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 😉 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!
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 😉 ). 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 😛 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 😀 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).
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) 🙂
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 companions – lizards, fish, crabs… Children can get to know them in the company of adults 🙂
Planning a trip to Gozo, we chose the Sea Adventure company this time. Expedition combined with Comino and Crystal Lagoon costed us about 25 euro per person (same policy towards infants like in Extreme 🙂 ).
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 🙂
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 island – Victoria (other name: Ir-Rabat Għawdex). 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 time you can make your wallet much slimmer – keeping in mind the convincing skills of Maltese sellers 😉 ) 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 😉
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, 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 😉
Warning! 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, 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 performance from the window at the bottom of the ship 😉
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 Husband 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 🙂 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 🙂
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 🙂 Extreme is better option for students and childless adults, who wouldn’t enjoy the company of shouting toddlers at the Sea Adventure 😉 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 😉