I'M LOOKING INTO A FAMILY HOLIDAY IN CROATIA NEXT YEAR, IT'S MY GRANDFATHER'S 80TH BIRTHDAY AND HE'D LIKE TO RETURN TO HIS HOMELAND WITH HIS WHOLE FAMILY. WE'LL BE THREE GENERATIONS, 11 PEOPLE FROM AGES 18 TO 80 AND THINKING OF A CRUISE AROUND THE ISLANDS. WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN ACTUALLY SAILING OURSELVES, OR A PARTY BOAT OR ANYTHING SUPER EXPENSIVE, BUT I'M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING COMFORTABLE WHERE WE DON'T HAVE TO COOK AND CAN GET TO SEE SOME OF THE ISLANDS. ANY ADVICE APPRECIATED.
L. FELTMAN, ALEXANDRIA
The islands off Croatia's Dalmatian Coast have been called the next Riviera, ideal for a cruising holiday. With 11 people you could look at chartering your own vessel. A week would be about right, enough time to explore several islands at a leisurely pace and poke about in the towns and cafes and enjoy the beaches. It's mainly the coast that appeals on the islands themselves, I really haven't seen too much in the interior that would make me want to go inland, and they can be steep.
The place where you might start from is Trogir, a lovely old port about an hour north of Split. Trogir is a major base for the cruise vessels that operate trips around the islands. The market here is great if there's any special produce you want to take on the cruise. It's also quite close to Split Airport, closer than Split itself if you're flying in. There are plenty of sailing yachts you can charter with a skipper and a cook if you want but what I'd be going for is a more traditional gulet, which are motor rather than sailing boats, broader and more comfy generally.
Gulets come with a cook, skipper and cabin attendants. If you Google "private gulet cruises Trogir" you'll find plenty of choice, depending on how many cabins you need and your budget. Make sure the food is up to scratch, it's often not a strong point on gulet cruises, but feedback on Tripadvisor should give you some clues.