P&O Cruises’ P&O Oceana is to homeport at Valletta Cruise Port in Malta during 2017.
P&O Oceana will provide 27 fly-and-cruise departures from Valletta as part of the new homeporting agreement, which will equate to more than 100,000 passenger movements. The vessels will make a further five day visits in Malta, while additional calls are planned for 2018.
“It is primarily thanks to such initiatives that Malta’s cruise sector has been successfully evolving and growing from one which was exclusively a port-of-call, to one which now includes home-porting that benefits the Maltese tourism industry in various ways,” said Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis.
“Malta is a vibrant destination and this is reflected in the port of Valletta and all the ongoing activities around the Grand Harbour region and the Capital City,” said Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port. “The port prides itself of its close collaboration with all cruise lines. Our distinctive capabilities include a central position in the Mediterranean, sound port infrastructure and services, destination attractiveness and a diverse product offering, outstanding service delivery, and more importantly our reliability and flexibility.”
According to the latest NSO figures, Malta registered nearly 240,000 cruise passengers between January and June 2016, an increase of 6.2% from 2015. In addition, there were 125 ship calls, eight more than recorded in the same months last year. The port expects to host a record 700,000 passengers by the end of the year, a rise of 4.4% over last year.
“These results reflect the concerted and co-ordinated drive by all stakeholders, including Valletta Cruise Port, Mifsud Brothers, the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta International Airport, to develop our product and promote Malta’s increasing attractiveness and popularity as a leading cruise destination in the Central Mediterranean, in what is a highly competitive market,” said Lewis. “I wish the Captain and crew of P&O Oceana a bright future, and I look forward to our continued and enhanced collaboration for many years to come.”