Cruise Ship Bremen


The pictures in this edition of the Picture-Newsletter were taken as the Cruise Ship Bremen was moored in the tiny harbour of Primošten, in Croatia.
There’s nothing quite like a classy cruise on the Mediterranean and its neighbouring seas. You discover a different destination each day - and your hotel goes with you. But it is a bit surprising to see such a big ship visiting such a small town, really a large village, as they more often go to Dubrovnik or Split.

Having said that, the Bremen is not one of those typically enormous floating “blocks of flats” cruise liners; it is styled ‘an expedition ship’, and has been operated by Hapag Lloyd Cruises since 1993, so presumably they know what they are doing. And then it is a bit smaller, at nearly 7,000 tons and carrying only 155 passengers in 80 double suites. The ship is rated 4 star, but it also has a certificate which states that it has the highest level of ability that a passenger ship needs in coping with ice.

The Ship
The ship in the photos, the Bremen, was built in Japan in the Mitsubishi yard in 1990 and originally named ‘Frontier Spirit’, until Hapag Lloyd changed the name when they bought her three years later. Registered in the Bahamas, she can cruise at 15 knots with her two Daihatsu engines, and needs a crew of 100. She is 111 metres (365 feet) long, weighs 6,752 tonnes and is fitted with stabilizers for the benefit of the passengers, to help them get over the sea-sickness that can affect their enjoyment of the cruise. As you might expect in a ship named after one of the most famous German ports, the on-board language is Deutsch (German).

An unusual claim to fame is that the Bremen ‘discovered’ a previously uncharted, 1 square kilometre uninhabited island while on an Antarctic Cruise in 2003, and now has the island named after her. (What actually happened is that during an excursion from the Bremen in an inflatable boat, it was discovered that a channel separated two parts of the Antarctic Peninsula which had previously been thought to be joined.)

The Port
With a population of only around 3,000, and an area of less than 100 sq km, Primošten is one of the smaller places in the Mediterranean / Adriatic to be visited by a cruise ship. Yet it is also one of the most photogenic old towns on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, being built on a small hill on a promontory that is almost an island (‘pri mostu’ means ‘at the bridge’), with narrow streets and an estimated 50 restaurants. As if that weren’t enough, the town has nice beaches close by, and almost 200 hotels to choose from in and around the town. Those who like to be active will find things to do close by, such as mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing for beginners and white water canoe safaris. And of course all the usual water sports are available on the beaches. Primošten and this whole area was strongly Christian in the Middle Ages, and two of the main sights on the island are churches: an 18th century baroque chapel at the entrance to the town; and the Parish Church of St George at the top of the hill. In the summer months various religious festivals are held here.

Tourism, especially along the Adriatic coast, is of vital importance to the Croatian economy, accounting for about 20% of the country’s GDP. With 152 cruise ships carrying an estimated 3.6 million passengers on Mediterranean cruises in 2014, it is obvious that the cruise industry makes a significant contribution to that figure. Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most visited port, and 800,000 cruise passengers visited or passed through it in 2014.

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