Croatia's Best Cruises
It’s long been an open secret among European travelers, and one that more and more savvy Americans are now finally discovering: With its 1,100 miles of stunning mainland coastline and over 1,200 very nearby islands, there’s really no better way to experience the best of Croatia’s glory than by sea. For planning purposes, bear in mind that Croatia’s cruise season generally runs from mid-April to mid-October.
Travel is aboard the 378-passenger Aegean Odyssey, with lectures from noted scholars to set the historical scene before every docking. Croatian highlights include the ancient city of Zadar (coveted by imperial Romans, Byzantines and Venetians alike), the island of Korcula (claimed by locals as Marco Polo’s birthplace) and the enchanting Split, which grew up around the famous palace of Emperor Diocletian. Another quality Croatian-calling discovery cruiser is Travel Dynamics International, whose smaller ships carry just over a hundred passengers on its informative Adriatic adventures.
SeaDream’s Croatia stops usually include the cities of Dubrovnik and Split, and can also feature the atmospheric and photogenic Rovinj, as well as the islands of Korcula, the historic and unbelievably verdant Hvar, and the green and serene Rab. For a more classic luxury cruise experience, the elegant Regent Seven Seas visits Croatia on a number of its European journeys (aboard all-suite, all-balcony 700-passenger ships), but only ever docks at Dubrovnik.
Usually powered only by its striking 42 sails, the majestic vessel makes stops at Dubrovnik, Rovinj and Hvar. On a smaller scale, Variety’s Panorama is a 3-masted ship with room for 49, offering weeklong Adriatic Odyssey cruises with an emphasis on the outdoorsy (think refreshing morning swims), calling at Dubrovnik and Korcula.
Also very popular are Croatia’s gulets, small motorized sailboats holding 8 to 20 people. Gulets are generally chartered by the week for the entire boat (using a booking agent like Luxury Gulets Croatia), making their itineraries highly flexible.