We love cruises and had been looking for one to Croatia. Our previous cruises had been with the big middle market lines - Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, etc. We picked this 1-week Venice to Croatia cruise for three reasons.
First, most of the big ships stop in only one or two ports in Croatia, but Esprit stops in six different ports on a one-week cruise. The small size (they refer to it as a yacht) enables them to go to the smaller places that are less crowded and often more enjoyable. Second, we went with a group hosted by a family that owns a winery in Napa that we love and are club members of. So there were a number of special dinners, receptions and wine tours that were offered as part of this particular cruise, and we even got to visit their sister winery in Croatia. Almost half the 61 passengers aboard were part of our winery group, but we met and made friends with every guest on the boat. Lastly, we wanted to try a smaller boat. Last year, we went on a brand new Royal Caribbean ship that had 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew. Though it had lots of high tech entertainment, it was overcrowded and overwhelming. With a max of 62 passengers and 90+ crew, we thought Esprit would be a very different experience. And it was.
Embarkation in Venice was a cinch. We embarked from the San Basilio port, easily reached by public water taxi from our hotel in Santa Croce. Check-in was relaxed - no crowds at all, and we could embark anytime during the afternoon.
The cabin is spacious. We had a comfy king size bed, sofa, small desk, flat screen TV, coffee maker, mini-fridge, bottles of the wine selections of the day and numerous other drinks, iPad, binoculars, double sinks, TV in bathroom, two types of robes, free unlimited (but slow) wifi. Petit fours or other bite-size desserts left in your room each evening. No balcony, but very large windows.
Each suite has two butlers assigned - one for the day and one for the night. So if you ever need something, just ring for them.
Tip #1:Though the wifi was slow, I was able to use my phone as a hotspot with a SIM card I had picked up in Venice since we sailed along the Croatian coast and were close enough to shore to get good reception. Starting this past summer, SIM cards from most EU countries work in other EU countries without roaming charges. So make sure your phone is unlocked (at least for this Venice to Dubrovnik itinerary) and pick up a prepaid tourist SIM card with a good data plan which will allow you to use Skype for voice calls too).
Tip #2: We didn't fully appreciate until later in the week that they restock your cabin continuously. The bottles of wine are replenished as needed, as are the chocolates - if you eat three of the truffles, they will replace them.
Tip #3: There are two remotes for the bathroom TV. One simply turns it on, the other controls the channels. I'm sure that has something to do with the way the system is wired. Ask your butler to show you.
Tip #4: There is a thermostat that can be set within a certain range. If your room is generall too hot or cold for your liking, let the staff know and they will make some sort of adjustment and then the thermostat works well within that range. We discovered this from another review.
Tip #5: If you've been traveling for awhile before the cruise, start a load of laundry soon after embarkation because the machines on that first day will be busy - everyone is anxious to get their pre-cruise clothes cleaned.