Last summer, I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream and visited Dubrovnik with my family. Dubrovnik was just as I imagined it to be albeit with a surprise. It was remarkably crowded. We took a week-long vacation, and while there, our family wanted to get away from the masses and find some place quieter and more peaceful. I quickly browsed various options until I landed on a hidden treasure – luxury yachts.

I am not a yachting enthusiast at all, hence I was skeptical. But, one look at the different itineraries available and the experiences they provided addressed my skepticism. We went with the company Goolets. They offer seven different cruising routes and each one seemed equally stunning. Three of them originated from Dubrovnik. For us, it was a toss-up between the Adriatic Cruise route and South Dalmatian Island route. We collectively chose the Adriatic Cruise route in the end because it would take us to Montenegro as well, an added bonus.

Now onto the second difficult decision.

The Right Yacht

Goolets has an envious collection of over 15 incredible yachts. As I browsed through the site, I realized that with so many different ships to choose from, we were destined to find one that would meet our needs. There are yachts for large groups of up to 38 people as well as smaller yachts, like the one we chose. These yachts have world-class facilities such as spacious decks, rustic restaurants, comfortable lounge areas with sofas, well-stocked bars, open terraces and sauna and wellness zones. Some yachts even have water sports equipment such as jet skis, water skis, paddle boards, wakeboards, snorkeling and fishing equipment. ‘Alessandro I’ won our affection because it has a swimming platform carefully designed for kids and seniors. It was ideal for my children and parents.

The Awe-Inspiring Adriatic

To truly experience the beauty of a place, it must be seen from the land, the sea and the sky.

This mantra must be applied to Croatia, a country of over 1000 islands. Travelling is often about serendipity. We came in search of Dubrovnik and discovered the hidden gems of Croatia and Montenegro instead.

Cavtat, our first stop, has an absolutely stunning setting and the paintings of Croatian modernist painter Vlaho Bukovac are the cherry on the cake. That evening, the chef on board served an eclectic Mediterranean dinner as the night sky revealed its infinite stars and constellations.

Yachting is a gateway to infinite possibilities. We arrived in Kotor, a town seemingly lost in time. Its mazy medieval streets hide magnificent churches, lively squares, cute cafes, Venetian palaces and museums. But, the true highlight is the fort at the top of the hill. The view from way up there is simply marvelous. After Kotor, we headed to one of the most famous Montenegran destinations – Budva. Its charming Stari Grad (Old Town) and picturesque beaches more than tempt you to explore and swim.

Many consider Tivat to be a long lost cousin of Monaco. This town hosts super yachts and the super rich. They enjoy its fancy boutiques, classy restaurants, buzzing nightlife and dazzling promenade. There is a different air to Tivat and Porto Montenegro than the rest of the region. Our next stop, Herceg Novi, is the best of nature and mankind. A 15th Century fortified town surrounded by jaw-dropping cliffs and a postcard-perfect coastline. After experiencing the magnificence of Montenegro, we sailed back to Croatia.

The island of Sipan offered us a truly relaxing day. As did the the island of Lopud and the small village of Zaton Veliki, just outside of the more hectic Dubrovnik. All three have a relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere with stunning scenery, a most wonderful combination.

Overall, taking a yacht cruise in this region was a great first yachting experience for the whole family, especially if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a unique and more personalized experience.