A muse cruising Croatia with Katarina Line

Cruising Croatia

One thing about sailing – nature has the upper hand. In the Adriatic, especially when cruising Croatia, you get to know the Jugo wind. The Croatia news calls it a “Strong southeastern wind that blows along the Adriatic shores from the Sahara desert of Africa.” It can cause white-capped waves and humidity, often filling the skies with gray clouds and rain.

If the Jugo is mild, cruising Croatia goes as planned, but when white caps peak wise captains know to take shelter in port. Luckily, there are many fascinating ports tucked in around the Croatian islands and sailing crews stay flexible.

On a short cruise with Katarina Line, I had planned to spend the night in Split but our Katarina Captain, Tom, knew our departure window to the islands was short and the team quickly changed plans. Over three days instead of seeing three villages, we visited five! I was happy for that Jugo wind.

Leaving Milna when cruising Croatia

Southern Islands

You might think that flying solo internationally to a land where you don’t speak the language or know anyone would be risky. But I didn’t worry a bit about cruising Croatia as the Katarina Line tour guides kept me up to date with emails and texts from the moment the trip was confirmed. Once I landed in Croatia, they guided me easily to the ship in Split.

Split waterfront and the Katarina Line, Seagull

Split waterfront and the Katarina Line ship, the Seagull

The airport shuttle dropped me at an open station a few blocks south of the historical core. I grabbed my roller bag and strolled along the waterfront towards Diocletian’s Palace. It was easy to spot the Seagull and the crew helped me on board.

Full bed Katarina Line

My full bed on the Katarina Line

Seagull Lounge

Seagull Lounge

After welcoming drinks and a short presentation we were soon underway to our first port on the island of Brac.

katarina aperatif

In the small port of Pučišće, we had a delicious seafood dinner and then strolled along the waterfront. Our host, Sanja, led us into a small bar and introduced us to the joys of traditional aperitifs and digestif made from honey, walnuts, herbs and cherries.

Croatian drinks at a bar in the village of Pučišće

In the morning, and just steps from our mooring, we visited a traditional stone cutting workshop where young stone cutters train for years before entering university. The stone from Brac was chosen for the Split Palace of Diocletian and we soon recognized it everywhere.

Brac Stonemason school

Entrance to the Brac Stonemason school

Head in progress inside stonemason school on Brac

Head model inside stonemason school on Brac

On we sailed in style to Milna, Supetar, Stari Grad, and Hvar. In each port we explored on our own, followed trails, ate ice cream or enjoyed the local brews. The company was delightful from crew to fellow travelers – we few Americans mingling with Germans, Brits, and Dutch guests. Each meal was beautifully presented and every effort was made to accommodate dietary restrictions.

A few of the delicious presentations on board the Katarina Line.

A few of the delicious presentations on board the Katarina Line.

In several ports we met historian guides who expertly excited us about the local history and sights, always leaving time for us to poke around on our own.

Historian Dino at a fountain inside Diocletian's Palace

Historian Dino at a fountain inside Diocletian’s Palace

One gate into Diocletians Palace, Split, Croatia

One gate into Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia

Captain's dinner Katarina Line

Captain’s dinner Katarina Line

Of course, there was a Captain’s dinner with live music, singing, and a wonderful meal. On the last cruise night in Split and we explored the UNESCO site of Diocletian’s Palace. If it reminds you of scenes from Game of Thrones, you’re not imagining things. Several segments and fights were filmed within the stone gates.

Cruise pals Katarina Line

Cruise pals on my Katarina Line cruise – Hvar

After sad goodbyes, I felt grounded and excited about exploring more of Croatia. While Katarina Lines offers land tours as well as other cruises from bicycling to yoga, adventure to luxury, I was ready to head up to Zagreb – but that’s another story.

Special thanks to the hard-working and fun team at Katarina Lines for making my cruising Croatia dreams come true. I will always admire how you were so flexible and accommodating, even when the Jugo wind kept changing all your carefully crafted plans!