With almost a million cruise ship passengers arriving in Dubrovnik every year it can be a challenge to steer clear of the cruise ship crush. With the historic old city of Dubrovnik acting as a magnet for the thousands of cruisers your “Dubrovnik Experience” could easily be trampled under foot...thousands of feet. Through the summer months it isn’t unusual that five mega-ships, or more, dock in the city unloading upwards of 7,000 guests. If you were thinking of sipping an al fresco coffee in the stone laden architecture of Dubrovnik whilst listening to the swallows twitter in peace, think again. Avoiding the cruise crush isn’t easy, you are heavily outnumbered, but with a little help you can at least miss the peaks.
Three or more cruise ships means long delays
Here are our tips for evading the Dubrovnik cruise crush
Plan ahead – there is an ace of your sleeve, you just need to know when to use it. If you already know in advance when the peaks of cruise ships passengers will be then you can make plans to be elsewhere. The Port of Dubrovnik publishes every year a full list of all the cruise ship movements into Dubrovnik; this includes the cruise ships that dock in front of the old city and in the Port of Dubrovnik. It is a relatively easy document to follow, you choose which month, then scroll down looking for the dates that are important to you. Each date has a detailed breakdown of the number of ships, the number of expected passengers and the times of departure. The opening menu for the document is in Croatian, but the rest is in English, it is easy to follow. You can even look a year in advance. If you can see that 7,000 passengers are on their way then adjust your own plans. Here is the link - http://www.portdubrovnik.hr/girica1.php
Know where to go and where not to go – not only do you know the dates and numbers of the cruise ship passengers you also know their movements. Even though some of the cruise ship passengers have been to Dubrovnik many times before they are still only really attracted to one point - the old city of Dubrovnik. Travel agencies and even the local government have been trying for years to introduce new attractions to spread the masses around. They have had only limited successes with these new projects. Dubrovnik for the vast majority of tourists is the walled city, end of story. Coaches and taxis ferry thousands of passengers from the Port of Dubrovnik to the entrance of the old city on Pile Gate where they wait to be greeted by their guide. The Pile entrance through the summer looks like Piccadilly Circus in rush hour. If you really want to visit the historic old city then use another gate, such as the east entrance, the Ploce gate. Basically if you can see that there are three ships or more planned to anchor then don’t visit the old city of Dubrovnik.
Enjoying your day?
Timing is vital – most of the cruise ships that steam into Dubrovnik are on a day-trip, there are very few that spend an evening moored. The schedule of modern cruising is to sail through the night and arrive in a new destination as the sun comes up, and Dubrovnik isn’t an exception. With this in mind you can still enjoy the beauties of Dubrovnik even when a few thousand cruisers are in town. As the ships will sail off into the sunset in the early evening the passengers will be called back on board in the mid afternoon. Our advice is to avoid the historic core from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Which means you can have breakfast and evening dinner in Dubrovnik, but find somewhere else for lunch.