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Getting from Split-Hvar-Dubrovnik

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Hi

We're travelling through Croatia in August (I know-busy time of year, but only time we could go!). Our plan is to arrive in Split at 8am on the ferry from Ancona and then take either the 8.30am or 11.30am catamaran to get to Hvar. I have the following questions:

1. Where does the ferry from Ancona dock? Is it close to the catamaran which goes to Hvar? I'm thinking that it may be cutting it a bit fine trying to get the 8.30am ferry... but don't want to sit around for 3 hours waiting for the 11.30am.
2. Being the busiest time of year, is there any way to book the catamaran tickets in advance? I have had a look on the Jadrolinija website and they don't seem to cater for it? Any suggestions?

We are spending a few nights in Hvar and then heading to Dubrovnik. We plan on taking the ferry/catmaran back to Split at 7am or 9am (depending on how we're feeling) and then we want to take a bus to Dubrovnik. I have a few questions:

3. How do we get from the dock to the bus stop? Taxi? If so how far and how much? Do i need to book bus tickets in advance and if so how?
4. We are tossing up renting a car and driving ourselves? Any comments?
5. I'm also considering getting a private transfer to Dubrovnik. This would be more convenient as we can determine the time we leave and should be more comfortable and more speedy than a bus? Does anyone have any experience with this? Can you suggest a transfer company?

Finally, we are still undecided if we should spend more time in Hvar or Dubrovnik... We love beaches and good food. The idea of hiring a little boat and driving around the little islands in Hvar is so beautiful, is it realistic? Please let me know your thoughts - more time in Dubrovnik or Hvar??!!

Thanks in advance for your help!

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