2015 was a busy year for MBL with Holland & America bookmarking the cruise season with the first call of the year of the Rotterdam calling on the 17 January in Valletta, Malta and the Maasdam anchoring off the Port of Mgarr in Gozo on the 1st December effectively extending the cruise season to 11 months, a milestone for MBL! Additionally, Prinsendam called in Gozo twice, once in April and again in November.
A groundbreaking call was that of the P&O Oriana on the 16th August when the mystical Island of Gozo welcomedOriana for the first time. This was also P&O’s debut in Gozo and furthermore, this was the first time that a cruise ship called exclusively to Gozo. Out of 1800 passengers on board, more than 1500 disembarked on shore excursions and independently.
On the 28th August Hapag Lloyd’s flagship, Europa 2 weighed anchor in the same spot just between the island of Gozo and the island of Comino, famous for its magical Blue Lagoon. Guests recounted that they thoroughly enjoyed their Gozo experience.
The elegant Seabourn Sojourn called 7 times this season. Seabourn have been visiting Gozo since April 2006 when Peter Cox, Itinerary Planning Director added Gozo for the first time on a Seabourn itinerary.
Altogether MBL handled 12 cruise calls at anchor off Malta’s sister Island in 2015 and a grand total of 46 since 2006. The Minister for Gozo, the Hon. Refalo expressed his satisfaction with the way that Gozo was attracting high-end cruise ships that dovetailed with the eco-island’s strategy of attracting this particular niche market. He also personally thanked Ivan Mifsud, Managing Director of Mifsud Brothers Ltd. for his unrelenting support for Gozo.
Ms Esther Bajada added that “these calls were a huge success thanks to Gozo’s allure and to the holistic approach by stakeholders to make each call special, as well as to the warm welcome offered to disembarking passengers in Gozo.”
Ivan Mifsud M.A. (Oxon.) Marsa – 10 December 2015