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Two Goway Islands Experts, Natalia Kovacs and Samantha Buckley have just returned from a FAM trip to Croatia where they had an epic adventure sailing around the Croatian Islands with a pre and post-cruise land experience. Here, Natalia and Samantha share their memorable experiences, tips and reasons why you should recommend Croatia to your clients… as well as some interesting fun facts!
What cities/places did you visit in Croatia?
We arrived into Zagreb and from there visited Opatija, Zadar, Trogir and Split, traveling by vehicle and taking in the amazing culture, history, and scenic landscapes.
From there we embarked on a 4-night boutique cruise with Katarina Cruise Line (a shortened version of Goway’s 8 day Croatia Captured) on the deluxe vessel “Futura” sailing to the islands of Korcula, Hvar, and Brac. The cruise ended in Dubrovnik (where we also did a visit to Ston).
Fun Fact: The walls of Ston are the longest preserved fortification system in the world after the Great Wall of China.
Fun Fact: Did you know that travelling by land between Split and Dubrovnik you’ll cross the border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina which means an extra stamp in your passport (but note it also could cause delays in your travel plans so allow extra time!).
What was your highlight and why?
Natalia: It’s difficult to name just one, Croatia is a truly special and magical country with so many amazing sights and things to discover and explore. I loved every minute spent in Croatia but here are a few highlights: Dubrovnik was on my bucket list and is without a doubt one of my favourite towns. I loved walking around exploring all the sights, especially walking the walls of Dubrovnik and looking at the scenic red rooftops. And of course the coffee break, something we North Americans need to adopt in our daily life. I have never seen so many cafes! Both locals and tourists take time for a coffee break.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Games of Thrones and the latest Star Wars were filmed in Dubrovnik?
Samantha: My top highlight was Opatija. It’s a small, picturesque town with a long seafront promenade that is very active during the day and is good for a quiet stroll after dark. There are many restaurants and hotels that have seafront terraces with views of the town lit up around the peninsula.
Fun Fact: For all chocolate lovers there is a must-see hidden gem called the Chocolate Museum, found at Hotel Continental in Opatija.
What was your favorite property and why?
Samantha: Hotel Park, in Split, part of Goway’s Split stopover package. It’s outside the main port of Split, but is still close enough to walk to the old town. Located on a beach with stunning views, if you have clients looking to escape the busyness of Split, this hotel offers rooms with private garden terraces – a great way to have your own quiet space to retreat to after a busy day of sightseeing.
Natalia: The “floating hotel”, Futura (our cruise ship). This deluxe vessel with Katarina Line is a boutique cruise accommodating a max of 38 guests. The ship is fitted with a restaurant, bar and lounge decks and an access platform with easy access to the water. The local crew are wonderful and add to the authentic experience.
What are some interesting excursions, or itineraries that you would recommend?
Natalia: Cruising is one of the best ways to see Croatia as you only have to unpack once and it’s truly a relaxing way to explore all the small islands and towns. You have easy access to the ports and cities which you can visit with the guided tours provided. And of course seeing the beauty of the stunning Dalmatian Coast from onboard.
Samantha: For an excursion, the Elaphiti island cruise by Karaka was very interesting. This day-cruise is on a replica ship that visits the Elaphiti Islands with sightseeing and includes a swim on the way back. It also sails in and out of the old port in Dubrovnik which is a great experience for Game of Thrones fans.
What’s your ‘Top Tip’ for agents selling Croatia?
Natalia: If there’s one thing to remember, it’s to encourage your clients to book early! Croatia is one of the hottest destinations and cruises and accommodation sell out very quickly. I recommend clients book six months in advance.
Samantha: I recommend starting in Dubrovnik and moving north through the country. It is much easier to fly into Dubrovnik and out of Split or Zagreb for clients out of North America. For your clients looking to cruise it is highly recommended they book a deluxe category ship, which offer easy movement to and from the ship, a larger cabin and air conditioning.
If you can go back, what would you like to see/do?
Samantha: I would love to spend more time cruising. There are several islands I didn’t get to see on this trip that I would love to visit in the future. Cruising is such a relaxing and enjoyable way to get from island to island.
Natalia: I would go back in a heartbeat. On my next visit I would like to see and explore the Istria Region the northern Islands of Krk, Rab and visit the towns of Rovinj and Pula as well as visit some of the other National Parks including Krka National Parks and Waterfalls.
You can contact Samantha and Natalia for any questions on Croatia or for assistance in creating the perfect vacation package for your clients.
Phone: 1 800 667 6601 ex 5970
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1 800 667 6601 ex 6565
Email: [email protected]
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