“This year we are forecasting a 30 percent increase of calls, from 96 to 125 for a total of about 130,000 passengers,” said Doni Stambuk, assistant general manager at the Port Authority of Zadar. “In 2012 we had 21,000 cruise passengers, so it’s an increase of 100,000 in just a few years.”

The new port area in Gazenica has a total of seven berths for local traffic, and five for international calls from cruise ships with the longest pier being 375 meters with a draft of 13 meters.

“Enough to accommodate the new generation of cruise ships,” said Stambuk.

The port area is roughly 3.5 kilometers south of the city center, with a highway connection.

The new port, with a temporary terminal building, has been opened for all types of ferry and cruise traffic since April of last year. The port also operates the so-called Old Port, which is in the heart of Zadar, but is now only use by small cruise ships due to size limits.

A new terminal building for international ferry traffic and homeport/transit operations from cruise lines should be open by the 2018 season, said Stambuk, who noted a mild climate, airlift and security as strengths of Croatia.