A further 43 ships carrying some 55,000 passengers are expected to dock in this year, which will make this season the second busiest since first cruise liners called at the port in 2005.
The figures do not include crew members, who often visit Koper, Jana Tolja, a city official responsible for the passenger terminal, has told the STA. "We estimate the number of crew members arriving in Koper on ships at around 45,000."
She noted several maiden calls, including the MSC Poesia with 2,085 passengers and almost 1,000 crew on board and the Mein Shiff carrying 1,800 passengers and 900 crew, which will make four more calls at Koper this year.
The Marella Discovery with 1,850 passengers and 750 crew members will have called at Koper as many as 13 times this year, while the Seaborn Ovation with 605 passengers and 450 crew members is due in Koper on 3 November.
The number of arrivals and passengers has been increasing. This year the port will host a total of 84 ships with roughly 100,000 passengers, which compares to almost 73,000 passengers on 68 ships last year.
Almost thirty passenger ships are also expected this year in Piran further down the coast.
The season of arrivals is getting longer too. "For the first time this year the season opened as early as February and will continue until the end of the year," said Tolja.
The passengers are increasingly keen to visit Koper and the rest of the country. In the first years only about 40% of the passengers disembarked to go sightseeing, but now the percentage has risen to 90%.
Most take sightseeing tours to the coastal towns of Piran, Izola and Koper and many visit inland attractions such as the Lipica stud farm, the caves in Postojna, the capital Ljubljana or the lakeside resorts of Bled and Bohinj in the Alps.
Apart from the popular walking tours of the coastal towns, they also have the option of culinary tours taking in the local wineries and various heritage sights, or biking trips along a defunct coastal railway.
To put these passenger numbers into some regional perspective, Croatia's The Dubrovnik Times reported in April that “Over the course of this year, the Port of Dubrovnik is expected to receive 441 cruise ships with about 740 thousand passengers. This is 2% less cruise ships than in 2017 but a 4% increase in passengers.”