This year I took one of the best trips I have ever taken – I went on the Adventure Sailweek. I had been interested in taking a yacht cruise for a while, but was turned off by the craziness that can be Yacht Week. This prompted me to look for an alternative, and what I found was well worth it!
This post will provide my Adventure Sailweek Croatia review, so you can decide if this is the right kind of trip for you. If you are interested in exploring Croatia via yacht with other like-minded people, I suggest you keep reading.
What is Adventure SailWeek?
Adventure SailWeek (now also known as the Dubrovnik Route) is one of the yacht cruise routes offered by SailWeek – a company that provides yacht cruises in Croatia and Greece. Unlike many other cruises of this type offered in Croatia, this one focuses on exploring the islands that you visit and not so much of the partying. Is a yacht cruise for those of us who like to explore while traveling ;).
How it’s structured:
Adventure SailWeek alternates starting points between Dubrovnik and Split. After setting sail from one of these beautiful cities, you’ll likely make a stop in a cute bay before heading to the next destination on your schedule. The Dubrovnik Route is an 8-Day adventure that takes you to 7-8 islands and cities along the Dalmatian coastline.
Except for your first sailing day, you mostly travel during the morning for about 2-3 hours, stopping halfway for a swim in the wonderfully warm and salty waters. Every time you arrive in a new destination, you skipper will tell you all that you can do there and help arrange your activities for the day. Once you arrive at your last destination, you’ll actually have the last night to spend on the boat while you explore your final city.
What is Yacht life like?:
The overall size of your yacht will vary based on how what price option you choose (more on that later). In any case, you can expect the space to feel tight at first…and then seemingly begin to feel quite huge. Whether you come with friends or alone, you’ll be sharing quarters with one other person. Also, depending on how full your yacht is – the skipper will probably sleep in the living area of the boat.
Every yacht is equipped with a complete kitchen, which is re-stocked at the start of every sail. This may be a weird thing to note, but if there are certain condiments that you like, or if you have strict diet preferences, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to bring a few of your own groceries for breakfast and/or lunch. You’ll likely have one or more of those meals on the boat each day, depending on sail times/ your budget. It’s also good practice to make a few group meals and feed the skipper – they are taking care of you the whole time, so it’s the least you could do.
While sailing, there is plenty of time to sleep / sunbathe / read – I could honestly do it every day without complaint :). Admittedly, the first day was a little rough on my stomach, but I had no problems after that. Everyone is different here, so I recommend bringing some Dramamine along just in case. I’ll also say that the boat gave me literally the best sleep of my life – that little bit of rocking that happens when docked knocks you right out :).
Discovering Croatian Island Hopping
One of the biggest questions you may have regarding Adventure Sailweek is: Where does the yacht take you? Well here are some of the possible stops, with a little information on each:
Split is probably best known as the home of Diocletian’s Palace, the best preserved Roman palace in existence today. For over a thousand years the city was primarily contained within the castle, but it has expanded quite a bit in recent years. To get to know the city, spend some time doing a Historical City Walking Tour. Grab a delicious bit to eat at Fife or spend time at of the nearby beaches.
Hvar / Palmizana Island
Of all the islands you visit on your cruise, Hvar is probably the most well-known / touristy. The main city of Hvar is like the perfect miniature Medieval town, with pristine buildings and walkways. For incredible views, you can visit the Tvrdava Fortica, originally built by the Byzantines and reinforced by the Venetians. There are a variety of options for nightlife as well, if that is your thing.
Palmizana Island is a nearby island that will serve as your marina as you visit Hvar. To get to the main city, you’ll need to take a water taxi over.
Vis is an adorable little island that is home to about 3600 people. It’s a great place to explore via car, and you can circle the whole island in an hour or two. For a unique experience, travel the treacherous path down to Stiniva to experience a quite watering hole. Once done there, head over to the nearby Winery to get some local fruits, cheeses, and drinks. The cities here are not as well-kept as some of the others in the island, but I think that adds to its charm :).
Scedro is a very tiny island that is home to only 30 people in the summer, and a perfect place to get some R&R on your cruise. Make the most use of your time here by exploring the abandoned monastery and the beautiful beaches and bays in the area.
Korcula was my FAVORITE island on the trip – it’s not too big or too small, and has plenty of city and outdoor activities too. You may not know this, but Korcula was the birth place of the well-known sailor Marco Polo. What we did while on the island is take a 4-wheeler tour through the hills of the city to see vineyards and beaches, before stopping at a local’s house for some delicious bites of food. You could spend time shopping, exploring Marco Polo’s home, or just eating delicious food on this island as well.
National Park Mljet
Croatia has a whole entire island dedicated to being a national park, and all of it is beautiful. To get to the main area of the park, you can rent bikes – regular or electric, and explore all the nature there. There is a lovely salt water lake where you can go for a swim, and an island in the middle of the lake where you can explore Roman ruins or grab a bite to eat. This is probably the most active day of the whole trip.
Sipan is a sleepy little fishing village that is the perfect retreat before or after Dubronik. If you go here, be sure to stop to get a message at the little massage / yoga studio right by the marina. Truly one of the best I’ve ever had. You also have the opportunity to get a typical Croatian meat dish, that cooks for 6 or so hours before its ready. Not sure exactly what it’s called, but your skipper will be able to tell you :).
If you haven’t heard about anything else in Croatia, I know you’ve heard about Dubrovnik. It’s by far the most touristy – and expensive – spot you’ll visit in Croatia, but probably for good reason. Being there is a little like walking back into the middle ages and also has a Disney kingdom sort of feel too it. It’s almost too perfect haha. While here, you must at least buy tickets to walk the city’s walls. Depending on your preference, I also recommend either doing an historical city tour or a Game of Thrones tour – both are great options!
SailWeek Croatia Prices
There are four pricing options for Adventure SailWeek Croatia:
The standard yacht option means that you’re booking a smaller and slightly older yacht. They are built between 2002 – 2010. In addition to the difference in the yacht, there are fewer amenities provided than with the premium yacht option.
- For 2020, the prices range from €590 – €690 (~$650 – $763) for a spot on a standard yacht.
- If you have a large party, you also have the option to book a full yacht which will cost somewhere around €4800 (~$5300).
As you’ll likely surmise from the description above, the premium yachts are larger and also newer (built between 2014 – present). There are more bathrooms, interior fans, and a few additional amenities.
- For 2020, the prices for a single spot range from €690 – €840 (~$763 – $928), depending on the timing of your booking.
- For that full yacht booking, you can get a full yacht for around €5900 (~$6500).
What’s Included in the Base Price?
All yachts come with the following included in the base price:
- Professional skipper
- 7 nights of accommodation on the yacht
- Bottled water and groceries for dinner and breakfast
- Port fees, taxes, and fuel
- Free WiFi (note, it can be spotty in certain places, but pretty good overall)
- Snorkeling equipment
- Towels & linens
- Final yacht cleaning
Additional inclusions for the premium yachts include:
- Water taxi
- Cabin fans (a must to keep cool as there is no A/C on board)
- Bicycle rent at Mljet National Park
Yacht Week Croatia vs. Adventure SailWeek Croatia
There are a few key differences between SailWeek Croatia and the Yacht Week, that I’ve outlined below:
The Age Range
The overall age range of the Yacht Week is younger than what you’d see on the Dubrovnik Route. On my journey most folks ranged from late 20s to mid-30s, though there were a few younger/older. The Yacht Week serves more of that recently post-college grad crowd, and may not be a good option if you are older (in real life or in spirit).
Adventure SailWeek is really all about experience the destinations you visit as well as having time to enjoy the sail and swimming. The Yacht Week is more focused on partying, pure and simple. You would have the option to get away and explore sometimes, but the pace is much less chill.
The Dubrovnik Route costs less than the Yacht Week, and it’s also not required that you select your crew mates in advance. There are fewer add-on fees, such as adding a hostess, or drink packages, for example. From a cost perspective, I definitely think that SailWeek Croatia is a better option.
Adventure SailWeek Croatia Review | Final Tips
There are a few additional things that I wish I’d known before heading on this trip:
The packing list provided on their website is really not complete, especially for women. I recommend a few things:
- Bring all of your stuff in a duffle bag, there just isn’t space for large luggage or hard luggage at all
- Pack some dressier clothing, or whatever you’d wear for going out
- You will be living most of the day in swimwear, so I’d bring one for every day if you can
- If you have super curly hair, like me, there is no better option that just getting your hair braided. Shower water is limited on most days, so there is little time to deal with detangling while on board
- Bring a GoPro!! I took some amazing shots with mine and highly recommend it
- It is common courtesy to tip your skipper 10% the amount you paid to book your trip at the end. Don’t be cheap and skip out on this! They do a lot for you
- If you don’t want to use the same towel set for the whole week, you’ll need to bring your own with you
- If you aren’t great at swimming, take some time to get some lessons before your trip. If you can’t do that, bring a small floatie along. You should spend as much time in the water as possible!
That complete my Adventure Sailweek Croatia review, I really hope you’ve found it helpful! If you have additional questions on the experience, let me know in the comments below!