With rolling hills and meadows further inland, and a superb selection of beaches and coastal walks, Croatia is where the untouched Med is waiting to be explored. This vibrant country is in the ideal place to be enjoyed by guests onboard leading ships today, and those who choose to cruise Croatia often do so to make the most of its experiences and sights before its tourism scene really kicks off.
So whether it’s medieval Dubrovnik, quaint small town Cavtat or the sunny island of Kolocep, Croatia is a cruise destination where there’s relaxation and history just waiting to be savoured.
Popular ports in Croatia
Croatia’s tanned and handsome coastal city is much more than ancient walls and fairytale red rooftops. Here, strolls along the seafront of visits to the 17th-century cathedral in the centre of the old town district promise to inspire. Of course, there are also superb cafes and restaurants to sample, to say nothing of the fashion boutiques and more upmarket stores that thread through the more modern parts of the city. Balance the old and new with a trip to the Adriatic Riviera, with yachts, beaches and bountiful sun.
Cavtat sits proudly on the end of its own peninsula, and has some of the prettiest parts of the Riviera to call home. Cruises here will find you enriched by the small-town seaside feel of life here, which is lived slowly but fully. Experience the deep, heady scents of cypress forests, which have played as much a role in locals’ lives here as fishing and cooking. There’s a beautiful beach to laze your day away on too, together with the classic Renaissance style of the old-town district.
Let your cruise take you back to some of the most unspoilt countryside in the Med. Kolocep is an island off the Croatian mainland that’s home to fewer than 200 people, and in terms of pure relaxation, it’s hard to beat. The island is small but perfectly formed, with two villages separated, from north to south, by verdant woodland. Beaches encircle Kolocep with postcard-perfect shores and sea, while among the beauty of the island’s interior you’ll discover medieval ruins with hidden stories all their own.
What are the best cruise ships for a Croatia cruise?
Just as there’s a huge range of cruise ships that visit the Mediterranean, so too are there countless options when visiting Croatia. Many itineraries that either sweep the entire Mediterranean or focus on Greece and its surroundings will make a stop at Croatia, and likewise the destination is proving popular enough that it’s often the focus of Adriatic cruises from your favourite lines.
Marella Celebration is smaller than many of her cousins of the fleet, and as a result of that you’ll find the cruise ships is able to nip into some of the finest ports going. With two pools, a gym, dance classes and plenty of live entertainment, the voyage promises to fill your days and nights with fun. Of course, mealtimes do well here too, with Italian treats and world cuisine complemented by Asian dining and hot stone steaks.
Marella Discovery 2
Marella Discovery 2 may have launched only as recently as 2017, but it’s already established itself as a timeless cruise ship. Sailing with All Inclusive as standard, there’s also a casino, Broadway-level entertainment and some astonishing tech onboard, including dance machines and arcades. When it comes to dining this cruise ship has you covered too, thanks to gourmet Italian fare, spicy Asian cuisine and some naughty fast-food treats besides.
Shore excursion ideas
Thanks to the countless ways Croatia can entice visitors, from medieval history to kayaking and cycling, shore excursions are hugely varied. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Cable-car rides in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city, as you’ll see the moment you step onshore. However, it takes on a whole new dimension when you see it from above, thanks to its scattered orange rooftops and stylish architecture. A trip on the cable car takes you up the side of Mount Srd, which looms over the old-town district and sees the rest of the city sprawl beyond beneath you. Sea views glisten further still as you rise, and you’ll have the chance to see your cruise ship in the harbour. At the top, you’ll be more than 1,300 feet up, and can see miles out into the Adriatic.
Walking tours of Cavtat
When you’re itching to see the real Croatia, taking a stroll around somewhere like Cavtat is a wonderful way to gain some perspective. Life here is slow and sumptuously sunny, and Cavtat especially stands out for its ties to Greek and Roman history, back when those empires straddled the Mediterranean waves. You can visit fishermen, local artisans and craftsmen whose works continue putting Cavtat on the map even when the sunshine and shorelines get overlooked. This is a peaceful day out, well worth indulging in for an authentic way to experience Croatia.
Sea kayaking in Kolocep
While the interior of this island gives you lots in the way of woodland and wandering, sea kayaking around the circumference of the island is a way of getting a whole new perspective on the place, and even on your Mediterranean cruise altogether. Sea caves, colourful reefs and hidden harbours all await those with oars in their hands and adventure in their hearts, and it all takes place under bright sunny skies that promise a feeling of freedom.