Katarina Lines operate a fleet of around 50 small cruise boats along the Croatian Coastline.
Itineraries are varied and offer something for all ages and interests.
I was invited aboard the Dalmatia for a 4-day repositioning trip from Split (located pretty much in the centre of the cruising area) to Opatija (in the North)
The Dalmatia is currently classed as an A+ category (to be designated Premium for 2018 when a number of new luxury ships will be introduced to the fleet). The cabins are all ensuite with twin berths. There are 19 cabins in all arranged on 2 decks. Above the main Cabin deck is the Saloon Deck and above that a sundeck.
The crew comprises of the Captain, an assistant "sailor", cabin steward, two bar staff and two chefs. All were helpful and friendly and able to assist with any queries we had.
We departed Split at midday on a Saturday. Saturdays are change over days and Split Port area is very busy. Staff from the cruise line are on hand however to show you where your boat is moored. There are numerous boats and berths are limited so your boat may be tied up alongside others. Crossing between boats is easy but care should be taken.
After a tasty lunch on board, we had a short sail to our first overnight stop at Primosten with a swimming stop along the way in a lovely secluded cove only accessible by boat. In the evening we were entertained to a typical Croatian meal at a local tourist attraction - styled as a theme park on traditional Croatian living. May sound cheesy but was highly informative and entertaining - tourism well done.
We departed early the next morning just before breakfast meaning we were able to watch the beautiful coastline slip by as we tucked into our Continental style breakfast. With a choice of cereal, yoghurt, fresh bread, cold meats and cheese and we were certainly set for the days activities! Often hot options are served complimentary and an English Breakfast is an optional extra.
With a swimming stop along the way, we arrived mid-afternoon in Zadar and had a guided tour of the town, including a stop for maraschino tasting and a visit to the Antique Glass Museum. The tour ended on the waterfront as the sun was setting, a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Dinner was at leisure in one of the towns many tavernas or restaurants. There was a wide choice of dining, from pizza to fine dining all inexpensive.
Leaving Zadar the following morning we set sail for Mali Losinj. As we anchored off another beautiful cove for a swimming stop, a few guests decided to take the small inflatable boat to the beach. The more hardy amongst us swam!
Arriving in Mali Losinj in the afternoon we visited a local archaeological museum which showcases the find off the cost of Losinj in 1999, of a Greek statue cast in bronze. After some free time in the town the venue for dinner was a traditional Croatian restaurant that has been on the site since the 1930's.
The last full day was an early morning start for Cres with a stop along the way to visit the tiny, car-free island of Susak with its numerous pretty walking trails followed by a further stop for a last swim. On arriving in Cres we visited a local Monastery, home to the oldest book written in the Croatian language and indulged in the by now customary sampling of the local "liquid produce"! A further visit was made for olive oil tasting before returning to the boat for the traditional "Captains Dinner".
Although these cruises do not normally sail at night, due to the early departure of some the guests, we left Cres at around 9pm arriving in Opatija around midnight.
This was a great introduction to probably the most relaxing trip I have taken. Something that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for something that little bit different.
To round it off I flew back from Venice so visited that lovely city for a couple of days before my return home.
An ideal trip - a few days in Croatia followed by a short cruise and then a couple of days in Venice. With pricing options available to suit all budgets.
The video was shot, during our trip, by an Australian journalist on behalf of Katarina Lines.