Cruises around the Adriatic coast and islands has these last 20 years become so popular that there are more and more small cruise ships being built each year.
It started with small wooden gulets or to be more precise they were small cargo ships used for transporting all kind of goods along the coast and to the islands. Peolpe depended on these ships , mostly small family-run buisnesses, for there everyday matters, even children from small villages on the coast or islands went to school on them.
Then , in the sixties ferries were introduced , roads along the coast and on the island were built ( the main coastal road from Rijeka , in the northern adriatic, all the way down to Ulcinj by the Albanian border, had been completly modernized and restructed in 1964) which change the way people and goods were transported.
The small family-run buisnesses were slowly but steadily running out of business and some of them refurbished their wooden cargo ships, equipped them with cabins and proposed thier services to adventure tourists not fussy and in search of a genuine experience in discovering the beauty of the unspoilt adriatic with a friendly crew .
As years went by one family copied the other and this became quite a lucrative enterprise. Today there are about 200 ships offering various cruises on modern and comfortable (most of the ships have aroung 18 cabins all with ensuit bathrooms) but still reasonably sized and friendly ships where the human contact crew-passanger emphasized.
Shipbuilding along the Adriatic coast is present from the Ilyrien, the Roman and Venitien times making it an important tradition. For most of its history wooden boats and sailing ships were built, but the tradition countinued and adapted to new tehnologies , making Croatia during the Yugoslav period one of the biggest shipbuilding nations in the world . Large shipping companies sailing all the seas and oceans were created after the II WW , Jugolinija, Atlanska plovidba, Jadrolinija etc.
After the crisis of the shipbuilding, privatisation and transition some new small shipyards have immerged specializing in the constrution of small cruise ships , mostly for the local market.
Yesterday, 11th Febuary I went to the launching of the motor yacht “Dioclea” , also a family run cruise ship that hopes to start its season sailing around the Cyclades, in Greece.
Launching of ships is one of the most important procedures of the entire ship construction process and very emotional aswell.
(to be continued)