I grew up in an island in the Philippines, but the irony is: I’ve never really had much experience in sailing. I’ve rode boats, sure, but never in a way that I could earn my ‘sea legs’… That is — until MedSailors invited me to join them on a trip in one of their yachts to Croatia’s islands for a week during the summer of this year! Naturally, it was hard to say no. After all, Croatia is one of the best destinations in Europe during summer time, so I was more than excited to explore the breathtaking islands that the Mediterranean sea has to offer!
I was supposed to come to this trip with a friend, but things happened and I ended up going alone — which was absolutely fine, because I’m used to traveling solo. I knew anyway that I was going to have a great time nonetheless, as I meet and mingle with awesome people from all over the world… and I sure did!
(If you’re more of a visual person, you can already watch the brief video recap below of my sailing trip with MedSailors .)
[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”23″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”around” animate=”” ]Sailing Croatia with MedSailors[/box_title]
MedSailors [website] is owned and operated by 3 Kiwi guys who have a passion for sailing. That drive has surely built them a reputation because today, they are one of the best providers of Mediterranean sailing holidays.
They currently provide trips to the following destinations during the summer and they all usually start on a Saturday and end on a Friday (spanning for 7 days).
- CROATIA: Their routes are from Split to Dubrovnik with explorations of several islands along the way. Trips typically start from May to October (depending on the kind of voyage/route that you will pick).
- GREECE: It starts and finishes in Athens with stops to places like Spetses,Hydra, Poros, Perdika, Agistri, and Ermioni (with option of Mykonos). Departures usually start from May too until October.
- TURKEY: Destinations include Fethiye, Gocek, Karacaoren, Kayakoy, Coldwater Bay, Kalkan, Kas, and Skopea Limani Bays. Trips are from September to October.
- ITALY: Starting and finishing at Portorosa, you’ll be stopping to islands like Vulcano, Isola Filicudi, Salina, Stromboli, Panarea, and Lipari. Trips are also from September to October.
[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”15″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”middle” animate=”” ]Why I chose MedSailors[/box_title]
I’m sure you’ve heard of other sailing providers to Croatia and the reason why I chose to go with MedSailors was simple: I wanted the perfect balance of island explorations and partying — I simply wanted that choice.
What do I mean by this?
You see, most of the other popular sailing holiday companies in Croatia are known for focusing on partying. I’m all up for that; but for this time around, I just wanted a more ‘chill’ experience with a crowd that has the same travel style as I do. So when I was looking for the best company to support, I’ve come to read great reviews on MedSailors about how they perfectly handle their guests per yacht.
Not only do they make sure that everyone is grouped accordingly by age but by their travel style too: so for example, if you want to party more, they’ll put you with other guests who have the same aim. And naturally, if you want it to be more relaxed, they’ll put you with people who aim for a similar experience.
And the icing to the cake? I even found out that they willingly teach their guests for FREE on how to sail! Ain’t that awesome?!
That being said, yes I do I have a fair idea now of how things work at sea. Surely not at a professional level, but at a level in which I can aid a skipper (a captain of a yacht/boat)!
» The Voyage
For Croatia, MedSailors has two routes:
- DISCOVERY: Their most popular voyage.
Starts and finishes in Split with an optional private transfer to Dubrovnik for a separate fee. The destinations that you’ll normally be seeing will be Sesula, Vis (an ancient town), Gradina Bay, Hvar (a great port town), Stari Grad (for a wine tour), and Bol (where the popular beach Zlatni Rat is located).
- VOYAGER: Said to leisurely and relaxed, with more sailing involved.
This one on the other hand, starts in Split and ends in Dubrovnik (or vice versa). Much like the Discovery route, the Voyager route also explores Sesula and Hvar; but the other destinations are to Vela Luka (great for water sports), Korcula (for wine tasting), Mljet (to their National Park), and Sipan.
I know how it can be quite tough to pick a route between the two, but once you consider your travel style preference, your must-sees, your flight itinerary, etc. — it should end up becoming an easy pick!
Personally, since I really wanted to see Dubrovnik without the additional transfer time from Split, I ended up picking the Voyager route.
[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”15″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”middle” animate=”” ]PRE-TRAVEL GUIDE[/box_title]
[box_section icon_size=”80″ color=”#ed2665″ circle_size=”0″ color_circle=”#797979″ title=”” class=”box-sections” link=”” link_title=”” animation_delay=”0″ layout=”horizontal” icon_type=”theme-icon” icon_theme=”plane” title_size=”” animate=”” ]Where to get the best flight deals?
My go-to platforms for grabbing the best flight deals are Momondo, Kayak, and Skyscanner. But of course, it’s always good practice to research first the budget airlines that exist in the country that you’re currently staying in, since they could have rock-bottom prices that are not often visible in the above flight search engines.
[box_section icon_size=”80″ color=”#ed2665″ circle_size=”0″ color_circle=”#797979″ title=”” class=”box-sections” link=”” link_title=”” animation_delay=”0″ layout=”horizontal” icon_type=”theme-icon” icon_theme=”home” title_size=”” animate=”” ]Where to stay?
Split = Luxury: Raddison Blu Resort / Mid-Range: Divota Apartment Hotel or AirBnB / Budget: Apartments Gajeta
Dubrovnik = Luxury: Villa Dubrovnik / Mid-Range: Berkeley Hotel or AirBnB / Budget: Dino & Jele Apartments[/box_section]
[box_section icon_size=”80″ color=”#ed2665″ circle_size=”0″ color_circle=”#797979″ title=”” class=”box-sections” link=”” link_title=”” animation_delay=”0″ layout=”horizontal” icon_type=”theme-icon” icon_theme=”suitcase” title_size=”” animate=”” ]What to pack? What essentials to take note of?
- For your luggage: Pack the usual summer gear: sunglasses, sunscreen, swimming gear, and flip-flops. (They typically provide towels, but it’s great to bring one for yourself especially a thin beach towel). It’s also best to bring in a soft small luggage rather than a hard-case wheeled one — though, a carry-on size can work. This is so that you can have more room in your cabin during your stay.
- Visa: Take note that Croatia is NOT a part of the Schengen Area zone, so you will still need to apply for a tourist visa to Croatia (unless you are a resident of the U.S., U.K., EU, Australia, New Zealand, etc. — just check Travelscope to verify). If you have a multiple-entry Schengen Visa, you can enter, stay and transit in or through Croatia WITHOUT the need for an additional Croatian tourist visa. If you have a single-entry Schengen Visa though, it’s not possible to go to Croatia without getting a separate Croatian tourist visa first. If however you have a resident visa in any of the Schengen member countries, you’re free to enter Croatia without a visa.
- Insurance: Purchasing a travel insurance for your trip is HIGHLY recommended. For the best price deal, go and purchase it from World Nomads.
- Cash: There are ATM’s in Split and Dubrovnik as well as in most of the other ports. The local currency is called as ‘Croatian kuna’. ($1 = 7~ Kuna = Php 45~)
- Power Plugs: All of MedSailors yachts have European power points for charging and their stereo can be connected to your iPod or iPhone.[/box_section]
[box_section icon_size=”80″ color=”#ed2665″ circle_size=”0″ color_circle=”#797979″ title=”” class=”box-sections” link=”” link_title=”” animation_delay=”0″ layout=”horizontal” icon_type=”theme-icon” icon_theme=”road” title_size=”” animate=”” ]How about going around?
Obviously, MedSailors takes care of taking you from one island to another until the final destination. Every island is also perfectly walkable. Bigger islands usually have bikes or scooters that you can rent for an additional cost. For other things to take note of…
- Check-in time: 1:00PM on the first day (Saturday) at Baotic Marina, Trogir that’s located 5km from Split International Airport (20min ride) and 2km from Trogir Town center (20min walk). It will be easy to spot where the MedSailor yachts are because of the flags (plus there are people at the entrance who can guide you.)
You can arrange an airport transfer with MedSailors for only an additional fee of $7 (Php 360~) per person. If you’re coming from some place else, they can also arrange a transfer for you, just inquire about a price list from MedSailors.
- Departure: 3:00PM. If you’re running late or struggling to find the yachts, don’t hesitate to call MedSailors.
- Return: Yachts return to ACI Marina Dubrovnik at around 2:30PM on a Friday. Final check-out is by 5:00PM.[/box_section]
» The Price
I think that this is one of the best features of MedSailors: they’re affordable and worth the money!
For a price tag that starts at $500* only (or Php 25,000~) this already includes:
- 7 days of fun in an awesome yacht with an experienced + qualified skipper
- 7 days of accommodation on board
- FREE breakfast and lunch EVERYDAY (you’re free to bring your own snacks and drinks)
- Drinking water
- FREE use of paddleboards and floats on board
- Opportunity to learn how to sail
- Discounted day trips, scooter, and car hire
The only things you have to pay for are your flights, additional activities, evening meals and personal costs. I spent about $25 (or Php 1,200~) on most days — but there were days too that I definitely splurged more! I bet that if you get strict with your travel fund, your daily expenses can go lower.
» The Yacht
Another amazing thing about MedSailors is that they have modern sailing boats — NOT motor cruisers! This means that it uses the wind to move, thereby giving you a full-on authentic sailing experience.
MedSailors currently holds 3 types, namely…PREMIER: A classic cruiser featuring big sunbathing decks, swimming platforms and above deck dining area / PREMIER PLUS: Newer versions of the Premier range. / CATAMARAN: The ultimate in yachting life. It has larger deck space and living area with a touch of luxury.
* * *
Each of these yachts can accommodate about 8 to 9 people, and there are usually about 5 to 8 other yachts joining you in the voyage (commonly called a flotilla). On board, you’ll find fridges, a large kitchen area, at least 2 bathrooms, a stereo (compatible with your iPod or iPhone), a communal lounge, and double cabins (either with a bunk or double beds depending on your preference). Naturally, there’s a large sunbathing deck on every yacht too!
For my trip, we had a Premium Plus Yacht and it was superb.
Traveling solo? Don’t worry! MedSailors will pair you with a like-minded traveler of the same sex. Just let them know as well if you’d specifically want a bunk bed room.
Traveling with friends? You guys can be in the same yacht as long as you give advance notice to MedSailors.
Traveling with a big group? For about 8 to 9 people per yacht, you can absolutely hire an entire yacht! If there are more than 9 of you, MedSailors will make sure that you’ll all be sailing in the same flotilla.
» The People
One thing I’ve noticed was that the majority of the guests in MedSailors were Australians, English, and Kiwis. For my yacht’s crew though, there was me, a solo traveler from the UK, an Australian couple, and a trio of girl friends who were also from the UK.
I may have come to this trip alone, but NOT once did I feel left out with my crew nor with everyone else in the flotilla! If I may say so myself, our crew might have just been the BEST. For instance, we could have won the Yacht Regatta should it have pushed through. *insert Spartan scream here* (It didn’t happen because on the day that we were all supposed to do it, the winds weren’t as optimal).
Meanwhile, our skipper, Russell, was a great fellow (and has one of the best jobs in the world)! He’s been sailing for years now and you bet that he is an ‘all-around’ man: he did all the cooking, teaching, and navigating among many others all throughout our sailing trip. To lighten his load though, we were more than happy to do the dishes after our every meal and to help him out on the ropes whenever we start to go out to sea again. (Rest assured, you’re not really required to help out nor learn how to sail if you don’t want to. Like I said: this is a chill trip! You can do whatever you want!)
As for the other skippers and yacht guests, there were a lot of opportunities to mingle with one another especially during water activities in the day and partying in the night.
All in all: it was such a wonderful crowd and it really makes for a great way to meet new people all over the world!
» The Activities
Every day, we would land in a new port or island and the activities in those places (or along the way) were carefully thought out — but not planned in a manner that it feels cramped or rushed!
Everything spelled F-U-N!
On times we are at sea, we would have plenty of stops where we get the chance to leisurely paddle board, snorkel, sunbathe and swim in deeper waters. We even held mini competitions among ourselves as we connected several paddle boards, making it a goal to run to the end without falling off! And as I’ve mentioned before, if the winds are optimal on a free day, the MedSailors skippers will hold a regatta/race where only the crew members will do the sailing — so if you’re competitive like me, you should listen well and good to the knowledge imparted by your skipper.
Once we land on port, the day involves various activities depending on the island. There’s cycling, wine tours, food trips, partying, etc. If you’re curious about the day-by-day itinerary that we had, come check out my other post below:
Don’t know how to swim? Well guess what, before this trip I only knew swimming strokes — I didn’t know how to properly stay afloat in deeper waters! Anyhow, I ended up learning it by sheer will haha. My case aside, rest assured there are life jackets and floats on board. Plus, the skippers themselves act as life guards so no worries there.
» The Food
MedSailors ensures that breakfast and lunch meals are varied, and as I’ve already indicated: Russell was a good cook, and I bet that the other skippers are too. When night time comes, there were days that the skippers would already have a reserved restaurant for all of us, but there were also days that we were free to choose other places that we would like to try. Most of the time though, we all just ended up together — not only with our own crew but with others too.
Feel free to ask for food and bar recommendations from the skippers, after all, this is their ‘turf’ so they definitely know the best spots!
» The Sea Life
I went on this trip during the first week of June and the seas weren’t rough at all. There were only a couple of days that there were big waves due to change in currents, but they weren’t so bad. We rarely experienced sea sickness, but we surely earned our sea legs (ability to keep our balance on board a moving boat)!
By the way, one thing I’ve noticed is that when you live and travel in a yacht for while, once you step foot on land and start to stay still, you’ll have this feeling as if everything around you is slightly moving — much like how it is on the boat. It wasn’t a big problem, but it was an amusing sensation that I’ve discovered from leading such a brief ‘sailor’s life’.
TIP: If you easily get dizzy, don’t stay under the yacht whenever you start to sail out to sea. Stay on deck. Then again, how could you stay inside when there’s so much to see outside and so much sun to soak in, right? ;)
» Croatia as a Whole
Croatia was exactly how I expected it to be — and more! The natural beauty, the waters, the history, the architure, the food, and the wine… there was so much to love!
Coming from the Philippines, I’ve surely seen my fair share of breathtaking islands and beaches, but without a doubt, there’s a distinct difference between Pacific splendors from Mediterranean wonders. Therefore, a trip to this part of the world is definitely worth your time and money!
And what better way than to see it all with a week-long yacht trip, right?
[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”20″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”middle” animate=”” ]TOP CROATIA TOURS[/box_title]
Plitvice Lakes National Park & Rastoke Day Tour from Zagreb
Bay of Kotor in Montenegro Day Tour from Dubrovnik
Ljubljana and Lake Bled Whole Day Tour from Zagreb
[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”23″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”around” animate=”” ]Overall[/box_title]
This was one for the books and I have MedSailors to thank for giving me such an epic summer — it was truly the kind of holiday escape that I was looking for!
With fresh new things to see and do everyday, an amazing crowd for company, and glorious islands up for exploration, you bet that I will be trying out their other routes for the next summer seasons either by myself again or with friends.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a spot on this trip of a lifetime NOW!
DISCLAIMER: MedSailors sponsored this sailing trip (other expenses are my own). Still and as always, all views that are expressed here represent only those made by myself and NOT of any other entity in their favor.