Cruise Diary Katarina Line Avangard

Hey everybody! Long time no see… I’m back from another cruise adventure! Hard to believe I know, especially in these times… but finally cruising is slowly coming back and wow, was it worth the wait. My first post-covid cruise was slightly different from my usual cruise expereiences… it was on a smaller ship, much closer to home, infact I haven’t even left my own country, but was it as equally amazing as my previous adventures? Definitely! If anything, this was the most relaxing cruise I’ve ever been on.

I cruised with a Croatian cruise line, Katarina Line, onboard one of their most luxurious vessels, MV Avangard from Dubrovnik to Split, visiting many beautiful islands on the way. While I was onboard I kept a short diary of each day just to remember what I did, so I thought I should upload it here before I post other blog posts from my cruise!

MV Avangard approaching Dubrovnik!

 DAY 1

Today is the day! I’m finally boarding the MV Avangard and look at her while she was approaching the dock, isn’t she a beauty!

The first day flew by so fast, but cruise days are always like that aren’t they! As soon as I stepped onboard the ship I knew that this was going to be a completely different cruise experience! The check-in was easy breezy, no long lines in terminals, credit card set-ups etc. you just show up, find your name on the list and Voila, you’re ready to board the ship! Finding the cabin wasn’t hard either; there are only 18 cabins onboard and I have the cabin number 3! Never had a single digit cabin number on a cruise before! The cabins are what surprised me the most, I expected something much more modest on a smaller ship, but the cabins are luxurious and pretty spacious! I think it’s bigger than most cabins I had on large ships! I even have a window in my bathroom! Cabins on this ship are basically identical to those you’ll find on large cruise ships, so don’t think that you’ll have a small, dark closet room on a smaller ship!

Once we all settled in our cabins, we headed on a guided tour of Dubrovnik! I’ve visitied this city so many times, but I love coming back, it’s just so historic and there is so much to see! I could walk around the narrow streets of the Old Town for days. We even went on the cable car to the top of the Mountain Srđ from where you can see the whole city of Dubrovnik! One thing I should mention is that all guided tours are included in your cruise fare on this ship!

Of course all meals are also included in your cruise fare as well and let me tell you, the dinner was delicious! Everything you eat on the ship is bought locally, prepared and made onboard so the food quality is excellent! I think I’m going to gain some weight on this ship, the restaurant is right above my room!

Now I really have to head to bed, it’s been a long and busy day! If I had’t spent whole last night on the bus to Dubrovnik I would’ve went out to explore Dubrovnik since we’re spending the night here, but I’m just too tired for that! See you all tomorrow!

View of the Old Town and the walls of Dubrovnik from our ship!

 DAY 2

Day two started with our first sailaway! We’re spending the nights in ports so you have the amazing opportunity to experience each city at night, something you can’t really do on most cruises! Captain took a slight detour this morning and gave us a unique opportunity to see the Old Town of Dubrovnik and its walls from the sea! This city looks beautiful from every angle, but seeing it from the sea is really spectacular!

After a scenic ride around the walls of Dubrovnik, the ship headed north to a small town of Slano, a starting point for tours of Ston! Ston is small town located around 30 minutes away from where the ship docks by bus. It is famous for its walls which are still one of the longest fortification systems in the world that is still standing, it is commonly called the “European wall of China”!Definitely worth a visit if you love a bit of history and culture!

I should add that on the way to Slano, we had a swim stop in a random bay that we were passing! We just dropped the anchor and the back of the ship turned into a beach! At the back of the ship there is a low platform which makes it really easy to get into the sea! This was a random uninhabited bay so the sea was really clear, stunning!

And finally after coming back from our tour of Ston (which is included in the price) we had a 4-course dinner! It was a gala night, or Captains night as they call it on this ship! Good food, music, dancing… perfect way to end a beautiful day of exploring the Adriatic!

 DAY 3

Today I was on an island that’s on an island!  I’ll explain that later! Another amazing day onboard the Avangard started as per usual with a delicious breakfast! Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day on a cruise! We have a buffet style breakfast on this ship, but everything is plated and served to you by the staff because of obvious reasons… So of course you can choose between cold cuts, pastries, eggs, fruits, toast… basic breakfast items. Right around breakfast time we left the small town of Slano and headed west to the island of Mljet!

On the way to Mljet we, of course stopped to have a swim brake and to have lunch on the ship surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the island! 

In the afternoon we docked in the small town of Pomena which is a starting point for tours of National Park Mljet.  The National park Mljet is one of 8 national parks in Croatia and it is situated on the island of Mljet, one of the largest islands in south Dalmatia. To say that it’s beautiful would be an understatement! The scenery is just stunning, it looks like a nature reserve untouched by modern tourist development! On the island there are two connected lakes and on the “Big Lake” you will find the St. Mary’s island where a Benedictine Monastery was built in the 12th century! So you could say that I was on an island that’s on an island!


In the evening I enjoyed in some evening entertainment provided by the city of Pomena! Since the ship docks right on the waterfront, we were able to see and hear the concert that was held at the town’s main square from the ship! You could say we had the best seats!

All in all, another beautiful day in the Adriatic! If you really want to explore the Adriatic and Croatia you have to go on this cruise! It’s a perfect combination of exploring and visiting smaller historic towns, seeing untouched nature and still having that luxury cruise experience!

 DAY 4

After saying goodbye to the Island of Mljet early in the morning we headed north to the island of Korčula, the most populated island in Croatia with around 17 thousand people that call the island their home!

We spent the morning by having a delicious breakfast, of course I had pastries once again…, sunbathing, relaxing in the jacuzzi… We also had a swim break before the lunch! I love these swim breaks and I’m definitely going to miss them on other cruises going forward

Early afternoon we docked in the town of Korčula and headed on our guided tour of the old town!  It is believed that the famous explorer Marco Polo was born right here in the town of Korčula! The town is rich with history and it’s definitely one of my favorite towns on the Croatian coast, would definitely recommend visiting it! I would describe it as a smaller, less crowded Dubrovnik!

I managed to capture a stunning sunset and since it was a Saturday night, there was live music in almost every bar so it was definitely a fun night!

Tomorrow should be an even more relaxing day, we’re heading to Vis, one of the most remote islands in Croatia!

 DAY 5

We’re already on day 5! Today we had an early start, we left Korčula early in the morning and headed west towards one of the most remote islands in Croatia, the island of Vis!

We had a swim break in one of many bays on the island of Korčula! These swim breaks are truly a perfect way to spend your mornings and a great way to cool down since its pretty hot here in Croatia currently with temperatures over 30 deegres celsius…

We continued our journey towards Vis after a short swim break.  Lunch, sunbathing, enjoying in the jacuzzi and before long we made it to the city of Vis!

Vis is a really historic city, it is THE oldest city in Croatia! It was established by the ancient Greeks 397 B.C. under the name of Issa. Since then the island was under the rule of many empires and kingdoms. Romans, Greeks, French, Austrians and even the British once called Vis their territory, but since the 1990s the island of Vis is officially a part of Croatia! Vis is also known for it’s military history as there was once a huge military base on the island. 

Because of how remote the island is and because of its military role in the former Yugoslavia, today it’s really a perfect picture of how Mediterranean once looked, without any new high rises, huge resorts or rows of apartment developments! A beautiful town if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of bigger coastal cities!

One interesting thing that happed was that there was only one available dock and 6 ships that wanted to dock! How did they solve that problem? Well they just docked them all side by side next to each other! I call that docking strategy a “ship sandwich”! The Avangard was of course the biggest one in the sandwich!

All in all; another amazing day is behind us! I definitely recommend visiting Vis, such a beautiful historic city! Tomorrow we’ll be going to the longest and probably the most popular island in Croatia, island of Hvar!

 DAY 6

After spending the night in the oldest town in Croatia, we headed to the town of Hvar on the island of Hvar! If this sounds confusing to you, you should know that the islands in Croatia are usually named after the largest, most important city on the island!

Hvar is the longest island in Croatia and probably one of the most popular ones! The island of Hvar is the sunniest island in Europe and is on the “15 most sunniest places” in the world list. So if its sunshine you’re after you should definitely visit Hvar!

The town of Hvar is best known for its many beaches, historic buildings and its lively night life! It is one of the locations of the popular “Ultra Europe” music festival: You won’t get bored in this town after sunset!

On our way to Hvar we had a swim stop in the Paklinski Islands archipelago, you can see it on the picture above! I’m going to miss these swim stops, there’s nothing like swimming in the middle of nowhere, with no one around… so relaxing

Later in the day, after a yet another delicious lunch, we docked on the popular waterfront of the town of Hvar, right next to many luxurious yachts! You see, Hvar is one of the busiest yachting ports in Croatia so spotting luxurious yachts of the rich and famous won’t be hard here!

After a guided tour of the most historic sights in Hvar, we had plenty of time to experience everything Hvar has to offer! Since we were docked right on the waterfront we even caught a glimpse of the Magic Johnson walking past our ship to a popular nightclub in the town! That’s basically Hvar in a nutshell!

Hvar is for sure one of the most beautiful little towns in Croatia and I can see why it’s so popular! I would call it “Croatian Monte Carlo”!

Tomorrow is our last full day on the ship… we’ll be visiting the most popular beach in Croatia in Bol before heading to our final destination, the city of Split

 DAY 7

I can’t believe we’re already on day 7… our last full day onboard the Avangard. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess!

Today we visited the most popular beach in Croatia, the Golden Horn beach (Zlatni Rat)! It is located in Bol on the island of Brač, the highest island in the Adriatic!

Bol is a small town with only 1.600 residents, made famous because of the beautiful Golden Horn beach! It used to be a fishing village and influences of that can still be seen today!

We made it to Split early afternoon and we headed on a guided tour of this historic city! You have to visit the Diocletian’s palace, so beautiful! There are so many things you can do in Split, explore the old town, visit the mountain/park Marjan, sunbathe on one of its many beacher or even visit the town of Trogir which is not that far from Split!

And just like that our last day is coming to an end. Time to start packing the bags… last day struggles! Thankfully we don’t have to leave the suitcase in front of the cabin by midnight! So I still have time to pack something tomorrow morning!

I can’t believe this cruise is already coming to an end, I feel like I boarded the ship 2 not 7 days ago… I loved every second of it, so different in every way from my previous cruises but definitely different in the best way possible!

 DAY 8

And that’s it you guys, day 8.. can’t believe that this cruise is already over. My first post-covid cruise and wow was it worth the wait! 

This cruise was a bit different from cruises I usually go on, smaller ship, itinerary closer to home, everyone was a bit more cautious… but was it one of the most relaxing cruises I’ve been on? 100%! I cannot pinpoint what exactly made it so relaxing… was it the smaller ship, homey atmosphere, smaller towns we visited… probably a combination of all of that. I know that this cruise is perfect for recharging your batteries, so relaxing!

This type of cruising is definitely for people who want to visit places off the beaten path for larger ships, experience the culture, taste local cuisine, meet new people and just relax! No bumper cars, no crazy water slides but still equally fun! Swim stops in bays that can only be reached by boat, overnight stays in historic towns, all of that while still having that luxurious cruise feeling on the ship!

All in all, one of the best cruise experiences so far! Can’t recommend it enough!

I’m currently writing a full cruise review blog post so stay tuned for that, I hope you enjoyed my short cruise diary!

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