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The cruise ended today and I so wish that I could still be on the cruise. The MS Nikola is a lovely old boat with plenty of seating area options to enjoy the cruise. The crew, especially Tom, are great and available to help out with anything you need during the trip. We went to Hvar, Korcula, Slano, Dubrovnik, Mjet, and Omis on our trip with swim stops on 3 of the days. We had some bad weather upon leaving Dubrovnik so that changed our itinerary slightly, but honestly, I rather enjoyed having one day where absolutely nothing was going on. This is not a luxury cruise, so, if that is what you're after, don't book this trip. However, the cabin was very comfortable and what I was expecting for a boat trip make realistic expectations. The bathroom each cabin has its own is a combination shower/toilet/sink, but very workable. I'm 6'1, and was perfectly comfortable in the cabin and bathroom. The meals breakfast and lunch were always delicious if a bit filling. Don't bother booking dinner as part of your meal plan - you'll want to eat in port. As for the cruise director - he was fine, but really I don't see the benefit of having him onboard. He managed to disappear himself during cruising time and only appeared after lunch to let us know where to meet if you booked the tour for that port and recommend a restaurant for dinner. Otherwise, Tom was much more available and open to providing information about where we were going, etc. I met a real great group of fellow passengers and even though I was traveling solo the others were very welcoming and a real pleasure to spend 7 days with. The captain of the MS Nikola is a bit of a grump and does not interact with his passengers in the least, but this is okay. He does a fine job of getting us to our destinations and ensuring our safety. I just wish they would have a 2 week option of this trip in order to spend 2 nights in each port and truly experience each place.
Great tour on a smaller boat 24 passengers total. We got the half board, which includes breakfast and lunch. The breakfast was continental but plenty to eat and the lunch was more like dinner. Several very nice excursions were set up by the cruise manager that we took part in but were extra: 20-25 - a traditional meal and tour in a small village outside of Korcula, boat excursion in some canyons, ... Our tour was on the MB Nikola. The crew were very helpful. Only surprise was that the boat stayed in Split port on Saturday first night instead of Friday last night as our itinerary stated, which may have affected when we got into Split.
Overall the cruise was good. We enjoyed the island stops, the boat was nice and clean, and the crew was wonderful. It was supposed to be an independent cruise but I guess from what I heard from the crew, having a tour manager on board was something new this year. The tour manager 'persuaded' us to join the walking tours at each island stop, for extra charge of course. We were told it's optional, however if the minimum number of participants is not met, the tours will have to be cancelled. It was not in our plan but we ended up going as we felt bad for those who wanted to go. It would not have been a big deal but the quality of the tour was just so-so... I wish we were informed about this upfront or should just have included it in the total price of the cruise so there are no surprises.
The 7 night cruise Split to Split is highly recommended. Visited a different island each day arriving around 3-4pm enough time to explore the town before dinner. Meals were excellent and gave a good taste of the local Croatian cuisine, thanks Denis! All the staff very attentive and helpful, thanks Tom
For all of you wondering who runs this tour, it's a company called Elite. It appears that they subcontract with individual boat captains so you may not know what boat you'll be on until the last moment. They also use a variety of travel agents to book this tour. Unfortunately, because there are so many people booking and coordinating this trip, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the price, schedule, and timing of this tour. Make sure you confirm start time with the travel agent who emails you. Of the 38 passengers on board, we were all told different start times ranging from 11 am until 5 pm. The reality is that Elite allows the passengers to dictate when this tour leaves by being flexible on arrival times. This means you could be stuck in Split for a lot longer than you want. Don't arrive early. Despite what is publicized, the boat returns to Split by 1:30 on Friday and you overnight in Split harbor. Return flights can be booked for any time on Saturday - no need to add an extra day to accommodate an unknown arrival time. Viator's price included three meals a day. Not all passengers are required to pay for full board, so look around if you're interested in just half board. I would recommend half board. The food is plentiful but very average. The boat can accommodate dietary restrictions but confirm multiple times in writing. My biggest tip - force the crew to give you information about the schedule. The crew can and will vary the stops depending on the demands of the passengers. Unfortunately, the changes are not made democratically and you may not even be aware that you had options before changes are made. If you want the publicized intenerary - make sure you say so. Communication is weak on both Elite's and the crew's part. We didn't see a representative from Elite until Wednesday, and even then she showed up unprepared.
We sailed on the Mb Nikola. The boat is clean, but old. This is not a luxury cruise so manage your expectations accordingly.
This is an amazing trip...they let you go your own way but are always on hand with recommendations if you ask for them. Weather was beautiful and it was so relaxing watching the islands float by while sitting in a recliner on the deck in the shade! The ship is in great shape and the room is small but well-equipped.