How To Plan A Yachting Vacation
I recently fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams of spending a week on a sailboat island hopping around Croatia. It was truly a vacation of a lifetime. My biggest takeaway from the vacation was not my awesome tan or amazing instagram pictures, but the incredible people that I met and shared the journey with, so this “svensson” post is for them :)
Planning A Sailing Vacation
I honestly, wasn’t sure where to start. I tried reaching out on social media and talking with friends who have spent significant time on the sea, but didn’t get that much feedback. So I took to google and began searching for what I hoped were reputable yachting companies. I had toyed with the idea of doing the whole “yacht week” thing but didn’t think that level of partying was for me. I knew I wanted a catamaran and dreamed about laying out on the giant nets and having a nice space to lounge and socialize. I wanted to be on a smaller, more intimate boat, either private or with a few other couples, not a cruise. I even looked into @airbnb homes/experiences to see if I could somehow connect directly with an owner/captain who was willing to negotiate a trip like this, but this route seemed too cumbersome. I investigated the price differences between renting “bareboat” and hiring a skipper/captain vs the more all-inclusive rentals vs a fully privatized experience. There were just so many options to consider.
At this initial stage, I wasn’t even sure where I wanted to go! Greece came to mind instantly but I had been there before, and then I spoke to a friend about traveling to Turkey and started doing some research there. I found a company @GlobeSailor that offered trips called “Cabin Cruises” that seemed to meet many of my criteria. You rent a room or “cabin” on a small yacht that carries up to 8 guests and includes a skipper, hostess, with breakfast/lunch/wine/beer all included. The cabin cruises in Turkey were unfortunately quite pricey, but there were options for Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Thailand, Polynesia, Maldives, Greece, Seychelles, Caribbean, Croatia, and many more!
Being a full-time doc, I only had one week of vacation and was very limited as to my travel dates. As I looked into pricing, timing, logistics, etc. The Croatia option started to stand out! They were offering 8 days, 7 nights with options for several different weeks (Saturday-Saturday) and the price point was around 1000 euros with everything included! Croatia is the yachting capital of the world and home of the original “yacht week” and seemed to be trending in the travel world at the moment, so it seemed like the perfect fit.
The reviews for Globe Sailor seemed positive and their communication and help with planning the trip was excellent. The whole process went smoothly and before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were booked! I even found us flights that left Friday after work and arrived Saturday right before boarding time.
What I learned after the fact is that Globe Sailor is essentially a “yacht broker”, travel planning company that organizes your trip through an actual yacht company, in this case, Navigare Yachting. I was a little bummed to find out that if I had booked directly through Navigare it would have likely been a couple hundred dollars cheaper. But the research had already been so challenging and Globe Sailor did make the process pretty easy. In the future, I would encourage you to find the reputable yachting companies at the marinas and book directly through them. After speaking with some freelance Captain, Navigare Yachting is one of the best companies so at least we got that right!
Choosing Your Itinerary
For Croatia, Globe Sailor offered two itineraries/packages, one focused on history and one with an emphasis on culinary experience. Even though I am a major self-proclaimed foodie, I decided to go with the “history” option, thinking I could do my own food research and seek out the top spots on my own. I enjoy that type of research way more than hitting the history books.
The funny thing was with all our hemming and hawing over which itinerary option to choose, it turns out it didn’t matter at all, the whole experience is quite customizable. In fact, one of the other couples on the boat, who had also booked through Globe Sailor, selected the “culinary cruise” and we all had a big laugh when we realized we were on the same boat and clearly the whole "specialized itinerary” thing is just a big gimmick. We all took it in stride because we were on a yacht, sailing around Croatia, and there really wasn’t much to complain about.
Instead, we worked closely with our captain and each other to discuss what we all wanted to get out of the trip and he tailored our destinations and helped book tours/experiences that suited our wishes. Being a local, he also had great restaurant recommendations and would call ahead to make reservations upon request. Each day we talked about the general plan and what we wanted to do. I was so lucky to be on a boat where everyone communicated really well and got along tremendously. I know we were all very lucky to have found each other. Truly no one was selfish or controlling and being together just felt so easy.