Opatija Cruise Takes Off-Grid Approach to Tackle Over-Tourism

Unforgettable Croatia, the luxury travel company has launched a brand new cruise itinerary. This deluxe small-ship cruise accommodates just 38 passengers and takes its guests away from the crowded medieval centres of Split and Dubrovnik, as part of their sustainable cruising initiative. The cruise will depart from Opatija in the north of Croatia, visiting a number of undiscovered Croatian islands as well as the beautiful Istrian Peninsula.

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The cruise departs from Opatija, otherwise known as the gateway to the fabulous Istria food and wine region. The region is famous for its truffles, family wineries, olive oil, and its pristine hilltops and artist-filled villages.

The cruise will visit a number of off-beaten-path destinations, such as the striking and unspoiled island of Losinj, known as the “Island of Wellness and Vitality” to locals. Here, visitors can take a dip in the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea, before arriving at the town of Mali Losinj, which boasts one of the most beautiful harbors in the area, where a local guide will show guests the delights of this charming fishing village.

There’s also a visit to Cres, Croatia’s least developed island, which abounds with olive trees and vineyards, all topped off with a rugged topography perfect for an afternoon walk. Perhaps the most interesting stop on the cruise, Cres, is full of abandoned hamlets, caves, and unspoiled beaches, while the main town has an abundance of history buried within its walls: the town was ruled by Romans, Byzantines, and the first independent Croatians, as well as the Venetians, and each of these civilizations left their mark.

The highlight of the tour is a visit to the emerging city of Zadar, where guests will be met by a local guide for a walking tour of the area, tasting Zadar’s authentic cherry Maraschino liquor, famous all over the world, and even experiencing the unique and incredible Sea Organ. The Sea Organ is a masterpiece, a collection of an underwater system of pipes and whistles that provide mellifluous tones by the movement of the sea within its stone stairs, all set to the magic of a Zadar sunset in the background.

The new tour comes following Venice’s announcement to ban large cruise ships from the historic center, as well as the realization that with the booming cruising industry in Croatia, this will have negative, knock-on effects for the towns and local areas. In the first 6 months of 2019, 272 cruise journeys docked around Croatia, with over 85% of these docking at either Dubrovnik or Split. Unforgettable Croatia’s Opatija cruise aims to take tourists away from these destinations, which continue to suffer from overcrowding, and introduce guests to other, equally beautiful areas of the country.

This isn’t the first time that Unforgettable Croatia has implemented schemes to give back to the country of Croatia and its surrounding islands. In fact, the company intends to be the most eco-friendly cruise company in Croatia, with 10% of its annual profits going towards the Blue World Institute in Losinj in order to help fund dolphin and turtle conservation. They have also launched a number of sustainable initiatives on their ships, including a no-plastic-on-board policy and a “buy local” scheme aimed at benefiting the local companies in each of the islands where their ships dock.

The Signature Opatija cruise is priced at £1,595pp including 7 nights’ accommodation, all excursions, including food and wine tasting, a tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, and a traditional Croatian home-hosted meal, and airport transfers. The price excludes flights.  (TravelDailyNews)


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