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Small vessel cruise of Dalmation Coast

We will be in Croatia in May 2020 for one week and someone suggested to us, in lieu of renting a car and driving around the area, a "small" ship cruise. Apparently, these offer 20 or fewer cabins with some meals and, of course, sleeping accommodations.
We wanted to roughly follow RS's itinerary in Croatia and definitely see the national park; however, we heard that the small ship cruises offer ports and islands that are not accessible by vehicle while still offering day trips inland.
Has anyone done this and/or does anyone have any particular suggestions or comments or reasons to avoid these smaller vessels? Apparently, driving a rental car through Bosnia is not recommended from what we have heard as well. Thanks.

Posted by
55 posts

I have not done this but was thinking about doing the same thing. When I was in Croatia they said that there is a "joke" that says a dog doesn't qualify as a Dalmation dog unless there is a spot for every Island. Our guide told us that there are more than 1,000 islands in Dalmatia but only about 45 are inhabited. I only visited Brac and Korcula. I thought if I go back to Croatia I would like to spend more of my time visiting more islands. It sounds like the small ship idea is a good one. We were there in August. The weather was hot, which we liked because we like to swim, and the water was warm, clear and calm (very few waves). I think boating would be very enjoyable.

Posted by
2675 posts

A friend did similar, and I have done it in the Galapagos and is my preferred type of cruising. However, they are harder on folks who may have limited mobility or stability. You have short steep stairs down to the cabins, tiny 'heads' or toilets with showers, typically bunk beds but the lower is about double size to the upper twin. Some have no cooking facilities as they are even smaller than 20 cabins, but they dock where you can find food. In these cases, the only 'crew' is the skipper. He is happy to have you help with the lines and taking a turn 'driving'. These ships can go up to more luxury options. I haven't done that area, but in looking at itineraries, I would be interested, but you have to decide level of comfort and really look at the deck plans and ask questions.
I think the wish to follow essentially a 'land tour's itinerary by ship could cause a conflict of objectives and priorities, so you may have to compromise or embrace one over the other. Certainly Dalmatian Coast is well suited to boat travel, but if I recall, Rick offers recommendations by ferry to islands. Maybe that is the compromise.