Cruise crowd control
Cruises aren’t always what come to mind when you think of Croatia. In fact it more an image of peaceful sailing ships circumnavigating remote islands that have us begging to book. However, just like its neighbouring Venice which has a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with cruise ships, Croatia hosts many of the these floating hotels, and this is starting to create a lot of anchor angst, to say the least. In Dubrovnik’s old town, where the population is about a thousand people, they can sometimes have three giant cruise ships unloading in a day, with as many as 10000 passengers crowding into the streets like a tidal wave. Some of the islands, such as Hvar and Korcula are also cruising for a bruising.
The port authorities have carried out sustainability reports and limited the average number of cruise ship passengers to a meagre 8,000, although in peak season they are allowed to exceed this. So it is all still a bit of a moveable feast it would seem. If the cruise ship passengers were feasting on land, however, it might keep the local people happier, but they pour out after breakfast and go back at 3pm, stopping only for coffees and ice cream. As a result, a lot of the local cafes have become fast food outlets, and craft shops are junk souvenir shops, losing not only their culture but also their cash.
There is an understandable fear of losing cruise ship tourism as it means big business. However, many people, locals and land based tourists alike, want to curb it. There is no doubt that many cruise passengers want to embrace the local culture and marvel at the historic buildings, but the country needs them to leave an economic footprint too, not just one made by overcrowding. You won’t be alone in requesting the Ministry of Tourism to have a rethink on cruise ships. You can contact them on their website
, and reassure them that you believe tourism in Croatia really doesn’t need a bigger boat.