As Morski writes, the well known Cruise company Viking Cruises is the first cruise company to publicly announce the return of their cruisers to the Dalmatian city of Zadar this summer, and it isn’t the only one. As 057.info has learned from Rebeka V. Pevec, the General Manager of ZIPO (Zadar International Port Operations), 14 Zadar cruise ships are set to arrive in Zadar’s Gazenica Port this summer.
”With an increasing number of cruisers returning to operation and choosing the Mediterranean for their itineraries, we hope that number will increase. Of course, all this primarily depends on the epidemiological situation in Croatia and in the Zadar region, on how much everyone will adhere to the epidemiological measures, and on the level of vaccination of the population. All these are factors that these companies are closely monitoring, and based on that, as well as on the recognisability of the destination, they make decisions that they will include in their itineraries for this season,” explained Rebeka V. Pevec.
Passengers with deep pockets will arrive on 2020’s Zadar cruise ships…
The companies that have confirmed their Zadar cruise ships this year are Viking Cruises, Holland America Line (HAL) and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. All three companies are considered luxurious and passengers generally have a higher purchasing power, and accordingly have higher expectations of their chosen destinations and expect a higher level of service and quality, not only on board, but also in the destinations they visit.
The first announced and so far confirmed of the Zadar cruise is on July the 20th, when Viking Venus is due to arrive, the newest ship in the Viking Cruises fleet of identical ships. Considering that Viking Venus is the first cruiser to visit Zadar after more than a year, and that this is its inaugural arrival in Zadar, we hope that together with the tourist boards and citizens of Zadar and the region we’ll give a worthy welcome to both the guests and the crew, to prove ourselves as good hosts and as a good destination for cruisers,” Pevec added.
Given the pandemic and the slightly better numbers after the start of the vaccination rollout, is there any optimism for this season?
”What gives us optimism and hope is the fact that more and more cruising companies are returning to operation, they’re creating new itineraries and depending on the epidemiological situation, we see our opportunity there. However, at the same time, it’s important to note that there is a lot of competition between ports and destinations in both the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, in terms of service, shipping costs, fees and the very recognisability of the destination. Therefore, and compared to the announced numbers of tourists arriving in Croatia by land, and the still current classification of the US State Department, according to which Croatia is in the red zone, our optimism is very cautious,” Pevec stated.
Now is the time to make the best impressions for next year
”As for the epidemiological measures themselves, the recommendations were made in accordance with the recommendations of the most relevant regulatory bodies, the ECDC and EU Healthy Gateways, and since back in August 2020, no incidents have been recorded. Most ships are currently sailing at approximately 50% capacity, the passengers and crew are mostly vaccinated, so things should be fine if good preparation is carried out and if all stakeholders strictly adhere to the prescribed and agreed epidemiological measures.
In this situation and given all the circumstances, we look forward to every guest and every cruise ship arrival and we’ll try to leave the best possible impression as a port and as a destination, in order to attract as many arrivals in the future. So, we aren’t just focusing on this season, but we’re thinking long term, because in this industry the real results are not seen immediately, but are realised through at least two years. The priority is to prove ourselves as a safe destination, with a high level of vaccination and with a culture of adherence to prescribed epidemiological measures, and of course as excellent hosts to ships, their guests and their crew,” said Pevec.
Given the overall situation across the world, especially in the emitting markets of the cruising industry, a return to the figures from 2019 is expected in five years.
”Of course, it could happen earlier, but with the condition of very strong promotion in all media relevant to the cruise industry, and with a focus on Zadar as a safe and ideal destination for cruisers. With the appearance of the pandemic, all previous results were minimised and now we need to win over cruise companies to choose Zadar as one of their destinations. As a community, we can achieve this only with strong marketing, impressive service and the creation of a reputation as a serious destination that understands and appreciates the cruising industry,” Pevec concluded for 057.info.
For more on cruises to Croatia, check our our travel section.