Before Your Cruise

Before Your Cruise

Croatians are friendly people and most will be willing to help you out if you have a question. Google Translate is readily available on your phone, so please do make an effort to translate your question into Croatian so that you can more readily be understood and they can help you out if at all possible.

For everybody’s convenience, the official language on board our cruises is English, and occasionally there will be another language if a large group of native speakers of another language is on board. If the official language is other than English for a particular departure, you will be notified prior to booking.

If you have a problem with anything on the cruise, please immediately speak to your Cruise Director about it, or one of the Crew, no matter how small the problem might seem. It’s a lot easier to fix something at the time than it is to ask for explanations later once you’re home. We know it can be uncomfortable talking about problems, but it really is best for everyone if the problem can be addressed at the time so you can enjoy your cruise without any small niggles or resentments building. If you are not comfortable talking to someone, please send us an email or WhatsApp +61 2 9212 1507 (please keep in mind the time difference if it’s not an actual emergency) so that we can advocate on your behalf while you are still on the cruise. We can do so anonymously if you prefer.

Here we have some tips on our Small Ship Cruising:

Just a quick reminder that cruises aren’t automatically covered under all travel insurance, so please check with your travel insurer if you need special cruise insurance before you book.

What happens with my luggage?

If you arrive to the cruise early and the ship is in port, you can leave your bags on board even if your cabin isn’t ready and then explore the town until check-in time.

If you are departing after 9am you can leave your bags on board until you are ready to depart, but they do need you packed and out of the cabin by 9am so they can clean the cabins for the next cruise. If you have departure transfers included with your cruise and are leaving after 9am, the cruise director will inform you what time you need to be back to meet the transfer.

Both Dubrovnik and Split harbours have ‘left luggage’ kiosks where you can pay to store your bags if your ship is not in port.

Luggage: Suitcases can be stored in the allocated space under the beds, usually there is room enough for one large suitcase each. There is a small wardrobe in each cabin, so if your suitcase does not fit in the allocated space, you can simply put your clothes in the cupboard and you can put your empty suitcase in the hold of the ship for the week. The crew will help you with your luggage on and off the ship, please don’t hesitate to request assistance.

What is the dress code? What clothes should I bring?

All our cruises are fairly relaxed and the dress code is casual.

Clothes: Dress code on our cruises is casual and comfortable. Due to limited space in your cabin we recommend you to pack lightly – swimsuit, a pair of shorts, summer dresses, light-weight pants, a few T-shirts and a good mood will suffice! We also recommend bringing some clothes for possible cooler evenings (e.g. windbreaker, light jacket or similar). There is no formal dress code for any included dinners, even on Deluxe cruises. You must be reasonably covered at meal times in the restaurant on-board, so please keep this in mind at breakfast and lunch. Thank you. Wearing a bikini top or just a pair of shorts isn’t acceptable at meal-times. However, going barefoot is usually ok, but please respect the crew’s requests if they ask you to wear shoes in the restaurant.

Don’t forget your sunscreen, hat and water/rock shoes! Nobody wants to spend their cruise miserable with sunburn or damaged feet, so please take care. There are numerous kiosks and shops in all harbours that sell sunscreen, glasses, hats, water shoes, blow-up sea toys and so on if you need to buy them on arrival. 

Also, take some earplugs, the harbours can get quite busy and noise across water is always amplified. Better to be prepared just in case (see ‘Noise levels and quiet’ section below). 

Shoes: It is also advised to bring sturdy walking shoes for sightseeing excursions due to cobblestone streets and uneven or slippery surfaces. If you are planning on beach or ocean swimming, please remember that Croatia is full of pebble beaches and rocky shores, so please take some water shoes with you. Or you can purchase them at Split or Dubrovnik Harbour kiosks, along the walkway from the pier to the beach at Bol, or in small shops in Korcula and Hvar. You can take along your own inflatable sea toys on the cruises as well, but please remember that none of these things will be provided by the cruise ship. It’s up to you.

Hairdryers: Most cruises have hotel-style hairdryers in the bathrooms, but please check with us if you are not sure from the ship description whether your cruise provides them.

Beach towels: Most cruises have beach towels that you can hire for the week, costs vary from 3-7 euro.

Bath towels and bed linen are provided at no charge. Most cruises have cabin crew that will tidy your cabin daily and change the bed linens mid-week, some you can ask for extra changes for an extra charge. It will be listed in your ‘Included’ portion of your information, or please check with us.

What bed will I get in my cabin? Some cruise ships have ‘flex-beds’ where they can move 2 single beds together if you want a double bed. This does leave a small seam down the middle of the bed, but at least you can usually have the bed type you requested. Some cruise ships have fixed beds only, so you might end up with a double bed, or twin beds. Usually if you book twin beds, this is what you will receive, as there tends to be not enough doubles to meet the demand. So sometimes even if you request a double bed cabin, you might end up with a twin. No cruise company will guarantee a specific bed type due to this situation. And unfortunately for solo travellers, couples privilege tends to take precedence and you will likely end up with twin beds even if you have booked the whole cabin for yourself.

Does the cruise provide lilos, inflatable sea-toys, kayaks, paddle-boards, snorkelling equipment etc?

No,  the cruise companies do not provide these. The ones that you see on other cruise ships are the ones that clients have brought along themselves for their own use or ones that previous clients might have left behind. If you want to have some inflatables, snorkels or toys available, please take them with you. You can usually purchase them at the kiosks or small shops around the harbours. Don’t forget to buy some water-shoes for the rocky beaches.

Can we jump off the top deck of the ship?

Generally, no, it’s not allowed any longer on almost all ships due to insurance issues.  Deluxe cruises in particular are very strict about this policy. Please respect the Captain’s decision.

Do they have regular swim stops (even if they’re not specifically listed)?

Yes, all cruises have swim stops during the day. Usually you depart the port in the morning around breakfast time and enjoy your breakfast as you head to your next point of interest. Often there will be a swim stop just before lunch, and lunch will be taken on-board at the same time. After lunch you usually head to the next overnight destination and you might stop somewhere for a swim along the way. Usually the swim stops are in open water, and there is always a crew member in attendance as a lifeguard while passengers are in the water.

What currency do they use onboard?

(Croatian Kuna)
The Croatian currency is the Kuna (HRK). The Euro (EUR) is also commonly used as a point of reference for prices in Croatia, but you cannot always pay with euros cash. Restaurants/cafes/shops all require payment in Kuna, and if you use your credit card for purchases on land you will be charged in Kuna. We suggest you travel with Euros cash and exchange them at the major banks or at the airport as you arrive into some local currency or withdraw Kuna cash from ATMs as you go.

You can only withdraw cash in the local currency KUNA from ATM’s with your debit, credit or travel money card. You cannot withdraw Euros cash from most ATMs in Croatia.

Local currency (Croatian KUNA) is to be used in Croatia. Cash may be obtained on arrival at exchange offices, banks or from ATMs. Credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and hotels, though some smaller stores may only take cash.

All payments made on-board must be in cash. Most cash payments will need to be made in Croatian KUNA for bar tabs, optional excursions, towel hire, or any other extras you purchase while on the cruise. Some cruise ships may take cash payments in Euros, but no small cruise ships accepts credit card payments.

Tipping Guidelines: Tips for Cruise Directors and Crew can be given at the end of the cruise. Appropriate amount per passenger (tipping is not compulsory):

Cruise Director/Manager (cruise co-ordinator): EUR 4-6 per day Example: EUR 5 per day at the end of an 8-day tour amounts to EUR 40 per passenger for your Cruise Manager.

Cruise Ship crew: EUR 4-6 per passenger per day. Example: EUR 5 per day at the end of an 8-day cruise amounts to 40 EUR per passenger and is distributed to all the crew.

Usually you will be given 2 envelopes at the end of the cruise, one for the Cruise Director and one that includes the rest of the Crew (to be shared between them). You can then deposit your chosen tip in a box in the restaurant area if you prefer to do so anonymously.

Food & Drink

On the ship: What is there?

Dishes served are a combination of Mediterranean and international cuisine, adapted to the taste of our guests. Our Head Chef also aims to present traditional Croatian dishes to your pleasure. A selection of complimentary fresh fruit is available all day long on Deluxe cruises.

Breakfast buffet style is usually served from 7am to 9am, with cereal, toast, tea, coffee. Breakfast is usually the same every day, as per most buffet breakfasts. On the Deluxe ships, this is served alongside alternating warm dishes, such as omelet, scrambled eggs, sausages and similar.

Lunches are served on a three course basis, which often include soup, pasta, meat, fish or seafood and a salad of some kind. Any included dinners (please see the full daily itinerary to check) will be similar to lunches.

Please note that different cruise categories include different levels of catering services, so inclusions can vary from those listed here. Please check your specific cruise info carefully.

The chefs do their best, but each week they have 40 new customers from all over the world who all have different preferences and opinions on what is good, bad, boring or great all whilst working in a galley kitchen and still trying to cater for people who are coeliac, diabetic, vegan, vegetarian and it all requires a bit of give and take from all passengers. The chefs do their best with demands put upon them (often last minute when people forget to mention until the day of the cruise some new dietary requirement that’s urgent) by 40 different people. Please take this into account. There is plenty of time when you are off the ship to indulge your ‘a la carte’ desires at restaurants that can cater to your every demand. If you want ‘a la carte’ service at every meal we suggest other styles of travel instead.

Dietary preferences – please let us know at least 60 days in advance!
Guests are kindly asked to inform us as soon as possible of any dietary preferences, such as diabetic, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc. Our galley team will make reasonable efforts to accommodate these requests.

Guests are reminded that if you have food requirements such as gluten-free, vegan etc, please inform your Cruise Director the moment you join the cruise and check that your information has been passed on correctly. You need to take some responsibility and ensure that it doesn’t get forgotten in these busy environments. Thank you.

Drinks (to be paid on board in cash Euros or Kuna, with a running bar tab that you pay at the end)
Boat operates a bar in the salon with regular opening hours usually 7AM – 11PM. There you can find a wide selection of soft drinks, warm drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate), bottled water, local quality wines, and local draft beers to sip while enjoying the view.

What is half-board? What meals are included on my cruise?

Half-board (HB): (Breakfast and lunch on all cruises) This means that 2 meals a day are usually provided, mostly it will be breakfast and lunch on cruises (B,L). Each cruise will have meals listed on the daily itinerary, so that you will know exactly which meals are included. Some lunches or dinners are swapped occasionally, so that you may enjoy a wonderful gourmet experience with your fellow travellers, such as a Welcome Dinner, or Captain’s Dinner (D) on a cruise.

Dinner: For the remainder of your meals you will be able to dine anywhere you choose on shore and you will be responsible for the cost of those meals. Your Cruise Director will be happy to recommend a good value and trusted eatery nearby at every location, or you can explore on your own.

Full-board (FB) is occasionally offered on cruises as an optional extra, but we do not recommend you take the full-board option unless you are really sure about it. A lot of the joy of the cruise and tour experiences is to dine in local restaurants, ‘konobas’ (traditional taverns) and bars, so that you can meet the people who live and work there. Why come all the way to Croatia only to eat on-board for every meal? There are so many fabulous (and even some famous!) eateries. Get out there and taste them!

Off the ship: What is there and how much will it cost?

There are plenty of restaurants, konobas (Croatian pubs), cafes and bars in every port. Your Cruise Director and crew are happy to make recommendations, but you are also free to wander around and find somewhere by yourself. Many restaurants have their menus on stands outside, so you can look at a few and decide before committing to anything. Many restaurants have outside dining areas. Smoking is still permitted in many outside dining areas in Croatia, so please be aware and ask your concierge to seat you somewhere smoke-free if this is a problem.

Croatian cuisine is known as “the cuisine of regions” so wherever you go ask for the local delicacies.

Fresh seafood is a particular specialty all along the Croatian coastline. Fish, squid, shrimp, mussels, oysters are all readily available.  Like in many European countries pizza, pasta and meat dishes are common in restaurants everywhere. Try cevapi for the Croatian variation of the humble sausage. Desserts are also something to try… check for the local version of ‘creme caramel’.

Croatian beers (pivo) are of a high quality. Try Zagreb’s Ožujsko, Laško or Karlovačko (our personal favourite, but harder to find than the others).

For the wine lovers, virtually every region produces its own exquisite varieties of wine. Croatian food and produce is what we would consider as organic food, being mainly home grown and farm fresh.

Tap water is also clean and drinkable, though some cruise ships will recommend you drink bottled water. Please check your cruise info for specific details for your ship, or check with the Cruise Director.

The average cost of a meal out is around $8-15, whilst beer is around $3-5. If you budget for the equivalent of Australian prices, then you should be well covered.

Timeout has a great list of Croatian restaurants to start you off: https://www.timeout.com/croatia/restaurants

Vegan / Vegetarian/ Gluten-free / Allergies etc: We have a separate page here with more information on food in Croatia, with a list of restaurants and shops for those with food intolerances or who are vegan/vegetarian. https://discovercroatia.com.au/food-intolerances-in-croatia/

General Info:

Electricity

Electrical current on board is European of 220 volts. Plugs you will find in cabins have two round pins of 4.8 mm in diameter. In order to use any appliances (e.g. shavers, battery chargers, etc.) you should bring 2 things:
– UNIVERSAL TRANSFORMER to convert the power if your device does not support 220 volts power.
– UNIVERSAL ADAPTER PLUGS for sockets if they differ from the ones in your country.

Internet connection (Wi-Fi)

We are glad we can offer our guests the convenience of free Wi-Fi service on board. Please note that Internet connection used is cellular service and is shared between passengers and crew, and as such the connection might be unreliable during some stages of the cruise. For that reason reception sometimes might not be possible and/or connection speeds will drop significantly. Skype calls are best suited to be made in bigger towns where reception is better. The Wi-Fi connection provided is best used for merely checking email or accessing news portals only. Wi-Fi connection can be accessed in the salon or from the rear lounge.

We actively discourage downloading files, uploading videos or watching Netflix or similar whilst using the ship’s Wi-Fi as it affects speeds for all passengers and the crew. If you would like to watch videos, please download them before you arrive on the cruise for the consideration of the other people on board. You can also use your own cellular connections when the ships are close enough to the cell towers.

Many Croatian restaurants, bars, cafes and shops have free internet connections available for their customers. We suggest that you try to do as much as you can when on-shore where the Wi-Fi speeds are much more reliable than while on the ship out to sea. Thank you.

Guest mix

There is usually an international mix of guests from all over the world on board – Scandinavia, UK; New Zealand, Australia, USA, Spain, Italy … It will be a great way to meet the people from across the world and make new and long-lasting friendships!

Most of the Deluxe cruises will be mature couples, solo travellers and small groups of friends/family. Most passengers on these higher standard cruises will be 35-70yrs. We cannot tell you the other passengers ages in advance, as not only the cruise companies not allowed to give out that information due to privacy issues, but most of the cruise companies do not even ask for ages of anyone over 18. They only find out the ages when the passengers arrive and hand in their passports to the cruise director for a few minutes to be registered as a tourist (as per the law). Some Deluxe cruises don’t allow children at all. Some do, but there is no guarantee there will be other families on-board with children around the same age. It is a possibility you will end up as the only family on-board a Deluxe cruise.

Most clients who want to party book themselves onto specific 18-35s cruises, so they do not usually book on to the Deluxe cruises.

The Premium and Premium Superior cruises have a wider range of ages and usually attract more families and young people who aren’t looking for the 18-35s party cruises.

For everybody’s convenience, official language on board is English.

Smoking

Whilst most of Croatia still allows smoking in almost all outdoor areas, the cruise ships have allocated certain areas as ‘smoking areas’ and smoking is not permitted in cabins, the restaurant, the outdoor salon or on the sundeck. The smoking section is usually at the back of the ship on the Main Deck near the swimming platform. We do ask that clients refrain from smoking here whilst other guests are using the swimming platform out of courtesy.  Some ships have more than one smoking area, please check with the crew.

 

Physical disabilities

Most cruises are not suitable for persons with limited physical abilities, such as wheelchairs or walkers. You must cross between ships and sometimes there are gaps of up to 50cm and you must jump across. Of course the crew can assist you, but you still must be able to support yourself to bridge the gap. This is common with all the small cruise ships and sometimes you might have 4 or 5 ships lined up sideways next to each other and this means you have to walk through several ships and jump across several spaces between them. It can be difficult if you are unsteady on your feet. Please take this into account and do not book a cruise if you think this might be a problem. We cannot guarantee that your ship will be closest to the harbour, no matter which cruise line you choose.

Please note that the majority of passenger ships have limited access for disabled guests. Steep staircases, steps of above average height and size and gaps between boats can be expected when embarking or disembarking and crossing from one boat to the other. In addition, the itinerary warrants that most of the shore excursions are done on foot. You should be able to stand on your feet for an extended period of time to visit museums and other sites. Guided walking tours usually last 30-45 minutes and include movement over cobbled and uneven surfaces and up and down the stairs, as do shore excursions. Therefore, severe walking disabilities may limit the guest’s overall experience on these programs. However, guests with disabilities are still welcome on-board and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Noise levels and quiet – take some earplugs!

As the boats are explicitly acoustic (sound travels over water) all guests are asked to behave accordingly and respect the night peace that officially starts at midnight (24.00hrs). Since the boat will be docking for the night in ports of call of varying liveliness and buzz, especially in the months of July and August you can expect a certain level of noise coming from the shore and other boats in the harbor. Noise level usually drops by 24.00hrs. Still, sometimes there are festivities such as Patron Saints Day and similar, which often last long into the night. If you are on a ship with air-con, the air-conditioning runs for the whole night, and you will be able to sleep with closed windows. No cruise line or Captain is able to influence the noise level in any of the ports of call, nor which ships you are allocated a berth next to. The only people who can control the noise on the ships is the people on the actual ship that’s making the noise, or perhaps the Harbour Master.

Unfortunately there are some 18-35s cruise operators who encourage partying on board the ships in some of the more popular harbours. We are really sorry but there is nothing we can do to avoid this, the harbour master is the only one who has any control of which ship is parked where. Hvar and Mljet can get particularly loud, we recommend that you take earplugs with you in case the noise bothers you. They are supposed to be finish at midnight by law, so if there is a real problem please try to find one of your crew and check with them.

Laundry

There are laundry facilities in the main ports such as Split, Hvar, Korcula, Dubrovnik if you need them, thought they of course take a few hours. Please take this into consideration and whilst you can hand-wash in your bathroom and hang clothes in the shower they might take some time to dry. Anything hung over the ship rail is very likely to be swept away by the wind and we do not recommend it (including beach towels, so please be careful). If you lose a hired beach towel, do you do need to pay for it (prices vary by ship).

 

DISCLAIMER:

All ship descriptions on our website are sent to us by the cruise companies and we are not liable for any discrepancy in the listed features or services as we are not the producers of the marketing materials. We act as an agent only, we are not the end supplier and do not have access to visit every cabin on every ship and check every single feature before every departure. Thank you for understanding. Please see our full Terms and Conditions here.

All departures on specific ships are subject to any unforeseen incidences occurring before your departure. If that ship cannot be provided due to accident, emergency repair or similar, then a similar ship will be provided if at all possible, but please understand that there are few spare ships as they are all also being used for other cruises. We cannot guarantee any departure as the cruise companies themselves do not guarantee every single ship on every single departure as very, very occasionally there are issues that require repair or there’s been some ‘force majeure’ beyond their control. This is why we recommend you have proper travel insurance to cover you for all events.