We are also a USA boat. We did what you are planning last year and will do this year. We are in Tunisia
and will head out soon to north Sciliy to St Maria and up to Brindisi before going over to Schenjgin Albania and then we will turn south and spend the summer in Greece
before going to Turkey
for the winter.
Your plan is good except I would go to Ortanto and then over to Orikum where there is the only marina in Albania and is nice. If you want to see a bit of Albania, it is worth going to the capital, you can leave the boat there in good hands. Then up the coast. We did not stop in Durres as it is reported to be a bit dirty and not ready for yachts but we will stop there this year. Schenjgin was just dredged before we got there and they put us on a brand new pier that is really designed for big ships. This year I will bet they either figured out where to put small boats and it could be among the fishing
Be prepared to pay a lot in Montenegro as a cruising permit
is about 350eu or so. And they will ask for your sailing credentials and after a bit of discussion they accepted my ASA
book with the stamps that I can completed a number of courses. The same for Croatia. And do not forget that Croatia as of 2015 is now part of Schengren agreement so as an American you get the 3 months in the EU.
As for southern Albania have no idea what is down there yet but will find out as we will be sailing the entire Albania coast this year. OH and in Albania you must use an agent at about 60eu if I remember correctly and you have to check in and out of each port.
Not sure when you are headed that way but we are leaving Tunisia
between the 15-21 of may so say 2 weeks across the top of Sciliy then on to a stop near mt etna and on to the boot. Our stop by the way in Brindisi is to see friends who are living there.
Fair winds and maybe we will see you enroute. Look for SoulMates.