Thursday 10th September, the World Explorer sailed into the Grand Harbour of Valletta at 14:30hrs. The last ship handled was the maiden call of the new Spirit of Discovery back in January 2020. This was our first ship in seven whole months which are normally very busy with calls and homeporting.
Ivan Mifsud, Managing Director of Mifsud Brothers Ltd. (MBL) and his team were at Valletta Cruise Port waiting to welcome Mystic Cruises’ first ship, launched in 2019 by Carla Bruni Sarkozy. It was built at the Portuguese shipyard WestSEA and has a tonnage of 9,300 carrying no more than 196 passengers in 98 suites.
Captain Terje Willassen, Master of the vessel, was very happy with the way the fly-cruise embarkation was handled by MBL at the airport and port following rigorous covid-19 protocols. Embarkation was smooth with guests warmly greeted and directed to the Check-in Hall where they got swabbed for Covid and waited in a safe area adhering to social distancing for 15 minutes until the antigen results came out. Only when declared covid-free could they then board. Luggage was fumigated as per protocol before being scanned and transferred to the ship. The PCR test results were received later that evening which re-confirmed that all guests were covid free. “Our guests’ health and safety are our top priority” stated Michela Mifsud, director responsible for MBL covid protocols – left.
The following morning all guests could enjoy the Shore Excursions to the UNESCO Neolithic megaliths of Hagar Qim that were organised by Maria Mifsud (Director of Ground Operations – above second from left) and her team. The location was specially chosen as this awesome site is remote and uncrowded and allows guests to space themselves out safely in the open air. James Cabello, Operations and Product Development Executive shared his feedback from the ship which stated that “our covid protocols were excellent and should be used in the industry as “how to do it”. Truly excellent work”.
According to Ivan Mifsud, “what made this occasion exceptional was that this represented not only their first post-covid call but also Malta’s first fly-cruise operation putting to the test our airport, transportation, check-in, baggage sanitisation, guest embarkation and shore excursion protocols all at once.” Together with Malta International Airport and Valletta Cruise Port and our various suppliers we made sure that there were no weak links in the chain to ensure a seamless and safe operation from airside to portside.
Just before sailing Captain Willassen presented Ivan Mifsud, Massimo Schembri (Director of Port Operations) and Giuseppe Attard (Port Ops Exec. – left) a beautiful maritime plaque to mark this momentous event.
Mifsud Brothers Ltd., (MBL) are port agents and ground operators in Malta and Gozo specialising in premium, luxury and expedition cruise ships and super yachts.