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Sailing Croatia with Busabout

Sailing Croatia with Busabout

Kelsey and I first discussed a trip to Croatia right after finishing college: I’m not sure why we were so obsessed with it, but it definitely stuck. We finally decided to make it happen in 2012, committing on a Christmas catch-up phone call. However, this was Kelsey’s first trip to Europe, and we were both a little overwhelmed by all of the possibilities of exploring the thousands of Croatian islands independently.

Kelsey Dei Rossi & Christine Amorose in Dubrovnik with Busabout Croatia Sailing

Enter Busabout. I knew plenty of Australians who used Busabout to explore Europe, and it seemed the perfect combination of flexibility and convenience. They had a Croatia Sailing trip, and it seemed like an easy and affordable way to organize accommodation, transport and itinerary planning–so we booked in for the one-way Split to Dubrovnik cruise, which includes seven nights accommodation on the boat, seven breakfasts, seven dinner, an English-speaking guide and an awesome itinerary.

What I loved

Girls jumping off the boat into the Adriatic Sea on Busabout Croatia sailing trip

The people: I can’t even express just how cool the people on my boat were—it’s so rare to throw 14 strangers together and have them click, but we did. Three Americans, one Kiwi and—unsurprisingly—the rest were Australian: we instantly bonded over The Beards, bruschetta and Zadar. I’d travel with any of them again in a heartbeat.

View of the Adriatic Sea from Hvar Island, with Busabout Croatia Sailing
The places: Everywhere we went seemed to be more beautiful than the last: honestly, Croatia is stunning. So much of it is still unspoiled by mass tourism, and our itinerary was a brilliant mix of tiny island towns, national parks and popular tourist stops like Hvar Town and Dubrovnik. I don’t think we would have made it to some of the best stops if we had planned our trip independently. [Be prepared to get a closer look at many of these places in upcoming posts and postcards!]
View from the Busabout Croatia Sailing boat in the Adriatic Sea
The cruise-y lifestyle: I’d wake up when the sun started peeking through my porthole, immediately throw on my bikini, smear on some sunscreen and grab my towel to head up to the top deck. By late morning, the entire boat would surface to listen to music, flip through magazines and laugh over last night’s shenanigans until hopping in the water at the first swim stop. Head in to eat lunch, and then either tan and swim again, or get out to explore where we docked for the night. A wander—often on a hunt for Wifi—and then we’d all get ready to head out for dinner and drinks. We partied on the boat, cheered Croatia in the Euro Cup, danced until dawn in a cave or in the ancient walls of Dubrovnik.
 Wine tasting in Stari Grad on Hvar Island with Busabout Croatia Sailing
The on-ground activities: As much as I loved lazing around all day on the boat, two of my favorite memories from the trip used my land legs. One was Busabout-organized: the wine tasting in Stari Grad was absolutely incredible. The value for money is astounding (110 Kuna/$18USD for four full glasses of wine plus a few nibbles) and the scenery is stunning. We also had a spare day on Hvar Island, so a group of us rented motorbikes to explore: we had a casual lunch in Vrbroska, went for a swim in a nude beach and were awestruck by the views as we wound along the cliffs to Hvar Town.

Christine Amorose celebrating her 24th on Busabout Croatia sailing

They made me a birthday cake: It was my 24th birthday on the day we set sail, and I was happy enough just to finally check Croatia and traveling with a friend from home off my 2012 resolutions. Then the crew surprised me with a cake and candles and the whole boat sang Happy Birthday: I honestly can’t remember the last time any of that has happened, so it was absolutely brilliant. Cheers to everyone on the boat for making it the best birthday yet!

What I didn’t love

Pressure to stick with the group: One of the reasons I booked Busabout was the flexibility: I assumed that breakfast and lunch were taken care of on the boat, and we’d be free to explore on our own each evening. However, there are group walking tours, dinners and drinks every night: it’s fabulous if you’re not comfortable exploring a new country on your own, but I found it a bit stifling. Also: splitting a tab among 14 for dinner is incredibly annoying. It really comes down to peer pressure (and my assumption is that the guides get some sort of kickback from the restaurants and bars), so don’t be afraid to do your own thing if you want to.

Chilling with a cider on top of the boat with Busabout Croatia Sailing
Cost of the drinks on board: A bottle of cider costs three times more on the boat than in the grocery store, and you’re paying for pure convenience with the 20 Euro water supplement for 1.5 liters of water a day. Other boats had delicious and strong cocktails, but we definitely did not have a trained bartender: i.e. our non-bottled drinks were awful. This is less Busabout, and more the boat company they outsource to, but still: it’s frustrating, especially when they don’t allow you to bring your own drinks on board.
You get what you pay for: We opted for below-deck cabins with shared bathrooms, and we ended up on a fairly cramped boat: everyone on our boat had gone for the budget option. We sailed next to the “above-deck boat” and were astounded by how much more room they had. You spend most of your time on the top deck, but if you err on the claustrophobic side: opt for the en-suite.

To sum up

I honestly had one of the best weeks of my life on board–perhaps because I was forced to stay offline and actually relax–and would absolutely recommend the Sailing Croatia trips with Busabout to anyone. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and it was wonderful to leave the trip planning (and stressing) to someone else. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to 24!

Note: Busabout graciously offered me a discount, but all opinions are my own.

  • Sounds like you had a wicked time! Had never heard of these guys before but will certainly check them out.

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  • Very good to know! I’m thinking of maybe working with them in 2013 and this review really convinced me. Glad you had a happy birthday in Croatia 🙂

  • When I took that trip we didn’t have as many day trip options, but I think it was a different route back then. I know what you mean about being pressured to stay with the group, but since I was traveling alone I didn’t mind as much. Some of us were sneaky and brought our own water, booze and snacks on board. I had a room to myself but it definitely gets cramped. 

  • camorose

    Definitely an awesome way to see Croatia, highly recommend 🙂

  • camorose

    Highly recommend! Great balance of structure and flexibility at a fair price.

  • camorose

    Definitely paid for the convenience of having a cold bottle of water handed to me whenever I rolled out of bed–either way, all worth it in the end 🙂

  • LostInCheeseland

    Such a good idea, despite the few inconveniences! Everytime you posted about Croatia I feel the cocktail of envy and motivation build inside… I MUST GET THERE! Views like that make me so happy. The offline bit? I’d try to adjust 🙂 

  • I absolutely adore Croatia! I have spent a lot of time there and this sounds like a great option to check out the beach towns and, of course, relish in the refreshing and fantastic sea!

  • Amy

    If you weren’t into partying, would you still recommend the trip? I have heard that the boats can get rowdy, especially for those who want to sleep. Is that true?

  • What a fantastic birthday celebration! 

    and… 

    is that a pi drop I see in one of your pictures? 

  • Riz

    hats off to the stunning photos! Looks like you had a blast on your bday! 🙂 Such a perfect getaway. I can imagine myself in one of your photos! love love love!!! Awesome!

  • camorose

    Honestly, it was amazing to be offline for that long–I like it when I get forced into being disconnected 🙂

  • camorose

    It was awesome–I’d love to go back and spend more time on some of these islands 🙂

  • camorose

    To be honest–I wouldn’t do this sort of trip if you want to be in bed by 10pm every night. I had a few early nights (suffering from a cold!) as did a few other couples, but overall, it’s pretty rowdy. Good fun, and you can always opt out if you want to, but it’s definitely catered to the young, active crowd.

  • camorose

    Throwing up a diamond, OF COURSE! Kels and I are both Eta Rho 🙂

  • camorose

    Haha yes—you need to get there! So awesome!

  • Yay! This makes me so happy! I’m Alpha Theta

  • http://ericakjordan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/IMG_5961.jpg (fellow Alpha Theta, Kendal, and I in NZ 🙂 )

  • camorose

    Awww love this–and the photo! I’ll actually be ADPI-nerding out and visiting Macon on my road trip this summer 🙂

  • Choco_mademoiselle

    :))) 

  • how fun!! one of the girls from my PC is there now for the leadership seminar 🙂 You’ll have to tell me all about it! 

  • Pingback: Busabout Croatia Sail: THE. MOST. FUN. EVER. | Adventurous Kate()

  • How nice of them to make you a birthday cake! Croatia looks so pretty from a boat.

  • camorose

    It was awesome! Really lovely trip all around 🙂

  • Pingback: Where to stay in Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia | C'est Christine()

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  • Looks amazing! How much did it cost to book the trip?

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  • camorose

    It starts at $749–they have a great sale going on right now with 15% off in September though!

  • Pingback: Postcard from Hvar Island, Croatia | C'est Christine()

  • Jpetan

    My dad is from croatia. I love to see your pictures and reading what you write. I’ve never been to croatia. But now I’m very excited about going one day 🙂

  • camorose

    it’s an amazing place to visit–highly recommend!

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  • I loved it! Especially the fact that you mentioned Croatia hasn’t been spoiled b tourism yet, and that you were able to see small villages. To me, experiences like that really elevate a trip.

  • camorose

    It was awesome! Really glad I was able to go now, because I think it’s only going to get more and more popular in coming years.

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  • levia jack

    Great writing about your experiences going sailing for the first time! Sometimes small experiences can be the most rewarding, we don’t always have to travel far away or go on a big adventure to have fun. Essential Navigation

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  • I lived in Split, Croatia last summer and it is hands-down my favorite country so far. Going back for a week this August and I cannot wait!!! I would pay ten times the normal price to have a delicious Somersby Cider in my hand right now 🙂

  • camorose

    Fantastic! I’d LOVE to go back to Croatia for a bit–such a wonderful country!

  • It really really is….and still so untapped by tourists, which of course – I LOVE 🙂

  • LateSail

    What great photos you took of your trip! At http://www.latesail.com we love helping people discover sailing in Croatia as well.