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.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Zadar Port Authority: 20% Increase in Cruise Traffic Compared to 2019

July the 3rd, 2022 - The Zadar Port Authority has confirmed that there have been 20 percent more cruise ships sailing into Zadar's waters than back during the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 to which the industry continues to compare this year's statistics to.

As Morski writes, the Zadar Port Authority has reported on the number of guest arrivals from cruise ships up until the end of June this year, and the results are more than encouraging despite cruise ships continuing to be an issue in regard to pollution.

In the period from January the 1st to June the 30th, 2022, there were 41,520 passenger arrivals from cruise ships in the areas managed by the Zadar Port Authority. Of the aforementioned number, 32,949 passengers or 79% were realised in the passenger port of Gazenica, while 8,571 guests (21%) visited the city port, the passenger Port of Zadar.

A total of 56 cruise ship arrivals were realised during the aforementioned period, while the arrival of a total of 147 ships is planned for the whole year. The largest number of arrivals was achieved during the month of June, when 18,448 passengers visited this Dalmatian city on 20 vessels.

Back in May of this year, the largest cruise ship in the history of what the Zadar Port Authority has had to deal with, MSC Fantasia, with a total length of 333 metres and a width of 38 metres sailed into Gazenica.

The Zadar Port Authority's analyses show that the cities and towns within that particular county are the most visited. Almost 40% of cruise ship guests visit the centre of Zadar, Nin is visited by 10%, then come Pag, Paklenica, Nadin, Zrmanja, Vrana Lake, Starigrad, Maslenica, etc. Krka National Park and the City of Sibenik are also very often chosen by guests.

The number of organised visits to destinations speaks volumes for the fact that in the first six months of 2022, a total of 622 vehicles were used to transport guests to their desired destinations, of which 490 were buses, while with the arrival of warmer weather, the transportation of guests to coastal destinations by tourist boats also began. In this case, the top choices are Kornati and Kukljica.

Looking at the total realised number of passengers from cruise ships during the first six months of this year, which numbers 41,520 arrivals, it was realised at the level of 56% compared to the same period of the record year of 2019, when 73,660 arrivals were realised. The years 2020 and 2021 are not at all comparable due to the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

What's worth highlighting is the fact that the number of cruise ship arrivals for the first six months of 2022, compared to the same period back in 2019, is almost 20% higher. However, due to limitations in the capacity of the ships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of guests has still not reached the figures from that record year, but there's plenty of time yet.

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