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Lessons from a Croatian Party Boat

During the long dark English winter, one of my crazy Australian roommates, Ryan, came up with the idea that we should take a cruise in Croatia. I’d never been on a cruise before and didn’t quite fancy the idea. I envisioned huge impersonal boats full of clueless tourists. The Sail Croatia’s website won me over  though, with shots of stunning blue water and my long lost friend sunshine.

So I went, and it was a wild week. And, as it turns out, an educational one. Here are some of the many things I learned:

Ours was one of these... I forget which

Australians are the friendliest people on earth. The ship was small, only 25 passengers and a cook, deckhand and captain (all Croatian). Aside from me, one other American girl and a couple of kiwis, ALL of the passengers were Australian. Not coincidentally everyone became fast friend. With a little assistance from the on board bar, everyone was best buddies by the time the sun had set on day one.

My studly roommate and I

Close quarters make for interesting stories. The cabin I shared with Ryan was the size of a small broom closet. There was barely room for both of us to stand at once. We were the only co-ed, non-couple pair on the boat which meant he had to put up with my snoring (I had a cold okay) and I had to put up with waking up to find random female passengers had joined Ryan in the bottom bunk.

Sorry Ryan, too funny not to put up

You don’t want to be hungover on a boat. Take my word for it. The close quarters and incessant rocking will do absolutely nothing helpful for your precarious state of being. Mornings were particularly rough on my roommate Ryan who partied with the strength of three Aussies.

The second morning of the cruise Ryan stumbled on deck, looking like a plague victim. “How’s you foot, mate?” someone asked. Ryan looked confused. “You do remember stepping on that sea urchin last night, don’t you?”

Ryan looked down with surprise, to find pointy black spikes sticking out of the heel of his foot. Oops. Maybe the lesson here is actually don’t go swimming when you are drunk…

Port of Dubrovnik

Cruises have their advantages. The coast of Croatia has dozens of tiny islands. Each one is beautiful, unique, and a pain in the ass to reach. Ferries go to some, but not all, of the islands and run at odd times. In terms of seeing the most of the coast in the least amount of time, a small cruise like Sail Croatia’s is a great option.

Every afternoon the captain would find a secluded lagoon in which to park our boat. We’d then take turns jumping off the top of the ship into the dangerously clear water. I’ve never seen so much yet been so relaxed.

typical scenery

But the cost more than you might think. The £300 price tag for the week seemed steep to begin with, but the price grew steadily higher as the week went on. Although breakfast and lunch were included in the price, dinner was not. The on board bar offered 1 euro beers which was a great deal until you counted up how many we’d consumed over the course of a week. We knew about these costs ahead of time but it’s wise to factor them in when considering the total cost of the week.

pretty ladies on our last night

Travel friendships are a special thing. It’s amazing how fast you can bond with someone whn you are sharing close quarters and beautiful scenery. While were barely knew each other at the beginning of the week, by the end of the trip there was genuine sadness at the fact we would have to part.

Our last night on the boat some of the passengers organize as sort of Closing Ceremony. Superlatives were given out to every passenger. Yours truly was awarded the prestigious “Honorary Australian.” Apparently I’m really good at holding my beer, for an American.

True, I will probably never see most of those people again, but that is part of the brief beauty of the travel friendship.

On the whole I would recommend the small “party cruise” experience for those looking to have a good time, see a few islands and swim the Adriatic in relative solitude. It may not be the most “authentic” form of travel, but for what it is, it’s pretty damn fun.

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17 Responses to Lessons from a Croatian Party Boat

  1. natasha April 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM #

    Great post, Steph! Appreciate your honesty about your experience.

    I’m going on a Croatia sail solo in August and your tips are really handy! Will keep in mind added costs and budget appropriately.

    I’ve been on a European tour before (granted it was on a bus for 24 days!) and agree that bonding happens rather quickly. Your photos of your roomie brings back memories of tour group antics…
    .-= natasha´s last blog ..Top 5 Small Bars in Perth…with the best cocktails =-.

    • Steph April 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM #

      Happy to help! You will have a lot of fun I think.

  2. Akila April 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM #

    Great list Steph! I absolutely agree with you on all of these but especially that Aussies are so much fun and drinking and cruising on a small boat do not mix well. We’ve done one and I don’t know that we will do one ever again but it was a fun trip while we did it.
    .-= Akila´s last blog ..the color of resiliency =-.

    • Steph April 13, 2010 at 1:57 PM #

      I might do it again, maybe to see the Greek islands, but if I were going to go back to Croatia I’d probably want to try it under my own steam this time around.

      • Dimity April 14, 2015 at 1:41 AM #

        Hi Steph 🙂 just wondering if you did end up doing a Sail Greece trip?

        • Steph April 14, 2015 at 12:31 PM #

          I have not! Still haven’t been to Greece yet.

  3. Candice April 13, 2010 at 2:32 PM #

    Oh that sounds like ridiculous fun! Also, you should give me your hot roommate’s #.
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..It’s JUNOS Week in St. John’s! =-.

    • Steph April 13, 2010 at 3:22 PM #

      If you are headed to Brisbane I will hook you up!

  4. Christine April 13, 2010 at 4:46 PM #

    Holy moly, you have convinced me that a Croatian cruise is a necessity…if only to find hot Australians and get a tan 🙂
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..A lifelong love affair with France =-.

    • Steph April 14, 2010 at 1:47 PM #

      You are going to Europe. I it will be impossible NOT to find hot australians.

  5. Erica April 14, 2010 at 11:23 AM #

    This is such a great post!

    At my place of employment I talk to Aussies on the phone every day and they are such delightful, friendly people. I would have never considered a Croatian cruise but now the idea has been planted! 🙂
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Change is Never Easy =-.

    • Steph April 18, 2010 at 11:04 PM #

      They are just the friendliest!

  6. Matt April 18, 2010 at 11:01 PM #

    Good tips. Being hung over on a boat actually makes me a bit nauseous just to think about!

    I’m still trying to pick sea urchin spikes from my fingertips from my snorkeling experience this weekend – but I wasn’t drunk!
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Friday Travel Photo: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland =-.

    • Steph April 18, 2010 at 11:05 PM #

      Ouch! I managed to avoid them completely thankfully!

  7. Adventurous Kate April 25, 2010 at 8:09 PM #

    That looks beyond FABULOUS. Aren’t Australians the best? They’re so much fun!

    I considered doing a Croatian cruise…then got a job that chopped my vacation days down to 8 in 2010. Yikes. But I *will* get there!
    .-= Adventurous Kate´s last blog ..Travelers’ Night In — The Best of City Travel! =-.

  8. Davor July 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM #

    Sailing and yachting in Croatia can be quite an adventure.

    there are thousands of islands for you to discover
    enjoy Croatia yachting trip

  9. Hrvoje September 16, 2014 at 5:54 AM #

    Next time try to meet Croatian girls to sail with them and not just to meet them on dry land 🙂

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