they might add extra buses when cruise liners are in port, but I of course cannot guarantee the same for others. We got on about 9ish A.M., and were back by early afternoon. Even though we didn't get off at every stop, it was a fantastic way to see the northern part of the island. Our favorite stop was Mdina! It's a beautiful little walled city and boasts a nice panoramic view of the island. There are lots of shops, cafes, and multi-media presentations there.

I don't recall how long the scheduled time is for the Red Line, which covers Valletta and the Southern part of the island, but I'm pretty sure it was less than the 3 hours for the Blue. Our Cruise's Port Lecturer advised passengers to take this tour, but honestly, it just felt like the Blue Line was the better deal overall. A traveller in good shape will find it fine to walk around Valetta, as it is truly an enchanting city.

One thing I haven't yet mentioned is that buses in Valetta are older, both the public ones and the ones for the HOHO. I don't believe ours had air conditioning, but it was okay, even in August. The HoHo's will have headsets with information on a recording for the various parts of the island.

Here is their website: http://www.maltasightseeing.com/

If I were making a decision, I would take the Blue Line first thing in the morning, and come back and enjoy Valletta during the afternoon. The exception might be if it's a day when the Cathedral and attractions in Valetta close early (such as the Saturday I was there), then I would see those sights first, then take the Blue Tour, and return to Valletta in the afternoon.

Last edited by syesmar; February 11th, 2009 at 02:02 PM.
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