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.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

520,000 Cruise Ship Passengers in Dubrovnik Expected this Season

April 7, 2022 - Blaž Pezo of the Dubrovnik Port Authority announced 345 ship arrivals and about 520,000 cruise ship passengers in Dubrovnik this season. 

When measures were relaxed in mid-May 2021, the conditions for restarting cruising tourism in the destination were finally met, taking into account the reduced covid-capacity of 60 percent of passengers. The Dubrovnik Port Authority was happy to welcome the tourism market, and as the season progressed, many cruisers came. In the end, the director of the Dubrovnik Port Authority Blaž Pezo said they ended 2021 with traffic above expectations, reports DuList

Last year, he stressed, a solid cruise season was achieved in which they were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers. Given that there were none in 2020, Pezo said that the Port Authority is satisfied with the 2021 result, which is 30 percent of 2019 and is a good base for this season which they expect 70 percent of 2019.

"We are optimistic about the 2022 season. According to current announcements, in 2022, we expect 345 ship arrivals and about 520 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with the plans for sustainable tourism development in the 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. The Dubrovnik Port Authority is actively participating in the City of Dubrovnik project ‘Respect the City’, in which we strive to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism. As part of the project activities, the Ordinance on conditions and criteria for accepting and allocating berths for cruise ships in sustainable destination development was developed. As a result, an even better schedule of cruise ship arrivals in Dubrovnik was achieved, which will result in a more even flow of passengers from the port, mostly towards the historic core, and thus reduce the intensity of the load on city roads in the direction Gruž - Pile - Gruž," said Blaž Pezo for Dulist.

How does the situation with Ukraine reflect on the announcements for the cruising season, and are specific markets disrupted?

"In recent days, information has appeared in the public that the war in Ukraine has begun to affect cruising tourism. Some cruisers have canceled their visit to Dubrovnik, but the situation is not dramatic. So far, we have only two cancellations due to operational reasons and several changes in the entry schedule into Dubrovnik due to the relaxation of measures in Italy. I would not say that the situation is alarming, but we monitor the situation together. In the announcement for this year, which should be very good after the coronavirus pandemic, we have 345 ships.

Of course, there is a possibility some will cancel, but we hope that will not happen. It is unknown how many passengers the cruisers could bring to Dubrovnik, as the number is changing, but they are currently between 60 and 70 percent full. Given the much more favorable situation with the coronavirus pandemic, we expect that European and American shipping companies will gradually increase their cruiser capacity this season. With the improving situation, the greatest demand, i.e., the most serious number of tickets and passengers on cruises, is expected from the major tourist markets from Great Britain and the USA, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain," concluded Blaž Pezo.

For more, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Year of Megayachts in Dubrovnik: More than Ever Expected in 2022

February 27, 2022 - It will be the year of megayachts in Dubrovnik, as more 100-150 meter yachts are expected this summer than ever before. 

This year's first cruiser sailed into the port of Gruž on Thursday. Namely, it was the MS Bolette with Dubrovnik captain Jozo Glavić, carrying about 600 passengers.

This is not the first time Bolette visited Dubrovnik. This cruiser was already on tours that included Dubrovnik, only then its name was Amsterdam, and Holland America owned it. Now, it is owned by the shipping company Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. Captain Jozo Glavić made history when he passed through the Corinth Canal with the largest ship ever, the Braemar cruiser owned by the same company.

Announcements for this year's cruising season were commented on by the director of the Dubrovnik Port, Željko Raguž, and the director of Dubrovnik Port Authority, Blaž Pezo.

"The arrival of the Bolette is the first harbinger of a great season ahead in terms of cruises. We are also looking forward to Viking Sky, Viking Star, Athena, and Arethusa, which will arrive in mid-March, after which sailing will be more frequent, according to the announcements," said Blaž Pezo for Dubrovački Dnevnik.

Raguž pointed out that this is the best year ever for megayacht arrivals, but the same cannot be said for cruisers.

"More megayachts than ever are expected this year, even more than in 2019. We are talking about yachts over 100-150 meters, the announcements are excellent, and we expect to break all previous records," said Raguž.

As for cruisers, he claims, it cannot be compared to 2019 but can with all previous years.

"We are working following the decisions of 'Respect the City', so we will not accumulate that number in the future to be much higher than it will be this year, so we can say that we are almost at full capacity," said Raguž.

Pezo pointed out that last year was a 'solid cruise season' in which we were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers.

"Given that there were none in 2020, we are satisfied with the result in 2021, or 30 percent of 2019, which is a good base for this season in which we plan to expect 70 percent of 2019," said Pezo.

He added that they are optimistic about the 2022 season.

"According to current announcements, in 2022, we expect 343 cruise ship arrivals and about 530 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with plans for sustainable tourism development in the destination. Therefore, the maximum number of passengers on cruises in Dubrovnik throughout 2022 is 4,000 passengers at a time, or an average of two ships at berth," Pezo explained.

Last year, city tours for cruise tourists looked quite different than in the pre-pandemic years. Last year, guests toured the city with strict measures; they could not enter restaurants, souvenir shops, or boutiques. There were pre-arranged spaces where the group could be, organized transportation, and passengers could not contact tourism staff without prior arrangement.

"On cruise ships, all passengers, as well as crew members, are vaccinated. Regarding the testing and application of epidemiological measures, the procedures are standardized in this segment of tourism," Pezo explained.

However, this year should return to the 'old normal' and the extinction of the 'bubble model' of cruising tourism.

"It seems that this is no longer the case as it was with the 'bubble model' and everything should be as it was before the pandemic," Raguž is optimistic.

However, he adds a dose of caution to the good news.

"There may be one decision in May, and then another in July, so it is still questionable. We hope that all these ships will come according to plan. Before the pandemic years, ships would come because there were huge penalties if they were a no-show, and now that’s no longer the case in a pandemic. It is enough to check out seven days in advance so that they are not punished in any way, so we need to take everything with some reserve. But, if last year we had five times fewer ships, and all the announced ones came, then I don't think we will come to that as the situation is much better in Croatia and the world than last year," concludes Raguž.

The Dubrovnik Port Authority is actively participating in the City of Dubrovnik project 'Respect the City', which seeks to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism. As part of the project activities, the Ordinance on the conditions and criteria for the acceptance and allocation of berths for cruise ships in sustainable destination development was created.

"I especially emphasize that in 2022, an increase in traffic in the pre-season and post-season and a decrease in traffic in the peak months of the main tourist season, July and August, is expected. In this way, the cruise season has been extended from mid-March to the end of November and extends the tourist season, which I consider extremely important for the destination as a whole," said Pezo.

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

Friday, 11 June 2021

First Big Dubrovnik Cruise Ship Arrives after Pandemic Break

11 June, 2021 - The very first large Dubrovnik cruise ship with passengers on board since the start of the pandemic arrrived today. This is a pieces of news many people in Dubrovnik have been waiting for for quite some time.

MSC Orchestra arrived to Dubrovnik this morning. It is the first big Dubrovnik cruise ship to bring passengers into the city after a long and costly silent period caused by the pandemic. This 294m long behemoth can house 2550 passengers in its 1275 cabins. It is not new to Dubrovnik as MSC ships are some of the most commonly seen cruise ships in the city's port. With the city’s tourism sector feeding so many local Dubrovnik families, the long awaited arrival of a thousand or so guests at one time is seen as nothing short of a blessing. This is exactly why Dubrovnik’s mayor Mato Frankovic was quick to point out the arrival of the ship and its significance on his social media.


Source: Mato Frankovic / Facebook

Dubrovnik’s love/hate relationship with modern day cruise ships has been an ongoing state of being for the last couple of decades or so. The cruise ship industry brought to the city a quick way of recuperating large numbers of guests after the Croatian Homeland war of the 1990’s, which left the city’s economy in a total shambles. Soon after the first ships started arriving back to Dubrovnik, it became clear that Croatia's southernmost city is a perfect short stop port for many. Cruise ships brought with them large number of guests and did wonders in prolonging the tourist season.

Of course, it’s not all good news. A large amount of people coming to the city for a short time means crowded streets and traffic jams once again, an old Dubrovnik problem. For many, the experience of Dubrovnik became lessened by the fact the movement along the main areas was at times very difficult. Overcrowding and the strain placed on the infrastructure became a real issue. Dubrovnik’s image of a pleasant destination perfect for longer stays is now under threat.

What’s Next?

With all this being said, it will be very interesting to see how cruise ships are going to fit into Dubrovnik’s tourism picture this year. There will be a few of them, most probably with reduced capacity and sales. This might be a unique opportunity to see whether cruise ships and Dubrovnik can finally settle their differences.

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

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Dubrovnik Expects HRK 14 Million in Tourist Tax from Cruisers this Year

January 25, 2021 - Dubrovnik expects HRK 14 million in tourist tax from cruisers this year, which will be used exclusively to improve the road infrastructure in the Dubrovnik area.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that at the Dubrovnik City Council session scheduled for Tuesday, the amount of tourist tax for cruise ships in international maritime traffic in 2022 will be discussed. 

Recall, Article 11 of the Tourist Tax Act stipulates that a ship on a cruise in international maritime traffic and international traffic on inland waters, when it is at berth in the port or anchored at the port, may pay the tourist tax, provided that the municipal or city council decides whether or not to charge and in what amount.

The proposal to the City Council from the City Administrative Department for Tourism, Economy and the Sea is that from January 1, 2022, ships with a capacity of 50 to 200 passengers will be charged a tourist tax of 2,000 kuna, those with a capacity of 201 to 500 passengers will pay 5,000 kuna, while 10,000 kuna will be charged per ship with a capacity of 501 to 1000 passengers.

For ships with a capacity of 1001 to 2000 passengers, 20,000 kuna will be charged, from 2001 to 3,000 passengers - 30,000 kuna, and for ships with a passenger capacity of more than 3001 - 40,000 kuna.

These amounts are no different from those approved by the City Council at its session on September 23, 2019, when the decision was made to collect this tax in the same amounts for 2021.

Billing began on January 1, and the city of Dubrovnik expects 14 million kuna in tourist tax from cruisers this year, which will be used exclusively to improve the road infrastructure in the area of the city of Dubrovnik, said Mato Franković.

The collection of this tax was made possible by the Ministry of Tourism by amending the Law on Tourist Tax, leaving its collection to local self-government units.

In January last year, the City of Split also decided on tourist tax for cruisers. In the season, cruisers will be charged the maximum amount, with the same schedule as Dubrovnik, while out of season, from November 1 to April 30, the fee will be 50 percent lower.

Approximately twice as many cruisers sail to Dubrovnik annually than to Split, which accepts twice as many cruisers as Zadar. The City of Zadar also charges the maximum tourist tax to cruise ships, except in the port of Gaženica, a large infrastructure project made with state money, where this tax is not charged to increase competitiveness.

The good news is that MSC Cruises announced on Monday that boarding MSC Grandios and MSC Magnifico in the winter season 2020/2021 will be possible for three additional countries: Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Once they initially resumed navigation, boarding was only possible for passengers from 26 Schengen countries.

Following a temporary suspension due to restrictive traffic within Italy during the MSC Grandios holiday season, MSC Cruises' flagship fleet resumed its 7-night cruises on January 24, departing from Genoa every Sunday and visiting the Italian ports of Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, and Valletta in Malta. Boarding is possible in each of these Italian ports. MSC Grandios will sail with the said itinerary until March 21, after which it will stay in the western Mediterranean with a new itinerary as part of its summer program.

MSC Magnifica will continue sailing on February 14, departing from Genoa on 11-night cruises designed to give guests a chance to discover the attractions of the eastern and western Mediterranean, with a tour of Italy, Greece, and Malta.

As the Dubrovnik Port Authority director, Blaz Pezo, said, it has been possible to board and disembark some guests or crew members on MSC ships before.

"So far, they have not embarked or departed from our ports en masse," said Pezo.

"In exceptional situations, guests were able to board half of the cruise. The port of embarkation is Venice for them. They may no longer have as much demand, so they consider making it easier for people to board in Split or Zadar to reduce the costs for someone traveling from Bosnia or southern Croatia to Venice. Everything has changed now," said the Port Authority director, who is already rooting for Dubrovnik to become a homeport destination.

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

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Cruise Ships in Croatia Most Frequent in Dubrovnik-Neretva County in 2019

Cruise ships in Croatia continue to be a very problematic issue along the coast. With Dubrovnik, Croatia's southernmost city, having suffered the most, just how have cruise ships in Croatia affected the Croatian coast in 2019?

As Morski writes on the 12th of January, 2020, from January to November last year, 75 foreign cruise ships sailed into Croatian seaports up and down the coast, which realised a total of 710 voyages. A total of 1.1 million passengers were on board these enormous, environmentally damaging ships, spending a total of 1,413 days in the Republic of Croatia.

In Sibenik-Knin County, 1.6 percent of the country's total number of cruise ship visits were made, while Dubrovnik-Neretva County came first, rather unsurprisingly, with as much as 59.4 percent of Croatia's total cruise ship visits realised. The following are Split-Dalmatia County (25.6 percent), Zadar County (6.5 percent), Istria County (3.8 percent), and Primorje-Gorski kotar County (3.1 percent), according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

When it comes to Dalmatian cities, Dubrovnik had the highest number of cruise ship visits last year, with 518 cruise ship visits, followed by Split with 267 visits and Zadar with 117 visits. This is followed by the southern Dalmatian island of Korcula with 101 arrivals, Hvar with 100 and Sibenik with 64 cruise ship arrivals from January to November last year. The lowest number of arrivals in that period took place in the Istrian city of Pula - with only 20, reports local portal SibenikIN.

The largest number of voyages by cruise ships in Croatia was realised by ships flying the flags of Malta (199 voyages) and the Bahamas (127 voyages), while the largest number of passengers arrived by vessels flying the flags of Panama (287 thousand passengers) and then again by Malta (258 thousand passengers).

From January to November 2019, the number of trips made by cruise ships in Croatia increased by 5.1 percent over the same period back in 2018, and the number of passengers jumped by 8.6 percent.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more on cruise ships in Croatia.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Huge 40,000 Kuna Tax for Largest Cruise Ships in Dubrovnik As Of 2021

Dubrovnik's cruise ship issues might finally be coming to a head as Croatia's southernmost city decides to impose sojourn taxes on the passengers of these giant, damaging vessels visiting the city.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of September, 2019, as of January the 1st, 2021, the City of Dubrovnik will formally introduce the payment of a sojourn tax for one-day visitors from cruise ships, as was decided by Dubrovnik's city council at its session on Monday this week.

As defined by the city's decision, the fee will be paid per ship, and the amount will vary depending on the size of the ship and/or on the vessel's passenger capacity, and it will average around 10 kuna per passenger.

Thus, ships with capacity from 50 to 200 passengers will pay 2,000 kuna in fees per ship, those which can carru up to 1,000 passengers will pay 10,000 kuna, while the largest ships which can carry 3,000 or even more passengers will pay a massive 40,000 kuna per visit fee to the City of Dubrovnik.

As stipulated by the Tourist Tax Act, the funds will be allocated so that 85 percent goes to the city itself and 15 percent to the wider county, in this case Dubrovnik-Neretva County, and will be used to improve public and tourist infrastructure and also be put towards sustainable development projects and programs, which Dubrovnik so desperately needs. It is estimated that around one million euros could be collected from these fees annually, pumping a more than decent amount into much needed infrastructure improvements and more.

As is well known, Croatia's tourism Mecca has recently aligned the rules for the 2020 season with representatives of the shipping companies and the international cruise ship association CLIA, and CLIA have also echoed their support for the introduction of this future system of taxation.

One measure and piece of news for next season is the introduction of cruise ship transportation to Pile and back with low-floor articulated buses, which we recently reported on.

''The shuttle service will be taken over by JGP Libertas, which will significantly reduce congestion on the roads, and better control the situation and prevent malpractices by the agencies,'' explained Mayor Mato Frankovic yesterday.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow or check out Dubrovnik in a Page for all you need to know about the Pearl of the Adriatic.