5 of the best Croatia cruises to book now
By Cruise International | 2 Mar 2022
If skimming the waves of the Adriatic appeals, stopping to swim by day and dine ashore by night, you’re not alone. With demand high for coastal cruising in Croatia, we seek out some of the best options.
5 of the best Croatia cruises to book now
APT: Islands of Croatia Cruise
When a company quadruples capacity in just one destination, you know that it must be selling well – so it’s a sign of APT’s confidence in Croatia that it has added new dates, more itineraries and a second ship to its fleet in order to keep up with demand this summer.
Custom new-build yacht Lady Eleganza is sailing nine-day voyages from May to October, stopping off to tour Dubrovnik, visit the Benedictine Convent in Hvar, explore Diocletian’s Palace in Split and see Marco Polo’s birthplace on the island of Korcula. A second ship, Princess Eleganza, is being refurbished and is due to join the fleet in spring.
Prices start at £2,795 per person including flights, accommodation, some meals, beer and wine at lunch and dinner, and transfers (aptouring.co.uk).
Sail Croatia: Dubrovnik Return
This Croatia specialist started out targeting Aussie backpackers on a budget, but 17 years on, the UK makes up the majority of Sail Croatia’s market. That’s particularly true for its cycling trips, which are growing in popularity with families and active travellers, and its top-end Elegance range that offers a little bit of luxury at an affordable price.
The Dubrovnik Return route, new this year, is one of 100 Elegance cruises on offer and includes excursions to Diocletian’s Palace in Split, a walk along Dubrovnik’s city walls and a stop at the mesmerising Blue Cave in Vis.
A seven-night Dubrovnik Return cruise on board the 38-guest Esperanza starts at £899 per person including breakfast and three-course lunch, a captain’s dinner, local village dinner, transfers, tour manager and Wi-Fi (sail-croatia.com).
Orbital Travel: Deluxe Dalmatian Paradise Cruise
Wine tasting in Korcula, olive oil tasting on board, a dinner cruise alongside Dubrovnik’s city walls and a party in a local village all await guests on this itinerary from small-ship operator Orbital Travel.
You’ll get the inside story on Game of Thrones filming locations around Split and Dubrovnik, and enjoy views across the latter city on a cable car ride from the Old Town to Srd Mountain, all from the comfort of a deluxe-category vessel holding up to 38 passengers.
A seven-night cruise starts from £1,499 per person, including flights from London, transfers, breakfast and three-course lunch, captain’s dinner, wine tasting in Bol, guided tours, cable car and entry to Mljet National Park (orbitaltravel.co.uk).
Tradewind Voyages: Croatia Highlights
Tradewind Voyages, a new entrant on the tall-ship scene will see flagship vessel Golden Horizon flitting all over the world on different itineraries, so you’ll have to be quick to nab a spot on its sought-after Croatia sailings in July and August.
Set off from Split with a short stop in the Italian city of Trieste, then admire the Venetian-inspired architecture of Rovinj, pristine landscapes of Mali Lošinj, hiking trails of Mljet and finally the much-photographed beach of Zlatni Rat on Bol – one of the best stretches of sand anywhere in Croatia.
The 10-night sailing starts at £2,549 per person cruise-only departing July 31 (tradewindvoyages.com).
Emerald Cruises: Croatia in Depth
Be among the first guests to step on board new superyacht Emerald Azzurra, the first of its type to join the Emerald Cruises fleet, when it sets off from Dubrovnik for eight-day voyages to Venice this spring and summer.
Calling in at Croatia’s most popular islands – try the local white wine in Korcula, dine with the yachting crowd in fashionable Hvar and explore the country’s medieval roots in Krk – expect opulence on board and elegance ashore.
Prices start from £3,571 per person with departures in April, May and July 2022 and April or June-November 2023 (emeraldcruises.co.uk).
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Croatia Port Guide
On the island of Korcula, the 13th-century walled town is located on a peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic and a walking tour takes you through its towers and bastions built by the ruling Venetians in the 15th century.
Two of Croatia’s most important historic jewels are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Dubrovnik and Split. Dubrovnik is the embarkation point and final destination for the cruise and is one of the most celebrated sights in Croatia. It’s also one of the busiest, but there’s no denying that the picturesque, walled, orange-roofed town is worthy of so much attention.
The walking tour takes you through its cobbled streets, up narrow stairs built into the side of the walls and past well-known monuments such as the Big Fountain of Onofrio, built in 1438, which stands in the square in front of the equally famous Pile gate. Dubrovnik has many monasteries and intriguing old buildings to explore.
Further north, Split is another treasure trove of historical sights – on the edge of the old town you can stand on the sun deck of your boat for an excellent view of the Roman remains of Diocletian’s Palace, which was built from 305 AD. Split is Croatia’s second largest city and it feels less like a museum than Dubrovnik, with a captivating mixture of architecture and styles.
Visitors can go underground ‘inside’ the walls of Diocletian’s Palace to find out more about the original Roman military camp that was based there and see houses that were built into the walls during later centuries. Since Roman times, many civilisations have tried to conquer Croatia’s coast and the country still carries fascinating reminders of these troubled times in the form of its fortified towns, hidden island harbours and shrapnel scars. The unrivalled beauty of Croatia’s lush forests, pristine beaches and coastal towns have been well worth protecting and can now be seen from the perfect viewpoint – the sea.
Hvar & Brac
Hvar is a popular hangout for A-listers, who flock here in their luxury yachts to enjoy its walled town and fragrant fields of lavender, rosemary and heather. Brac is another island on every must do Mediterranean itinerary; it’s famous for its white stone, which has even made its way over to America to be used in the building of the White House.