Malta cruises are available in many varieties to suit the tastes of all kinds of visitors. There are Grand Harbour cruises on luxurious yachts that spend the morning or afternoon admiring the historic cathedrals and palaces that line the shore around one of the largest natural harbors in Europe. Or you can cruise to Valletta Malta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on one of the large liners that ply the great oceans of the world.
If the latter type of Malta cruises is for you, a seven- to nine-day journey is about the shortest you will be able to find. As the Maltese archipelago is located just about in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, these shorter cruises generally will stop at ports in the eastern or western Mediterranean. They might include port calls at Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), Piraeus (the port for Athens), and Palermo on nearby Sicily (only about 60 miles away). A more ambitious cruise to Valletta Malta would be three to four weeks long, and might include ports in France and Spain or Istanbul in Turkey and Alexandria in Egypt. There have been months-long cruises at well that circumnavigate the globe and include a port stop in Malta’s capital city, but most of these itineraries call at Valletta for only one night.
Typical Malta cruise excursions include tours of the cathedrals and museums of Valletta and Vittoriosa, or perhaps a visit to one of the megalithic temples that comprise another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some shore excursions include a helicopter or seaplane ride to Gozo Island to see Ggantija, the most important of the prehistoric temples, and some include a visit to the medieval walled city of Mdina.
One of the Grand Harbour cruises might also be a shore excursion. But you don’t need to be an ocean liner passenger to enjoy this kind of seagoing sightseeing. Many traditional Maltese fishing boats (called luzzus) are berthed in the Sliema Marsamxett Bay and St Julians Bay, and they are available for sightseeing cruises. You can also book scuba diving and snorkeling trips that embark on Grand Harbour cruises as well as make stops on secluded beaches and coves elsewhere on the coast. Some of the best diving spots are on the western coast of the larger island and around its southern tip near Marsaxlokk. Even though this is a large commercial shipping free port, Marsaxlokk remains a traditional fishing village, and there are numerous boats available for trips around the southern tip and along the dramatic western Dingli Cliffs. Sailing is very popular throughout the Mediterranean, and there are sailing ships available—both bareboat and crewed—for charter as well as catamarans and motor yachts.
Other Malta cruises double as a method of transportation. The islands are small, and the sea is an important part of Maltese life. There are regularly scheduled ferries between Malta Island and Gozo Island, as well as to tiny Comino Island with its celebrated Blue Lagoon. You can also cruise to Valletta Malta on ferries from Calabria and Catania on Sicily, and Salerno and Genoa on the Italian mainland.