Valletta Cruise Port in Malta welcomed Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star on Friday Oct. 14.

The ship was greeted by the music Maltese village band courtesy of Valletta Cruise Port.

In an address onboard the ship, Minister Michael Farrugia welcomed the return of Norwegian Cruise Line to Malta in 2017 with an itinerary of regular calls throughout the season. He thanked all the stakeholders involved in making this return a reality, according to a statement.

He particularly thanked Norwegian Cruise Line’s Vice President International Marketing & Operations, Francis Riley, for his commitment to make this happen.

Minister Farrugia reaffirmed Government’s commitment towards boosting all efforts to continue to make Malta’s cruise industry a success. He said that he looked forward to 2017 when an  record 700,000 cruise passengers are expected.

Meanwhile Valletta Cruise Port’s CEO, and Global Ports Holding COO, Stephen Xuereb commented that in 2017 Valletta Cruise Port is welcoming 20 calls from Norwegian Cruise Line with over 45,000 passenger movements on the Norwegian Star and Norwegian Spirit.

“Malta is a vibrant destination and this is reflected in our port and ongoing developments in the Maltese Islands”, he commented. “Valletta Cruise Port has created a destination within a destination with the original project. We are currently taking stock of how we can further improve our key infrastructure and services. It is this journey of discovery that will allow us to continue exceling in what we offer, and together with other stakeholders reinvest ourselves to keep abreast of new developments”.

Before leaving port, passengers and crew onboard the Norwegian Star had the opportunity to enjoy traditional local dancing by a group of local dancers, courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority.