18 Percent More Cruise Ships in Croatia than Last Year

Daniela Rogulj

In the first five months of 2019, Croatia welcomed 171 or 18 percent more international cruise ships than in the same period last year, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Furthermore, Croatia also welcomed a 19 percent increase in passengers or 247,500 passengers in the first five months of 2019, reports T.portal on July 8, 2019.

Croatia saw 43 or 3 more cruise ships which traveled to Croatia on round trips than in the first five months of 2018 – and they also stayed longer than last year, for 386 days or a 25.3 percent increase. 

The cruise ships came under the flags of ten countries, though most trips were made under the flag of Malta, which recorded 41 ships and 34,000 passengers traveling to Croatia in the first five months. 

Although in the second place by the number of round trips (36 in the first five months), cruise ships under the Italian flag brought far more passengers, or the most among all the cruise ships, which is a little more than 85,000. 

In third place is the flag of Panama, with 26 round trips and nearly 59,000 passengers.

When looking at months, the highest number of cruise ships on the Croatian Adriatic was recorded in May, when there were a total of 88, which is three trips or 3.5 percent more than in May last year, while the most significant increase of these trips, or 48.5 percent, was achieved in April, when there were 49.

Unlike last year when some months saw cruise ship trips in the minus, this year saw more cruise trips this year than in the same month of the year before.

Namely, January saw five cruise ships travel, which is a 25 percent increase compared to January 2018. February welcomed 11 trips, which is a plus of 22.2 percent, and March, which welcomed 18 cruise trips, is nearly 30 percent better than the same month in 2018. 

As usual, Dubrovnik was the most visited hotspot for cruise ships this year, with 124 visits. Split is in second with 76 of these visits, while Zadar saw 32, Korcula 30, Šibenik 25 and Hvar 20. Less than ten visits were recorded in Rovinj, Ploče, Stari Grad, Pomena and Pula.

But this is anything but good news, for various reasons.

For one, TCN reported last week that the “Transportation and Environment” Association conducted extensive research on air pollution in European destinations in ports which accept cruise ships in 2017, which presented the results of research from Croatia’s top destination – Dubrovnik.

The authors of the study showcased the observed pollution levels in Dubrovnik in figures and tables, to make them as clear as possible. In the study, the release of harmful particles of sulfur and nitrogen oxide was compared with that produced by the number of registered vehicles present at cruising destinations.

According to the data, 27,173 vehicles were registered in Dubrovnik at that time. During 2017, in the port of Gruž, forty such of these vessels sailed on round trips, spending a total of 2,791 hours moored, and during that time, 2,523 kilograms of contaminated particles were discharged into Dubrovnik’s air.

During that same time, the 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, during those 2,791 hours of cruise ships being moored in Gruž, they 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.

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.

But Dubrovnik isn’t the only polluted cruise ship destination, as Rijeka and Split made the list, too. You can find the full study at Transport & Environment


Some Croatian travel agencies are taking a symbolic stand to protest this cruise ship pollution, like Secret Dalmatia, which you can read more about on TCN.

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


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