9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic and Croatia

Cruise Advice
By

The beautifully sheltered Adriatic sea, running between the east coast of Italy, and the coast of the former Yugoslavia and Greece, is a cultural gem, the coastline dotted with ancient city states, significant trading cities and bishoprics.

En route to Venice, Phoenicians, Greeks and all the maritime traders of the ancient world plied these waters, bringing wealth and culture to settlements all along the coast. Palaces, towers, churches and mighty walls bear testament to a memorable past, whilst the myriad lavender scented islands, pretty bays and secluded beaches make this the perfect cruising area. Here are our favourite small ship choices.

SeaDream Yacht Club

The intimate SeaDream I, with just 114 fortunate guests on board, offers a totally laid-back al fresco inclusive yacht experience in September 2019 but watch out, as space is limited. You might need to hold fire until 2020.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - SeaDream I

Windstar

Windstar's magnificent five masted flagship Wind Surf, with a complement of 310 guests, explores the Adriatic on her Classic Italy and Dalmatian Coast itinerary: relaxed and unpretentious, this is the perfect choice for easy-going exploration.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Wind Sturf, Kotor, Montenegro

Ponant

Ponant's chic and elegant little Lyrial with 244 guests brings a touch of ooh la la to the Dalmatian coast. Various itineraries are on offer and we particularly like the Venice round trip with its port-intensive itinerary including gems such as Piran and Korcula.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Le Lyrial, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Crystal Cruises

The tiny 62 guest Esprit offers the finest yacht experience with outstanding food, stylish décor, outstanding service and fares that include everything - drinks, gratuities, even shore excursions are taken care of. If you're lucky you can enjoy watersports from the marina too (depending on the weather).

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Crystal Esprit, Adriatic

Noble Caledonia

Serious travellers will love the opportunity to explore this coast on board the 36 guest Queen Eleganza. The tour includes three days exploring Bosnia-Herzegovina before or after the cruise, and whilst on board, certain meals are not included, allowing you to dine ashore independently.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Bosnia & Herzegovina

Silversea

Silversea's newest ship Silver Moon will join the fleet in 2020. The perfect opportunity to test her out will be a 10 day round trip from Venice in early October - an intriguing itinerary with lots of opportunity to explore ashore, and to get the measure of this lovely new 600 guest vessel.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Silver Wind, Venice, Italy

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

In February 2020, Ritz Carlton makes its very first foray into cruising, bringing the whole Ritz Carlton land-based style to holidays at sea. Accommodating just 298 guests in spacious seaview suites, this intimate vessel will be in the Adriatic by May, the perfect combination of new ship and great itinerary.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection rendering

Seabourn

Seabourn's gracious 450 guest Seabourn Odyssey sails between Athens and Venice on appealing seven day itineraries. The company's close ties with UNESCO will make visits to the UNESCO sites along the way all the more exciting. And ship itself is elegant, comfortable and relaxed.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Acropolis, Athens

Star Clippers

Romance abounds as you slide gracefully under full sail on the lovely 170 guest four masted Star Flyer on a 7 day Croatia and Montenegro itinerary in September 2019. Heads will turn as you sail into the sunset as liberated as ever with the salty sea breeze rushing through your hair.

9 of the best small ships for the Adriatic & Croatia - Star Clippers
Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

More about Edwina

Get Cruise News, absolutely free.

The UK's most authoritative magazine about the world of luxury cruising. New ships, new destinations, new experiences and new offers. Be more informed, every two months, with Cruise News.

Order your copy