Starting from July Valletta Cruise Port will be the homeport base for Viking Cruises' Viking Venus and Viking Sea which will be sailing two different 11-day roundtrip itineraries in the Mediterranean for vaccinated guests.
This news was welcomed by the Maltese Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo. “The way Viking Cruises will be operating is a clear example of how tourism and public health can work well together. With this operation American tourists will be spending time on our Islands which will positively impact our local economy, 'commented Minister Bartolo.
Meanwhile Stephen Xuereb, COO of Global Ports Holding and CEO of Valletta Cruise Port commented, “Despite the pause in cruising operations it has been a busy time for us at Valletta Cruise Port where together with a number of stakeholders we worked tirelessly on a number of initiatives, including a project for developing shore-to-ship electricity infrastructure in the Grand Harbor. It is with satisfaction that Valletta Cruise Port obtained the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council, based on reinforced protocols. This process meant that Valletta Cruise Port was well prepared to welcome back the first cruise calls in August last year, with cruise calls ongoing weekly since then. Additionally, Valletta Cruise Port together with local authorities and partners has worked on COVID-19 Cruise Operations Guidelines for a Safe Continuation of Cruising in Valletta with the aim of facilitating operations in this transitional phase, with these operating guidelines having been approved earlier this year. It is thanks to such rigorous exercises that we are in a position to welcome such calls. Testing, reduced ship capacity, rigorous hygiene practices, social distancing and vaccination are some of the measures that will ensure continuity for the industry, and a pleasant, safe and enriching experience for guests into the future ”.
Valletta Cruise Port is looking forward to a stepped approach to operations where for the rest of the year it is estimated that it will welcome around 150,000 passenger movements on over 100 calls.
Moreover, Valletta Cruise is supporting a € 49.9 million initiative spearheaded by Infrastructure Malta and Transport Malta to develop shore-side electricity infrastructure. The first of this two-phased project includes a € 37 million investment to provide shore power on the five main cruise ship quays of the Grand Harbor by the end of 2023. Excavation works have commenced for the underground electricity cables that will distribute electricity from an existing distribution center to the quays at Valletta's Grand Harbor. Each quay will be supplied with shore-side transformers and shore-to-ship connection panels that enable ships to turn off their combustion engines and switch to electrical power as soon as they berth. To this effect works are ongoing in earnest on Quays Pinto 4-5.