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Crowds from Cruise Ships

We are planning our trip in September, but are seeing pictures of awful crowds from way too many cruise ships - has anyone had experience with this problem and any advice for avoiding the crowds

Posted by lacelle OP
4 posts

Right now we have a travel agent that put a plan together - Dubrovnik - Hvar - Split - it sounds nice, but we haven't accepted it yet. We are planning on September 8-17. We hope to split our time between touring sights and sun and fun at the beach. When we started looking at Croatia we had no idea it was a cruise ship destination - we usually try to avoid those places. We also didn't realize it was so hard to get their from NJ/USA. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Posted by Alan
1387 posts

If you avoid Croatia because cruise ships visit you’ll be making a mistake. It’s a beautiful country with much to see. Because Dubrovnik is walled it can seem overrun at times, cruise ship or not. The secret to all these places is to stay overnight. The cruise ship folks and other day trippers are gone and you’ll have the magic all to yourself.

Posted by Suki
New York
2501 posts

Dubrovnik started issuing fewer permits for cruise ships several years ago i. an attempt to control them and their crowds.
The worst cruise ship crowds we have experienced was on Santorini and in Barcelona.

Posted by Barbara
Brooklyn, NY
878 posts

We have been in Dubrovnik many times with the cruise ships' crowd. We are also going this summer. Just plan for the day. You could go kayaking, take the 15 minute ferry to Lokrum for the day (they have a lovely cafe and beaches - clothed and nude), you can take a tour to Mostar or Kotor. Then when they leave, you are back in the city. Besides, I find the daytrippers don't actually go into any museums, so you could plan your day that way.

Posted by Jennifer
Tunbridge Wells
2228 posts

Check for your travel dates to see how many boats will be in Dubrovnik (the site isn't working at the moment). Stay the night and explore early and later on in the day when the crowds have floated away!

Take a day trip to Mostar.

I prefer to stay in Stari Grad on Hvar, rather than the noisy Hvar town - I am too old for clubbing and like peaceful nights. The beaches are good here too.

Split doesn't have the cruise ship issue that Dubrovnik has. The city deserves a full day to explore, as does nearby Trogir. Seeing Krka and/or Plitvice National Parks is easier with a hire car and they are both stunning. Best stay the night before park entry at Plitvice to beat the crowds.

As an alternative to Dubrovnik, fly into Split and stay here, Hvar and Korcula town, then return to Split for your homeward flight.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
9891 posts

Kotor makes a great day-trip, but it gets cruise ships too, so check online for ships scheduled to be in port in Kotor on your potential day-trip days.

Posted by dd
49 posts

In September they stop doing parties. Not sure when exactly. But anyway crawls you will see mostly late in afternoon and evenings. The split is full any times. Go islands.

Posted by Digbydog
63 posts

We arrive in Dubrovnik on September 9th. According to the cruise ship calendar websites, there are no cruise ships in port there on September 9th or 10th. We arranged our trip to take advantage of this. According to what I have read, Dubrovnik is the city that is most affected by the crowds of cruisers.

Posted by Dick C.
Springfield VA USA
5 posts

If you look at the website "", you can find that data for any day for any port. The link looks like it has a direct feed from that database.

Posted by fredandkell
Atlanta, GA
131 posts

Check out this site - - pick the Croatia ports applicable - pick the month you'll be there - and look at the actual days. There's a "port load" column that will tell you exactly how many cruise ship visitors will be there on a given day. For example, I recently learned that FOURTEEN THOUSAND people will be docking on the same day as me on my upcoming Civitavecchia (Rome) port day! Gah!

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7207 posts

I will be in Dubrovnik one day next month from a cruise ship and will do my best to stay out of everyone's way, Actually we are doing an excursion into the countryside and that is the thing ..... not everyone off a cruise ship in any port, Civitavecchia for Rome included, visits that actual port city and is bothersome to you non-cruisers. Many take tours much further afield and do not go into the port city at all. So if ships with 14,000 passengers will be docking at Civitavecchia on a certain day, some of them will not get off the ship for various reasons, some will have booked costly private tours to Etruscan tombs or elsewhere, some will just get transferred into Rome and do the HO/HO bus thing, and some will just spend a few hours in Civitavecchia itself, having been to Rome many times and perhaps because they do not want to deal with the many, many tourists already there who have arrived, by plane, train, bus tours, rental car, on foot or on a donkey. so fear not! You will not be rubbing shoulders with 14,000 of us.

Posted by fredandkell
Atlanta, GA
131 posts

@Norma, I love your wit! :) Let me be clear in that I am one of the 14,000 cruisers in Rome that day so I was not denigrating Cruise passengers. I am glad, however, that I am taking a ship excursion so that I don’t have to fight with everyone else for public transportation from the port.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7207 posts

We have a port day in Civitavecchia/Rome, too, but having been to Rome several times before, we are taking an Etruscan Tombs excursion, which I am very much looking forward to (I mean "to which I am very much looking forward")

Posted by Barbara
Brooklyn, NY
878 posts

We will be in Dubrovnik in August during a cruise ship day, but to our delight friends will be on the ship and we are making arrangements to meet. Small world! Cruisers never bother us, especially since sometimes we are part of the cruise crowd. There are crowds everywhere nowadays and you can learn to deal with it or stay home.