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Crossing paths Malta embraces old and new

The 2007-built, 93,530 gt Norwegian Gem, pictured, was in Valletta Grand Harbour on its weekly call last week, together with Noordam and the Maltese-registered Azamara Quest, which was on its first call. The three cruiseships can accommodate 5,000 passengers. Besides shopkeepers and taxi drivers doing a thriving business, Maltese boatmen joined in by taking cruise passengers around the Grand Harbour in their their colourful dghaisas. During the heydays of the British Mediterranean fleet in Malta, boatmen used to row sailors ashore in their dghaisas, which used to amount to hundreds. Today a few survivors carry on the trade with the use of outboard motors. Cecil Jones

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