I just got back from a charter in Croatia. Left from Trogir and went south to Vis then east and back around. Gorgeous place, loved pretty much every minute of the trip. A couple of hard learned tips that will hopefully help others:
1. Any cruisers guide you have is probably going to be out of date when it comes to the moorings that used to exist in small harbors of uninhabited areas with a restaurant and mooring or docking
reservations in general. It appears that the days of restaurant owned moorings where you stay for free if you eat there are gone. Most have apparently figured out that you make a lot more money
by the night for 20 or 30 moorings than charging
a bit more on dinner for 4 or 5 moorings, so they've put in big new mooring fields. The problem if you're not aware of this is that a. They come out and tell you that you can't anchor anywhere in the harbor, and often they've put in enough moorings that it's not practical even if the prohibition is dubious b. The moorings can be reserved online so when you get there it's very possible none will be left even if you're very early thinking it was first come, first serve, and c. There are several fragmented reservation systems and no way to tell which is connected to a given cove.
2. If you charter a boat they'll have a very convenient card for you that allows you to log onto what you may think is the
reservation system for moorings and marinas
with the boat info already filled in. Turns out it's only a
reservation system, one of a dozen or more. Which means two things. First, you may not find the place you're looking for on your system and assume they don't take reservations, but it turns out they do just on another system so you've got no spot when you arrive. Second, the reservation systems all add on a non-transparent fee as part of the rate. So the rate they quote you may easily be 25% to 50% more than if you just booked direct or shopped around other reservation systems.
No complaining about this, the Croatians appear to have learned English
and capitalism equally well and equally fast and they're running businesses. In fact the new moorings all seemed to have large anchors and be in good condition such that they could be relied on so it was a service
. It's just that there is a dearth of information out there about cruising in Croatia and the info that is there is no longer accurate even though it's only a couple of years old, so it surprises you when you find a different reality. Unlike Greece
, where I feel like I could pick up a cruising guide written in the 70's and be fine. So just a bit of a surprise is all.