This traveler’s tale was written by AdventureSmith friend and colleague Sara Widness, of Widness & Wiggins PR, who sailed aboard the Futura yacht on a special media departure. For regularly scheduled departures aboard Futura and her sister small ships, see the Croatia Island Hopper and Dalmatian Coast Cruise. Or view all our Mediterranean small ship cruises and Mediterranean cruise reviews.

Old buildings with large windows and pillars next to a cobblestone clock tower Dubrovnik, Croatia.

What a romantic idea. My traveling companion and I were to spend a few nights in the bosom of Dubrovnik, Croatia’s famously walled city whose fortifications date to the 7thcentury. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is among the many locations where Game of Thrones was filmed. By mid-June selfie sticks, like ill-aimed fencing swords, tore into glimpses of statues and cisterns. (The cisterns were the city’s water sources in 1991 that helped sustain residents deprived of all of life’s necessities during the siege of Dubrovnik (Croatian War of Independence).

By mid-June selfie sticks, like ill-aimed fencing swords, tore into glimpses of statues and cisterns.

From the Dubrovnik Airport a bus deposited us and our wheeled luggage outside the wall. We hailed a cab. The driver put the luggage in the trunk and as we got in he asked where we were going. Not missing a beat, he began removing the luggage and said he couldn’t take us there. The city inside the walls is traffic free, a condition we met again in Split.

2 happy traveling ladies on the balcony deck of the small motor yacht Futura while sailing.

Forget Game of Thrones. Wewere scripting Game of Crones enroute to ouraccommodation that miraculously was not up those steps ascending like rising waves to the parapets. For two days we leaned in to listen to the stories of two sisters, one a shopkeeper and the other a restaurateur, and those of our septuagenarian guide and her son who has opted to forego the practice of law in order to share observations with visitors. After surviving the siege, they all present their city, claimed for much of the year by tourists, as precious to them, with a whiff, perhaps, of the ephemeral.

Old stone walls of a building with tower steeple in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Stone wall in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik marks the southern end of the Dalmatian Riviera, a sun-kissed coastline that begins in the north near Opatija.

Dubrovnik marks the southern end of the Dalmatian Riviera, a sun-kissed coastline that begins in the north near Opatija, a seaside resort (2.5 hours by car from Venice) whose enticements lean to sunning and swimming in lieu of culture. Our next pleasure was to cruise this coastline separated from Italy by, among others, the Adriatic, language and cuisine. However, if there’s ever a competition for red-tiled roofs, Italy loses to its Croatian-speaking neighbors who may also consume the most figs and squid.

Small motor boats tied up on a stone wall in the middle of Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Days fell into a rhythm punctuated by morning swims off the back of our 156-foot, modern 38-passenger yacht.

While sleeping for seven nights aboard M/V Futuradays fell into a rhythm punctuated by morning swims off the back of our 156-foot-long, 30-foot-wide, modern 38-passenger yacht. The salty realm of the Adriatic buoyed thin and portly alike, as well as the spirits of all who relished this daily routine while anticipating the surprises yet to come over lunch. Early on, Futura’s kitchen distinguished itself with camera-ready, farm- and sea-to-table presentations that were as delicious as they looked.  

Bow of the motor yacht Futura cruising into the bay of a Greek town and marina.
Several anchored sailboats with a small water taxi motoring people toward land.

Afternoons introduced us to Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, a Dubrovnik in miniature without the selfie sticks threatening its medieval bones. The peregrinations and influences of the Romans surfaced at Narona Archeological Museum where a Roman temple and 17 marble statues rose to larger-than-life proportions as elucidated by the on-site scholar studying this 6th century BC one-time Roman trading port on the Narenta River. Roman echoes continued in Split, the UNESCO-protected capital of the Dalmatian region and the second largest city in Croatia that was once the palace (extant) of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and to Zadar’s 1st century Roman Forum and a museum dedicated to glass artifacts of the Romans.

Ruin with Roman statues displayed out on a wall.

Intellectual pursuits were balanced by local guide–enhanced wine tastings… some dinners were taken off ship.

Intellectual pursuits were balanced by local guide–enhanced wine tastings, a cake-making demonstration, a barge cruise (Venetian-style with music) through a swamp land thought to be one of the few remaining in Europe, a hike to a waterfall, listening to the sobs of a sea organ played by the waves of the sea, diving into on-shore cuisine (some dinners were taken off the ship), drifting by oleander in full scent and the pleasure of raising a toast to the crew of M/V Futura that AdventureSmith Explorations is privileged to share.  

Colorful circular and swirled gardens of green, pink, white and red.
Croatian woman making bread in a kitchen.
Colorful assortment of gelato in a shop in Croatia.

P.S. After saying farewell in Opatija, we returned to Split and from there took a bus back to Dubrovnik to access our flight home. Our route along the coastline left us gasping for breath as the bus pressed against guard rails positioned seemingly miles above the Adriatic. However, the bus was air-conditioned; we came prepared with lunch to eat enroute; and the drama posed by the seascape further enhanced our appetites as we savored images from high above the shore of this Adriatic we had come to love.

Cafe tables and stone cobbled buildings surrounding a courtyard with a happy traveler in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Read more of our Mediterranean cruise reviews for additional trip reports, or contact one of our Adventure Specialists to learn more about these small ship cruises and wilderness adventures: 1-800-728-2875.