Do you have a yearning for an adventure? Have you always wanted to cruise somewhere but can’t quite decide where? Well, I can highly recommend cruising in Croatia…specifically doing an island hopping cruise along the Dalmatian Coast. It’s so beautiful…and an adventure & experience of a lifetime. I was nervous and skeptical when we originally booked but I am so glad I went through with it and did it…it has changed my view on cruises.
How to choose a cruise?
There are so many options for cruises in Croatia. But, here are 3 questions that should help narrow it down for you, so you can choose the right cruise for you.
1. Which islands do you want to visit in Croatia?
2. How many days do you want to cruise for?
3. What is your budget for a cruise?
I personally used Katarina Line to book my cruise, but there are other companies that are just as good. But, I can recommend booking with Katarina Line, the staff is really friendly and booking was pretty easy. Just remember Google is your friend, and there are so many people that have reviewed the cruises, so you will find lots of info on the web.
How the cruise works
Most big cruise ships work that you sail at night and are on land most of the day. These ships are slightly different. You dock at the different islands at night and sail during the day. For most islands you arrive there around 15h00 and leave the following morning around 06h00 or 07h00. Which means that you have the afternoon and evening on the island. There isn’t a curfew to get back on the boat, so you can stay out as late as you want. However, what you do have to keep in mind is, you need to remember which is your boat, as often you have to walk through a few boats to get to yours.
So, everyday, you have breakfast and lunch on the boat before arriving at the islands. You also stop for at least one sea swim on the way, which is the best part…you just dive off the back of the boat into the sea and swim around. They normally have a few pool floats for you to relax on…I really enjoyed swimming in the Adriatic Sea.
I suffer terribly from motion sickness, it has got slightly better as I have got older. But, this was the main reason I was nervous to go on a cruise…but I decided to suck it up and load-up my luggage with motion sickness pills. And, I must admit for the most part I was fine, my husband suffered more than I did and he doesn’t normally get motion sickness. The Adriatic Sea, in Summer, is calm, it’s kind of like a lake with hardly any waves. However, I believe as you move out of season, it gets rougher.
The one night in Split, there was a bit of a storm, so it was a little rougher than normal, but bearly and I was fine. However, to be safe, I still took a sea sickness pill every night but I don’t think I needed it.
We did mini one day cruise from Dubrovnik to Split. It was 5 nights and all I can say is, it was such a fantastic way to see the Dalmatian coast. We were on the Meridijan – which is a premium boat. It was very comfortable, clean and in pristine condition. Our chef was fantastic…in such a small kitchen she made some of the best food I have had. She also makes some traditional dishes, which I really liked, and means that you are not just having mass produced food.
We were in an above deck room. The rooms are small, but to be honest, you don’t spend any time in there except to sleep. The decks have seats, in and out of the sun, which are perfect to lounge around and relax.
Below, I have given a little information on each of our stops, what I enjoyed, a warning if necessary and just some interesting facts.
Having been to Dubrovnik twice, I can honestly say I preferred my first trip. In the height of Summer, it’s very hot and humid, which makes it more difficult to get around and also there are a lot more people. However, it is still so beautiful and don’t let that put you off at all. I wrote a blog post about the top 10 attractions – see it here.
Trstenik is a tiny village situated on the southern coast of the Peljesac peninsula. It’s located under the Peljesac hills and has a pebble beach – which is great for swimming…if you have the time. Due to it’s unique beauty and unspoilt location, it is considered one of the most beautiful villages on the Croatian coast…which I can totally agree with. It’s so beautiful and the mountains are majestic. Unfortunately they had a fire, as few years ago, which is the countryside is still recovering from.
While we were in Trstenik, we arranged to visit Matusko Wine Farm. I would really recommend it, as the drive up to the vineyard is so beautiful and the wines were also really good. Just make sure you have cash, if you want to buy anything. We bought some cherry brandy liqueur…which is just divine!
Korčula is believed to be the birth place of Marco Polo, so you can imagine, the streets are filled with restaurants, shops and souvenirs names after him. It’s also well known for its wine…which is why we did a wine tasting there. There are two white wines that are from this area and well worth trying – Pošip and Grk. They are both dry white wines. I must say, I tried a lot of Croatian white wine and really enjoyed it. It’s a lot lighter than South African wine…which is perfect for the hot Summer climate in Croatia.
I highly recommend enjoying a glass of wine and some seafood at one the seafront restaurants…it’s a little more expensive but the view and atmosphere is well worth it!
Hvar is probably the most famous of the Dalmatian islands. It is a party destination, so there are lots of cocktail bars, clubs and general hang outs. So well in Hvar, be sure to stop for a cocktail or 6…they are really good and the views are gorgeous.
I recommend walking up to the fort, the view of Hvar town below is well worth it. Try and time it for sunset as then your photos will be incredible!
The only thing you need to realise is, if you are not one of the party animals, you will not get much sleep while in Hvar, they party to well into the early hours. There is loud music and drunk people walking on and off the boats as well as along the pier. So bring ear plugs or make sure you are part of the party!
The final destination on our cruise, was Split. I must admit, this city requires it’s own post as there is so much to see and do here, as it is the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast. So in short, I will say that Split is really worth a visit, the Riva waterfront promenade is beautiful and filled with lovely little shops to visit and buy souvenirs in. And a must visit is the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.
In conclusion, I really can’t recommend doing a island hopping cruise along the Dalmatian Coast enough. I really enjoyed every minute of it and it really is a great way to experience and see the islands…while having your suitcase in one place for a few days!
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