Tuesday, 4 October 2022

As Huge Ships Return, How Has 2022's Croatian Cruise Season Been?

October the 4th, 2022 - The Croatian cruise season for 2022 has been excellent, much like the rest of the country's post-pandemic tourism picture. Which were the most visited Croatian destinations for cruise ships?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just as the global coronavirus pandemic decimated air traffic, it also brought the cruise industry to its knees. Large cruise ships saw their passengers vanish overnight, and the question of when this segment of the tourist offer will recover, given the large number of passengers in one place, remains open.

This year, however, passengers returned to cruise ships, albeit not in the same volume as before, after all, the companies themselves aren't selling at full capacity, but many companies have now announced that they did have a good summer season and that 2023 should be a very good year for cruises, as reported by Novi list.

Recently, a specialised fair for cruises, Seatrade Cruise Med, was held, which took place this year from September the 14th to the 15th in Malaga, Spain. Croatian ports were also presented there under the joint name of Croatian Cruise Ports. As part of the MedCruise pavilion, the Port Authorities of Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Split, and Dubrovnik, the Port Authority of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the County Port Authority of Dubrovnik and the Port Authority of Vukovar all presented their offer. Croatian representatives in Malaga also presented the Adrijo project, which connects eight Croatian and Italian ports - Ancona, Ravenna, Venice, Trieste, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.

This year's hosts were the Port Authority of Malaga and the City of Malaga, with the support of the MedCruise association and CLIA, and it is one of the most important specialised fairs in Europe, attended by more than 3,000 participants from across the rest of Europe and the world operating in the cruise industry.

Representatives of the Rijeka Port Authority were also present in Malaga, representing Rijeka at this world cruise congress. A series of meetings were held with representatives of the cruise companies themselves, which resulted in agreements for the next cruise season. Rajko Jurman, head of commercial affairs of the Rijeka Port Authority, announced that two arrivals of Norweigan's Getaway cruise ship have been arranged in Malaga for next year.

"This ship will arrive twice in July next year. It's the longest vessel that has ever sailed into Rijeka, 325 metres long in total and with a capacity of 3,900 passengers," announced Jurman. He also added that the announcements for next year look very good, meaning that the City of Rijeka could host more than 40,000 passengers from cruise ships.

After two years dominated by the pandemic, this gathering of those employed within the cruise industry in Malaga is finally an opportunity to "examine" the state of the industry and make announcements for 2023. The conference said that the cruise industry must strive to improve its reputation and restore the trust of passengers, that the industry should be carbon neutral by 2050, and that the 2023 cruise season is looking great. Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Group and the president of CLIA, referred to new CLIA data on passenger interest in cruises and said that a significant number of passengers tend to stay in destinations before and after a cruise, contributing to local economies.

According to the latest data from the State Statistics Office (DZS), in the first seven months of this year, 66 foreign cruise ships, or large cruise ships, entered Croatian seaports, which is equal to far fewer cruise visitors than the Croatian cruise season was used to before 2020. There were 294 thousand passengers being carried on those ships, who stayed in Croatia for 658 days. The number of passengers on foreign cruise ships increased by 259 thousand passengers during the first seven months of 2022 compared to the first seven months of 2021, when due to the pandemic, stricter epidemiological measures were introduced that restricted cruises by foreign ships. Last year, the first entry of foreign cruise ships was recorded in Croatia once again only in June.

This year, the data shows that the results from the pre-pandemic year of 2019 were not reached during the Croatian cruise season. As such, during the first seven months of this year, the number of trips realised by foreign cruise ships decreased by 10.6 percent, and the number of passengers on these ships decreased by 48 percent compared to 2019. This indicates the trend of the arrival of smaller vessels and the fact that the companies aren't selling at full capacity. Cruisers are back, and the Croatian cruise season has bounced back with it, but with far fewer passengers.

Foreign cruise ships during the first seven months of 2022 sailed under the flags of thirteen different countries, with the largest number of cruisers having arrived under the flag of the Bahamas, followed by cruisers under the flag of Malta, Italy and Panama.

Out of a total of 329 cruises, most of them were realised down in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, a total of 45.6 percent, then in Split-Dalmatia County, which accounted for 31 percent of cruise ship arrivals during this Croatian cruise season. Together, these two Dalmatian counties accounted for as much as 78 percent of the traffic that cruise ships achieved in all Croatian ports until the end of July this year. Primorje-Gorski County, for example, accounted for a mere 3.3 percent of round trips.

The most visited port this year was of course the Port of Dubrovnik, which saw 213 cruise ship visits in seven months, followed by Split with 144 visits, then by Zadar with 73 visits, and the the Central Dalmatian islands of Hvar and Korcula with 45 cruise ship visits each.

For more on the Croatian cruise season and cruise tourism, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

MSC Fantasia First MSC Cruiser to Sail into Dubrovnik Port in 2022

April the 9th, 2022 - Dubrovnik once had an enormous issue with cruise ships and hoards of day trippers steamrolling into the city, causing infrastructure issues and traffic jams. The pandemic changed all that, with the very first cruiser of 2022, MSC Fantasia, having arrived in the Pearl of the Adriatic on Thursday.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, MSC Fantasia, otherwise the first MSC vessel to arrive in the City of Dubrovnik this year, sailed into Dubrovnik's Port of Gruz on Thursday morning under the command of Captain Antonin Sammartan. This Fantasia class ship which can accommodate up to 4,300 passengers, will visit Dubrovnik on Thursdays until the end of the season, which is currently scheduled for September the 8th, 2022.

These giant ships of the MSC Cruises fleet will also visit the Croatian cities of Split, Zadar and Rijeka and achieve a total of 63 arrivals in various Croatian ports during this year's cruise season, which will end with its arrival in Split on November the 21st, 2022.

Next Saturday, another gigantic vessel, MSC Armonia, will sail into the City of Split for the first time, where its first passengers will board. This year's MSC Cruises offer includes boarding on the Eastern Mediterranean cruises in Split and Zadar on the MSC Armonia, with a tour of the Italian cities of Venice and Brindisi, and then the Greek Mykonos and Piraeus / Athens.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

No Foreign Cruise Ships in Croatian Adriatic Since March

July 8, 2020 - There have been no large cruisers carrying thousands of passengers in the Croatian Adriatic since March this year, and there are none even now, in the first days of July, nor can they be found in other nearby seas.

Novi List reports that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been no foreign cruise ships on the Croatian Adriatic since March this year, and all 15 realized in the first five months on the Adriatic were from January to the end of March, which is 91.2 percent less than in 2019, announced CBS.

Cruisers or cruise ships have partially continued to operate after the epidemiological measures eased in Croatia, but these are mostly domestic, smaller ships and shorter cruises organized by some domestic agencies and companies, in addition to some other ships of foreign tour operators who started sailing with guests in late June and early July.

However, there have been no large cruisers carrying thousands of passengers in the Adriatic since March this year, and there are none in the first days of July. Given the increase in positive coronavirus cases around the world, it is difficult to expect them this year, especially not in large numbers, since they are now labeled as cradles of the virus. Recall, many of them could not dock in ports during the pandemic but sailed for weeks, and some even months and more waiting for the opportunity to enter and disembark passengers.

Experts, therefore, predict that this immensely growing global industry in the last ten years, although often attacked for polluting the sea, oceans, ports and 'overtourism', will recover the slowest and have the most difficult time from the pandemic.

A significant decline in the number of cruises for international cruises is therefore visible in the Croatian Adriatic, as a total of 15 of these trips in the first five months recorded a decline of 91.2 percent, which means that compared to the same period in 2019, there were 156 less.

All 15 were actually realized in the first three months, after which there were no such trips on the Adriatic in April and May, unlike the same two months in 2019, when there were 49 in April and 88 such trips in May.

These 15 cruises on the Adriatic were made by six foreign ships, which is a decrease in their number by 86 percent or 37 cruisers less than in the first five months of 2019. These ships spent a total of 47 days in Croatia, compared to 386 days in five months of 2019.

On all these trips, just over 3,700 tourists came to Croatia, of which there are so many, and even more, only on one cruise ship at a time. That number is 98.5 percent less than in the first five months of 2019.

Therefore, foreign cruisers arrived in Croatia this year under the flags of only four countries - Malta (which made 12 out of 15 trips), and Belgium, Italy and the Marshall Islands.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.