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.
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