After seven days at sea, Ocean docked in Valletta and we enjoyed our time onshore despite the rain.
In the late evening Oceana set off on her Adriatic cruise with new passengers.
Our cruise through the Suez Canal started in Dubai and took us to Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Salalah, then the transit of the Suez Canal, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Venice, Split and finally back to Valletta.
Day 18 Thursday 4th April: Valletta, Malta
Oceana had indeed docked overnight and we were woken up at various times by the noise from the quay below our window. Then at 6 am cherry pickers were being taken off a low loader and were beeping loudly as they were moved.
Opening the balcony door increased the noise as the quay was a hive of vehicles plus there were now suitcases being unloaded from the ship in cages.
We had to eat in the Plaza as in the Ligurian restaurant was closed. I only had cornflakes and a bowl of fruit for a change. We went down to the nominated bar to collect our passports only to be greeted by a member of the Oceana’s Orchestra. He had been given the thankless task of telling passengers who were staying on board, that their passports would be available the following day.
After collecting our bags we left the ship to headed off into the Valletta for the first time.
Once off the ship we walked along the fence until we reached the cruise terminal. As we left the terminal the heavens opened and I had to run back to the ship to collect a coat – that I should have had to begin with.
The walk to the lift didn’t take too long. All the pavements were wet after all the rain. In places they were very slippy especially where the surface was polished marble.
We paid to ride the Barrakka Lift up and by then the rain has stopped. We walked through the Upper Barrakka Gardens at the top of the lift and turned oto walk down towards St George’s Square.
The pavements on either side of the street were cordoned off from the road.
At cross streets there were policeman who controlled crossing over to the other side of the street.
We called for a coffee to warm up before we move back along the street. We discovered that Malta’s new president was being sworn and this was the reason for all the barricades and the police presence.
We were held up at one of the crossings as dignitaries filed out of the cathedral and walked round the corner to the square. The ladies had plastic heal protectors on their stilettos to save them from damage on all the cobbles. The dignitaries came along in dribs and drabs and we were held up for over 10 minutes.