I thoroughly enjoyed my recent Croatian cruise on board Moonlight. Everything was of a very high standard - the ship, the cabin, the crew, the destinations, the on board guide and the local guides, the meals... I can't fault anything. It was an outstanding trip and we were fortunate in having such congenial fellow passengers. Bernadine R
Cook Strait Humpback whale survey
A New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) research team that includes former whalers will be scanning the Cook Strait sea for whales during the 12th annual whale survey. The Cook Strait Whale Survey will count whales passing through the strait for four weeks from Saturday 13 June to Saturday 11 July.
The research is assessing how the Humpback whale has recovered since whaling ended in New Zealand in 1964. The surveys are timed for the Humpbacks’ annual migration from Antarctic waters to their South Pacific breeding grounds.
In 2014 92 Humpback whales were counted, the second highest tally in the survey with the highest being 106 Humpbacks in 2012.
Wellington marine ecologist Nadine Bott, who leads the survey, said it was hoped data collected this year along with information from the previous 11 surveys would enable more conclusive findings to be made about the rate of recovery of Humpback whales in New Zealand waters.
"The survey findings so far indicate the New Zealand Humpback population is only slowly increasing but further analysis is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. We are starting to see a few re-sightings of some whales travelling through Cook Strait and with the slow increase we expect to see more every year. We are excited to see what or who turns up this year. Humpback recovery will be assessed by comparing numbers seen in the surveys to whalers’ records of Humpbacks in Cook Strait from the 1950s and early 1960s.
Identify individual whales
Six former whalers lead the whale-spotting from a lookout point high on Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds. The survey team approaches whales by boat to collect skin samples using a biopsy dart tool and photos that can be used to identify individual whales. These can be checked against photographs and genetic samples from whales across the South Pacific to see if any match.
Migrate to Australia
The identification information to date shows some Humpback whales migrating through New Zealand waters are also seen off the east coast of Australia and around New Caledonia.
The survey initially ran for two weeks and whales recorded in those years were:
2004 25 Humpbacks with another 6 large whales seen, some later identified as blue whales
2005 15 Humpbacks
2006 18 Humpbacks
2007 41 Humpbacks and one southern right whale
OMV New Zealand sponsorship enabled the survey to increase for four weeks from 2008. Whales recorded in the survey from that time were:
2008 40 Humpbacks and 4 pygmy blue whales
2009 49 Humpbacks and 1 sperm whale
2010 70 Humpbacks, including a newborn, 2 sperm and 3 minke whales
2011 73 Humpbacks, with blue and sperm whales and orca also seen
2012 106 Humpbacks
2013 59 Humpbacks, with blue whales also seen
2014 92 Humpback whales
We really enjoyed the cruise, thanks!
Thanks for your message. We really enjoyed our trip on the Rembrandt Van Rijn and I think we’d give the overall holiday experience 8-9/10. We’d definitely recommend this trip to other people.
The plusses: everyone looked after us very well before departure and on the boat. The crew on board, and Jan and Chloe the guides, were excellent. Cabin space was quite small but as expected, and kept spotless by the team, as were all the other parts of the boat.
The food was plentiful and quite varied, and considering the facilities available, at a good standard. The bar was also well stocked!
The trips ashore were well planned and varied, and let us see some interesting parts of North Norway we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Jan and Chloe gave us information about the day in good time to prepare, and also gave us excellent talks about the area and the wildlife, and they also had a number of documentaries to show us most evenings too. They couldn’t have been nicer to be around either.
We had two brilliant days with Orcas and Sperm whales and three fantastic Aurora evenings too, so that was beyond our wildest dreams, and we’ve got some great pictures for posterity. All the fellow passengers were friendly, and the number was just right (I think around 20?).
Minor minuses only: due to COVID we had to wear a mask on board for the entire time, except when eating or drinking, but that was beyond anyone’s control.
We probably didn’t read the “small print” carefully enough before booking, as there was more time out on the open sea, rather than in the calmer and more sheltered fjords, than we’d anticipated, and for several days we had very rough seas (force ten gales one day!) so we had to retire to our bunks with sea sickness tablets on several days. That was purely because the captain and Jan had to take us out to try and track down whales, so there was obviously a possibility of rough seas as a result.
Overall, a very enjoyable experience, and worth the money, and we’re delighted to have booked with you for this holiday.
I thought it was a wonderful experience.
Very impressed by how Croatia presents itself to tourists.
There is a feeling of high quality and low ‘ tut’.
The boat was perfect although the fact that 18 guests ( instead of 40) clearly made for a more intimate and personalised experience with the crew.
The boat ( My Way) was great .
Our Captain Ante ( and owner) was very personable and in the events where he was at lunch or dinner - spoke extremely well and warmly promoted Croatia and hospitality .
My travel companion Heather had been allocated a cabin below deck ( although she had specifically asked for one with deck access) the captain was consulted - and she was immediately given a deck room which was good - as there was clearly available space .
The quality and quantity of food was outstanding… if a bit too much for small appetites . A 4 course lunch seems over the top , and def made us eat less for dinner in a local port . However - it was very conducive to drilling down into those friendships that happen in close quarters !
I will def recommend this mode of travel in Croatia to friends in Oz …. And will direct them to My Way and Small Cruise Ships.
Hi Susi, we travelled on Vapor on 31 Aug until the 6 Sept from Split to Dubronik. The crew were very helpful and friendly. The food was good and Stan our cruise manager was fantastic. His knowledge of the area was exceptional. We really enjoyed our cruise. The islands are amazing. I would recommend this cruise to our friends. Thanks.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, all the ports and the food. The cabins were very average. Rene U
Stellar experience start to finish!! Thank you!
Our cruise with your company was wonderful....the boat was spotless at all times. Some one has taking their time to ensure the boat is well maintained. The staff was incredible, thoughtful, courteous, helpful, but above all the service was beyond expectations.
One problem, I can never cruise in a large ship again!!!! I would only be disappointed by the quality of food and experience.
great experience..thank you very much.
Paula and Tom
A week in paradise on a luxury small ship. We were upgraded to a fabulous ship called Black Swan on a similar circuit from Split to Split in Croatia. The boat was amazing with everything you could wish for on board. The crew of 8 were very professional but at the same time friendly and chatty. The captain and his wife owned the boat and were also friendly with us all. The captains dinner was excellent with 2 live musicians.
We saw beautiful totally unspoilt islands,small fishing villages, ancient palaces and visited towns full of interesting history, all with a guide and "whisper" ear phones so we could all hear perfectly. We had plenty of free time in ports where we could go sightseeing, shopping or find a nice restaurant or bar. Our guide even arranged for us to do an exclusive 4 x 4 safari buggy tour in Dubrovnik that was not on this boats schedule but on our original one.
The food was really excellent, the boat kept immaculately clean at all times.
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity for swim stops or a tender ride to a deserted beach, even though it was October and late season. Something you do not get to do on a huge impersonal cruise ship!
At night in port the boats always raft up next to one another and its fun to go from boat to boat checking out what they all look like. We were not disturbed by this at all and the gaps between the various boats were not a problem to us, but could be to a disabled person.
I would recommend this type of holiday to anyone.... its so relaxing compared to a huge cruise ship and with only 36 people on board the guide makes sure from the very first evening that we all get to talk to one another and great friendships were formed. Our travelling companions nationalities were Americans, New Zealanders and Australians and we were the only 2 from Europe which we loved.
Overall an excellent way of exploring the Croatian coast. The crew and guide were first rate. The cabins were comfortable and slightly larger than expected. The itinerary with the swim stops worked well. Jonathan W
The ship’s complement of passengers and crew were outstanding, the quality and variety of cuisine was exceptional, and the weather was glorious! So the wait proved very worthwhile, so thank you for your help in the arrangements. DB
The Ave Maria was a pretty boat. Three separate outdoor conversation areas were nice to relax in. The cabins were nice and roomy. The cruise director Stan was very friendly and informative throughout the day and on the excursions on shore.
The server and bartender were nice, but not the most friendly. I am sure they get tired of new people each week. Food was good. Just one comment - more fresh vegetables with meals would be great.
Overall, the week was very enjoyable. Linda M
The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split
The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split - Dubrovnik and back was wonderful experience: family owed boat with great food, friendly hosts, clean; well informed and nice guide from Katarina tours; great choices of places to dock (and see), good balance between history, culture and nature. The sunny and warm weather was a surprise plus, also the group consisted of very pleasant people (not a single "professional" complainer). Dream vacation! Daniela P
An excellent island hopping cruise experience
An excellent way to experience the interesting islands of Croatia. Travelling with 38 like-minded people made the cruise a wonderful experience. The crew were very professional and extremely hardworking. The breakfast and lunch offerings were more than ample. Having the opportunity to eat dinner on the islands at the restaurants provided us with time to mingle with the locals, walk around the amazing towns and provide incomes locally. Jen A
The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Susan
Just a quick email to say a very big thank you from Bruce & myself for the wonderful week we had on board MS Nikola. I knew it would be special, but had no idea just how special! The gulet is superb, the crew were out of this world, the weather was perfect, & the company just brilliant… there is no way we could have improved on any aspect of our trip whatsoever. I didn’t know that Bruce had mentioned it was our honeymoon; the crew went above & beyond in terms of making it memorable for us, as did the other 3 couples on the gulet! Although the week at sea fell into the middle of our honeymoon (as we were in Kos & Bodrum either side of the cruise, & both of those were special too), it was by far the highlight of it… neither of us wanted our time on board to end. Having read some of the comments in the gulet’s guest book, we could see just how special it is; and the current crew (capt Ramazan, chef Tekin & 1st mate Hassan) are deservedly well-loved by all.
I’d also like to say a really big thank you too to Small Cruise Ships for letting us join the Nikola, because of course we shouldn’t have been on it at all, having booked to join the Myra. She was alongside us in port so we had chance to see her also; another beautiful gulet indeed. But we both quickly realised that we’d been incredibly lucky to be swapped onto the Nikola… it’s a truly fantastic itinerary & there really wasn’t a minute we didn’t enjoy. (…possibly with the exception of me dropping my mobile phone – or rather the special photos on it – onto the Eastern Aegean seabed! Ramazan was amazing, and gave us some lovely photos of us he’d taken, which of course more than made up for the loss )
I also hope this is useful from a feedback point of view; do let me know if you’d like me to write something more articulately! We decided there & then in Bodrum we’d start saving on our return, because without any doubt whatsoever we wish to sail with the Nikola & crew again next year, wherever she’s going…
Just wanted to say that we had a great trip and we were impressed with the crew and ship.
"A most amazing week spend on a beautiful boat. We cannot speak too highly of the attentiveness and professionalism of Captain Tok and his crew, the wonderful food, the amazing scenery, and overall cleanliness and comfort of the the boat……… Our every need was catered for, and everything seems to be done without disturbing the peace and tranquillity we were there to enjoy. Our trip was made even more memorable by our lovely fellow passengers! We bonded very quickly, and are in fact talking of another Gulet cruise together sometime in the future. The booking process was smooth and straight forward and the pre- departure material provided was useful and relevant. It was also good to have the representative from the cruise line meet with us prior to departure and on our return. To sum up, a truly memorable and wonderful experience. Thank you.
Julie and Joelle
It was a fantastic holiday I was travelling alone, but it didn't feel like that once I arrived the crew were great our meals were delicious there wasn't anything you could fault. Travelling on board a ship this size you meet and make friends easier and have a great time together.also you get to see of this beautiful country while having a great time. Tina L
We booked a 2 week cruise in Alaska through the Small Cruise Ship Collection. The Small Cruise Ship Collection we’re efficient and helpful, answering any queries promptly. The cruise itself was fantastic, everything we hoped for and more. Alison M
We stayed on in Split for three nights which partly explains this belated reply. We would do it again which really says it all. In fact we are interested, not now but maybe in twelve months time, in a similar cruise if it was between Venice and Split. The northern half of the Croatian coast. We think we were lucky to have one of the best cabins (4) and we wouldn’t want any less comfort than that.
We liked the Diamond very much.The small but hard working crew were terrific. Our timing was good as the vast crowds around Dubrovnik and Split in July and August had eased and the weather was hot but not too hot. Most of our fellow guests were Canadian who are friendly and good mannered. We didn’t think the food was very good apart from breakfast. We longed for a salad bowl. Despite the advertisement that there was a fresh water fountain on the boat they were rather mean in handing out half litre because titles which we thought was penny pinching.
The concept of the 499 ton boat really appeals to us. We wouldn’t take a cruise on the ordinary leviathan. We loved Croatia and think we saw the best of it. We had a splendid holiday.
Thank you for your feedback Robin. The Water cooler should have been in operation, and water is free on these cruises in Croatia from 2020 onwards. Powell Ettinger, The Small Cruise Ship Collection
Hello, I have returned from a small cruise ship holiday in Croatia. Not the one my friend I planned but due to cancellation we were put on another boat going to the southern islands, but still had our three days extra seeing lakes etc.
Everything went to plan hotels, boat, transport connections etc were all there for us . We also had an added extra on a transfer by taxi from Split to Zagreb on our last we shared a taxi with 'Katarina' and her family. What an unexpected pleasure.
We want to thank you all for a wonderful holiday even though at the beginning it seemed doomed.
We shall be back
Regards Margaret B
Thanks for organising the Coatia trip, we had a great time
Great crew, fantastic food and the MV Myra was a very good layout. Would highly recommend. Brian D
"We were pleasantly surprised with many items. The downstairs cabins were very spacious and the food was a big surprise as the website showed a buffet and it was so much more and very gourmet. Our crew was incredible and went out of their way to add to the fun. AND the other guests that cruised with us....they have become lifelong friends from other countries. THANK YOU!!!"
Debra and Daryl
The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on the boat Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Sue Z
I can't thank Small Cruise Ship Collection enough for their assistance in arranging my first Hurtigruten voyage along the coast of Norway in October, 2019. Although the ship's mechanical issues saw me returning home just a few days into the voyage, Small Cruise Ship Collection helped me quickly rebook the trip, using Hurtigruten's full refund and discount offer for my future booking. I just returned from a most amazing experience in Norway, and I thank Caroline of Small Cruise Ship Collection, in particular, for such superb assistance.
Fabulous cruise, thoroughly enjoyable experience. Captain and crew were lovely.
Small Cruise Ship Collection were most helpful throughout
Would have liked much more sailing instead of motoring.
Would have preferred an extra day/night in Greece instead of early return to Turkey.
Cabins were hot at night (in October!)
This was our second trip that we booked with The Small Cruise Ship Company. We love both the Croatia Cruise and the Turkey/Greece Cruise. I would highly recommend this company! Diane B
Our week on the boat was great fun:
The scenery was stunning with glaciers, waterfalls, mountains and forests,
It was exciting to be able to hike in a small group in the pristine wild forests, climbing over fallen trees and bushwacking through the undergrowth. - our wellingtons were essential
Our guides were very knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, and history.and also very conscious of the need to protect our environment
We loved the kayaking, and were very aware of all the efforts by the crew to keep us all safe and also to have an enjoyable experience.
The sightings of marine wild life was exciting (whales, seals, otters etc)
The food on the boat was exceptionally good and varied and all the staff were very helpful and friendly.
The crew took lots of photos of all the activities and wild life sightings which they shared with us when we got home.
We selected this trip as we wanted a “small boat cruise” around Alaska’s Inside Passage. Not all 20 cabins were occupied and there were only 33 passengers in total – just us from UK, 7 Australians and 4 Kiwis with the rest from US (so all English-speaking). Perhaps the style of trip meant that all seemed of a similar outlook and the group got on well together.
Alaskan Dream seem to be an environmentally-aware company with a good local reputation and are very welcome in the communities they visit. The small size of the boat means that they can access areas and ports unavailable to larger ships. The crew are generally long-serving with the company, competent and approachable. This particular voyage had an on-board naturalist/guide from the start, with a second joining part way through. There is at least one “off boat” opportunity every day.
Cabins are compact but comfortable with ample storage space. We were in the lowest grade; the next one up seemed to have no more amenities, just slightly bigger (although they are on the same level as public spaces). The “shoilet” takes some practice but is actually extremely practical and functional (better than facilities in other boats of a similar size that we have experienced). Rain gear (jackets, trousers and boots) are available for use. Meals were, without exception, excellent; hot drinks and water were always available.
The itinerary is flexible so we were able to take advantage of an unexpected permit to stay in Glacier Bay for an extra day. It also meant that potential wildlife sightings could be pursued and this was done on several occasions. There is also various interactions with each local community that we visited.
We would unreservedly recommend this trip but be warned that it is not a “cruise” – evening entertainment is limited to some short wildlife talks. But if your priorities are exciting wildlife and stunning scenery with an insight into local culture, you should seriously consider this.
We have all had the most amazing holiday on board Avangard! Returning to Split by 9am was no problem at all, in fact we docked at around 8.15am
Everything was perfect; the Ship, our cabins, Crew, the food and a brilliant tour manager (Aida).
Powell, thank you for your recommendation of Hotel Perisil, it was great, despite the early morning bells at 6am! Many thanks to, for all your help in answering our many questions before departure!
We had an excellent time on the cruise but felt that the courier tried to fill the days with too much and her manner and English left a lot to be admired. The ship and crew were wonderful but we did not have enough time to enjoy it all. The inter-Island transport could have been better. RR
We really enjoyed our Split-Split Croatia cruise
We cruised on the MS Diamond in September from Dubrovnik to Split and it was 7 days of swimming, laughter and relaxing unlike any other cruise we have taken. The cruise director Paul, Bruno and Ivan the two bartenders and waiters were wonderful, always smiling and couldn’t do enough for you. The rest of the small crew were also wonderful. Our cruise had a total of 38 passengers and everyone was friendly and we all enjoyed each other’s company. The Diamond was very comfortable with areas to just relax and the swimming everyday in small coves in the clearest water we have ever experienced and that’s says a lot as we live in Hawaii. I have thought of our cruise everyday since our return and would love to do it again Roger F
Yes, we did enjoy our Croatian cruise. The boat manager did a wonderful job, despite her youth! She often had to re-arrange our programme because of the Captain having received instructions about where we could moor and the impact of the weather. We had one very wet and rough day (when my friend was sea-sick!) but most of the weather was fine, with a gentle breeze to avoid getting too hot. Dubrovnik was a great disappointment for me, being over-run with tourists, even so late in the season. I would think it would be better to have a guided walk in the afternoon, rather than the morning, when there were so many others that it was difficult to keep with your own group. Unfortunately, the walls were beyond our ability, but we had a taxi up to the mountains where the cable-car started, stopping at various viewing points, and then back via the new bridge to our boat. I could recommend that. We had spare time on the last day, owing to our late flight, and the cruise manager suggested we took the boat to Lokrum, a nearby island, and this gave us great views of the walls, etc. The island is kept for wild-life, and we had to share our sandwiches with the peacocks! Going out we did not see anything of Split, as the programme had been changed, and the guided walk in Split happened before we arrived at 7 p.m. instead of the next morning.
The end of the cruise was not good for us, but in no way the fault of the cruise firm. My friend lost her handbag when we got to the airport and she thought she had left it in the taxi, but it could not be found so the official at the airport found us accommodation for the night, and next morning the handbag was found on the boat, and returned to us, and then we had to pay for another flight back to the U.K. It was all a nightmare for us, but we must say the Croatians were very helpful and took great care of us.
Going back to the boat cruise, we would have much preferred evening meals instead of the dinner at lunch time. We only had two, one the day we arrived, and then the captain's dinner. In the evening we did not want another dinner, and were rather at a loss to find something to do, as it was getting dark by 7.30 p.m. There is no menu for meals, but when I saw the size of the galley, I was not surprised, and the chef did well to prepare nearly 40 meals for us, plus more for the crew. All the crew were pleasant and helpful, especially getting us on and off the boat safely. We thought the wine and drinks were VERY expensive, so did not drink much on the boat, and the allowance of 1/2 a litre of water per day was not very generous if it is very hot. Then tax was added to the bill as well. We thought they were expecting very large tips, and we had to reduce them to a more reasonable level. We were also stung very high charges when using the ATM in Gruz port and at the airport, which I have never experienced before in other countries. However, we still enjoyed the experience. And Vicky was very helpful when we made the booking.
Enjoyed the cruise. Food was good considering the size of the kitchen. Seating was a bit cramped.
We were "below stairs" and again the room was basic but spacious.
Having said all this the cruise was not expensive.
We thought the port fees should have been included in the price and tipping caused a lot of discussion. . Most people found it excessive especially those countries that don't tip. Liz B
The small size of the sailing ship and the wonderful character of the crew made this a wonderful week packed with once in a lifetime views, excursions and food. I enjoyed it very much. I hope to do it again. Linda M
My wife and I enjoyed the Croatian Cruise on board the Meridijan 100%. The crew could not have been better and the food was perfect. We will go on other trips in other places. Thank you. Larry snd Sun S
Our trip to Croatia was absolutely amazing! We loved the Olimp and their crew. The islands were beautiful. Lori P
We had a wonderful time and loved the ship and all the stops. Look forward to another cruise in the area......thanks so much for your help!
Our only question was in previous documentation, it was stated beer and wine were included during lunch. However, none of our drinks were included.
Look forward to why the discrepancy.....but simply loved everything else; ship, staff, captain, and director! Donna Z
A truly wonderful experience
We took a 7 night round trip cruise from Split on the Avangarde. It was an absolute delight. We were thoroughly looked after from the moment we arrived in the boat to the final transfer to our hotel at the end. The crew and tour manager were extremely good at what they do and showed great humor. The food was outstanding and cabins much for luxurious than I could have imagined for a small boat. There was a great balance between free time and organised excursions. I cannot recommend this cruise highly enough. Katherine A
We had a lovely week on the Esperanza . The guests all got in great and Ivana was a wonderful hostess.
Positives : Guests and the amazing Dalmnation coast
Negatives: Agritourism visit was nothing special and wine was borderline awful. Most guests felt this was something of a wasted evening in the middle of nowhere.
Food on the boat in particular fruit at breakfast and salads at lunch and dinner could have been more plentiful .
But all in all ... Great !
Thank you Conor I