Should Jadrolinija’s Old Dubrovnik-Rijeka Line be Returned?

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Jurica Gaspar/Morski writes, the Rijeka-Dubrovnik ferry line was considered unprofitable and was dropped, this decision of Jadrolinija’s management put an end to the very long tradition of connecting the northern and extreme southern part of the Croatian Adriatic was unpopular with many.

Although back in 2016 the Croatian Government made a decision to reintroduce the so-called coastal “blue highway” for the whole year, after the sale of the Liburnija vessel, the former president of the board of Jadrolinija stated that the company doesn’t even have a ship to sail on that line any more.

However, more and more people are becoming irritated by that decision, because many would have gladly chosen to travel along the Croatian coast by boat rather than by land.

”The only night Dubrovnik-Rijeka line which ran overnight was shut down without any explanation. It’s necessary to return this line this season, which connects Kvarner with Dalmatia and vice versa, by ship, for at least three months,” stated Tomislav Pavleka, who launched a public petition for this initiative, and explained:

”The boat was full every summer. If it’s necessary to increase the price of the tickets, issue a concession for a deck restaurant to someone, establish a ship’s jazz orchestra that would play under the stars, do anything to improve the offer of long-distance transport of passengers, motorcycles, bicycles, dogs, cars… then it should be done. Croatia must have one such coastal line,” he said in his explanation of the aforementioned petition to return the Dubrovnik-Rijeka line.

The Dubrovnik-based initiative Srdj je Grad (Mount Srdj is the City) is also advocating for the return of the coastal ferry line which once connected Rijeka with the island of Korcula and then the City of Dubrovnik.

”In a situation when the number of rotations in air traffic is very uncertain and when we don’t even know when charters and low-cost airlines will start flying again, it would be necessary to launch an initiative that can open up a new traffic route for tourists to the extreme south of Croatia. Everyone knows that Dubrovnik and its surroundings are a distinct air destination and that we depend on airlines flying down here. This is what has made us the most vulnerable during these challenging times, when the global economy is establishing new principles of functioning,” they stated.

The holiday begins aboard the ship

Let’s remember that Jadrolinija once had a very successful slogan for the Dubrovnik-Rijeka line ”The holiday begins aboard the ship” which sailed to destinations on Korcula, Peljesac, Mljet and the Dubrovnik Riviera. With the introduction of subsidies on return tickets with discounts for longer stays at the destination (for example, 30 percent cheaper tickets for stays of five days and longer), high quality promotion and high security/safety standards when boarding at ports, we’d ensure the arrival of 2 -3 thousand guests a week in that southern Croatian county.

If we design a promotional tourist package with accommodation service providers that would make every fifth day a tourist spends in their destination free of charge, we would offer them a related service of subsidised boat tickets and additional overnight stays, which would extend guests’ stays within their respective destinations and as such achieve higher consumption,” they suggest from the aforementioned Dubrovnik initiative.

For more on maritime travel in 2021, make sure to check out our dedicated section.


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