Valletta Cruise Port, Malta is welcoming Viking on a number of sailings in the Mediterranean with Viking Sea and Viking Venus regularly homeporting in the Maltese UNESCO port-city this summer. Both ships are sailing three new itineraries roundtrip from Valletta, offered as part of Viking’s ‘Welcome Back’ collection for vaccinated guests.
The new voyages include the 11-day Malta & the Adriatic Jewels, the 11-day Malta & Greek Isles Discovery and the 21-day Malta, the Adriatic & Greece itineraries.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Viking, esteemed guests and crew on a regular basis this summer. Viking’s, well-travelled guests are also experiencing our Islands’ 7,000 years of history and culture on pre- and post-cruise stays. Their savviness is the ultimate stamp for Valletta’s cruise industry. We are thankful for Viking’s trust in what team Malta can offer,” commented Stephen Xuereb, COO of Global Ports Holding and CEO of Valletta Cruise Port.
Despite the pause in cruise ship operations until August 2020, Maltese stakeholders worked tirelessly on a number of initiatives, with local authorities and partners working together on ‘COVID-19 Cruise Operations Guidelines for a Safe Continuation of Cruising in Valletta’ with the aim of facilitating operations in this transitional phase. It is thanks to the collaboration and effort by, the Ministry of Tourism, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Malta International Airport the Health Authorities and local agents that this operation can materialize.
Ivan Mifsud, Managing Director of Mifsud Brothers Ltd. stated “I cannot deny that this was perhaps, the toughest challenge in my career, but with patience and perseverance together with outstanding teamwork by all the stakeholders, we made it happen. And importantly, it gave us the opportunity to showcase Malta and Gozo as a fascinating cultural destination to the American curious traveller, in a very effective way, thanks to the marketing clout of Viking.”
Viking has also partnered with Lufthansa to offer non-stop charter flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Malta for a number of turnarounds. The first direct flight started on the 31st July utilizing an Airbus A350.
“We are delighted that Viking’s operation will bring the Maltese islands and their very diverse offering closer to the American market at a time when the demand for travel is gradually recovering. Beyond crystal-clear waters, a mix of rocky and sandy beaches and good year-round weather which make Malta quintessentially Mediterranean, the island’s impressive history, culture, eclectic architecture and hospitable locals give it a unique character which we are confident will delight our American visitors,” said Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg.
In June the Maltese government eased rules for the arrival of international travellers – and now allows fully vaccinated Americans with CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards to arrive in the country. Additionally, the U.S.’s CDC announced it has eased travel recommendations for 110 countries and territories. As part of the new recommendations, the CDC ranked Malta as ‘Level 1’ or the lowest for risk of COVID-19.