Working as a skipper, I have been given a chance to meet two groups of people while sailing in Croatia. The first group includes people who are amazed with the Adriatic and are keen to come again as soon as possible. The second one is smaller, and includes people who are disappointed with Croatia and do not intend to sail on the Adriatic ever again.
As a participant observer of the nautical tourism scene in Croatia, I feel responsible to share with you what I have noticed thus far. The intention of this post is to make the readers join the first group. I would like to give you some tips on how to avoid disappointments and get back home happy.
Generally, my advice to all who travel somewhere is to get informed about the destination and adjust their expectations. You will never be satisfied if your expectations are unrealistic, don’t you agree? As we live in the so-called Internet era, it is not difficult at all to find various information about the unknown places.
First of all, ask your friends and relatives who have already visited places you are about to travel to for their opinion. Next, consult Internet forums about those places and read about others’ experiences. I would not take the content on these forums for granted because there are subjective opinions published there. Try to get an objective image. Last but not least, start communication with your charter agent as early as possible and try to get essential information and answers to all your doubts before you arrive to your destination. Those would be my general remarks about avoiding disappointment on any trip. Let us now move to sailing holidays aboard a (chartered) sailing yacht in Croatia.
This is the first part of our tips about chartering a yacht in Croatia.
- Arrival to the base – Remember, Croatia has become one of Europe’s top destinations for sailing, so be prepared for marinas and charter bases that are very crowded on Saturdays during high season. In order to save your nerves and start your holidays in a relaxed manner, I would suggest you not to arrive to the marina/base in the morning. On Saturdays, a charter agency’s staff is very busy until noon with check-outs and preparations for next check-ins, not to mention numerous delays and inevitable complaint-solving procedures. Since every marina is located close to an interesting city or a beach resort, the best option for you is to catch a place in the shade, grab a cool beverage and get away from the crowd in the marina.
- Almost all charter parties state that your yacht has to be ready to embark not later than 5 pm, so read the contract carefully. The charter agency staff would be grateful if you did not push them to give you your yacht in the morning. Furthermore, plan your first leg of sailing to be short – count on taking off in the afternoon, find yourself a nice place to view the sunset and take a rest from your stressful flight or drive to the base and the fuss around the check-in.
- Administration – Even when you think that all payments are done, you should count on some more. Unfortunately, due to administration regulations that are sometimes incomprehensible, there are some bills that have to be paid in cash. First of all, there is the tourist tax according to which your stay is billed per person and per day – ask the agency about this in advance. Secondly, there is a transit log, which includes getting your papers done, a final cleaning and some additional costs which differ from agency to agency. Again, ask about it in advance. Mandatory insurance deposit is usually paid in euros (cash) or as a pre-authorized credit card slip. Ask your charter or insurance agency for other types of travel or skipper’s insurances and the insurance of the deposit.
- Check-in – All questions about the yacht and its performances, additional equipment, capacity etc. should be communicated with the agency in advance. Have in mind that photos of the fleet at the agency’s website always look better on screen than in reality. The same applies to all sorts of brochures, fliers, booklets, banners, YouTube video clips, etc. Take your time when checking in and ask the staff every single detail about the yacht. Do not neglect their tips because they know what is specific for every yacht in their fleet. Write down everything they tell you, if necessary. You may also take a photo of some parts of the vessel that might be in disputable condition, just in case you get blamed for causing the damage when you check out.
Visit our second post in the series to find out more about sailing in Croatia.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!