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Croatia: Small cruise ship vs. island hopping

Croatia: Small cruise ship vs. island hopping

Old Jan 9th, 2008, 11:06 PM
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Croatia: Small cruise ship vs. island hopping

We are interested in visiting Croatia and Dalmation Coast this summer. Should we take a cruise of the islands or can we base ourselves in one place like Split or Dubrovik and do day trips from there by ferry? We are considering the Windsurf or the Monet, small ships. We are in our 50's, independent travelers and do not like large cruise ships or group travel. Have not done the small ships. Do the small ship give you enough time in ports? Do you miss a lot by eating on the ship? Any advise???
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 11:36 PM
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Yes you can island hop easily from Dubrovnik or Split ( easier from Split, but it is not as nice as Dubrovnik).

We spent over 46 days last summer in Croatia and I would not do it all by boat, although part of it is fine.

Can you do maybe a four day cruise and the rest on land? There will be things that you miss if not on land and I know we had a great time on our 4 day cruise on small vessel in Turkey, but that was plenty of time and we were ready to get off.

Maybe our blog archives on Croatia might be helpful to you:

www.soultravelers3.com
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 11:42 PM
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Thanks so much! We are in the same age group! Your blog looks great...will explore it. I think on our own is the way to go. I assume we do not need to ferry with a car to the islands, correct? And you think we should base ourselves in Dubrov. or a few other places? We will probably take 2-3 wks. What are the prices like? I refuse to go to any country on the Euro but is this one any better?
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 01:41 AM
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You certainly don't need a car to visit the islands. For Hvar, for example, there are boats to Hvar town that do not take cars; the car ferries go to Stari Grad from where connecting buses go to Hvar town and other places on the island. Along the coast, buses run about every hour, linking Rijeka, Zadar, Sibenik, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik and intermediate places.
I was there around Christmas, staying overnight in hotels in Sibenik, Split and Dubrovnik, as well as Kotor in Montenegro. In summer, there is much more accommodation available in private rooms and apartments, which are usually much better value.
I'd much rather sample local bars and restaurants than be on a cruise ship, but I suppose everyone has preferences.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 07:16 AM
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I think if you like independent travel, you will enjoy Croatia on your own & it is easy to do on your own. Do some cruise though, even for a day or at least the ferries....tons available with all the islands.We did not use a car on Hvar or Korcula or any of the smaller islands that we visited....no problem.

We did not even have a place booked in Hvar and just found one when we got off the ferry...easy and very reasonable price in early September.

The must-sees I think are Dubrovnik, Plitvice, Rovenj, bay of Kotor ( easy daytrip from Dubrovnik). We are glad that we saw Hvar & Kocula ( sword dance & marco polo home).

We found nice places to stay in the 20-30 euro range ( sea view terrace, clean ) when we stayed over night. The best was the one I list for Korcula. Book that one in advance as it is very popular, but none of the others were bad either and we did not book ahead.

The coast ride from Dubrovnik to Split by vehicle was spectacular and empty at the very start of Sept. Dubrovnik was very crowded in August ( most of Italy there , but if you stay at the beach and tour when cruise ships not in, it is not bad. We enjoyed it and we hate crowds, but stayed a month. The drive from Dubrovnik to Split is prettier than the ferry ( we did both).

Instead of Split, I would stay in Trogir or Sagent ( sp?) if you stay in that area...take the bus in....easy and cheap.

It is not a super cheap country like Turkey ( which it reminded me of on the coast), but cheaper than much of Europe if one is thoughtful on how you travel.

You will have a wonderful time as it is a beautiful and pristine country. The prices are decent and I would pick a few bases because the best sites are spread out.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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To WTnow,

Thanks for all the helpful info. We were also considering Turkey. Did you also do that? I have been told not to travel without a guide in Turkey. I considered a gulet boat trip but they appear to be inconsistent in quality and I do not want to sleep a deck without a/c in June/July. Any thoughts on that?
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 11:51 PM
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I agree that visting Croatia by
land independently is ideal & lady soultraveler has given some good advice.

Did want to point out to anyone interested that the small ships
(Monet, Andrea) - same company -
are quite well-appointed, serve
a smaller audience & can dock in
the smaller ports of Croatia
wherein one walks off ship into
town. However, they are not
inexpensive but do offer a better
experience than the mega liners.
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Thanks lajolla & Rhea58,

Yes we went to Turkey also this past summer & was so surprised to find Croatia similar in some ways...til I realized that they both had been ruled by the Ottoman empire.

Yes, we were told not to do Turkey or Morocco without a guide, but we did them both and found them easy without guides. Turkey is probably the easiest country in the world to do without a guide & the best service and hospitality in the world. It seems sometimes that they will do anything to make a tourist happy & that the whole large country is connected...so one hotel can book the next etc.etc.

We went in high season and did not book anything ahead...no problem. Again look to the blog archives for lots more info, pics & places ( mostly with urls) of where we stayed.

We did do a gulet trip & just booked it when we got to Fetheye ( so we could see it ahead of time and check it out), Loved it & the camptain & his girlfriend from Nz., but we did have a few funky people aboard. There really is no a/c for sleeping inside, but outside is nice ( but kind of weird with a bunch of strangers).

If I had to do it again, I would just hire a sail boat....probably cheaper than anywhere in the world & the turquoise coast is REALLY beautiful and pristine & wonderful history.....very relaxing, fun swimming. Gulet will always be dependent on who is onboard with you & one funky person spoils things a bit ( although we just ignored mostly).

There was a heat wave when we did it, but we were never hot on the boat & the food & swimming off the boat was a lot of fun. 3 day, 4 nights are plenty from Fetiye ( cute town) to Olympus. If you are independent type, by then you are ready to get off boat and onto your own.

Hope that helps. Both are great countries...2 of our favorites, similarities, but both really unique. Turkey is much, much cheaper..especially if you do it on your own. Although I have met people who did some fancy tours ( an MD & his family) and they raved how cheap it was too. It is all relative I suppose.

We do budget travel,but also splurged some in Turkey ( at the fab esbelli evi in Cappadoica) because the prices are so good. We also took the fancy buses like the locals & an overnight orient express train to Istanbul ( like new!) which was fun for us and saved a lot. We enjoyed Rhodes & Samos too as that is h ow we entered and exited ( Rhodes better ).
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