Croatia cruising vacations travel advice


Powell Ettinger, Director of our leading Croatia small ship cruising vacations supplier, The Small Cruise Ship Collection, shares his top tips for small ship cruising vacations in Croatia:

Itinerary advice

“My favourite spots in Croatia include Bol on the island of Brac – the tiny picturesque fishing port that just a few small ships visit where you can sit out on the quay at night end enjoy fresh fish and some local wine. And Split, where the center is built into the remains of Emperor Diocletian's Palace and is a mixture of ancient monument and thriving, bustling city. The Blue Cave on Bisevo Island where the sea inside the cave is illuminated by an opening in the rock, and also Mali Losinj, built by the Venetians, is a beautiful port surrounded by classical architecture and providing some fantastic ice cream”.

What to pack

“You don't need to bring too much, the cruises are informal and the weather means that lightweight clothing is all that is required. There are plenty of shops and even supermarkets en route, so you can pick up anything you forget or need as you go, often for much less than in the UK.”

Advice for families

“For families, small ship cruises are great because you only unpack once, and yet you still get to explore different places. But of course, these boats aren’t adapted to have things like kids clubs and that kind of thing. The kids clubs are getting off the boat, exploring and seeing what’s out there… There are age restrictions with some boat operators, however, so we always check that.”
“Also, Croatia is the ideal destination for first time cruisers. Easy to get to, very well organised, great weather, calm seas (usually) great food and plenty of local interest.”

Cultural tips

“Even though it is a cruise and most people speak English on board, do learn a bit of the local language for when you land and go in to visit local communities. Just a few words are really important.”

Health and safety



Ensure your travel insurance covers all water activities that you think you might participate in.

Make sure you have all your medication with you, as you might be sailing among remote islands without quick access to mainland pharmacies.

Bring good quality, protective sunglasses and eco friendly sunscreen. The glare from the sun on water is extra strong on cruise vacations.

Just in case, it is worth packing some seasickness tablets, patches or wristbands and also alternative remedies, such as ginger tinctures or tea. As you’ll be spending several days at sea, sea sickness is a possibility.

If you think it may be an issue, check with your tour operators about any mobility issues on board the boat you are traveling on.

Tap water is top quality in Croatia, so you can ease off on the bottled stuff and fill up your own bottles when on land, if possible.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will allow you to access Croatian public healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. Extra insurance is always handy.

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Croatia, so avoid touching animals.

It gets seriously hot in summer, so ensure you stay hydrated and wear a hat. And also the wind on board is deceptive as you don’t realise how hot it is getting sometimes.


It is important to really listen to safety instructions from your skipper and crew when you board.

If you are sea kayaking or sailing, always wear a buoyancy aid and ensure it is fastened properly. Especially with children, who can slip out of them easily. Beware of a change in weather conditions as the winds can pick up here very quickly. And make sure you have plenty of water and a hat with you, and if you aren’t very experienced don’t go more than 400m from the boat or from the shore.

If you are hiking on an island, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. Even if it is small, you could have an accident and still be stuck in a remote forest somewhere.

The coasts are often very rocky, although island beaches tend to be sandier. However, rubber water shoes are very handy, with proper walking sandals even better. But do carry antiseptic spray and plasters to the beach, in the event of cuts from sharp stones etc.

Croatia cruising vacations travel advice


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Croatia cruising vacations travel advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation.
“We stayed overnight in Split on the way out which worked well and allowed us to get to our departure point without having to rush. The walking tour in Dubrovnik was excellent.” - Lesley Mason

“On boarding our ship, MV Spalato, we met a fantastic group of guests, all of whom were around our age, late 40's… Check the age of the group when you book. It is not always possible to find out but if you want a relaxing cruise with like minded folk, check that you are not on a 'party boat'. We were advised that the boats are very casual and there is no need to take smart clothes. The evenings ashore merited casual wear too… We all agreed that the environmental impact of sailing in a small ship was far more reduced than that of the huge cruise liners. Silence on board was from midnight so there was no noise impact on the local homes near the docks we moored at.” - Paul Fellows

“Learn some Croatian words, and how to pronounce them. This is much appreciated.” – Eileen Maitland

“Being flexible with changes as the weather can alter what activities you do for the day and where you end up sailing to.” – Nicola Falconer

“Pack light, go with the flow - things will change but always for the better. Bring decent water shoes, the beaches are not sand so the rocks and pebbles can be sharp underfoot.” – Debbie Maitland
Photo credits: [Itinerary tips - Bol: [FECC]] [Advice for families - boat jump: Jeff Holker Photography] [Helpdesk: Darios] [Review 1 - Delwyn Enright: Maarten Elings] [Review 2 - Ingrid Sloan: Armin Gruber]
Written by Catherine Mack
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