Small ship cruising holidays in
Croatia travel guide
If you could give a name to one of the small ships used to breeze into some of these remote Croatian islands or ancient mainland towns, it would be pomalo. It means ‘slowly’, ‘no stress’ or ‘chilled’ – all of which sum up the holidays we have covered in this travel guide to small ship cruising holidays in Croatia rather beautifully.
Small ship cruises take you off all the usual wanderers' wavelengths, away from massive marinas to Croatia's infinitesimal island idylls.
You’ll spend time on a ship that meanders its way through this archipelagic Arcadia, stopping to swim in remote bays on islands like Korcula or having lunch at islands where the people are innately committed to slow food, such as Vis, or having an evening cycle around luscious shores like those on Mljet Island. Or you might swim on the naturist-friendly shores of Rab Island until the sun sets, while others are throwing their clothes back on to catch the last ferry back. These small ships are all about discovering the real side of Croatia, but in real Croatian style too. Pomalo.
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WHAT DOES THIS TRIP ENTAIL?
How big is a “small” cruise ship?
On average, these small cruise ships accommodate no more than about 40 passengers. Their small size allows them to navigate their way around the tiny channels of the archipelago and moor at the islands’ lovely small harbours. However, there’s still plenty of deck space for relaxing and taking in the views.
What are the cabins like?
The cabins are clean and comfortable, with en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning. They will have a mix of double and twin cabins, and in some cases, although rare, there may be single cabins too.
Can I travel solo?
If you are travelling solo and there are no single cabins, you usually have two choices: pay around a 50 percent supplement for your own double cabin, or choose to share a twin cabin with someone of the same gender at no extra cost. If the cruise is not fully booked, you may get lucky and end up with your own double cabin without paying a supplement, but there are no guarantees.
Can I travel with my children?
Families are always welcome on board. For a supplement, the ship may be able to put an extra single bed into a cabin to sleep three people.
What about meals?
Most small ship cruises in Croatia offer breakfast and a buffet lunch in their communal restaurant (although a takeaway picnic breakfast on deck sounds rather heavenly as well), as you sail from one island to another. Dinners are usually up to you, as these responsible small ship cruising companies are as much about life on shore as on deck, so they recommend you explore tavernas and cafés on the island where you moor that day. In some cases, there may be a ‘captain’s dinner’ on the first night to welcome everyone on board.
How are they responsible?
Small ship cruising holidays in Croatia aren’t like the cruising-for-a-bruising floating hotels that pour people in their thousands into Dubrovnik... or loads of pollution into our oceans, for that matter. Comfort: yes. Crowds and contamination: no. In contrast, they are like putting yourself in the hands of Captain Croatia, because the vessels are owned by them, and they are contracted by responsible tourism operators to do what they do best: navigate the archipelagos of which they are so proud and which they know inside out.
The captains usually employ their extended families and so you will find that the crews are all very local. They have a great respect for the sea and marine environment, they are very knowledgeable about issues affecting both, and they totally understand that they are reliant on keeping the area in the best condition possible for their own livelihood.
More about Croatia cruising
There is a quick and easy answer if you are trying to work out when to go on a small ship cruising holiday in Croatia. Find out by reading our tips on timings.
Discover where to go on a Croatia small ship cruise. We suss out which of the 1,000-plus islands, peninsulas, national parks and isthmus idylls to explore.
Apart from relaxing, sunbathing and swimming, there are many things to do on a small ship cruise in Croatia. Read more about island hiking, culture and food.
It really is one of life’s lovely dilemmas, working out how to choose a small ship cruise in Croatia. Here are things to keep in mind when making this choice.
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