The Beautiful Adriatic

The Adriatic Sea, located between Italy and Croatia, is a relatively new area for cruises. My husband and I were fortunate to be onboard a small boat with only 22 people for this incredible experience.

The Kompas Cruise onboard the Princess Aloha was not luxurious, but it was wonderful. For us, the tradeoff was worth it. Rooms had small portholes instead of the large viewing windows of many cruise lines, but because of the size we were able to dock in small ports each night where we were often the only tourists.

We began our cruise in Zadar, Croatia where we were introduced to the many cultures, from Bronze Age, Greek, Roman to Venetian, that left their marks on the area. One of our favorite ways to spend time in Zadar was sitting on the steps by the sea listening to the sea organ which is played by air pushed from the sea.

We docked at least twice daily and usually anchored offshore daily for everyone to jump into the sea for a swim. Some of our stops included Sali, a small port in which we were the only Americans, and then two national parks, Kornati, composed of 89 islands, and Krka which contains beautiful waterfalls and lakes.

We landed in Sibenik for a tour of the Cathedral of St. James which is a UNESCO site. The church is built entirely from stone using unique construction techniques for the vaulting and dome…think Legos with giant stones. Our next stop was Trogir, a UNESCO site and home of the fortress, Kamerlengo. This fortress was built by the Venetians in the 1400s to prevent Turkish invasions.

Split was the most fascinating stop for me. Diocletian, a Roman Emperor, retired here since it was his birthplace. Despite Constantine’s ruling that allowed Christianity, Diocletian remained staunch in his hatred of Christians and persecuted them relentlessly. In fact, his hatred was so great that he made no allowances for his own wife and daughter whom he had executed upon their conversion to Christianity. Diocletian was so hated that his castle was overtaken upon his death and turned into apartments for commoners. Much of the city is built within the walls of the castle and the twisty, narrow streets are fun to explore.

Other stops on our way to Dubrovnik were Bol, which allegedly has the best beaches in Croatia, and Havar, with its massive city walls that were built to defend the Venetians against intruders. Now those same walls provide a shaded walk and places to stop for coffee or wine and people watch. We also stopped in Korcula, and Mljet Island before our final landing in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, and a topic for another article.

Do you have questions about an Adriatic cruise or any ports of call? Please share them in the comment section below.


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