What are gulets, which are some of the top cruising routes in Croatia and when is the best time to go cruising? These are just some of the things that we asked Davor, an experienced and passionate captain of two gulets, who gave us a rare insight into his job and life. Meet him below!
Q: Hi Davor, how’s it going?
A: Really well, this is an exciting time of the year when I’m preparing for a big season ahead.
Q: Can you tell us about your experience as a professional captain - how did it all start and what are some of your favorite things about this unique job?
A: Well, it started from a very early age. My father was a captain and my mom has been in hospitality her whole life, so I was sort of involved in some aspects of this business ever since I was a kid. I’ve always had a great love for the sea, so being a gulet captain started more like a hobby for me, and it eventually turned out to be a full time job. And I could not be happier about that!
Q: You mentioned that you operate gulets. For everyone who is not super clear on the terminology, could you explain what gulets are?
A: Gullets are traditional wooden sailing vessels, mainly operated by motor, that were created for a perfect holiday and complete relaxation. They are truly my favorite type of vessel because they provide a perfect combination of comfort, mobility and privacy. I see them as floating holiday homes that ensure privacy and ability to check out all hidden spots on the coast.
Q: That’s great! And how would you compare the experience of a gulet cruise to other types of boats?
A: Gulets are usually very spacious - the cabins are larger compared to regular sailing boats, so the entire experience of cruising is more relaxed and comfortable.
Q: We know your job is very dynamic - how does your average day on the job look like? Is there even such a thing as an average day?
A: You are right, it is very dynamic, but still pretty easy-going. I get up early in the morning, go get some groceries, visit the local fish market with the guests, and then we continue cruising the coast. It really all depends on the dynamic of a group on the boat, but it's always a good time.
Q: How many boats do you operate and do you have a favorite one?
A: Currently two - San and Summer Princess, but I have hopes for a third one in near future. Even though I love Summer Princess, San (dream in Croatian) is definitely my favorite. It was always a dream for me to own a boat and San was my first one, so that’s where the name comes from. This is why it will always hold a special place in my life.
Q: You’ve been a captain for 12 years now, so we believe that you’ve seen almost all the Croatian coast. Do you have a favorite cruising route on the Adriatic?
A: The route from Split to Hvar and Pakleni islands, for sure. The nature there is just incredible and the quality of tourism in general is on a very high level, so it’s always fantastic to come back. You can’t go wrong with Hvar.
Q: And what about the guests? What have been some of their top routes in previous years?
A: Same actually, most of my guests are just crazy about Hvar. And I’m really glad, because I get to go there quite often!
Q: Speaking of guests - what is your most memorable experience as a gulet captain?
A: There have been many, but there is one that sticks out for me. It was a cruise with a family from Chile, who were of Croatian descent. One of the women from the group was born on Brač island and has not come back in over 40 years. So right when we sailed into Pušičće harbor on Brač, she instantly kissed the ground and things got very emotional. This happened a long time ago, but it still remains one of my favorite memories.
Q: What time of the year do you think is ideal to book a cruise in Croatia?
A: Any time from April to October is good, but for me the best time is September. The weather is still great, the sea is still very warm, and the crowds are much smaller than in July and August. The entire experience feels more intimate and private compared to the high season months.
Q: Thank you for this insightful conversation, it was truly a pleasure! To conclude, do you have any advice for anyone planning a gulet cruise in Croatia this year?
A: I’d conclude with something that I always say: come as a guest, leave as a friend! This experience is much more than just a cruise or a regular summer holiday, which is why most of my guests come back regularly every year. I hope to see you soon in Croatia! Make sure to check out Davor’s gulets San and Summer Princess, as well as the other available gulets ranging from 3 to 19 cabins, and book your dream holiday today!