Helping cruise guests make the most of Malta

Ivan Mifsud tells Rebecca Gibson how MBL Malta Cruise Services is adapting its shore excursions to increase sustainability and enable cruise visitors to immerse themselves in local life

Helping cruise guests make the most of Malta
Director of Mifsud Brothers Ltd. Michela Mifsud pictured with Ivan Mifsud during a call from Saga Cruises’ Spirit of Adventure

Boasting a unique culture and history with English, Italian, French and Arabic influences, Malta is a popular port of call on any Mediterranean cruise itinerary.

“Although Malta is the smallest country in the European Union, we’re able to offer cruise guests a mélange of tours ranging from visits to Unesco World Heritage Sites such as the Megalithic Temples and the capital city of Valletta, to dghajsa boat trips to The Three Cities, the cradle of Maltese civilisation,” says Ivan Mifsud, owner of Mifsud Brothers Ltd, also known as MBL Malta Cruise Services.

Like many destinations, Malta, Gozo and Comino faced a bleak start to the 2021 season, but business picked up later in the year. “We ended up handling two homeporting operations for three months, which led to direct chartered flights from New York, USA, something that has never happened before,” says Mifsud. “January 2022 began with a couple of cruise ship and superyacht calls and the season soon built up to include a six-month fly-cruise operation from the UK. There are other calls and also some maiden visits scheduled.”

Keen to satisfy cruise travellers searching for immersive experiences, Mifsud and his team have devised new shore excursion offerings for 2022.

“We love to support local businesses and develop shore excursion concepts that revolve around giving back to the community,” says Mifsud. “In line with today’s sustainability trends, we have designed curated experiences for curious travellers who are looking for luxury adventures and authentic interactions with locals ashore. Some examples include wine tasting at a vineyard near a beach, kayaking, trekking, horse riding, bird watching, a sound bath experience, yoga in awesome locations, mystical walks, snorkelling in crystal clear blue water, and foraging for wild asparagus, capers and other edible wild plants.”

Noting that there has also been a rise in demand for ‘slow travel’, Mifsud adds: “Guests are looking for more purposeful, low-impact experiences, so we no longer offer coach transfers from the port to Valletta; instead, guests walk and use the nearby elevators to access the city, giving them more time to explore the heart and soul of Valletta.

The organisation also switches to electric vehicles whenever possible for shore excursions to reduce its carbon footprint. “As a company, we continually invest in our team to develop their understanding of progressive sustainability towards a greener future.”

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
20 May 2022

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