Selected departures in May and September 2019
Picture a typical day on board: spend the morning sailing the turquoise waters of the Adriatic, taking in magnificent coastal vistas and the invigorating breeze. You have the opportunity to cool off with a swim off the back of the ship – as if it were your own! Relax back on board as your crew serve a delicious lunch in the restaurant, before we moor in our next port of call. Join our included excursions ashore, with free time after to explore. Enjoy dinner independently in a cosy restaurant and sample the local fare before returning for your favourite nightcap on the ship’s terrace.
The art of cruising has never looked so good with the latest addition to our fleet, the sensational MV Mare Blu. Set to launch in 2018 and defining the very epitome of yacht cruising, this brand-new vessel, in short, is luxury afloat. Built specifically to cruise the waters of the Adriatic and featuring the very latest safety innovations, at 52 metres, the sleek lines of this stunning vessel represent a true masterclass in ship design of the very highest order. Accommodating just 38 passengers, there’s a sense of exclusivity aboard, but your welcoming and highly professional crew, on hand to look after your every requirement, ensures the ambience is informal and friendly, and you’ll feel at home from the very moment you arrive.
You’ll arrive at the airport to take your flight to the beautiful city of Venice where you will be met and taken by coach to the harbour where the brand-new, splendid MV Mare Blu and her welcoming crew are ready to greet you. They will ensure you settle in to your stylish cabin, superbly equipped with all you need for a comfortable stay. After familiarising yourself with the layout of the ship, there’s time to relax before an aperitif in the convivial bar, meeting your fellow travelling companions before tonight’s dinner.
One of the world’s most extraordinary cities and on so many people’s wish lists, Venice, La Serenissima, is quite simply unique. Lord Byron described it as ‘the Queen of the Adriatic’ and as the only city in the world built entirely on water, with a huge and fascinating cultural heritage, Venice has been a source of inspiration for poets, painters and writers alike since time immemorial. As you wander its picturesque streets, there’s a view to make you stop in awe at every turn – from exquisite churches and striking Renaissance buildings, to the unmistakable Grand Canal, its banks lined with smart shops and atmospheric restaurants, their tables spilling out on to the quayside, where classic gondolas gently rock on the calm water. You can only be in Venice!
We’ll begin to uncover some of the city’s treasures on our guided tour: the legendary and breathtaking St Mark’s Square and the luxuriously decorated Byzantine Basilica, with its shimmering mosaic-clad façade and the soaring Campanile tower; the vast Doge’s Palace, one of the finest secular Gothic buildings in the world; and the romantic Bridge of Sighs with its rather grim history. Lunch is at leisure allowing you the opportunity to seek out a traditional restaurant and enjoy one of the world’s greatest cuisines, after which you’ll feel recharged and ready to explore under your own steam. For art lovers, there’s the world-famous Accademia, with its staggering collection of Venetian masterpieces or discover the authentic charm of the restored and atmospheric Jewish Quarter. Immerse yourself in the lively throng of the traditional Rialto market or simply wander the narrow alleys away from the bustle of the main thoroughfares and discover Venice’s quieter side; traditional shops tucked away, with the delicious smell of their colourful fresh fruit and vegetables mingling with the rich aroma of coffee drifting from the tiny cafés and washing stretched high between crumbling buildings, in a scene unchanged for centuries.
After a truly memorable day, enjoy comparing notes with your fellow travellers over dinner, as evening falls on this iconic and truly irresistible city.
An air of excitement pervades the ship this morning and after breakfast, it’s time to set sail into the Adriatic. Head up on deck to watch Venice’s historic spires fading into the horizon as we take an easterly course towards the Istrian Peninsula. Often referred to as the ‘New Tuscany’, the lovely coastline of this heart-shaped peninsula comes into view – its striking rocky shoreline backed by undulating forested hills and wild pastureland with its ancient trellis of crumbling dry stone walls, and an occasional shepherd’s kažuni, traditional stone shelter with its typical conical-shaped roof. Istria’s location, on the borders of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia has endowed it with a diverse and fascinating cultural heritage. A succession of rulers all left their mark here: from the Illyians – who named it Histri – to the Romans who arrived in the second century BC, subsequent Slav tribes followed before it became a province of the Frankish Empire during the Middle Ages, but it is probably the four hundred years of Venetian rule which have left some of its most obvious legacies, reflected in the Italianate architecture and place names, whilst Italian remains very much the region’s second language.
Arriving in Umag’s little harbour you’ll have free time to explore before it’s time to head to the relaxed ambience of the ship’s restaurant for a delicious lunch. Enjoy the fabulous views as we approach one of the most dramatic stretches of Istria’s coastline, the Lim Bay, a six-mile-long estuary, created during the last Ice Age when the coastline sank causing the water to rush into the newly formed valley. Protected by a conservation order, the tranquil waters provide a perfect breeding ground for many breeds of fish and local oysters grown here, are a speciality of the region.
Arriving later in the charming port of Rovinj, we saunter ashore into the maze of little streets, with splashes of colour spilling from lofty window boxes and locals stopping to exchange a few words in the elegant piazzas. After a guided tour seeing the main sights including the huge cathedral and its impressive bell tower, inspired by St Mark’s, there’s time for you to explore under you own steam, soaking up the lovely Mediterranean atmosphere.
Dinner is at leisure so sample the local fare in a cosy restaurant, serving grilled catch of the day, or a simple risotto with delicious local Istrian truffle accompanied by freshly picked salad drizzled with the finest locally produced olive oil and a glass of local white wine - now what could be better!
Day breaks and the sun casts its rosy glow over the terracotta rooftops and pastel coloured facades whilst the fishermen haul their catch into the picturesque harbour, accompanied by the early morning calls of gulls soaring high above. Rise refreshed and during breakfast, we set sail for the historic city of Pula. Conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC, it was a vantage point from which to protect the bay and an important administrative centre. Later it became the largest naval port of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and still retains several working shipyards. On our guided tour we will see arguably the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia, the magnificent Roman amphitheatre - with a capacity for 22,000 spectators it is the sixth largest in the world. Why such a vast amphitheatre was built in a small Roman town remains a mystery but its three-storey network of huge limestone arches are remarkable and one can only imagine the sights and sounds of gladiatorial spectacles that used to unfold here. We’ll also see the majestic Arch of Sergius, the old town’s main square, once the Roman Forum, with the imposing Temple of Augustus and the town hall with its Renaissance arcade. Pula also has a historic cathedral with a bell tower made from the stones of the amphitheatre as well as a sprinkling of interesting little churches and a fascinating archaeological museum with a wealth of Roman exhibits.
After lunch there’s the opportunity for a swim-stop then plenty of time to relax before our arrival on the island of Cres, the largest in the Gulf of Kvarner. We will moor in Cres town; with a picturesque waterfront of ice-cream coloured houses and a jumble of boats moored in the pretty harbour, it’s reminiscent of an Italian fishing village and the perfect spot to while away an evening, enjoying dinner at leisure.
This morning’s cruising takes us in to the very heart of the stunning Kvarner archipelago so have your camera at the ready. A seamless stream of wonderful island views drifts by as you recline on your sun lounger, book in one hand, long refreshing drink in the other! On Cres’s eastern shores, a landscape of dry rocky pastureland, interspersed with clusters of ancient oak and pine give way to an endless ribbon of deserted shingle beach – keep an eye out for the rare griffon vulture too, Croatia’s most majestic bird, now a protected species here. There will be time for a swim stop too so you can work up an appetite for today’s lunch. Our passage brings us to the southerly most point of our cruise, in the elegant town on Mali Lošinj, nestling in a sheltered bay on the fertile island of Lošinj. Lush evergreen forest and tall Aleppo pines blanket the gently undulating backdrop and the area is home to many protected animal species and about 1200 different plant species. We will moor on the charming waterfront lined with tall 19th century sea captains’ houses – backed by an elegant terrace of smart villas, fringed with glossy palms and vibrant bougainvillea. After lunch, wander ashore to explore under your own steam. Lošinj is famous for its crystal clear waters too and you may be lucky enough to see a bottlenose dolphin that frequent the waters here!
Dinner is at leisure tonight – perhaps at one of the many waterfront restaurants as you watch the setting sun glistening on the sparkling water before heading back on board and sinking into a comfy chair on the terrace with your favourite digestif.
This morning as the Captain skilfully steers the MV Mare Blu into the calm open waters of the archipelago, head up to the sun deck as we cruise past the barren rocky island of Pag, its desolate landscape defined by its steely mountain backdrop. We are closer to the mainland now and the coastal views are ever more dramatic. Enjoy a refreshing swim stop before our next port of call, Rab, one of the most alluring islands along this stretch of the Dalmatian coast. Sheltered against its sturdy mountainous pine, a fertile patchwork of vine and olive groves and verdant forests gives way to strips of golden beach which snake their way between the secret coves and secluded little bays. On our approach into the historic harbour, four colourful lofty bell towers rise from a blaze of terracotta rooftops, hiding an intricate web of shady streets, perfect for exploring. Step back in time and wander in the cool shadows of Rab’s ancient stone buildings, admiring the Romanesque architecture and the grand Italianate houses whilst absorbing the magical atmosphere. Lunch is at leisure.
Relax as we sail north to Krk, Croatia’s largest island, and enjoy views of its attractive coastline punctured by hidden caves and inlets. Well located on this important historic maritime trade route through the Adriatic, both the Illyians and Romans settled here. We will moor at Krk town, the island’s ‘capital’, and enjoy a guided tour of the picturesque medieval old town, a criss-crossing network of narrow streets weaving round the lovely Romanesque cathedral. We’ll see remains of the old town walls and a 15th century castle, now used as an open-air theatre.
Enjoy an aperitif in the bar before tonight’s excellent Captain’s Dinner during which you’ll be served specialties of the region.
As the sun comes up on our final day cruising these idyllic waters, we cast off into the glittering turquoise depths. There’s plenty of time to relax up on deck with a book or an indulgent snooze, so let your mind drift off whilst the warm sea breeze washes over you; recharge and unwind, this is exactly what a holiday should be for! Cool off with a swim in the refreshing water before lunch is served.
The approach to our final port of call certainly won’t disappoint as we sail along the Opatija Riviera, reputedly the most beautiful stretch in Croatia. Thickly forested slopes gracefully cascade into a twenty-kilometre stretch of glorious rocky coastline, studded with a string of charming seaside resorts, their elegant waterfronts lined with fine 19th century villas, a legacy of a sophisticated bygone age.
We moor in Opatija itself, alongside the shady tree-lined promenade and head ashore for a guided tour of the main sights, including the 14th century Benedictine abbey and the beautifully restored neoclassical Villa Angiolina set in a carefully tended park of neatly clipped shrubs and exotic palms.
Enjoy dinner at leisure in perhaps one of Opatija’s excellent seafood restaurants, before enjoying one last balmy evening stroll along the charming waterfront.
After breakfast we disembark and return to the airport at the appropriate time for your return flight.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin cabin. The price includes return flights, all transfers, breakfast, 4 lunches, 2 dinners and Captain’s dinner, tours and visits as per the itinerary and port taxes.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Airport||Ship location||Transfer time|
|Venice Treviso Airport||Venice||
|Venice Marco Polo Airport||30 mins|
|Venice Treviso Airport||Opatija||4 hrs including comfort stop|
|Venice Marco Polo Airport|
|Ljublijana Airport||3 hrs including comfort stop|