July 15-25, 2021 “Luxury Game of Thrones Cruise” Sold out
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We all need something thrilling to look forward to. Do yourself a favor and join us for 10 glorious days on our very private and unique new Game of Thrones (GoT) yacht cruise to the Pearls of the Adriatic! Croatia’s incomparable islands- where calm seas lap the Dalmatian coast: where farm to table food is abundant as the sunshine here: where tiny towns come alive at night and where are you photograph breathtaking landscapes. It’s a dream trip to unpack once on our 7-night yacht. Then we had two extra land days to play in 9 delightful towns. You’ll see an eyeful with plenty of Vitamin Sea!
The most memorable scenes of GoT will come alive as we see Kings Landings, Qarth, Braavos, Meereen and Westeros Riverlands. This trip has been featured in Lonely Plant with tours to the many filming locations. Never heard of John Snow? Whether you’re a GoT fan or have never watched an episode, Croatia is the hippest place to visit now! Along the Bluest Aegean Sea, Croatia is filled with natural wonders of sweeping coastal cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, rolling vineyards and year-round sunshine. Also, 13thcentury castles dot the landscapes and plenty of UNESCO sites. In fact, this tiny country has more UNESCO sites per capita than any other on earth!
Now, picture it all while being pampered aboard what is virtually your own private yacht, where mega-ships can’t enter. Our luxury vessel gets us deep into hidden hamlets of beauty. Wait until you see the new MS Memories filled with 36 AFS guests. You’ll get signature service with a concierge team that treats you like royalty and our GoT guides are Croatian Experts. Every day provides unique thrills and it all ends with a GoT farewell party in unforgettable Dubrovnik, a city that stuns on its own.
This trip is so inclusive with daily guided walking tours to iconic sites, a GoT goodie bag, transfers, gourmet meals, evening entertainment, even Wi-Fi aboard. We also included a bicycle tour, family winery, oyster farm, Marco Polo’s house, museums and more. From the jet-set island of Hvar to fabulous Montenegro. You’ll discover the incomparable towns of Split, Sibenik, Bisevo, Korcula, Strom and the stunning National Parks of Mljet and Krka.
After our week-long cruise, we take you to the delightful country of Montenegro. Explore the bustling marina, clustering of churches and charming Old Town of Stari Grad. Summer is high season, but we got what is truly an off-season rate for you. This new AFS escape is so uniquely crafted, it will sell out faster than you can say, “Hodor” – a small group trip of a lifetime. And your chance to sail the Aegean in a way that only the uber-rich enjoy. Book now to grab your cabin choice!
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Game Of Thrones Filming Locations In Real Life
- #1. King’s Landing: Dubrovnik, Croatia. …
- #2. Braavos: Sibenik, Croatia. …
- #10 Meereen: Kliss Fortress, Croatia
- #14 Landscapes Of The West: Krka National Park, Croatia
- #19 Entrance To The House Of The Undying | The Minceta Tower, Dubrovnik
- #29 The Red Keep: Lovrijenac Castle, Castle
- #30 King’s Landing: Ston, Croatia
- #32 Underground Passageways In Meereen: Basements Of Diocletian’s Palace, Split, Croatia
- See all…https://www.boredpanda.com/game-of-thrones-real-life-locations/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
Welcome to Croatia – by Lonely Planet
If your Mediterranean fantasies feature balmy days by sapphire waters in the shade of ancient walled towns, Croatia is the place to turn them into reality.
Croatia’s extraordinary island-speckled coastline is indisputably its main attraction. The first thing that st
rikes you is the remarkable clarity of the water. When it’s set against a dazzling white pebbly beach, the water sparkles with a jewel-like intensity in shades of emerald and sapphire. There are long sandy and shingly stretches too – perfect for lazy days spent lounging and devouring trashy holiday novels. If that all sounds too relaxing, there are water-based activities at hand to lure you off your sun lounger – snorkeling, diving, kayaking, windsurfingand sailing, just for starters.
Beauty on the Inside
Shift your gaze for just a moment from the glittering waters and chances are an almighty mountain will loom into view. The Dinaric Range, which stretches all the way from Italy to Albania, hugs much of the coast. The limestone karst has bequeathed a wonderland of craggy peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls and ridiculously picturesque lakes. Head further inland and things flatten out again into rolling farmland. Active types will find plenty of chances to get among it on the numerous hiking and biking trails, while the more adventurous can have a go at rock climbing, rafting and zip-lining.
If you’re lucky enough to cross the tourist/guest barrier and be invited into a local’s home, you’ll soon become acquainted with the refrain ‘Jedi! Jedi! Jedi!’ (Eat! Eat! Eat!). Sharing food and drink plays a big part in the culture here, which speaks both to the nature of Croatian hospitality and to the quality of local produce. Simple, homestyle cooking is a feature of family-run taverns, but increasingly a new breed of chefs are bringing a more adventurous approach to the table. Meanwhile, Croatian wines and olive oils are making their mark on the world stage, garnering top awards. – LP
Hvar Town’s beautiful Renaissance architecture and pleasant weather make it as picturesque as a fairytale. From the magnificent piazza at the center of the island to the oldest municipal theater in Europe, this town surely has an array of attractions to intrigue any visitor. Stephen’s Cathedral, the palaces of Groda, and the stone-built houses of Burag are among a few of the exciting features Hvar Town has to offer all its visitors.
Stari Grad, also known as Pharos, is the oldest town in Croatia. In 384 BC, the same year as Aristotle’s birth, Greeks from the island of Paros settled here. This town is considered the historical center of the island of Hvar. The many years this town has seen have left behind monuments, narrow streets, and charming squares that still stand today. These combined with beautiful fields and ocean views produce harmony between both the natural and human history here.
Split, a town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, centered on the Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian. With enough history to warrant it’s own extended visit, many visitors use Split as a base to explore the surrounding Dalmatian Islands.
Split is known for its beaches and the fortress-like complex at its center, Diocletian’s Palace, erected by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards and galleries are shops, bars, cafes, cathedrals, hotels and several houses.
Old City of Dubrovnik
Walls are built to protect treasures, and, in Dubrovnik, this is particularly accurate, with 1,940 meters of stone surrounding one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As George Bernard Shaw stated: “If you want to see heaven on Earth, come to Dubrovnik”. “The Pearl of the Adriatic” has captivated and seduced kings and artists for centuries with its immaculate medieval architecture.
The Pearl of the Adriatic
The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onward. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration program coordinated by UNESCO.
Krka National Park
The largest part of this amazing river’s course is the national park, which in addition to its natural phenomena abounds with cultural and historical monuments. The most outstanding of these is the Franciscan monastery on the tiny island of Visovac, set in the middle of the lake widening in the river like a precious stone. Within the monastery, there is a picture gallery and a church, origins of which are traced back to the 14th century. In the middle of the canyon, upstream of the river, is an interesting Krka Orthodox monastery; while on the high ground above the river several old ruins sit. The old mills, which have been transformed into small ethnographic museums where one can see how wheat was ground in the olden days, are a popular attraction for visitors. Heritage interpreters are dressed in traditional folk costumes, which are particularly interesting and entertaining for children, who are frequent visitors of the park. However, the main attraction of Krka National Park lies in its seven waterfalls. The widest of these is Roški slap, although Skradinski buk is the biggest and most well known.
Krka National Park lies within Šibenik-Knin County and covers a total area of 109 square km of the most beautiful sections of the Krka River, as well as the lower course of the Čikola River. The Park is a vast and mainly unaltered area of exceptional natural treasures, including some preserved and insignificantly altered ecosystems. The purpose of the park is to serve science, culture, education, and recreation, while tourism activities have also been introduced for its visitors.
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
WAITLIST All must log in to Book or Wait
Depart USA July 15 or earlier for an overnight flight. Detailed Trip Tips coming soon by email to those that booked with all you need to know.
July 16 – SPLIT (D)
The trip officially starts today at Split airport. We will meet our guide at the Split airport and head to the Hotel Ora near Split harbor. Check-in is from 2pm. We will spend the afternoon touring the beautiful historic town of Split. Split is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts an abundance of classic Roman architecture, which includes the splendid Diocletian Palace where Game of Thrones Queen Daenerys trained her 3 dragons.
We visit Klis Fortress, where Daenerys seized the city of Meereen, freeing the slaves from their masters. You will explore a small village, Zrnovnica, where Missandei, Daenery’s handmaid and interpreter had her bathing scene.
Tonight, your week’s GoT island-hopping will begin with the Welcome meet and greet cocktail reception on board the Memories. You will be introduced to the Cruise Director, Captain and crew and fellow passengers.
Overnight in Split. Hotel Ora. http://www.hotel-ora.hr
July 17 – SPLIT – SIBENIK – KRKA NATIONAL PARK (B, L)
In the morning, we will board the MS Memories and set sail for the medieval city of Sibenik, founded over 1000 years ago. After arriving, we’ll make our way to the stunning Krka Waterfalls National Park, a true phenomenon of nature. Get your cameras ready to admire the beautiful waterfalls and stroll along pathways winding through the lush flora with a refreshing swim opportunity in front of stunning Skradinski Buk waterfall. Return to Sibenik where you can meander through the labyrinth of backstreets to discover the hidden gems such as the UNESCO listed St John’s Church.
By day there’s plenty of watersports to enjoy in the clear waters of the Adriatic. The harbors of these towns are too small for big ships and so delightful to explore on own. Your evening is free to enjoy this enchanting town.
Overnight in Sibenik aboard MS Bellissima
July 18 – SPLIR-SIBENIK-KRKA NATIONAL PARK (B,D)
We set sail for the medieval city of Sibenik. Upon arrival we head to the stunning Krka Waterfalls National Park. Return to Sibenik and meander through the labyrinth the back streets discovered a hidden gems of the UNESCO listed Saint John’s church.
Overnight in Sibenik aboard yacht
July 19 – SIBENIK – VIS (B, L, D)
We sail in the morning on towards the peaceful island of Vis, which was once a strategic Yugoslav naval base. Due to the island’s seclusion and isolation, Vis has a unique charm that typifies ‘the Mediterranean as it once was’. It is also famed as the setting for the hit movie, Mama Mia 2. We have a fantastic wine-tasting experience at a family winery where you will sample some of the delicious local wines. You can also visit the fascinating City museum or enjoy a leisurely stroll whilst enjoying the views of the elegant Villae Rusticae, situated along the waterfront. Enjoy your time here during the late afternoon and evening, or you can choose to spend your evening aboard the Memories.
Overnight MS Memories
July 20 – VIS – HVAR (B, L)
We continue cruising towards the cosmopolitan island of Hvar which is renowned for its stunning and fragrant fields of lavender as well as its beaches and wineries. On route, we head to Bisevo to explore the breathtaking Blue Cave. This is truly a natural marvel, a sea grotto of illuminated light. Once we arrive in Hvar, we will take our guided walking tour to experience the town’s most popular landmarks, including the Renaissance cathedral with its original tower. The town fort overlooks the harbor and offers stunning scenic views of the Pakleni islands. Hvar also has a large mix of excellent restaurants, bars and cafes to sample.
Optional Experience – We can arrange a traditional Croatian dinner in a unique abandoned village. Including 2 courses with a glass of wine.
Overnight aboard yacht
July 21 – HVAR – KORCULA (B, L, D)
We head on to the striking island of Korčula, which is best known as the birthplace of the famous explorer Marco Polo. Admire the stunning secluded bays en route. Once we arrive in Korčula, we set out immediately for a guided tour of this charming Old Town. The small fortified town, ruled by Venetians in the past, has an ingenious layout in the shape of a fishbone, both to prevent the strong winds from chilling the houses in winter, and to increase the air circulation in the summer.
Tonight we have a traditional village evening arranged with authentic local entertainment!
Overnight in Korcula aboard yacht
July 22 – KORCULA – MLJET – SLANO/ STON (B, L, D)
We set sail early this morning for the tranquil and stunning Mljet National Park. On arrival, we join our local cycle guide for a relaxed-paced two-wheeled adventure around the famous salt lakes. We continue to the village of Slano, situated on the mainland. It is a peaceful traditional fishermen’s village and the entrance point to Ston, another fortified small village that is famous for its oysters. After exploring the town’s medieval ramparts, we will take you to an oyster farm, where you will have the opportunity to sample fresh oysters, washed down with the local brandy liquor.
Overnight in Slano/ Ston aboard aboard yacht
July 23 – SLANO – DUBROVNIK (B, L, D)
On the final day of our cruise, we make an early departure to Dubrovnik. This ancient city boasts many historical buildings that date back to the time of the old Dubrovnik Republic. We will have an extensive guided walking tour of this magnificent city and you will enjoy magnificent, panoramic scenic views of the ancient city and beautiful Elaphiti Islands. We will explore all of the main sites, used on the GoT series, including the Meineeta Tower, the highest point of the city, filmed when Daenerys and Jorah Mormont attempted to enter the House of the Undying as Daenerys attempts to retrieve her stolen dragons.
Tonight will be one of the highlights, the Farewell Party set in the heart of the Kings Landing, at the Bokar Fortress. A fun evening, full of surprises!
Overnight in Dubrovnik aboard yacht
JULY 24 – Dubrovnik / Montenegro (B,D)
After breakfast and checking off the ship, we head to the charming small country of Montenegro. Montenegro may be one of the smallest countries in Europe but is undeniably large in every other way – from its dramatic vistas and endless coastline to its magnificently preserved architecture. The atmospheric, walled old city of Kotor was built between the 12th and 14th centuries.
Enjoy a guided tour of the old town of Kotor, a UNESCO Site. The sheltered bay for the chic yachting set and enchants visitors with so much to do here. We take a stroll through its atmospheric and historic streets that Napoleon once walked, set within a truly stunning backdrop. It is a medieval maze of winding streets and squares, Romanesque churches, the dazzling cathedral, and Venetian palaces and pillories. Further around the bay, the baroque town of Perast is the site of a famous victory against the Ottomans. We return to Dubrovnik and check into our hotel for the final night of this GoT Adventure.
Overnight: Dubrovnik – Hotel Lapad Great hotel with pool, beach and airport shuttle.
JULY 25 – Departure
After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye to all the fellow GoT enthusiasts after an incredible adventure and transfer to the airport for our flights home.
Deposit: $700 A second $500 deposit Feb 15 and final payment Mar 15
Land & Cruise Price- SOLD OUT
Limited to 36
- 1 night at Hotel Ora bed & breakfast
- Private transfer to Split Harbour to board cruise
- 7 Night Game of Thrones themed deluxe balcony cruise
- Visit the iconic Game of Thrones filming locations accompanied by GoT goodie bag I know arrival
- Wine tasting experience on the island of Vis
- Oyster farm visit and tasting experience in Stan & visit to Trsteno Arboretum Gardens
- Guided tours of Split and Dubrovnik with our Game of Thrones experts
- Gated cycle tour of the Miljet National Park
- Guided tour and entrance to the Blue Cave
- Guided tour in the entrance to the Krka National Park
- Professional English-speaking cruise director
- Complimentary Wi-Fi onboard
- Daily cabin service and luggage handling
- Visitors taxes and port fees
- Tour of Montenegro
- One night at Hotel Lapad any bed-and-breakfast basis
- Private transfer tube Dubrovnik airport
Not Included: Gratuities
The ship will add gratuities to your final bill. For land portion, we will ask you to pay on own, so these will not be collected in advance.
- Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
- Single rooms limited with $ supplement. Cost varies. Email us for availability. AFS will find you a roommate.
- The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it. A minimum number of 12 is needed.
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy. Travel insurance is important nowadays. It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
- Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details.
Air – Detailed in trip tips emailed to all bookers
A bit about our sailing yacht…
MV Bellissima Ship
- Launch Date: 2020 Cabins: 19 Length: 53 meters Beam: 8.6 meters Passengers: 38 Cruising Speed (Knots): 12 Knots Water Capacity (L): 48000 L Fuel Capacity (L): 16000 L Crew: Yes
July 17 – Split Hotel Ora
July 25 Hotel Lapad Dubrovnik
- All prices are per person twin share. Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies. Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably. AFS will find you a roommate match. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
- Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate.
- We write our itineraries over a year in advance. Though unlikely, we always reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary.
- Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!
AFS Croatia Sailing 2021 Trip Tips
Prepare to be thrilled by enchanting islands, charming hill towns, sparkling waterfalls and culinary delights. Croatia is trending at the top of the traveler’s lists. This trip by land and sea has it all with diversity at every port. I wonder which will be your favorite? Our past groups here loved them all. What makes your visit special is our small yacht, the MV Bellissima. This sold out quickly and you are the fortunate ones to grab space early. We have a wonderful group of 32 travel lovers to fill our boat. After final payments are in, we will send you the contact and room lists. Please print these out. Updates will be added here as departure nears.
Thank you for your patience with us as we’ve been tending to seven groups prior to yours in July. As of today, this trip is a Go! I know a few of you have concerns but please understand you are in expert hands. Our small boat Bellissima is exclusively chartered for AFS. Our 9 vaccinated crewmembers are excited to serve “this singles group from America”. You’ll be visiting the quieter islands. All sites will be open by May 30 for international visitors and all tour operators are running Dalmatian coast sailing’s this summer. We expect all restrictions to be lifted well before your arrival.
Now is the time to get your air if you don’t have it. See air below. Print these tips out and start your Croatia file to ensure you have all details. Reach out to Janice or us. More will come.
Trip Tips are designed to answer trip-related questions. It’s your responsibility to read this information. All updates will be posted here, so check back from time to time.
First, we want to thank you for your booking! We are sincerely blown away by your support these past few months. It validates the trust and values on which AFS was built. As the world moves into re-entry and countries open, so will we. Travel is as a shared experience. Together we will press on and travel fearlessly. Below are new guidelines for you to travel with confidence but they do not preclude you from having fun and enjoying your trip.
For your protection, we want you to be proactive with the following new traveler health and safety protocols that involve teamwork and personal responsibility. We will try our best to keep you up to date on these adjustments as we all understand things are constantly changing. It’s a huge challenge to know everything on all airlines, airports, hotels, etc. around the world. We are monitoring all tourist boards, travel trade press, the mega tour operators and more for the latest available information.
All our trips are different, so specific plans may be circumstantial. As life itself, all travel comes with some inherent risk the minute we step out our door. Ultimately each of us must be responsible for our own actions along the way. We are working directly with each country to know the best practices at every destination. That being said, we have a blanket procedure below that will be practiced on ALL AFS trips, such as social distancing and wearing face masks at certain points during the trip. Our local guides will brief you on specific procedures upon arrival. We are in close communication with our suppliers and local teams to ensure they follow appropriate safety standards along the way. They are fully committed to ensuring your well-being! Each region has different requirements for travelers which we must follow. All tour companies are learning how to adapt to local conditions. Please understand we reserve the right to amend any policies and appreciate your understanding in this unprecedented and unpredictable time. It is your responsibility to review the modified AFS terms and to carefully read the steps below regarding COVID-19.
- If you are in a high-risk group, you should not choose to travel
- It is your responsibility to check resources provided below as well as your airline Covid policy and requirements. You may need to complete pre-boarding questionnaire declaring you are healthy to board and will adhere to new onboard hygiene procedures. Also, you must check for any change in flight schedules or updates on airline website
- You may need to show proof of health such as a doctor’s wellness note. You cannot have any COVID-19 symptoms such as sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, fever over 100.4 and verify you have not been in contact with someone who tested positive for CV in the last 14 days.
- Follow safety measures on trips: frequent handwashing, bring your own hand sanitizer, exercise social distancing whenever viable or advised, wear a face mask when recommended.
- Travel insurance is a must nowadays. worldnomads.com is both excellent and affordable. Please note we are not responsible for additional cost due to quarantine or illness.
Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. Together we can support each other and fully enjoy our vacation.
Your Fearless GTL (Gracious Trip Leader, not a guide but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly) Janice McDonald
Your GTL Janice was an early AFSer and has traveled with Suzy since almost the beginning. She has visited more than 80 countries and all 7 continents both on her own and in her job as a writer and television producer! She has actually been to Antarctica TWICE – once with the legendary Jacques Cousteau and a second time with Prince Albert of Monaco. Imagine that. While she currently works mostly with ABC News, she spent 20 years with CNN, reporting news across the globe. A prolific writer, Janice has written 17 books on travel and history. She also has an independent production company called J-Mac Productions which has afforded her the opportunity to do independent documentaries as well as producing marketing, training and commercial materials. She has won numerous awards including 6 Emmys and three Edward R. Murrows for her work.
No words can describe her professionalism and bubbly personality. Janice consistently remains upbeat even when things don’t go as planned and is simply Large Fun to go on a solo travel tour with!
Trip Prep –
- Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS. Carefully read Covid rules.
- PCR Test – This is PCR test with Rapid Results within 24 hours. Most urgent care places offer these. Read Covid news below.
- Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after your return date and has two blank pages. We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy.
- To speed through US Customs, download Mobile Passport. Look in your App Store for details.
- Notify bank and cc companies of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
- Visas – No visas are needed for US citizens for this trip.
- Vaccines are rolling out faster than ever now. Be patient. I just got mine feeling it will eventually be necessary for travel. Many countries now are eliminating Covid test and quarantine for vaccinated visitors. Don’t laminate vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it. You can take photo of both sides and store on phone or copy both sides and laminate the copy.
- All airline Covid rules differ. It is imperative to read your airline rules to ensure a smooth departure! Click here for the latest info on PCR tests required to travel abroad. Failure to get the correct test may cause the airline to turn you away.
Fitness level – 2 (No trouble walking)
Air – We are not offering group air as nowadays travelers getting better rates on own. July 15-25. Land begins July 16. You fly USA to Split, July 15 or earlier and then out of Dubrovnik on July 25. Fewer people booking our group air nowadays because they find better rates on their own directly from their hometown or use points. To arrange your own air from your hometown use Momondo, Google Flights and Skyscanner. Call us if you need help. Airlines to consider Turkish Air, Lufthansa, Austrian Air, KLM, Air France, BA, United, Delta and others.
- Air update (June 2021). Everyone, check your flights! Airlines are canceling routes left and right now, Manny won’t even inform you by email that there’s been a change. If your flight has been canceled, they MUST Will you book you on any other carrier to accommodate your schedule. Stand firm. If you’re not getting anyplace ask for their supervisor. (Good news conversely many airlines are adding other new routes which be a better fir for you.)
Transfers – Since all arrive at different times it’s best to use Uber or share a taxi to hotel Ora. Very near and affordable. Connect on your private FB group for more ideas. We will have a single return airport transfer at the end of the trip for all.
If you go early and check-in AFS hotel before group arrives, it’s your responsibility to change rooms with your roommate if necessary day one when trip begins.
Meet Up With Group- On July 16 (day one), a time will be set to meet the group at the Hotel Ora in Split for a briefing. More on this later.
Accommodations – Please see the Air/Lodging tab on this website for details. Hotels can change, but it’s rare. Google each to see how cool the properties are.
- Split, Croatia Hotel Ora – https://www.hotel-ora.hr/en/
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Hotel Lapad – https://www.hotel-lapad.hr
Baggage – No Godzilla bags! This is a small boat with limited space. Think light to ease your burden – not like you’re fleeing your homeland. 1 carry-on bag & 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 40 lbs are standard. Weigh on a bathroom scale. This weight limit is set for our porterage and luggage vans that have limited space.
Packing – Summer Weather: You can expect dry, warm, and glorious weather this time of year. Check Google Weather for climate in Croatia a week prior to departure. Temps should be within the 72-86F range in July.
This trip is so easy and think light layers. Simply pack versatile clothing including a light jacket for nights and long flights. Also bring sun protection, a daypack, wide brim hat, comfy sneakers/walking shoes, hiking boots, wet shoes, and swimwear for pools and the beach.
Electric – European plugs are onboard. Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets don’t need a voltage converter, but you will need an adapter plug. AFSers often leave charger cords in their rooms, so be sure to double-check your room before check out. Croatia has the two rounded European outlets and operates with types C and F associated plugs. Type C is the plug that has two round pins, and type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Most electrical devices support both.
Money Matters – You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping – $300 should suffice. I convert half of it upon entry. Be cautious when withdrawing local currency from an ATM. The safest ATMs to withdraw from are at airports, banks, or hotels. Independent ones are risky. Always shield your pin number when entering info. Credit cards are far safer than using your debit card. I use my credit card for most purchases. Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.
Currency – Current Exchange Rate (approximate)
- $1USD = 6.71 Croatian Kuna
- €1 Euro = 7.40 Croatian Kuna
Follow the link https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates to create a conversion cheat sheet.
Gratuities – It is protocol to tip our private guides, airport assistance and drivers on land portion in Split, Dubrovnik & Montenegro. $30 will be added to your invoice for ease of distribution by Janice pre-and post-cruise. The ship will add gratuities to your final bill to cover your crew. It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers, ground staff, etc.
Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly. All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I personally carry a stash of $US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. AFSers will roll bags to their own rooms. If you choose to use bell staff or a porter, please tip $2 USD. Restaurants – 10% unless you note that tip is already included.
Communication – Internet is available. With cell phones/smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Roaming rates (used by Facebook and other apps) are expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, What’sApp and Facebook messaging when using Wi-Fi are best! I don’t know anyone who makes calls home nowadays. Never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad. Want affordable data in many countries abroad? We’ve been using Skyroam. All the data you want to use Bluetooth for to access your devices is for just $10 per day. See https://www.skyroam.com for details.
Be Smart –
- “Avoid Hackers on Vacation,” experts say! Thieves not only want your money, but also your hard-earned Frequent Flyer Points. Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN. It’s worth the cost. In hotel and ship rooms, hide iPads or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
- Grab a hotel business card before heading out in case you get lost.
- Pickpockets are everywhere – especially at night. Never carry your passport outside of the room.
- Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water. That being said, Croatian water is one of the cleanest in the world. Eat clean food and avoid street vendors.
Retail Therapy – There is wonderful shopping in Croatia. Even non-shoppers will find themselves tempted by local goodies. Our past groups have come back with the coolest stuff. Sought out treasures in Croatia include traditional Croatian cravats (ties), Sestine umbrellas, beautiful local jewelry or crafts, Samobor crystals, traditional woven lace, licitar hearts (gingerbread), artisan olive oils, cheeses, lavender products, coffee, salt, sweets, and rakija (a popular regional liqueur).
Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, please know it is always polite to first ask for permission.
Your Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) on our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame!
Websites of Interest – Google each port: Split, Kotor, Hvar, Krka Nat. Park, etc. Best site whatsinport.com
- I love www.whatsinport.com for endless ideas in each port.
Cuisines – Traditional Croatian dishes typically consist of meats and charcuterie, skewers, seafood, black risotto, octopus salad, pastas, cheeses (try pag cheese), and variety of deserts, sweets, and pastries. Chicken and veal with gnocchi and hearty sauces are often on the menu. You will delight in eating oysters in Dubrovnik and relish trying the popular dish soparnik (a savory pie filled with Swiss chard) in Split. Zagorski Štrukli, an authentic Croatian dish, is a cheese based thin pastry layered with a local cheese and is worth the calories!
Croatia is a country of coffee drinkers, and there are coffee houses located throughout the country. Sample the many locally made or home-brewed beers as well as local wines (sip on Croatian Prošek, a red fortified wine). Common liqueurs and spirits include maraschino (derived from cherries) and rakija.
Roomies – Single supplement rates have significantly increased – if available at all. Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but you can save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching. 99% of our clients are wonderful, and besides, you’re only in your room to sleep at night.
Leisure Time – Our expert crew will advise on options like hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rafting and more AFS travelers revel in the element of surprise in new destinations and allow the wind to blow them where it will. It’s best to ask our local expert guides for suggestions upon arrival. Our trip is filled with awesome daily tours, but there will also be some free time.
Split: Exhilarate with a city view from the bell tower, check out the blue caves, or rent a paddleboat for some sporting activity. Have dinner cooked from produce you choose at local morning markets – Pazar (farmer’s market) and Pescarija (fish market).
Sibenik: Take a dip into the Skradinski Buk cascade.
Vis: Think about renting an all-terrain bike or hiring a scooter to cruise the coastal roads for stunning panoramas.
Hvar: Feel free to roam to the backstreets of Hvar around St. Stephen’s Square. Here, you will find beautiful architecture featuring typical Venetian windows, and these streets are terrific for random urban exploration and shopping.
Korcula: Windsurf or catch an independent film at the local open-air theater. Take in a traditional sword dance and theatrical drama (Moreska) at an open-air stage. Book a donkey ride to see fantastic vistas of the city, or watch the city’s glorious sunsets from Maksimilijan Garden. Rent a bicycle to explore the island and be sure to enjoy the area’s fresh local seafood and wine (Posp and Grk). Seek out a restaurant that serves scrumptious Zrunovksa Makuruni (homemade pasta shaped tubes with sauce), and make sure to try homemade limoncello!
Mljet: Comprised of a large forest surrounded by crystal-clear sea allows one to soak in the serenity and peacefulness of unadulterated nature.
Slano: Indulge in relaxing at a Hammams/Turkish bath and spa or engage in local water sports.
Dubrovnik: Beyond historic discovery and cable car climbing, gaze upon the city from Park Orsula, visit Buza Bar (hole-in-the-wall gem), catch a show at an open-air cinema, kayak to Lokrum Island, or escape the crowds & cool off at Sveti Jakov Beach.
Kotor (Montenegro): This lovely town is surrounded by fjords and it is wonderful to wander and navigate its alleys. Check out the local markets, visit the blue caves, and of course, don’t miss visiting Our Lady of the Rocks.
Private Facebook Group Page – The benefit of the Private FB Group Page is that you have an opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow travelers before departure and share trip photos during and after the tour. The link will be created and emailed to you when the Final Payment is due (about 4 months prior to trip).
Why are we are doing it this way?
We have found that some bookers never read Trip Tips and jump right to the Private FB Group Page assuming that they will get all trip info needed. But, this is not true; often, they only receive misinformation and rumors. We considered dropping the page, but many enjoy it and so we are keeping it as a compromise.
Arranging Pre- or Post- Trip Plans – We often see AFSers on your Private Facebook Page urging others to join them in traveling to other countries before or after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this nor is responsible for side trips.
Emergency Contact – Please call the AFS phone at: 770-432-8225, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your guide can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own cell phone.
Cancellation Penalty – At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Open the following link to review our terms again: https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/
Optional Travel Insurance – If you would like travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 21 days of your Initial Deposit in order to ensure coverage. For more details, click Travel Insurance 101
Click Purchase Travel Insurance online or click on one of the links below to purchase travel insurance:
- https://www.travelsafe.com/agent-insurance-plans?a=116C7AB9-8B4C-47AF-AE9E-7D26AB3A6A0E or phone them at (888) 885-7233 and give them the code “ADVGA02”. If you need assistance, I will email the form to you.
If you need assistance, I will email the form to you upon request.
Travel Insurance– If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.) or want to be covered for Covid caused delays, you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage. The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period. Unfortunately, you need to ask specific questions to your insurance company. Squaremouth.com and insuremytrip.com answers all. A standard policy may not cover Covid related issues. Often CFAR or cancel for any reason will. Ask carrier.
Click to learn about Travel Insurance 101.
Then click Purchase Travel Insurance online
Travel Psychology 101 – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that with travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit. If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?… The unexpected may prove to be a better experience. Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude. Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness. Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.
The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy
“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman
Please note that AFS is non-partisan – With our homogeneous groups, we all want to focus on the common denominator – our love of travel. In today’s divisive world, we suggest members not discuss politics and if you must, please practice my rule of TOK: Tolerance, Open-mindedness and Kindness.
Book AFS with Confidence 2021– Thank you for booking! We are blown away by the support from all of you throughout this pandemic. It validates the trust and values AFS was built on over 35 years. As countries reopen, so will we. Travel is a shared experience. Together we press on and travel boldly. Below are new guidelines. We all must adapt and embrace any challenges with confidence for the freedom and privilege to travel.
We’ve faced many challenges over decades and the health of our travelers always comes first. As the world slowly opens, we are dedicated to creating responsible adventures! All our trips are different, so specific plans in each region may be circumstantial. We work closely with our local suppliers and vetted partners to know the best practice in each country. That being said, we present a blanket procedure below to be followed on ALL AFS trips. Our local guides will brief you on arrival with the support of our Trip Leaders to ensure we follow local safety protocols. They are fully committed to aiding your well-being.
We will re-discover the world through more slow, easy and mindful travel. Our groups will be smaller. All clients must take the AFS pledge that they are Covid free and will follow all safety protocols. Booking travel now is complex because rules always change. Tour companies can’t become “health and safety experts” when policies are inconsistent. Even experts are in the dark at times with the changing patchwork of government laws, but we are committed to doing our best. This is a learning process for all of us and as we go, we will strive to make each step as safe and seamless as possible for you.
As in life itself, travel comes with some inherent risk the minute we step out our door. Travel isn’t dangerous. Being irresponsible is. For your protection we want you to be proactive in following new health guidelines. They involve teamwork and personal responsibility, but they do not preclude you from having fun and enjoying your trip! Things constantly change and it’s a huge challenge for airlines, airports, hotels, cruises and tour companies. We will do our best to keep you up to date with any adjustments. Please understand we reserve the right to amend any tour activities, if needed. To present responsible travel, we at AFS do our part: Our vetted suppliers uphold the highest standards under CDC guidelines.
Safety measures on a trip; frequent handwashing, (bring personal sanitizer), exercise social distancing and wear a mask when applicable. Insurance provides trip cancellation, but not from fear, trip interruption, added medical protection. Call them to understand coverage. We are not responsible for any additional cost to you due to quarantine or illness
Helpful CV Resources– Below are helpful links to facts and stats for you to reference as you gear up for all your travel domestically and abroad.
- Facts about coronavirus-symptoms/transmission/precaution/treatment
- CDC entire situation summary
- US State Department Travel Advisories (Often old news)
Our Pledge to You – Our global suppliers uphold the highest standards under new CDC guidelines. We at AFS assure you we will continue to offer you quality trips to countries where you will feel protected – countries that are going to extraordinary lengths now to provide a safe visit. Each destination is far less crowded than ever before and that means better personal attention. We can trust our astute suppliers when each country is clear to visit. We’re taking great precautions and encourage you to remain positive. We will strive to make each step as safe and seamless as possible for you!
- We ensure that heightened sanitation methods have been adopted in every place we visit and that all hotel properties and vehicles have passed cleanliness protocols.
- Our guides and drivers must test negative and pass stringent safety measures.
- Most of our groups will be limited to half the size of normal in the past.
- We are choosing destinations with wide-open spaces for physical distancing. You will be spaced at meals to socialize safely.
- Some private tours for groups of friends only can be arranged.
- We’ll monitor your trip closely and provide a 24/7 emergency number if your trip is disrupted.
- All clients must take the AFS pledge that they are COVID-free and will follow all the safety protocols. Most AFSers have gotten vaccinations now.
Your Pledge to AFS – We ask you to assume personal responsibility to protect your health and the well-being of your fellow travelers, guides and locals.
- Read and print all updated Trip Tips on AFS website
- Consider travel insurance with trip interruption
- Stay healthy with vitamin D and zinc. Confirm within 14 days of departure but you have no symptoms of Covid nor being in close contact with anyone diagnosed with it.
- You agree to assume any risk of participating in trip activities, comply with applicable government, airline and health authorities.
- Exercise social distancing and local guides directions whenever possible.
- Sanitize your hands and phone throughout.
- Read our terms here – https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/
Rapid COVID-19 PCR Tests – Rules are changing daily! At this time, we must rely on each airlines policy. Read Covid rules at the top of airline website up to a week before departure. Every airline and country differ. 2 weeks prior we will send you final AFS departure letter with instructions specific to your trip.
At present, a Rapid (RT) PCR test is needed for international flights and to enter most countries and needed to return to USA. We hope this will be eliminated by the time your trip goes. RT-PCR is best some airlines are accepting other tests now. No mailing kits. All tests are free or covered by insurance. To get fast with no wait, make appointment at private lab for a fee. They are now thousands of labs around US. Also, more testing sites opening daily with easy drive through. Call your healthcare provider or Urgent Care near you. Or Google “free no cost Covid testing near me”. Most state and federal programs provide this. Or Google airport to see if Test is available there (JFK $75). Rural areas are more challenging. You may need to drive to an appointment in a nearby city. At present it’s free at Walgreens and CVS. They will bill your insurance company of $119. (Best trick – if you say you may have been “exposed to a Covid person” or if you feel “symptoms” like fatigue or say CDC recommended, it must be free.)
Outbound – Most airlines require negative PCR test within 96 to 72 hours prior to departure of your first flight. This new rule makes travel more challenging, but we must follow to protect ourselves and those on the flight. Read specific airline rules on website, also any rules on connections in transit. Those vaccinated still need to show a test, but may change. Get RT-PCR test with guaranteed results within 24 to 48 hours. They email result to you. Print out to bring at check in. Also screenshot copy on cell phone. Test must read “PCR”. (We’ve had nobody test positive yet, if so, call us 770-432-8225. Many tests are inaccurate and a re-test shows negative.) Don’t forget to bring your vaccine card if you have one!
Homebound – Airline may require negative PCR test to board departure flight. Each carrier differs. We hope this is eliminated by your trip date. If test is necessary within 72 hours of departure, we can help arrange test for group in each country. Details later by email. As of May 10 new mail in-home kits the CDC announced you can now bring to do there for return into USA. The CDC only certifies kits from eMeds- 6pack $150, however, outbound some airlines may not accept this for departure.
AFS “How to have a perfect time in port or Suzy’s secret port tips revealed.”
Cruises are a great value as an inclusive vacation but optional shore tours can cost a fortune if you’re not careful. I do recommend doing a few ship tours, particularly to sites far from port or when the only way to gain access to a place is via the ship.
Here are some tips to make the best of your time and money.
- Here is a great site to learn everything about the port. www.whatsinport.com
- If you really want a guided tour then save money by finding a ship tour you want. Then check Viator www.viator.com/ who often offers the same tour at half the cost!
- Decide in advance how you want to spend your hours in port. Do online research before departure on what you most want to see. Google each city. Find local events or public holidays when sites may be closed. (For private tours go to viatour.com or shoretrips.com, but maybe expensive.)
- At most ports, everybody is heading to the same famous sites. Hire a taxi outside the port fence. Get several friends to join you. Negotiate in advance a half-day rate. Use same taxi driver for drop off and pick up. Have a set price or ask driver for estimated meter amount. If all you need is a driver, skip the guide. Sometimes guides can be hired at the sites.
- Hire a private car and driver at local tour agency or hotel concierge. I do not recommend renting a car due to strict and different driving laws. I do rent scooters often.
- Onboard, read the daily descriptions of the ship tours to get ideas of significant places you can visit independently. Calculate the travel time from ship to site. Ask the crew. They know estimated times needed for transfers in and out at every port. When the ship anchors, you either walk into town or ride small tenders. Passengers who booked the ship tours are allowed off first to board the tenders. Be patient. You’ll have plenty of time to explore.
- Onboard, it’s hard to extract comprehensive information from the Shore Tour Desk They are trained NOT to give you suggestions for liability sake.
- Onshore walk into city center. Use public transit options. They are cheap, fast and authentic with locals. Lonely Planet guidebooks have the best logistical information on bus, train and ferry schedules for each city. Look for local tourist office. They can assist you with day tours often at ½ the price.
- Sometimes a ship tour is greater value than doing it alone. For example, precision timing for visiting Egypt’s pyramids. Port docks can be far away. In Italy, it’s a 2-hour drive to Rome. If a site is too challenging to get to or expensive to enter, book with the ship.
- Private AFS tours. Sometimes we can offer our own private group tours that are the same or more creative than the ship’s tour. They are always less expensive, more fun and leads to group unity. Cruiselines hate this. Some will even penalize us with fines to prevent it. If we offer one, please be discreet and follow disembarkation details form your trip leader.
- If you can afford it, feel free to book all shore excursions with the ship. Know however some tours may hold you hostage in select stores to push shopping.
- Wifi prices crazy expensive and slow onboard ship. Do your surfing on port days.
- Mind the germs. Wash your hands more on the ship.
- The crew does not have US Labor Laws at sea, getting low pay while working 13 hour days. Please tip cabin staff generously.
- No theft protection. Leave valuable and expensive jewelry at home as suggested by the cruise line.
- Google Lonely Planet cruiseline port details. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-tips-and-articles/cruise-ports-how-to-make-the-most-of-shore-excursions/40625c8c-8a11-5710-a052-1479d2755e97
Whatever you choose, be smart, be bold and use every minute onshore to the fullest.
31 secrets the cruise lines don’t tell you, for first-time and experienced cruisers
Cruise ship life can be a little mysterious. Your choices aren’t always spelled out in black and white.
The more you cruise, the more you pick up on the unofficial secrets the cruise lines don’t tell you — which give you more options, let you save money and generally allow you to have a better time onboard.
Maybe it’s knowing what your cabin steward is able to bring you or what the off-the-menu items are at the bar or dining room. Or perhaps it’s a tip on getting a good deal on an onboard purchase.
But why wait to figure these things out the hard way — possibly after you’ve missed your chance? We trawled through all the great advice on Cruise Critic’s message boards to bring you some of the worst-kept cruise secrets — at least among readers who love to share. But whether you’re a first-time cruiser or an old sea dog, you might find there’s something here you didn’t already know.
Cruise food secrets
Unlimited main dining: You are not limited to one of each appetizer, entree and dessert in the main dining room. You can order two entrees or three desserts if you choose. You can also order appetizer-sized portions of entrees as starters or order a few appetizers for your main meal. It’s a great way to try new foods you’re not sure you’ll like (escargot, anyone?).
Cheap or free room service: Room service is generally free, except for service charges on certain lines. Celebrity’s late-night orders bear a $4.95 fee, while all orders on Royal Caribbean (excluding continental breakfast) and Norwegian (excluding morning coffee, continental breakfast and orders placed by Haven Suite passengers) cost $7.95. Meanwhile, Carnival and Holland America offer for-fee room service menus in addition to their complementary menus. It’s recommended you tip your delivery person, but in-room dining is not the splurge it is at a hotel.
Breakfast options: For your morning meal, you might have more options than just the buffet and main dining room. On Norwegian, it’s no secret that O’Sheehan’s offers tasty made-to-order omelets and corned beef hash, yet many cruisers still don’t know about it. Carnival’s BlueIguana Cantina and Royal Caribbean’s Johnny Rockets and El Loco Fresh (on Oasis-class ships) are other alternative breakfast venues. Check your daily newsletter to see which restaurants are open in the morning.
Specialty dining on the first night: Most people dine in the main dining room or buffet on the first night of a cruise, and many haven’t discovered the specialty restaurants yet. If you book an alternative dining venue for the first night of the cruise, you might get a discount on select lines (like Celebrity Cruises) or have an easier time getting a reservation for a popular venue. Carnival Cruise Line passengers who dine in the steakhouse on the first night get a free bottle of wine.
SPLIT – Croatia’s Adriatic coast is a traveler’s playground, but if you want a sense of what life is like for locals, head to Split. Nestled in the heart of Dalmatia, this city is alive and authentic — and in this era of overtourism, it’s a breath of fresh air. With the turquoise sea at its front and green mountains at its back, the city’s mix of natural beauty and historical features creates the perfect blend for the versatile traveler.
More cruise tips – https://thepointsguy.com/guide/first-time-cruise-money-mistakes/