December 14th 2017


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Exploring The Islands of Split and Dubrovnik Exploring The Islands of Split and Dubrovnik Exploring The Islands of Split and Dubrovnik Exploring The Islands of Split and Dubrovnik


Continent: Europe. Country: Croatia. City: Split.

Exploring The Islands of Split and Dubrovnik

By Gary Hudson

In October 2014 I was fortunate enough to join a band of very lucky individuals, mainly from Australia, South Africa and Canada on-board the ‘MV Spalato’ A+ category 36 person private yacht operated by Katarina lines out of Croatia. Immediately on-board it felt like a house party, everyone so friendly, finding out who each other was, where they had travelled from and often, as most of the fellow travellers were on multi stop holidays, where they are going next.

The cruise itself traverses the small islands in the Adriatic between Split and Dubrovnik, places with names such as Bol, Hvar and MIjet, with the wonderful Captain Zoran and his team taking the yacht to areas where you can swim and snorkel straight off the back of the vessel with nobody else around. You cruise during the day, but as the islands are only a few hours apart, you get to visit more than you bargained for, and then moors overnight, which is interesting in itself, as all the yachts moor alongside each other and you have to cross over your neighbours yacht to reach shore (not too tricky).

However on the return after a night on the tiles, the actions look slightly different, with some people forgetting their ships name, or as some of the yachts look alike, try and get into what they believe is their cabin, but on the wrong ship.

All the ports and islands where different, interesting and as most people will have read up about Dubrovnik and maybe even Slit, I would like to highlight the itinerary in the middle, and to me the most beautiful, peaceful part of the cruise, being the island of Hvar.

Whilst now a ‘yachties’ heaven, it still retains its quaint charm and historical links, as you would expect from the queen of the Dalmatian Islands.  It has been famous since the ancients because of its important strategic and nautical position providing rich, historical periods of culture.

The yachts moor alongside what I thought was a little too much retail marketing, but is primarily aimed at the many day trippers that come over from the Croatian mainland, but only a short walk away sees you in an ancient square, which offers places to sit and relax with coffee and cake, or a beer depending on your needs (it is hard work on a yacht you know, even with an engine and no sails) and watch the world go by, quite content when you see the day trippers arrive and then go, knowing those only left on the island are the locals and those that have arrived by private means, or those staying in small inns.

Whilst the port is of great interest of course you will want to explore the island, to taste some home-made sparkling wine maybe, or rest on one of the many beaches under the pine trees or possibly visit the lavender fields, this really is an island where you choose what you want to do, and all on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, considered amongst the 10 best.

On one of these cruises you can’t but help make good friends, some we met we keep in contact with today from Perth, Australia, but as everyone onboard was of a social nature (you ideally should be for these types of cruises) it really was like the house party afore mentioned right through the cruise.

Breakfast is served onboard, as is lunch and occasional dinner such as Captain’s night, and for the small galley space available, served up very good fayre, but the beauty of these type of cruises is the exploration of the port of arrival and the dining / refreshment options available.   

Katarina lines is a family operated company but has the organisation of a large corporate, meaning nothing is left to chance and nothing is too much for them to do, but also as a small family operation they can adhere to requests larger companies mainly wouldn’t entertain. Due to a pre-arranged schedule my party couldn’t join the ‘MV Spalato’ from the outset in Split, but that didn’t deter Katarina lines, they arranged it so we could travel a day later from Split to Bol on one of the many fast ferries to the island, where we would join up with the yacht. They didn’t fail to provide, no sooner as we disembarked off the ferry we were met and advised the yacht had to move to allow the ferry to berth, and as soon as the ferry was away the yacht would come back in, and of course this is was happened, faultlessly…that is what I call service.

There really is no other way to see Croatia and her beautiful islands, and would I do this again, you bet your bottom dollar I would ……….

Keywords: Spalato Ship, Katarina Lines, European Cruise