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Lisette49

Malta: tour guide or on our Own????

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We will be stopping in Malta for a day on the Oceania Cruise in April. I have never been there and my question is do we need a tour guide or can we easily get around on our own. I usually do not use the cruise line tours, but would prefer to either 1.walk around on our own, 2. get a taxi at the port to show us around or 3.hire a guide in advance. ADVICE PLEASE!!!

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We will be stopping in Malta for a day on the Oceania Cruise in April. I have never been there and my question is do we need a tour guide or can we easily get around on our own. I usually do not use the cruise line tours, but would prefer to either 1.walk around on our own, 2. get a taxi at the port to show us around or 3.hire a guide in advance. ADVICE PLEASE!!!

We did a stop in Valletta in June on our own. We took a cab from the port to the Auberge de Castile (we asked to be dropped somewhere else, but it's a fixed price and apparently a fixed destination; you could walk, but it's up a very steep hill). We enjoyed walking around; the architecture is a strange combination of Victorian British and Turkish. We found a nice jewellery shop on Merchant Street, a block south of the main pedestrianized shopping area, Republic Street. It is a small town, and you can easily reach all of the high points by walking - St. James Pro-Cathedral (there is a separate entrance for individuals when there are long lines for tour groups to get in the main entrance), the Grandmaster's Palace which is the seat of government, and the highlight of our day, the Casa Rocca Piccola, a 16th Century urban mansion a block or two past the Grandmaster's Palace on Republic Street that is still inhabited by members of the noble family who built it.

 

Two additional points: don't miss the sail-in to Valletta, no matter how early you have to get up. Your ship will glide by a whole series of built-up areas that look like they are from some movie fantasy, with domes, towers, old forts, and channels with fishing boats; views are from the port side. And a practicality - Malta is in the process of converting from the Maltese Lira to the Euro. If this is still in process, make very sure that you establish what currency prices are marked in. The Lira is worth more than a dollar, and merchandise priced in Liras looks very inexpensive if you are thinking in Euros. That said, shopkeepers are required to be able to quote a price in Euros, and all will accept them.

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If you want a guide who can deliver a customized tour contact Joan Sheridan at http://www.touringmalta.com . Her husband Chris Sheridan runs the office operation.

 

My sister and I hired her last June and were very pleased with our tour. If you do a search of this board you will find numerous other positive comments about Joan.

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We also use Chris Sheridan's company when we were in Malta last October.

We had a wonderful day and our guide was really good. We saw so much more than if we'd taken a ship's tour. I highly recommend them.

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We took a taxi into town. Then I took a public bus to see the colorful boats at Marsasloxx (spelling?). As previous poster mentioned, don't miss the sail-in. It was a gray day when we came in, but still magical. Some folks didn't like Malta that much, but I found it fascinating. And yes, once you get into town, it's easy to walk around. Crowded, however.

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It's a docking port, or at least for Oceania it was. There are a few shops near by, plus a small bank if you want Maltese lira. (Not that shopping is all that you should do while there - but just in case you have a little time to kill before getting back on the ship! I DID buy a beautiful fused glass plate there right at the port.)

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Great information.

 

Is this a docking port or a tender port?

 

BobK/Orlando

(a different BobK, apparently!)

 

Most cruise ships dock at Grand Harbour, just south of the wall between Valetta and Floriana, the more westerly residential area (Valetta is actually the walled part of a larger urban area).

 

Incidentally, Malta has a good and inexpensive bus system. There is a bus stop across from the exit from the dock area, if you'd rather not take a cab. All buses go to the bus station just outside the city wall where a gate leads to the main shopping street. Many of the busses are old British models from the 50s and 60s; not air-conditioned, but picturesque.

 

Given the frost on my car last night, I am definitely not the BobK in Orlando:)

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We also used Joan Sheridan this past July and had a great day. They have a tour that is designed for cruise ship passengers, that you can adjust as the day goes on. The advantage of a tour guide is that you do not waste time trying to find things.For our day Joan told us that she usually does Mdina in the am and finishes in Valetta. However, she was aware that the ship tours were doing Valetta in the afternoon and that there was a large ship that was coming into port at 2pm, so that Valetta would be very busy in the afternnon, so we did Valetta in the am and worked out from there. We ended up being first in line for the church in Valletta, and were able to appreciate it without the large crowds. We did not face any lines during the day.

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On December 30, 2007 at 8:46 AM, judybee said:

If you want a guide who can deliver a customized tour contact Joan Sheridan at http://www.touringmalta.com . Her husband Chris Sheridan runs the office operation.

 

My sister and I hired her last June and were very pleased with our tour. If you do a search of this board you will find numerous other positive comments about Joan.

 

This sounds great!  Has anyone here used Joan Sheridan recently?

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On 12/29/2018 at 12:22 PM, Cruiserkenn said:

 

This sounds great!  Has anyone here used Joan Sheridan recently?

 We were there last week (Christmas Day, 2018).   I knew it would not be a good day to visit on our own since most businesses were closed.  I had contact Chris Sheridan via email several months in advance and he was able to find a guide willing to work on Christmas Day for us.   Obviously most of the guides he works with preferred to be off that day, so I feel we were lucky that he was able to find a guide for us.    When we exited the ship Chris was there as well as Julie our guide for the day, as well as Marco our driver.    Julie was a great guide, very friendly and very knowledgeable.   I am glad we booked a private tour - costs more but you get much more out of it than just walking around by yourself.  Chris was very prompt with email replies and left very detailed instructions on where to meet.   Obviously he took time out of his Christmas morning to meet us and make sure we were set with the guide, driver, etc.   Very good service.... 

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We did an Amy Pace tour to Mdina and a walking tour of Valletta. We could of done this on our own but having a guide telling us of Malta's history was fascinating.

 

Indeed be up on deck for the sail in. We were there in late October and it was just breaking dawn. Seeing the city lit up at dawn was breathtaking.

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If a first visit and you plan on staying in Valetta itself, it is a very easy DIY from the ship.

 

Turn right and head for the Barrakka lift which takes you up to the Barrakka Gardens for the stunning views of the city and harbour. E1pp to go up, free to come down. Saves a very steep walk up.

 

Once on the upper lever you can visit wherever and whatever suits your interests.

 

Read the visitmalta website, tripadvisor etc for ideas, and don't forget to check the destinations section of cruisecritic for "must sees etc". Currently on page 8 of EUROPE (ALL)

 

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We disembarked without any plan.  There was an hoho parked outside.  It included a boat tour.  We enjoyed the day very much..including the harbor tour by boat.  So much so that we returned two years later and spent 10 days on the islands

Edited by iancal

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Great info!  We will be in Malta in November 2019.  I'm taking notes!

 

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In 2016 we did the "Malta loop Tour" with MyMaltiseguide.com.  Great full day overview for the 1st time visitor that gets you to all the sites.  I recommend it.

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