Upon arriving into Malta and a short 30 minute transfer to St Julians, we dropped our suitcases off to our room and decided to hunt down some lunch. The Hotel Argento is a simple 4* property in a central position within Spinalonga Bay and the marina here is where we enjoyed some authentic Maltese 'Ftira' (pizza's with a hole in the middle for better cooking).
After lunch, we decided to walk along the promenade into the neighbouring town of Sliema. It's flat with plenty of benches, view points and eateries a long the way. We watched the sunset behind Spinalonga Bay from a park before walking back to our hotel.
Today was the first day of the CLIA 360 conference we were attending and this began with a ship visit aboard Holland America's Koningsdam which the the first vessel within a new 'Pinnacle Class' ship. Two more of which coming onto the market in 2020 and 2021.
I really enjoyed my time on this ship. It feels extremely spacious which always adds to the luxury, but it was a new ethos with food & entertainment which really pricked my interest. With venues such as: BB Kings and Billboard where the entertainment feels modern and easy-going. With regards to dining, the lunch buffet is set out like a food market and has every type of cuisine you could wish for, much of it cooked right there in front of you. The main dining room has been carefully thought out so that it feels more like an intimate restaurant rather than a cavernous, huge room.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a lunch at the Pinnacle Grill which was outstanding all round on food, service and decor/comfort.
Feeling thoroughly full and spoilt we disembarked Koningsdam. I have a feeling that the new Pinnacle Class ships are going to make Holland America a lot more popular in the UK. For me Koningsdam is the perfect combination of size, hospitality and originality.
Sadly whilst we were onboard Mother Nature decided to open the heavens and torrential rain put a stop to our planned walking tour of Valletta that afternoon so we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up for the evening which was a drinks reception at the beautiful Valletta Marina Club.
In the morning we made our way back to Valletta Port to take a look at the Celebrity Edge, the first vessel of Celebrity's new Edge Class.
First stop was lunch at Ocean Cafe, an informal buffett with lovely views over Valletta. After, we began our tour of the ship.
I thought the decor was contemporary and very stylish with some added quirks which made Edge stand out. Such as a new dining arrangement that gave customers the choice of four intimate restaurants to choose from as opposed to one huge dining room which can feel impersonal. You can either choose at traditional sitting at your preferred venue or pick the anytime dining option to be able to try all four. 75% of the menu will be the same in each venue whereas the remaining 25% will reflect the theme of that particular restaurant. Another highlight was 'Eden'.A relaxing space, perfect for enjoying a good book and a cocktail during the day and then an entertainment venue by night!
The Martini Bar also stood out for me, a fabulous meeting place for some elegant cocktails.
After our tour, we took part in the CLIA conference and watched several speakers from the industry talk about all things Cruise.
Of course I couldn't disembark the Edge without getting a quick snap of their famous 'Magic Carpet' which has many uses depending which deck it's located on from speciality dining, to champagne bar and also the platform for tendering passengers ashore in smaller ports.
In the evening, we attended a gala dinner at the fabulous 'Magazino' banquet hall built into the rock face at Valletta Marina. The perfect end to the CLIA conference and a great opportunity to get glammed up.
The sun finally shone on our last day so before our flight back to Bristol in the afternoon, we grabbed a local bus to Valletta (buses are extremely cheap and frequent and a great way to get around Malta in general!).
The medieval city is absolutely stunning with beautiful architecture and views out to sea from all streets. The perfect end to our trip to Malta!