When MedSailors invited me to yacht Croatia with them, I definitely didn’t need to think twice! I’d never been on a sailing trip and jumped at the opportunity to experience Croatia’s stunning coastline – a choice I didn’t regret once during my seven day trip.
MedSailors offers week long skippered sailing trips to several destinations such as Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Caribbean. Clearly, none of these trips sound like they suck, but Croatia has been on my travel bucket list for a few years and has steadily climbed to the top after I’ve traveled to (and fell in love with) other countries in the Balkan region like Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. I’ve found myself enchanted by this underrated corner of the globe and think that the Mediterranean is home to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, so Croatia was the perfect choice for me. (Oh, and of course seeing Croatia’s dramatic filming locations on Game of Thrones didn’t hurt either).
There are a lot of companies that offer yachting trips through Croatia, so why did I choose MedSailors? Mostly because of the company’s stellar reputation. The trips are more relaxed than those offered by other companies, many which seem to focus on offering guests a floating booze-fest rather than a trip a wanderlusty adventuress would be interested in. MedSailors offers a stellar yacht experience for 20-35 year old travelers who are interested in soaking up the Med’s sun and experiencing everything Croatia has to offer.
What I think is really unique about the company is that you’re asked questions about your travel and social style, and then MedSailors matches you up to be on a boat with other like-minded travelers – almost like yachting Tinder! I’m no stick in the mud and suffer from a serious case of Peter Pan Syndrome (why grow up if you don’t have to?), but just thinking about the way I acted at 21 gives me a hangover. I’d be miserable if I spent my vacation stuck on a boat with people who partied loudly throughout the wee hours of the morning, but I also wouldn’t mesh well with sailors who weren’t social and didn’t want to enjoy a cocktail or two (or many more) while on vacation. I also liked that if you wanted to learn how to sail on the trip (like Ryan) you could, but you weren’t forced to if you preferred to spend your time lounging on the deck (like me).
What was the itinerary?
Medsailors offers two different choices for sailing routes in Croatia. The Discovery route starts and ends in Split, while the Voyager route starts in Split and ends in Dubrovnik. I knew that I wanted to see Dubrovnik (and possibly even continue south to check out Montenegro), so I chose the Voyager Route below:
I loved the route and thought the itinerary was really well planned. I wanted to relax and enjoy my time on the yacht, but I also wanted to see Croatia (and not just while in a drunken haze). The ports alternated between larger cities, where there was a ton to do and see, and more laid-back destinations where we would stroll around a small picturesque town before settling into an initiate konoba to enjoy a beautiful sunset, great conversation and delicious Croatian food and wine.
What are the yachts like?
This is a pretty important question… and the answer is, it depends. With MedSailors you have options depending on your preference and budget! They currently offer three different options, each which can accommodate up to 8 guests:
Premier Yachts – A classic cruiser with a sunbathing deck and dive-off swimming platforms. This choice is the most economical option, but the boat has all the amenities you’d expect and need to have a fun sailing vacay.
Premier Plus Yachts – Basically an upgrade of the Premier Yacht. The Premier Plus Yachts are new and super modern.
Catamarans – The ultimate in yacht life, the catamarans are modern and spacious, and boast a huge sunbathing deck.
Which yacht did I choose?
You know that I love a bit of luxury, so I immediately narrowed my choices down to the Premier Plus or Catamaran, but to be honest, it was a super hard choice between the two! The Premier Plus Yachts are typically the most modern, but the Catamarans are more spacious and offer a smoother sailing experience since they have two hulls. Ultimately, I ended up choosing the Catamaran. I loved having a super large sunbathing deck on the front of the yacht – this is where I spent the majority of our days while out on the water. This said, while in port one evening I did have the chance to board a Premier Plus yacht and check it out – it was super nice! The cabins were sleek, modern and spacious (and two had small en-suite bathrooms).
Which yacht should you choose?
If budget isn’t a huge concern, I’d recommend the Premier Plus or the Catamaran. If you plan to spend most of your days soaking up the sun above board or you’re concerned about sea sickness, I would choose the Catamaran. If you’re a solo traveler or have the need for speed, I would choose the Premier Plus.
What was it like living on the yacht for a week?
Prior to the trip I was concerned about living on a sailboat for a week since I hadn’t even spent a night on one before… It’s safe to say that I had tried to prepare myself for what, realistically, “yacht life” is, but I found myself pleasantly surprised!
Although I’d recommend that you try and pack light, the cabins were more than adequate when it came to space and storage. We had two backpacks and two soft-sided roller bags that we were able to store in our cabin just fine. We unpacked some of our items and stored them in our small closet and shelving unit and then stored our bags behind the door.
Ryan and I were both surprised that the bed was much larger than we thought (Ryan is 6’2″) and how well we ended up sleeping – we found the beds and pillows to be super comfy! I was also a bit worried that I’d feel claustrophobic, but the cabin had a couple windows and a porthole which allowed plenty of natural light in.
OK – here’s the burning question on everyone’s mind: how was it sharing a bathroom with total strangers?
I’m not going to lie… I can be a bit of a princess when it comes to my sleeping and living accommodations. I typically don’t favor the idea of living in close or shared quarters with strangers, so I can say with certainty that the fact I had to share a bathroom with another cabin (i.e. two complete strangers) was what I was the most nervous about. Yacht Life isn’t necessaily what you see on Below Deck (unless you’re a billionaire), so I tried to research a ton before my trip to make sure that I had reasonable expectations. The verdict? The shared bathroom really wasn’t an issue at all! I rarely, if ever, had to wait to use the bathroom or shower. Although the bathrooms on the catamarans are shared, they were shockingly spacious. (I’ve definately stayed in hotel rooms which had a similar or smaller bathroom than our yacht).
What should you expect on a typical day sailing Croatia with MedSailors?
Most days begin with breakfast while your skipper sails you to the next location. After breakfast you’ll have some time to hang out on the deck soaking up sunshine and taking in the breathtaking scenery. The first part of the day is typically pretty relaxed. You can def sleep in if you’re not a morning person or if you stayed out a bit later than you should have (#guilty).
After sailing a couple hours, our skipper Ben would anchor the boat in a picturesque cove or bay for some swimming time. You can swim, snorkel, paddle board, float or lay leisurely in the sun. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip! The Med is gorgeous and the relaxed pace of the trip forced me to unwind and relax (which I have problems doing sometimes)! Some days we would anchor next to other boats in the MedSailors armada so that we were able to mix and mingle with other travelers.
After our swim time we would usually sail a couple more hours before approaching our destination for the evening. The remainder of the day was spent at our port town – sometimes this meant heading out and exploring everything the city or island had to offer, and other nights it meant slowing down and enjoying a stunning Mediterranean sunset, eating a delicious Croatian dinner and partaking in the nightlife.
What were the people like?
Much like the Med-life sailing experience and the beauty of the Croatian coastline, the travelers we met sailing with MedSailors were the best! The majority of the guests traveling with our armada were either Australian, British or Kiwi, but we met travelers from a handful of other European countries, as well as other Americans.
Our Catamaran had 4 double occupancy rooms, so we happened to end up sharing the boat with 3 other couples who had a similar travel/sailing/party vibe to us. Spending a week on a boat in close quarters with complete strangers was something I was a bit nervous about, but everyone got along great – so great that we spent most (if not all) of our time in port off the yacht with each other and hung out after the trip ended in Dubrovnik.
The 9th occupant on our boat was our skipper, Ben. Not only was Ben tasked with getting us from island to island and keeping us safe, he also cooked for us, educated us on the destinations we were headed and gave us great recommendations. Ben was helpful, super laid-back and was happy to alter our itinerary based on our interests. (Like that time we asked him to get up early and set sail at 4am so we could see the sunrise, but then only two of us woke up to see it…#fail)
I’m willing to bet you’re going to have a great time and meet awesome people, regardless of whether you take the trip solo, as a couple or with a group of friends. Not only did we have a fantastic skipper who provided us with a pleasant on-board experience, but we made 6 new life-long friends. Our group has even discussed the possibility of doing one of MedSailor’s other routes together during the 2018 yachting season!
OK, I’m sold and ready to go! What should I pack for my week trip Sailing Croatia with MedSailors?
- Pack as light as possible. We had two carry-on roller board bags and two small backpacks and we made it work, but we did have to stack our suitcases behind our door. I definitely wouldn’t recommend bringing anything more or larger than we did. If you can pack ultra-light and avoid bringing a roller board suitcase, that would be ideal and you’d have more room in your cabin. (Despite the fact that I pride myself on my packing skills, I was unable to do this since one suitcase was completely jam-packed with my camera, go-pro, drone, and a bunch of accessories for each of these devices).
- Make sure you’re prepared for a week of sun and fun out at sea. You’ll spend a good amount of your time during the day on the boat’s deck and will have daily swimming stops, so I’d recommend that you make swimsuits, cover-ups and comfy casual clothes a priority on your packing list. Slip proof boat shoes and sandals may be helpful (although I went barefoot most of the time). You will definitely want to pack a beach towel, since MedSailors provides you with bath towels, but not for swimming and sunbathing. If you can’t squeeze one into your luggage or forget yours, don’t worry, you can buy one in port. Our skipper Ben was super laid back and altered the timing of our itinerary based on our interests. Most importantly, you’ll also need sunglasses, hats and plenty of sunscreen.
- Bring ample charging banks. When the boat isn’t in port you won’t have power and will be unable to charge your electric devices, so I would recommend that you bring a good portable charger (or two if you have a lot of electronics). One that charges with solar power would have been clutch. When I say the boat has no power while out at sea, there is one exception – there is a cigarette-style charging port in the ship’s radio that has power even when sailing where you can plug in a USB car charger like this one. Keep in mind that your skipper may use one of these ports, so you will likely be sharing the other USB port with the rest of your fellow yachties. Luckily, one of the other guests on my boat brought one of these chargers and it was an absolute life saver for charging all my blogging equipment! (Thanks, Ushan – you rock!)
- Pack some fun too. Bring your own personalized coozies, a bright beach towel or a fun floatie. These items aren’t just functional, they are great for photos too!
Where Should I Stay?
Since you’ll likely want to tack on a few days to your trip, before and/or after your sailing adventure with MedSailors, here are my hotel recommendations for every budget:
Prior to setting sail, you can base yourself out of Split if you want to hit the ground running, or Trogir, a smaller more relaxed city. Both cities are close to the Split airport and the port where you will set sail.
Where to stay in Split:
Heritage Hotel Antique Split ($$$$$), Villa Split Heritage Hotel ($$$), Palace Judita Heritage Hotel ($$), Emperor’s Suites ($) or AirBnB. *(If you’re not already an AirBnB member you can sign up through this link and receive a $40 USD credit).
Where to stay in Trogir:
You can’t visit Croatia without spending a couple day’s in the country’s famed walled capital of Dubrovnik.
Where to stay in Dubrovnik:
I had THE most amazing stay at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and would highly recommend the hotel (separate Dubrovnik post coming soon). It was luxurious, perfectly located and the service (and views) were to die for!
Thank you MedSailors for an amazing trip and making my summer! I can’t wait to set sail again and explore another beautiful route! For more information and to book your own trip, check out MedSailor’s website.
Have you been on a yachting trip? Would you like to? What about to Croatia?
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