Before summer 2021, Valletta Cruise Port estimated it would accept 120 cruise calls in Q3 and Q4.
“Together with local authorities and partners, the Valletta Cruise Port worked on ‘A safe continuation of cruising in Valletta’ guidelines with the aim of facilitating operations in this important transitional phase. The guideline document establishes, embodies and merges Valletta Cruise Port’s operational plans, procedures and guidelines with cruise line protocols to ascertain the safe continuation of cruising,” COO of Global Ports Holding and CEO of Valletta Cruise Port, Stephen Xuereb, told Cruise Industry News.
“The compilation of these guidelines is based on the results of facility assessments within the context of recent and current regional events brought about by the pandemic. Cruise calls to Malta must embody these guidelines,” he added.
Valletta Cruise Port is supporting the development of a shoreside electricity infrastructure project in Valletta’s Grand Harbor. The project is spearheaded by Infrastructure Malta, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects and Transport Malta, Xuereb said.
The project includes an investment to provide shore power on the five main cruise ship quays of the Grand Harbour by the end of 2023.
“The Grand Harbour is not just a passenger port; it is a multi-use destination. It is home to many residents, the workplace of many others and a place of relaxation for locals and tourists alike. There are age-old historical sites, walking promenades, entertainment zones, office buildings and even beaches in this strategic port,” Xuereb noted. “Such a project will help fulfill International and European objectives: MARPOL Annex VI, Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), Noise Emissions (WHO), Directive 2012/33/EU, Directive 2014/94/EU, Blue Growth Strategy.”
According to him, Valletta’s Grand Harbour will be “one of the European leaders in shore supply provision” for cruise ships with an investment of 49.9 million euros. Work commenced in November 2020 and is ongoing on a number of quays.
Xuereb said that the months Valletta port was out of business because of the pandemic served as a “time to further invest in projects to further enhance the appearance of this iconic Maltese destination.”
“Works on the canopies along the Valletta Waterfront respecting the historic fabric of the Valletta Waterfront promenade with its 19 historical 270-year-old warehouses started in July 2020,” he explained.
Xuereb said that Valletta started preparing for the pandemic in January 2020, “at the first sightings of the pandemic.” In summer 2020, Valletta Cruise Port was awarded the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council.