We are excited to announce that Croatia 2020 Deluxe Kosher Cruises are now open for booking!
Our 5 star fleet and premium on-board service feature artisanal kosher cuisine, expert tour-guides, a breathtaking coastline, and the string of most stunning island pearls graciously waiting to captivate you f o r e v e r.
Friday, Day 1: Slovenija, Bled, Vintgar, Ljubljana, Zagreb–Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat dinner
Saturday, Day 2: Shacharit, Shabbat lunch, Afternoon walking tour of Zagreb
Sunday, Day 3: Plitvice Lakes, Split, boarding ship
Monday, Day 4: Shacharit, Jewish tour of Split, Omis (rafting, zipline)
Tuesday, Day 5: Brac, Quads in Supetar, Bol,
Wednesday, Day 6: Hvar, Beetle car ride, local tour
Thursday, Day 7: Korcula, local tour, Moreska
Friday, Day 8: Mljet, bicycle, canoes, transfer to Dubrovnik Kabbalat Shabbat in Dubrovnik
Saturday, Day 9: Shacharit, lunch, walking tour
Sunday, day 10: Montenegro
Monday, day 11: depart to airport
The morning begins with exploring the beautiful Slovenian countryside, starting at Vintgar canyon, towards Lake Bohinj, and culminating with the breathtaking views of the Alps from the Vogel mountain at almost 5000 ft (1537m). We will visit Lake Bled, a majestic glacier lake, glistening under the Alps, for a perfect afternoon surrounded by snow covered mountains and some of most spectacular views in Slovenia.
Next destination–Ljubljana, one of the most charming cities in Europe. The old city center, overlooked by an old castle, with the Ljubljanica river slowly flowing through it, offers its visitors an abundance of architectural and cultural monuments and a unique laid-back atmosphere. Ljubljana, the enchanting capital of Slovenia is one of the smallest in Europe and also has one of the tiniest European Jewish communities. We will explore the Temple of Moses, meet Julia and Romeo, walk through the medieval street Židovska ulica, the remnant of a Medieval Jewish street. Funicular will take us to the Castle hill, where we will climb the tower to see the breathtaking view of the city and surrounding Alps.
In the afternoon we will head back to Zagreb, where a festive Shabbat dinner awaits us.
After Shacharit services, a delicious lunch will be followed with just enough leisure time to give us a boost for a walking tour of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. With a 1000 years of history, friendly people and beautiful parks, Zagreb will surprise you with its rich and fascinating Jewish history.
Our walk through the ages will start at the 11th century and lead us through the 14th century and the first arrival of Jews to Zagreb, across the golden years of late 19th and early 20th century, when Zagreb developed rapidly, with Jewish community reaching its peak – just before perishing, almost completely, in the Shoah. The third Shabbat meal and Havdalah will embolden us for the adventures that await us.
We depart early in the morning and head to Plitvice Lakes, a Croatian National Park under UNESCO protection. During the bus ride we will take in some gorgeous views of the Croatian countryside before being immersed in one of the most startling marvels on earth. 16 terraced lakes, joined by waterfalls, extend into a limestone canyon, with walkways and hiking trails winding around and across the water. Spectacular forest complexes and stunning richness of both flora and fauna all come together to dazzle you for a lifetime! After cooling off in one of the many shades we will depart for Split where our cruise begins.
The morning begins with a shacharit service in the third oldest Sephardic Synagogue in continuous use (!). As we exit the synagogue we will visit all the important sights that are both visually stunning and have a historic and cultural significance for the development of the city and the Jewish community. In fact, any tour of Split cannot go without mentioning the role that the Jewish Community played in the cultural and economical upsurge of the region. The tour includes a visit to the 1700-year-old Roman Emperor Palace of Diocletian. This is where we will find most of the city sights like the Basements, beautiful Roman squares and statues, The Bell Tower, Jupiter’s temple, the former Jewish ghetto, the City Museum, and many more. Throughout the Palace there are plenty of details that could keep you occupied for hours. Within a few minutes of the Diocletian’s Palace there are few Renaissance squares, the City Promenade and a handful of vibrant markets.
We will board our maritime palace journeying towards Omis, a former pirate hideout. Just above the roofs of the old town, as a permanent reminder of the glorious pirate history, stands one of Omis’ most famous landmarks – the fortress of Mirabela. Built in 13th century, it withstood many battles, earthquakes, and wars; but in 1988, during a heavy stormy, the fortress was destroyed by just one crash of lightning. Luckily the whole edifice was meticulously restored into its original form and we are surely thankful for the opportunity to dive into Mirabella’s thrilling story. To finish the day off with a bang, we will uncover the mysteries of the Cetina river by rafts and/or get giddy ziplining over the stunning Cetina canyon.
Arriving in Brac in the morning will ensure that we get the most out of the day ahead. Brac will certainly welcome us with an unforgettable smile and a huge sunny embrace. Brac tops many lists. It is the biggest island in Dalmatia, while also having the highest island point in the Adriatic. In addition, the archeological excavations date the earliest settlements to the 12th millenium BCE, some of the oldest human habitations in Croatia. The Greeks, Illyrians, and Romans all left their visible imprint on this marvel. Its precious white stone made it world-famous as it was used in building Diocletian’s Palace in Split, the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, and the White House in Washington. Supetar, the main city, is a true gem to behold. The remarkable Island of Brac Museum, situated in the tower built in 16th century, hosts a Roman Mausoleum where, according to the legend, rest Valerija and Priska – wife and daughter of the emperor Diocletian. During WWII, as the island fell into the hands of the Italian fascists, Croatian Jews were imprisoned in several detention camps located in Milna and Postire (luckily, due to a less severe treatment, many have survived).We will honor their suffering with a minute of silence. Before embarking toward another pearl–Bol, we will bring on the excitement with a Quad Safari, an unforgettable dusty ride through the island’s interior.
Next stop–Bol. Best known for the ‘’Zlatni Rat/Golden Cape,’’ one of the most stunning beaches in the world and a meeting ground for windsurfers from all over the world. It boasts harborside bars, restaurants, gift shops, and a bubbling atmosphere, providing us with the perfect backdrop for an exciting night out.
The sun always shines in Hvar, the sunniest island in Adriatic and we will bask in its rays from the early morning. Hvar’s location at the center of the Adriatic sailing routes has long made this island an important base for commanding trade up and down the Adriatic, across to Italy and throughout the wider Mediterranean. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times, originally by a Neolithic people whose distinctive pottery gave rise to the term Hvar culture, and later by the Illyrians. The ancient Greeks founded the colony of Pharos in 384 BC on the site of today’s Stari Grad, making it one of the oldest towns in Europe. They were also responsible for setting out the agricultural field divisions of the Stari Grad Plain, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In medieval times, Hvar (city) rose to importance within the Venetian Empire as a major naval base. Prosperity brought culture and the arts, with one of the first public theatres in Europe, nobles’ palaces, and many fine communal buildings, making Hvar the perfect setting for a magical walking tour. The most beautiful modernist villas built in the 1930s (many by Jewish architects) are found in the Križni Rat street and we will make a brief stop at Villa Ladany, designed by famous Croatian Jewish architect and WWII veteran, Stjepan Gomboš.
The afternoon is reserved for some retro thrills as we get behind the wheels of vintage Volkswagen Beetles (stick shift for the complete experience) and drive through picturesque roads overlooking the entire sun bathed island.
The evening is the perfect time for enjoying the night vibes of this sparkling town, full of cocktail bars, restaurants, and amazing, world-class DJs flocking from all over the world.
As our voyage continues with a gentle morning glide towards Korcula, where we will stop for a refreshing swim in one of the sapphire-like, hidden lagunas.
Korcula is one of the most unique islands on the Adriatic. Covered with extensive pine forests, crickets gather there for their seasonal chirping symphony, which can be heard from miles away. Legend has it that the island was founded by Trojan hero Antenor in the 12th century BCE, while historians established that Greek colonists from Corcyra (Corfu) formed a colony on the island in the 6th century BCE, naming it “Black Corfu” after their homeland and the dense pine-woods on the island. Since then many empires ruled the island and the Korcula Town Museum preserves magnificent artifacts from each layer of its thick history.
The town of Korcula itself is the best preserved port town on Croatian Adriatic (unlike many cities it was never bombed or devastated by earthquakes). It is also known as the birthplace of Marco Polo, but its importance stretches back centuries. Due to its good fortune, it is considered among the finest examples of intact Venetian renaissance architecture on the Croatian side of Adriatic. During our walking tour here we will discover hidden gems which will surely dazzle you for days to come! Korcula also preserves some of the most unique traditions in the area, like the Moreška sword dance (originating from the town of Blato). In the evening we will have a chance to immerse ourselves in this exciting spectacle which arrived at Korcula around the 16th century and is performed today with great passion and centuries of trained skill. Along the city walls there is an evening promenade packed with alluring bars, restaurants, and gift shops that make the starry skies above jealous of the terrestrial joie de vivre.
Like Hvar and Brac, Korcula was also the location where many Jews were interned by Italian fascist forces, escaping the Nazi Death Camps. Among them was no other than Bosnian born, American-Jewish guitarist, composer, and singer-songwriter Jagoda Flory. We will hear how she describes the two years that she and her family spent on the island.
Departing early in the morning, we arrive at Mljet just in time for a panoramic view of the northwestern part of the island, one of eight National Parks in Croatia, celebrated for its two inland lakes and miles of cycling and strolling trails of exceptional, untamed beauty. Greco-Roman geographers like Apollonius of Rhodes and Pliny the Elder called it Melite (‘honey’). This is the same “Melita” on which Saint Paul was probably shipwrecked, this view being first expounded in the 10th century, by Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The legend, however, traces island’s story much earlier, to Odysseus himself who allegedly met the nymph, Calypso, in a large and beautiful grotto (known for centuries as ‘The Odysseus cave’) where she nursed him back to health. No visit to the island should miss an entrance into this mythical portal of ancient legend. We will explore the pristine nature of the Mljet National Park by bikes or canoes (the choice is yours) before we set our sails towards Dubrovnik where the Shabbat Queen awaits us. As we sail away from Mljet we will hear a few moving poems dedicated to its majestic beauty by a famous Croatian-Jewish poet, dramaturgist and translator Zlatko Gorjan (born Berger). His book of poems celebrating Mljet, couldn’t be titled any better– Wonders and Miracles on the Enchanted Island (1960).
After the Shabbat Shacharit service and some much needed rest we will take out our sandals for a unforgettable walking tour through Dubrovnik’s Old City, especially its Jewish part. Jewish merchants from Albania are mentioned in the local archives as early as 1368. After the Spanish expulsion in 1492, Dubrovnik became an important transit center for refugees travelling to Balkan cities under Turkish rule. Jews were allowed to settle in Dubrovnik and were given customs privileges to encourage transit trade. Jews dealt mainly in textiles, silk, wool, leather, and spices. They were allowed to live inside the walls in 1538, but in 1546 a ghetto was established in a small street (still called the Jewish street) enclosed by walls, and the gate was locked at night. Our visit to the Jewish museum, located in the second oldest Sephardic synagogue in Europe will be an opportunity to truly travel back in time. The well-preserved Jewish cemetery, on our way, contains 200 gravestones, including that of Rabbi Jacob Pardo, who died there in 1819. Embracing the sunset on our walking tour continuing through Stradun, we will encircle the millenia long story of Ragusa and its Jews. Seen from the vantage point of the famous city Walls, Dubrovnik will appear as if covered with a golden, sunset dew… a magical prelude to the effervescent life it gains once the sun comes down.
A day trip to Montenegro takes us along the majestic Kotor Bay, towards the old traders’ port of Kotor, hidden beneath the steep Montenegrin mountain slopes, that gave the country its name. Once a rival to Dubrovnik and Venice, Kotor has changed many hands and different defensive structures still overlook the city. The bravest among us will climb the few hundreds stairs to get to the top of the city walls, ascending to a view that fully justifies the effort and allows for one of the most breathtaking vistas you have ever seen. A perfect way to collect the whole Adriatic archipelago in one’s eyes and cherish it there forever… or until your next visit.