Charter broker Missy Johnston of Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters recently returned from a familiarization charter in Croatia. I caught up with her to get the scoop on this increasingly popular destination for crewed yacht charter.
What yacht were you aboard?
I was aboard the 122-foot motorsailer Navilux, which charters for 12 guests in six staterooms, each with private bath. Navilux is a steel-hulled yacht built in Croatia and launched in 2011. She was designed to fill a need for luxurious, gulet-style charter yachts in Croatia that are Croatian flagged, which means she has all-Croatian crew. I liked that all of the staterooms aboard Navilux are fairly equal in size, because it’s a great layout for a group to charter and share the costs.
How were the captain, chef, and crew?
Navilux was actually built by her owner and captain, Eugen Ercegovic. His daughter is an excellent stewardess, and her cousin is an excellent mate. Croatia has a lot of family-operated yachting businesses where the captain has been trained by his father, who was trained by his father before him. Eugen has been in the yacht charter business all of his life, and he knew how to build Navilux to offer top-quality luxury charter.
As for the chef, I was very pleased with the cuisine onboard. Chef Dragan did an excellent job of incorporating local, fresh ingredients including wild asparagus, fish, cheeses, wines, fruits, and vegetables. Croatia is a bountiful country with many local, fresh ingredients. It’s really a natural farm-to-table destination
What was your charter itinerary?
We cruised from Dubrovnik to Sibenik, stopping at all of the great spots in between including Mljet, Korcula, Trogir, and Hvar. While people inhabited Croatia from ancient times, the Medieval period made the biggest impact on the landscape, and there are a myriad of little walled Medieval villages on various islands and the mainland. They are exciting to explore.
Plus, the water was beautiful—crystal-clear with lovely shades of blue and green. We saw lots of oyster, clam, and mussel “shell farms” along the coast as well.
One of our favorite activities was having a local homestead dinner, where we went to a local farm for fresh seafood, vegetables, honey, olive oil, fruits, and wines, plus a traditional Pika meal cooked in hot ashes.
It sounds like you thought Croatia was a pretty great charter region in general.
I thought it was terrific. There is so much to see and do, so many anchorages and islands and lovely waters. The people were friendly, and the land and sea had an abundance of fresh food and seafood. Croatia is a large wine-producing region, with boutique wineries all over. And olive oil is a main staple, always freshly pressed.
What else should CharterWave readers know before booking a yacht charter in Croatia?
Croatia has just entered the European Union, so for next summer there may be VAT charges in addition to the base charter fee. The rest of the EU does have a VAT at various percentages, depending on the country.
Charter options include Croatia-flagged yachts with Croatian crew, some of which are terrific, and yachts with other flag states and international crew. There may be new rules coming that will apply to the vessel flag for chartering in Croatia. We must wait to see what next summer will bring. But Montenegro is right under Croatia,it is not part of the European Union, and it is a great cruising area as well. It can be part of a Croatia itinerary or a destination unto itself, depending on what happens next year with Croatia entering the EU.
Learn more about the motorsailer Navilux and yacht charter in Croatia by contacting Missy Johnston at Northrop and Johnson Worldwide Yacht Charters.