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Review: Is Sail Croatia the Best Group Cruise in Croatia?

Review: Is Sail Croatia the Best Group Cruise in Croatia?

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Rounding up your list of the best Croatia cruises for an epic time sailing on the Dalmatian Coast? Find out if Sail Croatia should be at the top of your list.

From idyllic coastlines edged by magnificent sea caves and crystalline waters to historic old cities lined with cobblestone streets and rustic bars– there are a thousand reasons why cruising Croatia’s coast is the best way to experience a European summer!

However, with so many Croatian cruise options to choose from, how do you narrow it down to choose the best one?

That’s where I can help. I recently embarked on a 7-day Dubrovnik to Split cruise with Sail Croatia, one of the largest and most popular companies in the Adriatic. This review is entirely my opinion and I was not paid by Sail Croatia.

Quick Recap

Founded in 2005 by two passionate travelers, Sail Croatia is one of the longest-running cruise companies in the country! They operate small ship cruises between popular destinations like Dubrovnik and the town of Split, as well as beautiful islands like Hvar, Mljet, Vis, and many more.

While my experience was overwhelmingly positive, there were a few things that I think should be improved. Firstly, it's important to know that Sail Croatia traditionally caters to the young party crowd.

I'm not really much of a party guy these days, but luckily Sail Croatia now has a wide range of small cruise options appealing to every demographic, including luxury boats for couples and families, and small ship adventure cruises.

Small ship cruise boat in dubrovnik, croatia

My Sail Croatia Experience

As with most passionate travelers hooked on adventure, exploring the vivid Dalmatian Coast of Croatia has been on my bucket list for several years.

However, due to the vast amount of islands and distance to cover, traditional backpacker island hopping just didn't seem practical. That's why I decided to jump on board Sail Croatia's 7-Day Explorer Cruise.

I wasn't too interested in partying, so I booked the Explorer option to spend more time exploring all of the medieval towns, vibrant islands, and epic beaches! If this seems like your kind of Croatia cruising experience, then I highly recommend this option.

Tip: If you'd prefer a party cruise, opt for the "Navigator" option (more on this later).

This covered all of the popular destinations, as well as some less-visited islands and secluded coves on the way from Dubrovnik to Split.

Korcula island old town croatia

What I Liked About Sail Croatia

1. The Ships - Small Ship Cruises

I don't know about you, but huge cruise liners aren't my thing. Being hoarded into a moving city with thousands of other tourists isn't really my idea of adventure.

However, small cruise ships offer the exact opposite experience. Travelers can get to know everyone on the ship, and you're treated like a guest, not a number!

Sail Croatia also has some of the best small cruise boats in the region (with some new vessels). My experience was on the Kleopatra, a spacious, modern, and beautifully finished vessel complete with a huge sun deck and hot tub, a huge dining galley, large rooms with lower and upper deck cabins, and comfortable sitting areas for those days at sea.

Small ship cruise boat in croatia

2. The Croatia Cruise Options

I touched on this briefly before. But another reason why Sail Croatia offers the best way to experience the Adriatic Coast is that there are so many cruise options to choose from.

Boat options and cruise itineraries include:

  • Navigator - party boat (18-39)
  • Explorer - adventure focused
  • Elegance - luxury cruise with more luxury boats
  • Cycle - explore all of the ports of call on guided bicycle tours
  • Hike - explore the popular islands on foot and climb the spectacular mountain ranges

As you can see, it's hard to beat this variety. The Explorer cruise was perfect for our travel style. It gave us plenty of time to explore all of the beautiful islands and coastal towns but still gave us the flexibility to have a drink in the old town bars and clubs.

Tour group in croatia
Croatia cruise boat

3. The Destinations

Sail Croatia has been at this for a long time. Their sailing itineraries are well-selected to cover the best that the Dalmatian Coast has to offer.

Islands and Ports of call on our cruise included:

  • Dubrovnik - an idyllic coastal town famous for its role as Kings Landing in the Game of Thrones franchise
  • Mljet Island (Mljet National Park) - the greenest island with amazing saltwater lakes
  • Korčula - a beautiful old town with fields of vineyards and olive groves
  • Hvar Island - one of the most popular islands with a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Vis Island - a remote island with a rich history, crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and great wine tasting
  • Split - a beautiful port city famous for medieval ramparts and the Roman era Diocletian Palace

This was an excellent cruise itinerary and offered plenty of time to explore each destination. Furthermore, along the way, each cruise offers daily swim stops in beautiful bays, secluded beaches, and remote, uninhabited Dalmatian Islands.

Krka waterfall in croatia
Girl walking in old town hvar

4. The Flexibility

Worried that there won't be a cruise option for you on your selected dates? Don't worry, Sail Croatia has weekly Adriatic cruises for each itinerary and option running all through the summer months.

Dubrovnik, croatia

5. The Staff

Another great thing about this cruise company is that they hire locals for all of their staff. As a result, Sail Croatia is well-regarded in the country for employing hundreds of local people.

The staff onboard our Croatia cruise were very friendly, and professional, and added a local touch to our Dalmatian sailing experience. The food was also excellent, each meal was delicious local cuisine from the Balkans.

Our tour guide Vania spoke excellent fluent English and made the experience such a great time. When booking your cruise, check which boat she's working on for a great time.

Sail croatia staff 1

6. Optional Activities

If you've followed my blog for a while, then you'll know that I'm not one for sitting around and lazing my time away. That's why I was stoked to find out that there were plenty of optional adventure activities on offer.

Some of the experiences I chose on the Croatia cruise include:

  • Krka National Park (from Split)
  • Omiš Zip Lining (from Split)
  • Wine Tasting (Stari Grad on the Island of Hvar)
  • Game of Thrones Walking Tour (Dubrovnik)
  • Buggy Safari (Island of Korčula)
  • Military Tour (Vis Island)

Not to mention, our guide Vania took us on a local walking tour in each coastal town, pointing out all of the local attractions, historical monuments, and places to check out.

Buggy ride in korcula, croatia

7. The Value

Of course, when it comes to booking a holiday or vacation trip in Europe, price is one of the most important factors. I've been on many organized tours, and beforehand I'd always read many blogs about popular tour companies from Intrepid to G Adventures reviews.

Generally, Croatian cruises tend to be comparatively less expensive when compared to an Aegean Sea cruise in Greece or a Mediterranean voyage along the Italian coastline.

But, when it comes to price in Croatia, Sail Croatia is one of the most affordable cruise options you can book. I recommend checking their website for seasonal discounts to get a great deal. In terms of value for money, the Explorer Cruise stood out the most to me, since it included many more attractions in the tour than the typical party itineraries.

Croatia cruise boats in hvar port

8. Sail Croatia Is Committed to Sustainable Tourism

Investing your hard-earned money into a vacation shouldn't be a juggle between value and social and environmental sustainability.

Sail Croatia is well-known in Europe as being at the forefront of sustainable tourism. They run a program called Green Sail, which is a hands-on network of partners and members promoting sustainable tourism and education in coastal regions.

I love seeing companies that give back to the oceans that they rely so heavily upon.

Croatian coastline

What I Didn't Like

As you can tell, there's a lot that I liked! Here are some cons or things that I think could be improved.

Limited Time for Hiking

One of the major disappointments was the limited time allocated for exploring Mljet. As an keen hiker, I was looking forward to checking out more of the trails of Mljet National Park. However, our tight schedule meant we barely scratched the surface of what this beautiful island has to offer.

A few more hours on Mljet would have made a significant difference.

Vis port aerial photo, croatia

High Cost of Drinks Onboard

While the overall experience was enjoyable, the cost of drinks onboard was quite steep. For instance, a simple cocktail could set you back around 10 EUR. However, this seems to be the norm across many cruise companies in Croatia, so I can't really complain.

A more budget-friendly drink menu would have been appreciated, especially those planning to go on the regular party cruises (your wallet will hurt).

Cruise boat in harbor at night

Lack of Hiking and Sunset Adventure Trips

Choosing the Navigator cruise meant much more adventure and sightseeing. However, most of the evenings were primarily dedicated to socializing on the boat rather than exploring viewpoints etc.

For instance, I missed out on a sunset hike up to the Spanish Fortress in Hvar, which I would have loved to check out. That said, Sail Croatia do have a more adventure-focused option for hikers or bikers, so again, this is more my fault.

Verdict: Would I Recommend Sail Croatia?

As you can see from this review, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. The Navigator cruise fitted my travel style perfectly since it focused more on adventure and the destination than drinking and partying. However, due to the set itinerary, there were some places that I wish I could have spent more time at.

That said, yes, I do recommend Sail Croatia to anyone considering booking a group cruise on the Adriatic. Just remember to pick the right cruise option for your travel preference!

While you're here planning your adventures in Croatia, check out some of my other popular travel guides below. I'm sure you'll find some unique travel inspiration for the trip of a lifetime!

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.