Thursday, 14 April 2022

At Least Five Times More Dubrovnik Cruise Ships Compared to 2021

April the 14th, 2022 - There will be five times more Dubrovnik cruise ships this year, as the country's tourism makes an impressively fast recovery from two pandemic-dominated years in which the then hated vessels weren't seen in the Pearl of the Adriatic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, this year's cruise season for the Croatian Adriatic's ports has started with the arrival of MSC's ship Fantasia in Dubrovnik's Port of Gruz, which, according to current announcements, will bring five times more Dubrovnik cruise ships alone than last year. In addition to that, the current news is that MSC will enable boarding in Zadar and Split for the first time ever, which has already aroused a lot of interest from Croatian passengers.

Five days ago, the first cruise ship of this year, MSC Fantasia, sailed into Dubrovnik's Port of Gruz. This Fantasia-class ship can accommodate up to 4,300 passengers and will visit Dubrovnik on Thursdays until the end of the season on September the 8th, 2022. According to the company, in addition to Dubrovnik, MSC fleet ships will visit Split, Zadar and Rijeka and achieve a total of 63 arrivals in various Croatian ports during this season alone.

"The last time we had this cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean to Greece was from Dubrovnik 6-7 years ago. This itinerary is interesting for passengers from Croatia and neighbouring countries, because of the ease of access to the port, simplicity and less crowds in terms of terminals, because of all the still valid pandemic measures in force on board and in some European countries. The programme is very affordable for the Croatian market and we've had some great interest from travellers from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,'' revealed Igor Odak, in charge of marketing and sales at MSC. The first cruisers of this year brought a total of about 2,500 guests to the City of Dubrovnik in just a few days, pointed out the director of the Dubrovnik Port Authority, Blaz Pezo.

"Last year was a solid cruise season in which we were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers. Considering that there were none in 2020 at all, we're satisfied with the results from 2021, which reached 30 percent of the amount we saw back in 2019. This represents a good base for this cruise ship season, in which, according to the plan, we expect to achieve 70 percent of the turnover from 2019. We're welcoming this season with optimism,'' Pezo added.

Exactly how many passengers Dubrovnik cruise ships could see enter the country's southernmost city is still unknown, as the number keeps changing, but the ships are currently between 60 and 70 percent full. Given the much more favourable situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the Dubrovnik Port Authority expects that both European and American shipping companies will gradually increase their capacities on cruises this season. Pezo also added that at the same time, the sustainable development of the cruising industry, which Dubrovnik opted for after experiencing a collapse due to intolerable crowds, hasn't been forgotten.

"According to current announcements, throughout 2022 we can expect 343 arrivals of ships and about 515 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with plans for sustainable tourism development in this destination. The maximum number of passengers from cruise ships in Dubrovnik throughout 2022 is 4,000 passengers at a time, or an average of two ships at berth,'' explained Pezo.

The Dubrovnik Port Authority is otherwise quite actively participating in the project of the City of Dubrovnik called "Respect the City".

As part of that project's activities, the Ordinance on conditions and criteria for accepting and allocating berths for cruise ships in the context of sustainable destination development was drafted, and an even better schedule for Dubrovnik cruise ships and their arrival was achieved, which will result in a more even flow of passengers from the port, especially towards the historical core, and in this way the intensity of the load on the city's roads in the direction Gruz - Pile - Gruz will be reduced,'' said Pezo.

He especially emphasised the fact that in 2022, the turnover during the pre-season and post-season is expected to increase, and there is an expected decrease in traffic in the peak months of the main tourist season, more precisely during the months of July and August.

For more, check out our travel section.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

2022 Cruise Ship Season in Split Begins with Arrival of 'Bolette'

February 22, 2022 - On Monday morning, the Bolette cruise ship, carrying around 600 passengers, officially launched the 2022 cruise ship season in Split. 

On the morning of February 21, the 283-meter-long "Bolette," which sails under the flag of the Bahamas, sailed into the city port of Split, thus officially beginning the 2022 cruise ship season in Split. The cruise ship arrived carrying around 600 passengers and sailed to Split after the port of Valletta in Malta, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

This is the first announcement of a good cruise ship season ahead. 

"Yes, this is the first arrival this year. The ship is moored at an external berth. As far as I know, these are older travelers on classic cruises around the Mediterranean. They stay in the city until 5 pm, and until then, they have organized walking tours of the Palace. For this year, we have a total of 323 announcements of cruise ships, and we will see if all of them come true. It all depends, of course, on the pandemic, but the situation is still improving, and we are all optimistic. Guests on cruise ships have strict epidemiological measures and constant testing, as well as those before leaving the ports," said Vicko Vrgoč, head of operations at the Split Port. 

Vrgoč reminds us that the cruises suffered during the strongest wave of the pandemic. While the situation is slowly calming down, everyone knows that the pandemic can bring complications again.

"Of course, we wish for record years like 2016, when we recorded as many as 286 cruise ships entering the city port of Split. The next three cruisers for this year will arrive in mid-March, after which they will become more frequent, according to the announcements," Vrgoč added.

Over 310,000 vessels arrived in Croatian seaports in 2021, 25% more than 2020. According to the national statistical office, there were 27.3 million passengers, up 45.4% on 2020 but down 23% on 2019.

Most of the passenger turnover was recorded from April through September, and it was highest in August and September, in keeping with the peak tourist season.

In Q4 2021, 60,000 vessels arrived in Croatian seaports (+9.5%), and there were 3.6 million passengers (+37%).

As for passenger turnover in Q4, it was highest in Split with 580,600 passengers (+42%), followed by Zadar with 366,000 (+21%) and Preko on Ugljan island with 326,000 (+18%). On the other hand, the highest passenger turnover increase in Q4 was recorded in Dubrovnik with just under 147,000 (+122.6%), followed by Rabac and Hvar, which saw increases of about 90%.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 8 November 2021

September 2021 Sees Most Visiting Cruise Ships Since Start of Pandemic

ZAGREB, 8 Nov, 2021 - In September 2021 there were 49 foreign cruises in the Croatian part of the Adriatic, almost ten times more than in September 2020 and the most in a single month since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, show data from the national statistical office.

The visiting cruise ships stayed 135 days as against 41 days in September 2020, and the number of passengers was 51,600 as against 155 in September 2020.

Compared to August 2021, the increase in the number of cruises continued in September, with 13 more visits. The trend started in June, when there were 15 visits by foreign cruise ships, followed by July, with 34 registered visits, and August with 36.

These results, however, are still far from the 2019 results. In September 2019 there were 101 visits by foreign cruise ships, with more than 152,500 passengers.

The visiting vessels sailed mostly under the flags of Panama, the Bahamas, Malta, Belgium, France and Norway.

In the first nine months of 2021, 24 visiting cruise ships realised 134 cruises in the Adriatic, bringing 137,500 passengers who stayed a total of 372 days in Croatia.

By comparison, in the first nine months of 2020, there were only ten visiting cruise ships, 26 cruises and slightly more than 4,000 passengers.

The number of foreign cruise tours in the first nine months of this year is still far below their number in the first nine months of 2019, with the first nine months this year seeing 76.4% fewer cruises and 84.5% fewer passengers.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County saw the largest number of visiting cruise ships in the first nine months of this year, accounting for 69.4% of all visits, followed by Split-Dalmatia County with a share of 24.6%.

For more on travel, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Sunday, 18 July 2021

30-40 Cruise Ships Announced for Zadar Port This Tourist Season

July the 18th, 2021 - Good news for Zadar Port (Gazenica) this summer season as as many as thirty to forty cruise ships have been announced as travel restrictions gradually begin to ease.

The global pandemic has done so much harm to the travel and tourism industry that it will be difficult to truly quantify just how deep that damage has gone for a few years yet, but with the advent of the vaccine, some things are at least attempting to make a gradual return to some form of normality as we once knew it. Cruise tourism, among the hardest hit industries of all, is making a slow but steady comeback.

As Morski/Marina Saponja writes, with the arrival of the first cruise ship in a year and a half at Zadar Port, this type of tourism which was once so heavily complained about by numerous Croatian destinations, Dubrovnik being the loudest of all, is slowly beginning to reawaken.

The cruise ship industry, while as problematic as it is economically beneficial, has been completely interrupted since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving destinations which previously did nothing but complain about these gigantic ships eager for their return.

''Cruise tourism is starting up again, slowly. Sea Dream II is the first cruiser to have sailed into Zadar Port carrying passengers, just 21 of them and 86 crew members, after more than one year,'' Djoni Stambuk from the Zadar Port Authority told local portal Zadarski list.

A very encouraging thirty to forty cruise ships have been announced for Zadar Port this tourist season, but the situation may change significantly, as has been so often the case since the beginning of 2020, and a lot will depend almost entirely on the epidemiological situation at any given time, despite the vaccine.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

First Cruiser in Split after 9 Months Bringing 1200 Tourists on Friday

June 17, 2021 - The first cruiser in Split after 9 months will sail into the Split Port on Friday, bringing 1,200 guests with it. 

Souvenir shops, get ready! On Friday, after a very long time, the first big cruiser arrives in Split, bringing about 1,200 passengers, who should stay there for ten hours, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

As Vice Mihanović, director of the Split Port, revealed, the luxury cruise ship MSC Splendida should arrive at the external berth of the Split City Port on June 18 at 7 am, and the departure was announced the same day at 5 pm.

"Splendida comes from Corfu, and passengers will leave the cruise to the city in an organized manner, by bus and walking tours. We hope for a good epidemiological situation so that as many ships with tourists as possible enter Split in the coming months," says Vice Mihanović.

Admittedly, a cruiser also arrived in Split before Splendida on Monday, but it is a far smaller ship - the Belle de l’adriatique. The last major cruise ship to Split was seen last September, followed by months of drought that coincided with a bad epidemiological picture in Croatia and around the world.

"Currently, in the announcements for this year, we have the arrival of 155 cruisers in Split, but all this is very uncertain and depends on the pandemic. Failures are common. All this is far from the record 2016 when 286 cruisers came to Split, but the situation is getting a little better, and it will largely depend on ourselves," says the director of the Split Port Authority.

MSC Splendida is a huge ship, 38 meters wide and 333 meters long, can accommodate over three thousand passengers and has over a thousand crew members. There are 1,637 cabins on the cruiser, including 43 for disabled guests or tourists with reduced mobility. It has as many as 18 decks, including 14 for guests.

Splendida offers a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and lounges, four swimming pools, a well-equipped gym, and a luxury spa, award-winning family activities, and facilities, as well as a luxurious MSC Yacht Club with 71 spacious suites and all-day butler service.

As reported by MSC Cruises, the Splendida is their fifth ship to begin regular sailing this summer. MSC Grandios and MSC Seaside sail the western Mediterranean. The MSC Orchestra recently embarked on cruises in the eastern Mediterranean. The flagship of the MSC Virtuos fleet cruises the United Kingdom with reservations open to British guests only.

"They are fully supported by the leading health and safety protocol, under the protection of which tens of thousands of guests, as well as crew members, have been safely sailing onboard the MSC Grandios since its first presentation in August 2020, and protects local communities that visit. MSC Magnifica will continue sailing the eastern Mediterranean on June 20 starting from Italy - they will regularly sail to Split where they will achieve 20 ticks this year," said MSC.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Arrival of 14 Zadar Cruise Ships Scheduled! First Arriving on July 20

June the 13th, 2021 - With the epidemiological picture finally becoming more favourable and vaccination across Europe going well, things are beginning to very slowly but steadily return to some form of pre-pandemic normality. For Croatian tourism, there couldn't be better news. So far, 14 Zadar cruise ships are scheduled, the first of which is set to arrive in mid-July.

As Morski writes, the well known Cruise company Viking Cruises is the first cruise company to publicly announce the return of their cruisers to the Dalmatian city of Zadar this summer, and it isn't the only one. As has learned from Rebeka V. Pevec, the General Manager of ZIPO (Zadar International Port Operations), 14 Zadar cruise ships are set to arrive in Zadar's Gazenica Port this summer.

''With an increasing number of cruisers returning to operation and choosing the Mediterranean for their itineraries, we hope that number will increase. Of course, all this primarily depends on the epidemiological situation in Croatia and in the Zadar region, on how much everyone will adhere to the epidemiological measures, and on the level of vaccination of the population. All these are factors that these companies are closely monitoring, and based on that, as well as on the recognisability of the destination, they make decisions that they will include in their itineraries for this season,'' explained Rebeka V. Pevec.

Passengers with deep pockets will arrive on 2020's Zadar cruise ships...

The companies that have confirmed their Zadar cruise ships this year are Viking Cruises, Holland America Line (HAL) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. All three companies are considered luxurious and passengers generally have a higher purchasing power, and accordingly have higher expectations of their chosen destinations and expect a higher level of service and quality, not only on board, but also in the destinations they visit.

The first announced and so far confirmed of the Zadar cruise is on July the 20th, when Viking Venus is due to arrive, the newest ship in the Viking Cruises fleet of identical ships. Considering that Viking Venus is the first cruiser to visit Zadar after more than a year, and that this is its inaugural arrival in Zadar, we hope that together with the tourist boards and citizens of Zadar and the region we'll give a worthy welcome to both the guests and the crew, to prove ourselves as good hosts and as a good destination for cruisers,'' Pevec added.

Given the pandemic and the slightly better numbers after the start of the vaccination rollout, is there any optimism for this season?

''What gives us optimism and hope is the fact that more and more cruising companies are returning to operation, they're creating new itineraries and depending on the epidemiological situation, we see our opportunity there. However, at the same time, it's important to note that there is a lot of competition between ports and destinations in both the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, in terms of service, shipping costs, fees and the very recognisability of the destination. Therefore, and compared to the announced numbers of tourists arriving in Croatia by land, and the still current classification of the US State Department, according to which Croatia is in the red zone, our optimism is very cautious,'' Pevec stated.

Now is the time to make the best impressions for next year

''As for the epidemiological measures themselves, the recommendations were made in accordance with the recommendations of the most relevant regulatory bodies, the ECDC and EU Healthy Gateways, and since back in August 2020, no incidents have been recorded. Most ships are currently sailing at approximately 50% capacity, the passengers and crew are mostly vaccinated, so things should be fine if good preparation is carried out and if all stakeholders strictly adhere to the prescribed and agreed epidemiological measures.

In this situation and given all the circumstances, we look forward to every guest and every cruise ship arrival and we'll try to leave the best possible impression as a port and as a destination, in order to attract as many arrivals in the future. So, we aren't just focusing on this season, but we're thinking long term, because in this industry the real results are not seen immediately, but are realised through at least two years. The priority is to prove ourselves as a safe destination, with a high level of vaccination and with a culture of adherence to prescribed epidemiological measures, and of course as excellent hosts to ships, their guests and their crew,'' said Pevec.

Given the overall situation across the world, especially in the emitting markets of the cruising industry, a return to the figures from 2019 is expected in five years.

''Of course, it could happen earlier, but with the condition of very strong promotion in all media relevant to the cruise industry, and with a focus on Zadar as a safe and ideal destination for cruisers. With the appearance of the pandemic, all previous results were minimised and now we need to win over cruise companies to choose Zadar as one of their destinations. As a community, we can achieve this only with strong marketing, impressive service and the creation of a reputation as a serious destination that understands and appreciates the cruising industry,'' Pevec concluded for

For more on cruises to Croatia, check our our travel section.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Largest Square-rigged Cruise Ship Departs From Brodosplit Dock

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - SV Golden Horizon, a steel-hulled five-masted rigged tall ship, which is intended to be used as a cruise ship, left the Brodosplit shipyard on Wednesday, the Split-based dock reported on Wednesday afternoon.

The  Brodosplit company that built the vessel reported on its website that "this luxurious vessel can accommodate up to 272 passengers and will provide the service under the Tradewind Voyages from the UK."

"As far as itineraries are concerned, it is designed for voyages according to 'where the wind and sea currents take it."

The clipper is 162 meters long and 18.5 meters wide. It has five masts with 36 cross sails with a total area of ​​6,347 square meters. The vessel's carrying capacity is  2,000 tons.

On Wednesday also, the unfinished "Onega Gulf" oil/chemical tanker was towed to the Split dock for finalization.

For the latest news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Pandemic Sees Zadar Cruise Ship Season 2021 Called into Question

April the 8th, 2021 - The Zadar cruise ship season for this summer is being called into question owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many worry that cruise ships won't be docking in that particular Dalmatian city until autumn.

As Morski writes, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic completely paralysed the cruise ship industry last year. Due to the impossibility of securing the necessary epidemiological measures, the world's largest cruise companies moored almost all of their gigantic vessels. Data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows that in the circular tourism sector in 2020, there were only 26 arrivals, which is 700 trips or a mindblowing 96.4 percent less than there were in 2019, all as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the numerous problematic restrictions on international travel.

The data also shows that there were cruises of foreign ships taking in the first three months of last year, then there was a complete cessation of travel until the month of July. Five trips were made in August and September, after which the cruise industry stalled completely by the end of the year. In 2020, cruisers sailed only in ports in Dubrovnik-Neretva and Istria counties. Unlike large international vessels, small cruise vessels from Croatian agencies and companies did make several voyages in late June and early July, following the easing of epidemiological measures in Croatia back at that time

Skific explained the situation with the interruption of cruise ships and problems in the last year, as well as the potential and prospects for the upcoming tourist season.

''Last year will probably be recorded as one of the most difficult years we've ever had, especially in the segment of international passenger traffic. The coronavirus pandemic practically wiped out all cruise ship announcements as well as international liner traffic in the space of a mere few weeks in March, not only in all Croatian ports but in all ports across the world. It's been a global crisis, and cruise companies have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, even more so than the aviation industry. It's impossible to dock in more or less all of the world's ports, and the only type of activity that remains in the ports has become the acceptance of ships without passengers on them, vessels which are at rest,'' explained Skific.

''Out of the announced slightly more than 200,000 passengers back in 2020, only 714 passengers arrived, and all of this more or less happened before the start of the pandemic in March. An additional limiting element in the acceptance of cruise ships during 2020 was the Decision of the National Civil Protection Headquarters on the ban on entry of passenger ships carrying more than 200 passengers into Croatian waters.

For most of the year, there were one to two cruisers of the Marella Cruises company (Dream and Discovery 2) in the ports, in their lay-up (at rest) status,'' he added.

Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, revenues in the cruise ship segment decreased by approximately 5 million kuna. When compared to the announcements for 2020, the decline in revenue should have been even more pronounced. Zadar Port Authority lost so much at the expense of collecting port fees. Broadly speaking, the lost revenue of all our concessionaires that are directly related to the provision of services to cruise ships are very high,'' noted Skific.

The Zadar cruise ship season this year is being called into question, and this industry will have the hardest time of all when it comes to recovery

Experts predict that the cruise ship industry will have the hardest time recovering from the consequences of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike airlines, which, in the absence of passenger transport, shifted their operations to freight, cruise companies had no choice but to "drop anchor" and wait. Due to the uncertain situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the Zadar Port Authority hasn't yet published its list of announced cruiser arrivals. They say that when a trip is actually realised, they will publish the data day by day.

''The announcements of arrivals for this year aren't relevant because the data changes from day to day and this is completely unreliable data, given that even cruising companies don't know if and when they will start implementing their own respective itineraries for 2021. In the announcements, we had a little less than 200 voyages on which about 320,000 passengers were to arrive, counting on the full capacity of the vessel. Realistically, we expected about 280,000 passengers in 2021, of course, this was according to the announcements before the coronavirus pandemic struck,'' explained Skific.

The Zadar cruise ship season for 2021 will depend entirely on the epidemiological situation at any given time

The biggest challenge for cruise companies in 2021 will be to gain the trust of both tourists and employees. Holidays in a situation where the proper epidemiological measures aren't one hundred percent guaranteed are now no longer attractive at all. No company is interested in repeating last year's situation in which the passengers and crews of cruisers found themselves, when it was discovered that the virus had appeared on vessels in the United States and in Japan.

Passengers and crew in such situations were forced to either carry out quarantine on board the ships or in the country where the ship was granted permission to anchor. Some countries such as Thailand and Malaysia have banned the landing of cruisers in their ports. Such a situation also leads to diplomatic conflicts between countries whose citizens are infected on a cruise ship and countries that aren't ready to take care of the sick or at least arrange to ensure their return to their home countries in accordance with all epidemiological measures.

Skific was asked about the existence of instructions and protocols on the entry of vessels under foreign flags if there are infected crew members or passengers on them.

''According to the announcements, a general instruction of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure on the treatment of infected passengers is expected. However, it's also expected that in agreement and coordination with the National Civil Protection Headquarters, different approaches will be present depending on the destination, city or port. It will all depend on the current epidemiological situation in certain destinations,'' he said.

Both ports and cruise companies are required to provide security and safety protocols

''From the very beginning of the pandemic, we've taken a number of measures to protect the health of employees - all according to the instructions of the Headquarters - from disinfectants in each office to having it at the entrance to the Port Authority. The entrance door to the premises of the Zadar Port Authority is locked so that we strictly control who enters and exits, we keep our distance at meetings and wear masks, we also do the same in our offices if more than one person is working in the office at any one time.

There are few of us and it's very important for us to preserve the health of every single employee given the large amount of work and projects that this Port Authority implements. Additionally, in the case of smaller controlled events with more than one person involved, the body temperature of each of the participants is measured,'' he assured.

Cruise ships are practically prisons at sea, which is hardly an attractive idea to anyone. Last year, due to a lack of information about the novel coronavirus, and due to not finding a way to prevent the virus from entering ships, cruise companies were brought to their very knees in the form of bankruptcy. This year, the main task of cruise companies is to provide healthcare and safety protocols to protect both passengers and crew.

The most important part of these protocols is to test all passengers and crew members for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, before departure. One of the ways to reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus is to abolish the stay outside the vessel during a vessel's time in ports or to arrange organisations referred to as ''Bubble trips", in which passengers and guides don't come into any contact with any people who haven't been on board.

In terms of hygiene standards, the use of hospital disinfectants, which destroy 99 percent of the virus, is now recommended. Reducing the number of passengers to ensure social distance is another important item to take into consideration although this will also hurt the already empty pockets of the industry. It is also being recommended to determine isolation units for guests and crew with suspected coronavirus infection.

With all of the above in mind, Royal Caribbean, together with the Israeli health and tourism authorities, offered the first round trip on which the crew and guests over the age of sixteen must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A properly controlled corridor

''Cruise ship companies have adopted a number of very strict protocols - from PCR tests after the first and after each subsequent entry into the vessel, some companies will only allow vaccinated passengers to book, excursions are being organised in strictly controlled conditions and for some, it will not be possible for people to leave the ship freely with some individual arrangements.

Passengers who don't respect this will simply be sent home if, contrary to the ship's protocol, they go beyond the agreed rules. Such events have already been recorded in the few test itineraries organised with a limited number of passengers involved. In addition, companies will only fill part of their capacitis, and bus trips with more than 50 percent of their full capacity utilised will not be allowed on excursions.

Individual departures from the vessels in the next short-term period will not be possible at all. The protocols are such that in the destination they actually take us as a bigger threat to passengers than they could be to us,'' Skific pointed out, adding that COVID-19 protocols of cruise companies currently don't and won't allow for the uncontrolled arrival and departure of passengers.

''A controlled corridor with security guards measuring body temperatures, disinfectants and masks inside the terminal in that short passage time to the bus at this point seems quite sufficient. Travel and maritime agents, drivers and everyone from the destination who is in contact with passengers will have to adhere to the same protocols. However, depending on the epidemiological situation, the introduction of additional measures is not excluded,'' he warned.

Although the Zadar cruise ship season is in doubt, luckily, the Zadar Port Authority doesn't depend exclusively on cruise ships

''More or less all cruise ship trips before the end of June have been practically cancelled, and the big question is what will happen in the second half of the season. According to informal talks with these cruise companies, they don't expect a significant number of trips to actually happen before the end of August and the beginning of September. Let's hope that the vaccination of the population will do its thing - by improving the epidemiological picture across Croatia by the end of the summer, we could reach at least autumn with the arrival of some cruise ships.

Back at the very beginning of this year, we thought that about one-third of the planned arrivals would be realised, however, as things currently stand, we'd be pleased with the very fact that traffic is starting to actually kick off again. Luckily we aren't quite as exposed to the need for revenues from cruise ships like some other ports in Croatia and the world are, our revenues are prudently dispersed into several segments of traffic and activities, however, in case the pandemic fails to calm down by the end of the year, we'll all have cause for concern,'' warned Skific.

One thing is for sure, even if the coronavirus pandemic were to suddenly end tomorrow, all cruise companies will need a lot of time to regain the trust of customers and potential employees after this absolute disaster.

For more information on coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, quarantine and border rules, as well as the locations of testing centres up and down the country, make sure to bookmark this page.

For more on travel, click here. For all you need to know about Zadar, visit Zadar in a Page.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Croatian Venice: Photo Reveals Shocking Cruise Ship Reality in Dubrovnik

August 23, 2019 - Scenes from Gruž port in Dubrovnik on Thursday suggest anything but an improvement in buckling down on the city's cruise ship tourism.

On July 8, 2019, TCN published the results of the "Transportation and Environment" Association, which, along with the support of numerous similar environmental foundations, including the European Commission (EC), conducted extensive research on air pollution in European destinations in ports which accept cruise ships in 2017. The study revealed alarming stats about the pollution levels in Croatia's top destination - Dubrrovnik.

Namely, 27,173 vehicles were registered in Dubrovnik in 2017. During that time, in the port of Gruž, forty such massive vessels sailed in while taking round trips, spending a total of 2,791 hours moored. Thus, 2,523 kilograms of contaminated particles were discharged into Dubrovnik's air.

During that same time, the aforementioned 27,173 vehicles registered in the Dubrovnik area released 11,561 kilograms of exhaust gases into the air. Translated into basic percentages: 20.1 percent of the air pollution in Dubrovnik comes directly from cruise ships.

When considering the release of harmful compounds such as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, the data for Dubrovnik is as follows: During those 2,791 hours of cruise ships being moored in Gruž, cruise ships released a massive 140,259 kilograms of nitrogen oxide into the air, while 27,173 registered vehicles during that same year released 100,174 kilograms of the same harmful compound.

Furthermore, during their stay, cruise ships released 6,344 kilograms of sulfur oxide into Dubrovnik's air, and passenger cars released 331 kilograms of the same compound during that time.

Exactly one month later, on August 8, 2019, TCN reported the following cruise ship statistics according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics:

In the first six months of 2019, 272 journeys of foreign vessels on cruise were realised in Croatia.

In the period from January to June 2019, there were 54 foreign vessels on cruise that arrived in Croatian seaports, which realised 272 journeys. There were 409 thousand passengers on board who stayed for 554 days in Croatia.

The highest number of cruises was realised by vessels under the flags of Malta (72 cruises) and Italy (45 cruises), while the highest number of passengers on board the arrived vessels were under the flags of Italy (108 thousand passengers) and Panama (100 thousand passengers).
Out of a total of 272 journeys of foreign vessels on cruise, the majority was realised in the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva (60.3%) and the County of Split-Dalmatia (25.3%), which makes up the total of 85.6%. The remaining 14.4% of journeys were realised in the following counties: Zadar (5.9%), Istria (4.8%), Primorje-Gorski kotar (2.6%) and Šibenik-Knin (1.1%). 

The most visited seaport was the seaport of Dubrovnik, followed by the seaports of Split and Zadar
The majority of visits of foreign vessels on cruise were realised in the seaport of Dubrovnik (195 visits), followed by the seaports of Split (104 visits) and Zadar (45 visits). 

In the period from January to June 2019, the number of journeys of foreign vessels on cruise increased by 10.6% and the total number of sojourns by 6.1%, as compared to the same period of 2018. In the aforementioned period of 2019, the number of passengers on board increased by 14.8%, as compared to the same period of 2018.

Just yesterday, on August 22, 2019, Dalmacija Danas published a photo that perfectly presents the shocking reality of cruise ship tourism in Dubrovnik today. 

You can have a look for yourself below. 


Photo by Boris Bašić 

”Contracts with cruise companies are signed for next year, so that throughout the whole week, from Monday to Sunday, we will have a maximum of two cruisers a day. Sometimes there will be only one, sometimes two will arrive at one or one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. We aspired to that, and now we have achieved it,” the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, said last year.

However, Thursday’s view of Gruž reveals an entirely different reality; one where there were twice as many cruisers as promised at the port.

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

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Huge Cruiser Moors Outside of Timetable, Causes Chaos in Dubrovnik

As writes on the 11th of August, 2019, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković received an official letter from the MSC Cruises executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, apologising for a situation which occurred owing to the MSC Sinfonia vessel, which for the first time in two years caused a total halt in pedestrian traffic at Pile gate (western entrance to the Old City).

Pierfrancesco Vago's apology arrived to Mayor Franković after a letter of protest was sent by the mayor of Dubrovnik to CLIA Europe shortly after the unfortunate event.

The chairman of one of the world's largest cruise companies also apologised to the residents of the city for the inconvenience caused by the MSC Sinfonia mooring in the Port of Gruž earlier than envisioned.

This, as Vago says, is the result of unfortunate and unplanned circumstances. "The earlier arrival of the ship to was largely driven by adverse weather at sea, which caused Sinfonia to miss Mykonos (Greece) on the way from Venice and head directly to Dubrovnik," the memo reads.

The MSC chairman also states that, under these circumstances, the arrival of the ship was actually orally authorised by the Port Authority of Dubrovnik two hours before schedule, but that there were lapses in the MSC control mechanisms and that Sinfonia was not allowed to disembark until the regular time of arrival, thereby violating the rules of CLIA, as well as those put in place by the city itself.

"I would like to assure you personally that this event was an exception - caused by external factors and that we have introduced a new level of control without delay that will ensure that all of our arrivals are fully in line with the agreement of CLIA and the city," concludes MSC's chairman, along with the message that their commitment to their agreement with the CLIA and the wishes of the southern Croatian city remains solid.

The City of Dubrovnik recalls that on the 24th of July, 2019, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the City of Dubrovnik signed an Agreement on Cooperation for the Preservation and Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Dubrovnik through Responsible Tourism Management, in order to make the UNESCO city an example of sustainable tourism in the Adriatic sea and beyond.

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