The Beginning - Yacht Week Croatia Original Route
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
This was the trip that started it all for us, so we remember it fondly. In fact, we even went with my ex-boyfriend, Chrissy’s soon-to-be ex, and a girl none of us speak to anymore and we STILL had the time of our lives. There’s truly nothing like TYW experience (except maybe something like BucketLust or the other companies who have copied them).
You find this same breakdown in all of our Yacht Week posts:
1. Choosing your boat
2. Choosing your crew
4. The first day
5. The parties
6. The sightseeing
7. The Food
8. TYW Clichés
9. The costs you may not already know about
So here goes…
1. Choosing your boat – this was our first time around and we were more cautious with our money when we were 23, so we went with a cheaper monohaul (AKA a sailboat). It didn’t have air conditioning and was about 750 euro per person (there were 8 of us). That price also doesn’t include the skipper fee which is another 800 euro split between you all. The boat had one huge master bedroom, a bunk room, and two rooms at the back with double beds.
Stereo system works great if you have a car jack to plug your phone into.
It had pretty good space on deck to hang out and lay in the sun
The rooms with the double beds have good amount of storage and closet space
There’s a mini fridge for fresh food and a giant cooler for beers and things
There was a storage space under the floor in the master where we stored more beer
It had no skipper cabin so Marcus slept on our couch every night.
It had no air conditioning, which was a HUGE mistake as it was about 95 degrees or hotter every single day and this is a boat so you don’t exactly have a ton of windows.
It only had two bathrooms so there was a lot of sharing happening.
It had a bunk room, two double bed rooms, and a MASSIVE suite room. This meant that one couple got a huge room the entire week and two people had to cram into a TINY bunk space. Would not recommend this at all.
2. Choosing your crew
We were actually able to fill our entire boat the first year with our friends. When you’re talking to people about going on a trip like this, make sure that they understand that it won’t be the cheapest trip of their lives and they going to have to embrace living in cramped quarters for a full week. I highly recommend picking super laid-back people that you’ve traveled with before. That being said, you never know what will happen on yacht week. Friendships can soar or completely crash and burn.
3. Packing (this is the same list across YW posts)
First and most importantly, you really have no room for hard suitcases/normal rolling bags so avoid those – go for duffles that you can flatten. Another option, especially if you’re spending a lot of time traveling before or after YW is to pack a large suitcase, bring a duffle, and then check your large suitcase with whatever you don’t need in a locker at the marina. TYW can usually tell you whether or not your marina has storage.
Here’s a packing list that we got from Marcus (our skipper in Croatia) and our thoughts on each thing (in italics):
Dramamine (non drowsy) – absolute must
Sleeping mask + ear plugs – not a bad idea depending on how easily you sleep
Floaties – another must (check Nordstrom, amazon, target, kohls, etc.)
Costumes for the regatta on the last day –come up with a theme. Bae-watch is way overdone
Sunscreen -- duh
Flags – it will help you identify the boat – bring a bunch. And bring big ones – we underestimated how small ours would look
Sharpie Marker – to help mark your belongings – never needed this
Aux cable – for music to play through the boat speakers
12 Volt USB car charger – while not in the marina, this is your only source of power - to connect your phone to the car (would recommend getting one with a few usb slots so you can charge multiple phones at one)
External Rechargeable USB Battery Charger – yes. Keep in mind if you get a big one, you might blow a fuse. There’s plugs in every room so probably just get a few small ones
Deck of cards – just in case it rains or for drinking games
Boat shoes, sneakers and flip flops – girls please leave the heels at home! – agreed. Don’t bother with heels
Sweatshirt – it may get windy at night -- yep
Beach towel – yep although if you don’t have room for it, just buy a cheap one when you get there and throw it away before you leave
Bluetooth speakers – yep – sometimes annoying to have to change your song when the phone’s plugged in downstairs
Go Pro/waterproof camera/disposable waterproof camera – try your best to capture the most amazing week!! -- yep
Glowsticks, body paint, glitter -- yep
Battery powered Christmas lights for the boat – DEFINITELY. There is no light on the boat and you’ll come back on a taxi boat and have no clue which one is yours. The more unique the lights, the better. Zip ties to attach them to things also helps.
Bug Spray! -- ehhhhh
Sunglasses – bring a couple of pairs as you may break or lose a pair during the week – true, and you lose them because they go overboard so don’t bring expensive ones out during the day while sailing
White outfit for the white party – they call it something else now, Riviera chic or something stupid, but it’ll always be white party to us
Here’s what we brought that he missed:
Waterproof phone case
A hat to block out the sun some days
One of the other things that we did was pack a box full of Costco stuff as a checked bag. Two of our friends were flying directly there from SF and they filled a box with liquor, paper plates, solo cups, peanut butter, plastic silverware, paper towels, and sunscreen from Costco because it was SO much cheaper to do it that way. Then at the end of the week they just tossed whatever was left and had no checked bag on the rest of their flights on low-cost airlines.
4. The First Day
Unfortunately, I can’t really comment on this because we got stuck in an airport in Frankfurt due to bad weather and missed the first day.
That being said, Lainie did actually make it and similar to our first day in Greece, they ask you to be there super early and you end up just sitting around on your boat. Usually people just get super drunk and/or go grocery shopping. If you don’t have a hostess, I highly recommend you make a list of things you need to buy in advance so that the people who go to the store know what to get for everyone else. I’m not sure what the situation is with groceries in Split but you can definitely walk to get more in Trogir on Day 2 if you need to.
The Day 8 app will have more details for you on where to be and when on your first day. It’ll also outline any security deposit you’ll need to put down on your boat. Some boat rental companies give you an option between full coverage in cash ($$$) and a smaller deposit on a card ($). The first option covers literally anything you could do and the second is just a small amount. Both of my skippers in the past have recommended the more expensive option just in case. They also took photos of the boat so that we had proof when we got back at the end of the week that any possible damage wasn’t caused by us.
One major piece of advice: Plan for the worst. You don’t want to miss the first day of TYW, so if you’re coming in from somewhere else in Europe I’d recommend being in Split the night before.
5. The parties
First piece of advice – go for the table/bottle service everywhere. You’ll get an email about signing up for tables before TYW starts, and have someone ready to refresh constantly that day. The tables go QUICKLY. They’re nothing close to the cost of a Vegas table and they’re completely worth it. We only did it once in Croatia and I regret not doing it more because a lot of the party venues don’t have places to put stuff or sit down, so without a table you’re just standing in the middle of the dance floor the entire time.
Croatia Route Parties:
The first party – this is at a smaller spot in Split. Again, I missed the first night but I heard its ok. That’s usually the case for the opening party.
Hula Hula – this one’s a blast. You’ll probably get sprayed with too much champagne and fall in the sand, but it’s a sick spot right on the coast in town. It’s also open to all of the tourists on the island, so don’t be surprised to see people that aren’t with Yacht Week.
Kiva Bar – this is an alley bar that I actually hated. It’s super crowded, yacht week completely takes over the alley and the two bars on either side, it’s hot, you can’t get a drink. We left early.
White Party – our week they ended up having White Party out on Carpe Diem Island. Apparently it’s normally on the main island, so I can’t comment too much on this. Usually there’s another party that night at Carpe Diem which would be a new setting for most people. I’d definitely recommend going to White Party (now called Riviera chic) and going to Carpe Diem. There’s nothing quite like partying on a private island. The bottle service tables there are totally worth it.
The final night –It’s a cool club that’s in downtown Split I think called Eleven. Some people skip this party, but they’re crazy. There’s fireworks and a great dance floor. Totally worth going to close out the week.
6. The sightseeing
The Croatia route was very different in this aspect from Greece. It felt a lot less culture-focused. The islands you visit are actually pretty busy and the Croatian cost has become a hot destination for rich Europeans. Hvar even has huge resorts on it and an entire city that reminded me of Positano or Amalfi.
Things we’d recommend:
Renting scooters when you can – I think it was on Vis. They’ll ask if you’ve ever driven one before – either lie and figure it out or just find one at home to try before you go. The island roads are pretty winding so be careful.
Make sure your skipper takes you to the caves to go cliff jumping. Technically it’s against YW rules but it was so cool and there’s options for how high you can jump from if you’re afraid of heights or something.
7. The Food
TYW usually provides transportation on day one to a grocery store in Split that you can go to, order, and then they deliver it to your yacht. Take advantage of this and keep an eye on their timeline. You’ll have to be inside the store by a specific time. Also only send one or two people to shop with a list. No sense in everyone going.
There’s also a grocery service that one YW alumni started and she may contact you about it prior to your week. Usually she’s more expensive than the stores, but she has things like solo cups that the stores may not have.
Here’s our recommended grocery list:
Alcohol (survey your boat and figure out what people will and won’t drink and what they’re willing to pay especially if you have guys and girls and tanks and lightweights)
Fruit – it’s always fresh there.
Breakfast croissants or cinnamon rolls (anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
Eggs and breakfast meats – you can definitely make breakfast for real one day, just remember how many people you’re feeding and how many eggs people eat in one sitting. Also remember how hot it is and how you don’t want to be downstairs doing dishes.
Stuff for sandwiches – grab salami or ham or whatever the local meat is, some bread, and some spreads (mustard or mayo or tzatziki) and whatever else you might want. Sandwiches and chips are the easiest lunch to have while sailing. They don’t really do turkey as a lunchmeat so don’t be surprised.
Plan for two dinners on the boat – go with something easy. Salad, pasta, grilled cheese, etc. Keep in mind you probably have two pots/pans maximum and a tiny stove
Paper plates, silverware, and plastic cups. Again, no one wants to be down in the boat doing dishes.
Paper towels – trust me you want a lot of this
Nutella – it’s better in Europe
For those of you that haven’t been to Europe before, they do not have ranch or peanut butter. If they do have it, it’ll be a tiny jar and it’ll be super expensive.
TYW Promoted/Organized Dinners:
· Fort George - Dinner will either be on your boat that night or at Fort George. It’s not cheap, but it’s probably the most incredible view I’ve ever had or a meal in my life. You get to watch the sun set over the water from tables set up outside a castle. It really doesn’t get much cooler than that. And the dessert was amazing. I think you have to ask your skip or hostess to book this so make sure you do. It’s probably on the app now.
Dinners on the islands:
Hvar - You’ll be able to find some pretty cool spots on the islands. Ask your skipper or hostess for a recommendation in Hvar – there’s some fun places that are set back in alleys.
Vis - If there’s one place on the whole trip we’d say you have to go to, it’s the vineyard restaurant at the top fo the mountain in Vis. I guarantee you if your skipper has any experience with YW Croatia, he or she will know about this place. It’s family style and the food is amazing.
8. TYW Clichés
These are the things you see in the YouTube videos that make yacht week so unique. All of these other companies that also do circle floats absolutely copied it from TYW.
Circle Float: This was our favorite part of Croatia. On a good day, you whip out your floaties and they tie all of the boats together and you party all afternoon boat hopping and making new friends.
Tunnel Float Night: Basically for this one they’ll just tie all of the boats together in two long parallel lines in front of a deserted island. You’ll either have Italian delivered to your boat or make dinner on the boat, so plan for that. The party that night pretty much goes all night. It’s a lot of fun.
Regatta Day: One of the days you’ll get all decked out in your themed gear and all of the boats will race (aka have a regatta) to the next location. The staff will sail around trying to get pictures and videos of all of the different themes, so be ready to show off your creativity. Greek gods and Bae-Watch themes are way overdone. We saw some cool themes like penguins, Titanic, Top Gun, the Croatian Bobsled team, etc.
9. The costs you may not already know about
There are a couple ATMs in the Split airport after you get through baggage pick-up where you can pull out Croatian Kuna
You buy all of your skipper’s meals and drinks. They have full access to your kitchen. Don’t be awkward about it at dinners where they’re with you. Just split everything evenly. Splitwise is your friend but don’t use multiple currencies. Convert everything to or leave it all in EUR/Kuna.
Skipper Tip – this is usually about 10-20% of the total cost of your boat. Give it to them on the last day as you leave the boat.
Hostesses – they’re a blast and they buy all of your groceries for you so you never have to shop, but they’re expensive. They also take up a spot on your boat, so keep that in mind. It means that you’re splitting the cost of the boat with one less person AND you pay an extra 600 euro on top of that to have her plus all of her meals and her tip at the end of the week. It adds up quickly.
The Kitty – when you first get on the boat, the skipper will ask you for kitty money. It’ll cover your gas, your taxi fees, and your docking fees. I think we did 600 kuna each in Croatia. Our skippers always made sure to keep receipts for everything so we had them if we wanted them.
The bottle/table service – Each YW route is different for bottle service. In Croatia we just signed up and then paid at the bar when we were done. In Greece you have to pay in advance and tell the YW staff what your order is so it’s there when you arrive.
If your skip hits on you, which we’ve heard stories about, talk to someone in a crew tshirt. That’s not cool.
Try not to hit on your skipper. That being said, if it happens and it’s mutual….oops?
The skippers do not get paid the same amount – there’s a survey at the end of the week and their salaries are based on their survey results
Don’t let your skip get too drunk. Someone has to sail the boat in the morning.
If you’re American and you’ve never had Somersby – find some.
If you can come up with something fun to introduce yourself around on either float day, do it. For example, we had shots of rose with rubber duckies in them that we call Ducky Rose and people loved it
Don’t be that asshole that brings a floating barge as a floatie that fits 8 people. You’ll take up too much space and everyone will hate you
Full cans of beer/cider float. Do with that what you will.
Once you pick your ratio when you’re booking your boat, it’s hard to change it. Especially if you want to take a girl off and add a guy in, so try to know your ratio before you book.
Make friends with the photographer – they might just end up on your boat for the day and then you could end up in their Instagram posts on Thanksgiving!
You may think going on YW over an American holiday like Labor Day is a great idea, but so does every other American. You’ll end up on a week with 10 boats from Jersey.
The boats and flights are most expensive mid-june through early August. You’re better off going one of the later weeks in August.
No shitting where you sleep! DO NOT go #2 on the boat. Just trust us. It’s gross and everyone will know you did it. Tell everyone else on your boat that’s a rule. Go on-shore.
There are cabs that will take you to/from the airport. On the last day, you'll get off your boat around 9am. I'd recommend going into Split to hang out and see the town. A lot of people got an Air BnB or a hotel to pass out for a day before leaving.
Uber in Split was more expensive than a cab, but they do have Uber and the driver did speak great English
That’s Yacht Week Croatia in a nutshell…or maybe more than a nutshell :). Our last words of advice on TYW:
It’s going to be one of the best weeks of your life – embrace the insanity