NCL Cruise – Dubrovnik and Split

We’ve recently come back from a 7 day cruise on NCL’s Norwegian Jade.  We’ve cruised on the Jade before when we did a Greek islands cruise holiday and loved it.  When we saw that the same ship did a cruise around the Med including two stops in Croatia it didn’t take much to convince us to book.  Almost everyone I know, who has been to Croatia, has raved about it so I was really excited to see it for myself.

The cruise’s first and last port stops were in Croatia, the first being Dubrovnik, the second Split.


As we approached Dubrovnik you could see we were in for something special, it looked spectacular.  It’s such a cliché but the sea was just a perfect, clear blue, the sky was almost cloudless and the landscape was hilly and green.  And, the port side wasn’t even as pretty as the place itself.

Dubrovnik approach

Approaching the port at Dubrovnik

When we got off the ship we jumped into a taxi, there was a huge queue of them at the port terminal, and headed to the old town.  We’d been advised that the walk from the port to the old town was about 40 minutes, although I suspect that was for someone who walked very slowly, it was probably more 25-3o minutes.  We were glad we had got a taxi though as Master ATWWAH no longer uses a pram and in the heat the walk would maybe have been a bit too much.

Dubrovnik’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is being renovated after the conflict in the 1990’s.  The Old Town is really easy to walk around, useful to know if you have a pram.  I’d read on a couple of blogs that baby carriers were a must but this is only the case if you want to walk on the Old Town’s walls.  The rest of the Old Town is pram friendly.

You enter the Old Town through Pile Gate, Master ATWWAH was so excited that we were walking over a drawbridge.  I’d like to say that we did loads of sightseeing but we just wandered around with the crowds and enjoyed the views and the sunshine.  Being on a cruise means you are able to book so many excursions but we knew that wouldn’t be a good idea with Mini ATWWAH and the thought of wearing a sticker on my holiday with the number on it of which excursion I’m on makes me shudder.  So, we had already decided we were just going to go to each port and soak up the atmosphere and that’s what we did.


A fairly busy, and hot, Dubrovnik Old Town

We inadvertently took in lots of the Old Town sites such as Onofrio’s Fountain, which was originally constructed in 1438, and still works today.  I saw a guy put his water bottle under there and look delighted as he took a drink from it.  We saw Sponza Palace, the Franciscan Monastery, the Church of St Blaise and wandered up and down Stradun, a paved street which runs from Pile Gate to Ploce Gate on more than one occasion.


Gorgeous Dubrovnik

We stopped off in the square at one of the many bars and cafes to grab something to eat and drink while Mini ATWWAH napped.  We got a couple of beers (apple juice for Master ATWWAH, his holiday tipple) and a sharing platter which was overflowing with meats and cheese, delicious.

We headed to the cable car, a must for anyone visiting Dubrovnik, which gives spectacular views of the Old Town and shoreline from the top of Mount Srd.  It was destroyed in the war but renovated and reopened in 2010.  Once at the top you can take in the views, there is a café up there and also a museum about the Croatian War of Independence which shows how Dubrovnik defended itself during the four years of conflict.

cable car view

Views from the Dubrovnik Cable Car

After the cable car it was time for ice creams and a walk back to the taxi rank outside Pile Gate to head back to the ship.  Again, if it wasn’t for Master ATWWAH being on foot we would definitely have just done the walk as it was all downhill and the weather was glorious.  The ship doesn’t leave Dubrovnik until 9pm so there is lots of time to explore and soak up the atmosphere.


The last port of call for the cruise was Split, back in Croatia.  Again, the views didn’t disappoint as we came into the port.


Approaching Split

The port itself was busy and noisy as there were ferries too so there was a lot of vehicle and pedestrian traffic but it was a short walk into Split, about 10 minutes.  The temperatures were high in Split, in the low 30’s, so we did wander around but serious sightseeing was a bit out of the question.

Split is the second largest city in Croatia so it’s worth a visit and its main attraction is the striking Diocletian’s Palace and the many museums.  I’m afraid we didn’t do any of them but I think we’ll definitely make a return visit to Split and Croatia in general.


One of the many squares in Split

We had a good wander around though and again managed to stop off for some food, another platter of lovely meat and cheese.  Before we went away one of my friends told me that all Croatian men were very good looking and I must admit in Split that did seem to be the case.

Back on the ship I didn’t feel too bad that we hadn’t been adventurous due to the heat as quite a few of the families I spoke to said they did the same.

I’d definitely recommend a trip to Croatia after our mini taster, they were easily my favourite stops on the cruise.

If you are looking for more Croatia inspiration from other travel bloggers, check out Greta’s lowdown on a Dubrovnik off-road buggy safari and Monica’s tips for doing the city walls.

Please feel free to add any comments about your experiences in Dubrovnik or Split and I’m happy to answer any questions about anyone thinking of going there as a cruise port destination.



  1. That sounds like such a great cruise – I loved Croatia when I visited but it’s a long time ago now, I’d love to go back. Dubrovnik is just wonderful and Split is high on my wishlist. Maybe when it’s a bit cooler!

    • Thanks Cathy, it was great. I definitely want to go back there one day and do it properly. Everyone raves about the beaches too.

  2. Omg I am going to Croatia at the end of next month! I cant wait! Funny thing is my mom and I looked into the Norwegian Cruise to Croatia. But now we might do the same ship to the Greek Islands for next year!! Amazing post! #MondayEscapes

    • You will love Croatia, I’m sure.

      And, I can’t recommend the Greek Islands cruise with NCL enough. It was brilliant. We went in early Sept and the weather was glorious and it wasn’t as crowded as it would have been in the summer.

      I love your blog by the way, just been taking a look.

      • Thanks so much! We’re hoping to do the cruise in June…I hope the weather is good enough. Its still not quite summer, but hopefully less crowded. Id go in September too if I could, but mom’s birthday is in June so June it is! haha

  3. I cannot tell you how much I want to visit Croatia and Split – I’m also a big Game of Thrones fan, so another reason! It’s on my top 5 destinations for the next 3 years… so soon! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time – cruising is such a great way of seeing things. We’ve never done one, but I’m growing more interested! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  4. We did similar to you on our cruise around Italy and Croatia and at the Dubrovnik stop wandered by ourselves. We really loved it, such a beautiful town and I would love to explore more of Croatia now. This sounds a great way to do it – I love the look of Norwegian to cruise with. Thank you for linking up with #GlobalKids

    • I definitely recommend Norwegian, their cruises are very laidback, which is perfect when you have kids. And no problem about the #GlobalKids link, loved reading some of the posts.

  5. I was in Crotia 10 years ago to the day! This was pre-kids and we spent two glorious weeks island hopping and eating delicious food. I would love to go back with the children and spend even longer if possible. Looks like you had a wonderful time! #globalkids

  6. The more I am seeing of Crotia the more I think I would really like to visit. In lots of ways it reminds me of Greece 15 – 20 years ago including the squares and towns.

    • It is definitely how Greece was a few years ago. The people we met were all friendly too. It is worth a visit. People rave about the unspoilt beaches too.

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