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
Great news for Pacific seabirds and marine mammals as Russia bans driftnet fishery
Russia has introduced a law banning large-scale driftnets in their waters. These nets, up to 32 kilometres long, are used by Japanese and Russian vessels to target various species of salmon in the Russian Far East.
Unfortunately, these nets capture large numbers of seabirds and marine mammals as bycatch. In BirdLife’s recent global gillnet review, this region was highlighted as the area with the highest seabird bycatch in gillnets, with an estimated 140,000 birds killed each year.
The vast majority of this toll is thought to come from these vast driftnets, so the ban is great news for a host of seabirds, including Tufted Puffins Fratercula cirrhata, Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris and Thick-billed Murre Uria lomvia, as well as an array of marine mammals, such as Dall’s Porpoise, Ribbon Seals and Pacific White-sided Dolphin.
Driftnets are a type of gillnet – probably what you think of when you hear the words ‘fishing net’. These nets make up meshed ‘walls’ of near-invisible nylon, which capture fish around the gills. Driftnets are deployed at the water's surface and drift in the ocean, often from a boat or another fixed point. Although banned on the high seas in 1991, their use remains legal within a nation’s waters, alongside other types of gillnet.
"The banning of these huge nets in Russian waters is fantastic for an array of wildlife in the northwest Pacific and we support the closure of a fishery with such severe collateral damage to marine wildlife,” said Cleo Small, Head of BirdLife’s Marine Programme. “However, there are still many small-scale gillnet fisheries of immense social and local importance, with lower but still very significant impacts on seabirds, and we recognise that closure is not the way forward everywhere. We will continue to work with fishermen to find vital technical solutions in smaller-scale gillnet fisheries around the world.”
Unlike trawl and longline fisheries, for which effective technical mitigation measures are available (allowing the Albatross Task Force to achieve spectacular bycatch reductions), no such measures have been developed to reduce seabird bycatch in gillnets. Given that it is estimated that 400,000 seabirds are killed in gillnets every year, Birdlife have launched work on numerous fronts to try and solve this problem, including by working directly with sensory scientists to discover what birds see underwater so they can best design mitigation measures; and with fishermen in Lithuania to identify practical solutions that work for both birds and fishermen.
“This is a challenge we must not shy away from”, said Rory Crawford, Senior Policy Officer, BirdLife Global Marine Programme. “BirdLife has achieved huge success in longline and trawl fisheries by working with fishermen—the time is ripe to bring this experience to bear in gillnet fisheries. By collaborating with gillnetters, I am convinced we can reduce seabird bycatch.”
The Gillnet Bycatch Problem Key Facts
• Gillnets are invisible to birds and animals
• 400,000 seabirds are killed per year in gillnets
• In terms of pure numbers: more birds are affected by gillnet fishing than by trawling or longlining
• A different group of birds affected by gillnets too, plus many marine mammals and turtles
• Fisheries management issues can be difficult in gillnet fleets because they are often comprised of large numbers of highly-dispersed, small vessels
• Birdlife are currently trialling gillnet bycatch mitigation techniques to save threatened species and keep common birds common.
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
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!)
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
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…
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 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
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
We really enjoyed the cruise, 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!
Great crew, fantastic food and the MV Myra was a very good layout. Would highly recommend. Brian D
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 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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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