Extreme and Sea Adventure from the mom’s point of view

Hi!

I’ve promised you a few times to compare ships swimming around Maltese islands, so I won’t be surprised if you already lost your patience πŸ˜‰ That’s why I’ve finally done this today!

Going to Malta you’re problably planning to visit Gozo and Comino. Maltese entrepreneurs know this very well, hence we can see the rain of travel agencies offering boat trips to the mentiones islands. There are boats of two companies departing from Bugibba: Extreme (belonging to the Captain Morgan corporation) and Sea Adventure. We decided to check both – with Extreme we went just to Comino, and Sea Adventure we used during the combined trip with Gozo. Both trips were nice, but which boat is better for traveling with a small child? Let’s see!

 

EXTREME

Extreme

For the beginning we decided just to visit Comino to enjoy the landspace of Blue Lagoon longer. Extreme seemed to be a good option for us, because it was cheaper than other cruises (around 20 euro/person – infants enter for free), free drinks and meal were provided (which was tempting for us – always hungry people πŸ˜‰ ).Β  How was it in the reality?

Extreme ship came one hour late (according to the offer it starts at 10:00 AM – it arrived at 11:00) and it was quite small. Boat departed not only from Bugibba, but also from Valetta and other ports. Perhaps organizers didn’t predict such interest, because it was very crowded in the ship. We barely sailed from the shore, I had an emergency situation with my Bibi, so I had to change her diaper. There wasn’t any changing table, so we had to do this on the standard table – which was quite inconvenient for us. As organizers promised, people could drink in their bar for free, which was very nice itself. However, breastfeeding women and people leading healthy lifestyle could take only water. There wasn’t any juice or tea. Bar offers mainly carbonated and alcoholic beverages.

The messages from the megaphone were broadcast in Maltese, English and German. Unfortunately, due to considerable distortions, we hardly heard anything. Because of this we almost missed the second fulfilled promise of Extreme – lunch πŸ˜› It turned out that the food was served not on the island (where the stalls with food are), but on the boat – just a bit later. My Husband realized it after some time – we got a pasta, ham, tomatoes and salad πŸ˜€ Well, our fault – we could have asked.

After four hours of relax, we were coming back to Bugibba – the return took place without any adventures. The only thing I could complain about it’s the time of arrival to Bugibba. We came one hour later, than it was written in the plan (that means, two hours in total were taken away from us).

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Is Comino the place to visit with baby? Of course! However, you need to think about how to take your baby when you go up (you’ll need to climb a bit, because the terrain is slightly hilly). 3in1 stroller we had, caused some inconveniencies. Here you can think about three options: 1) Take a child seat, and leave the rack possibly on the ship (is you take 3in1 stroller with car seat). 2) Take a sunshade stroller with you (in this case there must be another person with you to help bring the vehicle up). 3) Take a baby carrier with you (possible connection with the second option). These inconveniences will be gone quickly, when you get to the place, see the beautiful landscapes and swim with your baby in crystal water (I recommend you to buy baby float) πŸ™‚

This trip is perfect for people, who are tired of intensive sightseeing and just want to have a splash in a clear water or relax in the different kind of beach. The seaside is a bit small, so I rather recomment to go there out of season, eg. in June or September. You can meet various small beach companionslizards, fish, crabsChildren can get to know them in the company of adults πŸ™‚

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Sea Adventure

Sea Adventure

Planning a trip to Gozo, we chose the Sea Adventure company this time. Expedition combined with Comino and Crystal LagoonΒ costed us about 25 euro per person (same policy towards infants like in Extreme πŸ™‚ ).

This time there weren’t any delays and we came back on time as well (not earlier, not later). The boat was bigger and definitely more adapted for families with small children. Lunch and free drink weren’t provided here (you could buy burgers and something cold or hot to drink in their bar). However there’s guaranteed changing table and a small playground for toddlers. Furthemore, you can go down the stairs and watch the Maltese underwater world πŸ™‚

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Firstly we came back to the Blue Lagoon and we spent there a little over an hour. Then we went to Gozo. There was a waiting bus, which took us to the capital city of the islandΒ  – Victoria (other name: Ir-Rabat GΔ§awdex). We had less than an hour to explore, but our time was even shorter due to the Bibi’s lunchtime. Heating the baby jar in any bar and feeding our Daughter took about 20 minutes. Afterwards a quick passage through the bazaar (with more timeΒ you can make your wallet much slimmer –Β  keeping in mind the convincing skills ofΒ Maltese sellers πŸ˜‰ ) straight to Cittadella. A lift is available at this tourist attraction, making the visit of families with infants and wheelchair users easier. This, you can say, a city in the city is a big treat for archaeologists thanks to the the monuments hidden there. Moreover, the Citadel peak guarantees us views of the city. If we had more time, I’d would surely write something more πŸ˜‰

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We came to bus with hanging out tongues. From the parking area in Victoria we went to the small, but cute Xlendi Bay. It’s not the most comfortable place to swim, because the entrance to the water is stony. However,Β  it’s worth visiting. There aren’t many beaches in Europe with azure water, where you can admire architecture on one side, rocky hills and caves on the other side, and behind your back you have a restaurant at your disposal. As for water games – we managed with Bibi πŸ˜‰

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Warning!Β In March 2017, the famous Azure window collapsed. I’ve written about it in the previous post, but I’m going to remind it here as well, not to plan a trip there while staying on Gozo island. Travel offices don’t always mention it, which led many tourists to disappointment.

After two hours of rest, the driver drove us back to the port. But it wasn’t the end of the journey! On the halfway to Bugibba,Β the ferry stopped for a moment at the Crystal Lagoon. Fans of diving had half an hour to show their skills. For obvious reasons, babies and small children can’t take an active part, but Bibi could watch Dad’s performanceΒ from the window at the bottom of the ship πŸ˜‰

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If Parents aren’t sure about their swimming abilities, they shouldn’t allow their bigger children to jump from the ship. One of boys started drowning during this stop and his parents couldn’t help him. My HusbandΒ pulled him out of the water – I’m very proud of him!

A trip to Gozo island can be a nice option for babies as well. Especially, when they’re more than half a year old and like walks – if it’s not too hot obviously πŸ™‚ Tourist attractions of Victoria have an elevator, and the city itself has quite wide sidewalks. Furthermore, on Maltese excursions we spent more than half the time in water. With proper protection and toys, baby can have as much fun in water games as parents πŸ™‚

 

To sum up:

If you travel with a little child, I definitely recommend Sea Adventure. The ships of this company are much better adapted for the youngest tourists thanks to changing tables, small playgrounds, underwater windows (an alternative to make baby busy) and friendly animators πŸ™‚ Extreme is better option for students and childless adults, who wouldn’t enjoy the company of shouting toddlers at the Sea Adventure πŸ˜‰ You can buy the tickets in special offices at the port or in the Internet. I’m attaching the links both to Captain Morgan and Sea Adventure.

In the next entry you’ll get to know about shopping stricte for babies, whether you’ll find everything you used to buy in your country and what you’d better buy before holiday πŸ˜‰

Polski

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Malta – sightseeing with Baby

Hey hey!

In the last entry I wrote how to get to Malta and how to move around πŸ™‚ Today I’ll show you a few suggestions of places to visit in Malta exploring with a small traveler.

1) Popeye’s Village – do you remember the cartoon about the sailor Popeye? πŸ™‚ Do you know, that the movie based on it was filmed in Malta? It’s worthy to go there especially, when you travel with a small child. You can meet the characters from the serial occasionally getting a chance to take a part inΒ making a short film with you in the lead role πŸ˜€ In Popeye’s Village you have a possibility to organize Birthday party for your Celebrity. On the official webpage you can choose a package. Each option provides food and drinks, film set and fun on the special playground. Furthermore, Parents can enjoy the beautiful views πŸ™‚ HERE you can check, how to get to village.

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2) Malta National AquariumI don’t know what about your kids, but my Bibi loves aquariums πŸ˜€ She likes coming to glass and talking (or rather babbling) with fish. That’s why we took her there on Birthday morning. Oceanarium is located in Bugibba, so the way from appartment took us 10 minutes by walk. On the official website it’s written, how to get there from different cities. Entrance ticket for adults costs around 14€/person, for children up to 12 years old is 7€, infants and children till the age of 4 enter for free. Toddlers surely will enjoy the variety of fish. Look at the photo of Bibi!

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I also recommend the recently opened Water Park situated nearby aquarium. It’s opened in season (June-September) between 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM. You can find there attractions for babies too πŸ™‚

3) Ferry trip to Gozo and Cominoit was our one of the most exciting excursions. Travel offices offer options: just Comino or Comino with Gozo (in this case you relax shorter on Blue Lagoon, but you explore two islands in one time). We tried both offers, but I will write about it in the next post. Boats are well prepared for the youngest travelers. Blue Lagoon offers clear water, great natural landscapes and sometimes company of small sea animals πŸ˜‰ Gozo in turn contains beautiful monuments, shopping on old bazars and relax on the beach with a view of architecture and rocks. Warning: Last march the Azure Window collapsed, so don’t believe travel offices still using this tourist attraction in their adverts.

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4) Valetta and Mdina – these two cities I can recommend for walking with a baby stroller. Malta is a place full of beaches and hills, so you won’t see much greenery there. In Valetta we have two (or even three) options for walks. The first one is near the port with a beautiful view of the city (the main photo of this entry is from there). Travelling by bus you must exit around three-four stops before the terminal station. Second one is the park in the heart of Valetta, where there’s not only a lot of greenery and beautiful views (eg. on port), but here and there we can see nice monuments πŸ™‚ And if you’re hungry or just want to take a bit of city life, you can use the third option – Main Square. During our sightseeing it wasn’t so crowded there. Last two options are situated close to the bus terminal station.

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Mdina in turn is a very charming castle town full of quiet and romantic streets (but in South-European version, not Prague). I haven’t met any person, who didn’t like this place yet! Furthermore, there’s a park and playground close to the bus terminal station. HERE you can find playgrounds near your place of stay.

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5) Mellieha and Golden Bay – Malta is the country full of beaches. Tourists have a huge selection of places, they can swim and sunbathe. However, many of them are stony, so walks and relaxation may be limited for babies, because they have a sensitive skin. Golden and Mellieha beaches are wide and sandy. There is also no big difference in temperature between water and air. Just don’t bring your child’s electronic toys there. Sand is so powdery, it even got into our closed bag. It took us three days to extract the sand from our Bibi’s phone toy to unlock the sprinkled buttons πŸ˜‰

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We enjoyed Malta a lot and we’ll come back there for sure! At the next visit we’re planning to see, among others, Marsaxlokk and dolphinarium. If you recommend some other places to see with baby in Malta, feel free to leave a comment πŸ˜‰

 

How to communicate in Malta? There are two official languages in Malta – Maltese and English. You can communicate in English actually with everyone πŸ™‚

Polski

 

Malta – what and how?

Happy New Year! I hope, everyone is in a good mood πŸ™‚

As I’ve promised before, today I’m going to write about Malta. Bibi spent her first Birthday there, that’s why I have a huge sentiment to this place πŸ™‚ However, to find any nice place to explore with your Family, you must firstly get there, right? That’s why today’s entry will be about how to get to Malta and how to move around the island πŸ˜€

1) How to get there?

We went there by WizzAir airline from Warsaw. We departed with Bibi on Saturday at 6:20PM and arrived three hours later. I’ve chosen this option, because it was a direct flight, inexpensive (a little over 140 euro with checked luggage), and furthermore the time of departure suited me. Unfortunately, Polish Airlines LOT and Air Malta didn’t have any direct connections between Poland and Malta. However, Air Malta offers flights from and to many European destinations and three Middle-Eastern countries (such as Italy, Germany, Turkey or Tunisia). I could have chosen RyanAir as well – however, the distance from the airport, departure time (eg. RyanAir departed very early in the morning) and also price decided on the final choice. You can also check the offers from the national airlines of your country – they sometimes organize some discounts.

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WizzAir is a typical lowcost, that’s why I didn’t have many expectations towards this air carrier. Don’t expect free sandwiches, tea or any gadgets for infant. For a checked luggage up to 20kg you have to pay around 35euro/flight. However, it wasn’t a bad journey. The plus of this airline was, I could check-in even four weeks before journey. I could choose any place during reservation and (by a nice coincidence) we had a whole row of three seats for ourselves πŸ™‚ On the boarding card the entire preparation process is nicely described. (Do you remember the post about packing baby bag? I reminded you to print a boarding pass. WizzAir is one of those airlines, where you need to have printed card not to pay extra.) Moreover, cabin crew was very helpful, passengers too and it wasn’t too tight between the rows πŸ˜‰ Buying ticket you can also order special minibus for around 6€ taking you to your place of residence (but we took a taxi, because I was going the same direction with my Husband and our friends who arrived a bit earlier).

2) Traveling around Malta:

Maltese and tourists move around the island mainly by buses. I recommend you to buy a Tallinja Explore electronic card you validate at the entrance (the price for adults is 21 euro, for children up to the age of ten – 15€, infants travel for free). You can buy it in special kiosks, mostly situated on terminal stations. Warning: these cards sometimes get demagnetized (my Husband already experienced it), so it’s good to keep a bill, because it can be useful when you want to exchange it. Planning trip around Malta I recommend you to use Malta Bus Journey Planner πŸ™‚

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Honestly, in Malta we experienced the first Bibi’s journey by bus πŸ™‚ Previously I had prejudices for this mean of transport. There was no way to travel by bus, when my Daughter was still using gondola stroller πŸ˜‰ Fortunately, traveling by Maltese bus lines isn’t so stressful. Maybe, because parents with babies in public transportation is almost a sanctity and passengers take the principle of privileged seats seriously. A place for strollers will be always free for you there, so that you can safely attach your baby vehicle to the belts. If not, the driver will do all of his best to make it πŸ˜€

3) Trips around islands:

Staying in this little country, you should go to the other two islands – Gozo and Comino. You can use various cruise offers and go by boat. We had an opportunity to use two ships – Extreme and Sea Adventure. They’re both good, but which one is better for parents with babies? I’ll compare then in the separate post, otherwise this entry would be definitely too long πŸ™‚

extreme vs sea adventure
Sources: Facebook and Travel Grip

4) Taxi from and to the airport:

I don’t have much experience with Maltese cabs, but my Brother-in-law ordered a private taxi for us. The way from the Luca Airport to Bugibba was 24 euro. What’sΒ  interesting, on the way back to airport we were accompanied by exactly the same driver πŸ˜€ Unfortunately, we lost his number already, but the most popular corporation is Malta Transfer.

 

When to go to Malta with a little child? I think, the best time for a trip to Malta is May-beginning of June. The weather is already warm, but you don’t feel this hot temperature yet. Later, you can start your holiday plans in September. Why? Because in the middle of season the temperature is almost unable to survive for the average North-European person and traveling in such a heat wouldn’t be a pleasure for you. Furthermore, in July you can often find jellyfish. Because of them, swimming in Blue Lagoon was forbidden this summer for some time.

Polski