Private Day-Charter Aboard Polaris: A Perfect Day (Photos and Video)

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What is the perfect day in Croatia? How about privately chartering a boat for a group of your friends? On July 15th, 2017, this is exactly what we did and it turns out it was the best decision of summer 2017.

I had been wanting to plan a day on a boat for friends for a long time; I knew that with all of our crazy schedules, there was no way anyone could take a full week off work to charter and sail Croatia, but I was convinced that surely, we could manage a day. Now, there are plenty of organised day-cruises that we could have done, but I really wanted one whole day on a boat with good friends, good music, drinks and a chilled vibe. Having already been on the Polaris Sunset Cruise and interviewed Marin Novaković as a character of the sea, doing a day-trip on Polaris was an easy choice.

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Credit: Forever Photography

The Total Croatia News team was in desperate need of a day away from the laptops and beers at sea. So, we planned it as an official-unofficial launch of Total Croatia Sailing, with some of our key writers in tow, including Mr. Paul Bradbury and one of our writers even travelled overnight from Rijeka – commitment.

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The TCN team, thanks to 3 Gray Goats Photography

But, it wasn’t just us writers who needed a break, everyone who lives and works in Dalmatia reaches a point in summer where everything is just too much. The majority of us work in tourism in some way or another and summer typically equals work rather than relaxing beach days; so, it didn’t take much convincing to get our friends to take a day off.

Sometimes I think as locals we forget to take advantage of some of the wonderful activities and offers there are along the Dalmatian coast, passing them over as ‘only for tourists’ or folk with money. Chartering a boat for the day definitely sounds like it falls into both of those categories, so I was surprised to discover it is far more affordable than I realised.

We eagerly boarded Polaris at 10 am and I was once again impressed with just how beautiful a ship she is; built during WWII for the Normandy invasion, not only did she survive, but is thriving thanks to reconstructions over the years and the love and care of the Novaković family.

Polaris has cruising capacity of up to 150 passengers, making her perfect for private events, weddings, and day-tours. We weren’t anywhere near capacity, but rather a humble group of 30 friends, which allowed us, even more, space to chill and enjoy.

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We first made heading towards Stomorska on the island Šolta, where the Novaković family and maritime history began centuries ago. Even though we simply wanted to relax, swim and chill, I always love to explore the towns and villages on the coast, so we organised an olive oil tasting in a tiny cellar. Šolta has a proud tradition of producing olive oil, they have olive trees dating back more than 1,000 years and it is said, wild Šolta olive trees were present even before the Greeks (Read more about island Šolta here).

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Credit: Simun Sitam; island Solta

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Credit: Forever Photography

After hearing about the history, production and sampling the precious ‘gold’, we made our way back to Polaris and sailed on to our next destination – island Brač. As this tour was more about being together as friends and more importantly – away from the crowds, we anchored in a gorgeous bay with waters that shifted from deep blues to the lightest turquoise near the beach.

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It was truly like our own piece of paradise; far away from the busy streets of Split, looking around the boat, I could see the tension just melting away from everyone. No shops, staff, clients, tourists… it was the most we had all switched-off all summer (and still remains my summer highlight). Ok, a few of us did still have to check the odd email, but thanks to our RoamFree Ninja hotspot, this was no issue.

After swimming, it was time for lunch – the Polaris crew served up a gorgeous spread of local prosciutto, cheeses, olives and pates for entrees, while mains were fresh grilled fish, chicken, vegetables and salad. Owner and Captain Marin prides himself on serving the freshest local ingredients and dishes, rather than cheap products, mass-produced on some of the ‘fish-picnics’ you see along the coast. Something else that speaks volumes about Marin is that he has kept the same chef and crew for years (trust me, this is an achievement in Croatia).

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Credit: Igor Nobilo, Croatia Photo Tour

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Credit: Igor Nobilo, Croatia Photo Tour

Lunch was so lovely and fresh that it didn’t completely ‘knock us out’, so we all quickly returned back to the water, enjoying jumping off the boat or just floating effortlessly.

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Credit: Tash Pericic

While this wasn’t meant to be a ‘party trip’, no day is complete without music, so we had local DJ Matthew Bee, playing some very cool, chilled tunes throughout the day, which got a little funkier as we moved into the late afternoon. As the energy rose and the vino flowed it was almost 5 pm and time to start making our way back to Split.

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Credit: Forever Photography

We all soaked in the last moments aboard, watching the azure Adriatic, dance around the boat and the colours of the day begin to fade. The entire day was absolute perfection and all of my friends have said we we need to do it again (I’m looking at you September). We even had some friends from overseas and everyone agreed that this was one of their highlights while visiting Croatia – I have always said, and stand by my statement that the best way to experience Croatia and particularly Dalmatia, is by boat. Polaris was more than enough for a group of 30-people and would comfortably fit up to 150 people for a cocktail event or wedding.

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The price? Starts at €3,000 to privately charter for the day and they have different food and drink options; we opted for an inclusive lunch and drink package. Divide this cost by 30 – 100 people and you will understand what I mean about affordable.

I cannot recommend Polaris or the Captain and crew highly enough, our day would not have been the same without them. If you are looking for a unique day-trip for an event or large group of friends, check out their page here. Polaris also does organised day-trips and a sunset cruise throughout the season, you can find all information on their page.

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But you don’t just need to take my word for how spectacular the day was, I am lucky enough to have some very talented friends who just so happen to be photographers and videographers; so, a huge thanks to: Jona & Jerry Blackwell from Forever Photography, Terry Ruebush from 3 Gray Goats and Igor Nobilo from Croatia Photo Tour for the photos throughout the article and an even bigger thanks to Simun Sitam for this stunning video. I hope you enjoy it almost as much as we did.

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