2018 Venice & the Adriatic


Monday, 24 September – Fly from USA

Day 1, Tuesday, 25 September -Arrival in Venice

Upon arrival in Venice and picking up luggage and clearing customs, look for a driver with a sign saying “Barker Group.” (Make sure your group is all together before leaving the airport.) You will then be driven to the train/bus station and directed to your pre-arranged water taxi. The taxi will drop you off at the hotel door. Those of us coming from Switzerland will be met at the train station by a representative and will take a water taxi to the hotel. IMPORTANT: If you miss your flight and will not be arriving at the time listed on the itinerary, call or text me at 210 702 1884 or call the hotel at +39.041.2410447. Likewise, if you can’t find the driver at the airport, call the hotel to inform them of the problem. Don’t “wing it” and head out on your own. After arriving and checking into the hotel, use the rest of the day for recovery from your travels and if you feel up to it, walk over to Piazza San Marco and maybe explore the famed basilica. Let’s all gather at 6:30 for a meet and greet social hour on the second floor Salone Nobile (Chips, nuts, prosecco, Venetian spritz, soft drinks provided.) Please be on time since I will have some announcements and vaporetti passes to distribute.  Depart hotel at 7:25 for a very short walk to dinner at Trattoria al Giardinetto. Overnight in the Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice. (D)

Day 2, Wednesday, 26 September -Venice

Breakfast at hotel (Every day on tour). Plan to put to good use your  3-day transportation pass good for all of the vaporetti (Bus/Boats.) You are free for the the day to explore this fascinating city. In lieu of a museum pass, I will repay you for any and all of the museums that you visit, up to €50.00 per person. Just bring me the receipts after your visits. Be back in time for 6:30 optional social hour (BYOB) in the Salone Nobile. Depart hotel at 7:25 for a very short walk to dinner at Osteria Ae Sconte. Overnight in the Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice. (B, D)

Day 3, Thursday, 27 September -Venice

Continue exploring Venice. Getting lost at some point is inevitable–and highly recommended! However, the GPS on your smartphone may keep you on track. Again, be back in time for 6:30 optional social hour (BYOB) in the Salone Nobile. Depart hotel at 7:25 for a very short walk to dinner at Osteria Al Mascaron. Overnight in the Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice. (B, D)

Day 4, Friday, 28 September–Venice

Today, plan to visit the outer islands, Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Lunch is scheduled on Torcello at 1:00 at the Osteria al Ponte del Diavolo. I recommend arriving in Torcello earlier so you can explore a small church and museum before lunch. (At lunch will be your last opportunity to give me your museum tickets to receive the €50.00 I promised earlier.) After lunch, return to Venice. Since lunch was provided, dinner is on your own. Laundry Alert: There is a laundromat very close to our hotel. Overnight in the Ruzzini Palace Hotel, Venice. (B, L)

Day 5, Saturday, 29 September–Venice-Dubrovnik, Begin Cruise

After breakfast and some free time, water taxis will pick us up at the hotel at around 10:30 to take us to the airport for Volotea Flight #V7 1238 leaving Venice at 13:35 for Dubrovnik. Upon arrival in Dubrovnik at 14:50, we will be met by our driver and local guide who will lead us on a walking tour of Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of Adriatic” and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will visit the Rector’s Palace and Franciscan Monastery’s Pharmacy. After the tour, we will continue on to the Stella Maris and settle into our cabins. Welcome dinner and overnight on board the Stella Maris while docked in Dubrovnik. (B, D)

Please note: I have paid for a drinks package which includes moderate amounts of wine, beer, or soft drinks during the course of the meals. Water and coffee are available throughout the day. Make sure you take a bottle of water along on the excursions.

Day 6, Sunday, 30 September -Korkula -Vis

6:00 sail to the magical island of Korcula. Don’t worry about the early departure–you will still be asleep in bed. Later, enjoy breakfast as we sail to Korcula, a fairy-tale like walled town bearing the same name, believed to be the birthplace of the explorer Marco Polo. Upon our arrival at 10:00, we will explore the walled city with a local guide. The walking tour takes us through its narrow, cobbled streets and includes a visit to the majestic Gothic-Baroque Cathedral of St. Mark. (On my recent exploratory trip, this was a favorite stop.) While having lunch on board, we sail for the island of Vis. Of all the Croatian islands, Vis is the most mysterious – even to locals. The furthest of the main Central Dalmatian islands from the coast, Vis spent much of its recent history serving as a military base for the Yugoslav army, cut off from foreign visitors from the 1950s right up until 1989. The isolation preserved the island from development but drove much of the population to move elsewhere in search of work, leaving it underpopulated for many years. We should arrive at Vis around 18:00. Dinner and overnight on board in Vis   (B, L, D)

Day 7, Monday, 1 October – Vis – Hvar – Split

At 8:00 we will go by coach to the village of Komiža. And why are we visiting Komiža? Because fellow traveler Andy Vitalich’s family saga began in Komiža in 1897 with Andy’s grandfather Luka Vitalich leaving the village as a teenager to seek his fortune in Alaska. What follows is a story worthy of a PBS miniseries. During our visit, we will try to find the Vitalich family home and will definitely try to locate the jail that plays an important part in the story. After some free time, we will return to Vis and the Stella Maris. At 11:00, sail to Hvar, Croatia’s sunniest island. Hvar is a favorite holiday destination for international celebrities and yachters; beyond all the glitz and glamour, Hvar town is a charming seaside resort with eight centuries of architecture waiting to be explored. We will have a walking tour with a local guide, as we absorb vistas of the old town with the picturesque little streets and the first public theatre in Europe. Following some free time after the walking tour, we will board our ship for lunch, and cruise towards Split. Evening free in Split. Overnight on the Stella Maris. (B, L)

Day 8, Tuesday, 2 October–Split – Krka NP –Zadar

Morning walking tour in Split, featuring the historic inner city built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. See the remnants of Split’s Roman heritage, its Renaissance and Gothic structures, Jupiter’s Temple and the Cathedral. At 10:00, a coach will pick us up to take us to visit the Krka National Park, with its magnificent waterfalls. Free time afterward to find some lunch, before taking the coach to Vodice where the Stella Maris will be waiting. We will then sail to  Zadar. Dinner and overnight on the Stella Maris. (B, D)

Day 9, Wednesday, 3 October – Zadar to Mali Losinj

Morning walking tour of the Zadar historical center and admire the old walls built in the 16th century by Venetians as a defense from Turks. Also see the 16th century Port Gate where the Venetian lion still guards the entrance, the Square of the Five Wells, Church of St. Donat, the Roman Forum and the largest cathedral in Dalmatia, St. Anastasia. 11:00 departure for Mali Losinj with a afternoon stop for swimming off one of the small islands. Lunch aboard, while continuing our journey towards Mali Losinj, located on the island with the same name. Thanks to its mild climate, pinewoods, and air, the island of Mali Losinj is an ideal place to recreate your body and spirit. Captain’s Dinner with live entertainment aboard our ship tonight. (B, L, D)

Day 10, Thursday, 4 October –Mali Losinj – Pula

Morning sailing with lunch aboard. In the afternoon, visit of Pula, arguably one of the most beautiful of Istrian cities. Your guide will share some exciting stories of antiquity, as you walk the footsteps of the ancients and visit the Amphitheatre. The rest of the day at leisure to discover this Roman town on your own. (B, L)

Day 11, Friday 5 October–Pula – NP Brijuni – Rovinj – Porec

Continue sailing to the Brijuni National Park, once the personal State Summer Residence of President Marshal Josip Broz Tito. Arriving to the island, a part of heaven discloses in front of your eyes in the unique harmony of flora, fauna, and heritage. Following the visit, lunch aboard, before we reach the romantic town of Rovinj. Feel its past times as you walk around the Old Town’s cobbled narrow streets, winding at the foot of the Church of St. Euphamia, the favorite gathering place of artists from around the world. Our cruise ends in Porec with dinner at a local restaurant. We will then return to our cabins for our last night onboard. (B, L, D)

Day 12, Saturday, 6 October – Istrian Extension – Mestre

After breakfast and disembarking from the Stella Maris, we will continue with a full day excursion of Istria. We’ll first be transferred to Groznjan, an ancient city on a hill 748 feet (228 meters) above the sea level. This hilltop town has remained largely untouched by modern development to this day, and offers an amazing view over the local olive groves, vineyards and the sea coastline in distance. We will also have time to check out Groznjan’s array of art galleries,  and small alleys. After visiting Groznjan, our day trip continues to Motovun, one of the most beautiful medieval hilltop towns in the Istrian hinterland. Motovun and the surrounding area are famous for the white and black truffles one can find in the local forests. While in Motovun take some time to check out its sturdy medieval walls. Finish the day with an included wine tasting and a stop in Zavrsje, known as one of the most mystical of all 3 cities we will visit, though nowadays it sits mostly abandoned. After the day of discovery, we will drive to the Crowne Plaza Venice East Hotel near the airport for our final night. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B, D)

Day 13, Sunday, 7 October–Departure

After breakfast, use the free hotel shuttle to transfer to the airport for flights back to the USA or elsewhere in Europe. (B)

Names Arrival  Ruzzini  Stella Maris Departure
Laurence Barker 25 SEP Train, 4:10P Single Lower 7 OCT UA9058, 10:25A
Jack & Jean Tinnea 25 SEP, AF 1726, 1430 Junior Suite Upper 7 OCT AF 1127 10:00A
Greg & Judy Parks 25 SEP Train, 4:10P Classic Upper 7 OCT BA 599 7:45A
John Blue & Gary Behnke 25SEP UA 170 9:05A Junior Suite Upper 7 OCT UA9079 6:30A
Carrol Smith & Rebecca Marti 25 SEP Train, 4:10P DL 474, 11:30 Classic Upper 7 OCT AA 43, 14:50 DL 9277, 6:00A
Marla Donaldson & Julie Soto 25 SEP, AF 1726, 1430 Deluxe Upper 7 OCT AF 1327, 6:55A
Robert & Luisa Price   25 SEP AA 42 11:00A Junior Suite Upper 7 OCT AA 43 14:50
Tom & Melissa Mieras 25 SEP AA 42 11:00A Deluxe Upper 7 OCT AA 715 12:10
Dale & Patsy Meyers  25SEP UA 170 9:05A Deluxe Upper 7 OCT UA9079 6:30A
George Beddingfield & Roxie Montesano 25 SEP Train, 4:10P Deluxe Upper 7 OCT AA 43 14:50
Jim & Sharon Fox 25 SEP, AA 714, 9:15 Junior Suite Upper
Cal Cortright 25 SEP, AF1426, 11:20A Single Lower 7 OCT AZ7780, 11:35
Andy & Paula Vitalich 25 SEP AF1426 11:15A Classic Upper 7 OCT, AF 1327, 6:55A
Maureen Nowotny & Anastasia Bernal 25 SEP AA 42 11:00A  Classic Lower 7 OCT AA 43 14:50
Sally Pearson  25 SEP, AA 714, 9:15 Classic Lower 7 OCT, AA 43 14:50
Roz Zager 25 SEP AA 42 11:00A Classic Lower 7 OCT, AA 43 14:50
Sara & Charlie Lewis 25 SEP BA 1563 11:00A Deluxe Upper 7 OCT, BA 1572, 12:10
Dale Fleishman & Ron Jenkins 25 SEP Train, 4:10P Classic N/A 29 Sep, AA715, 12:10
Nadya Peck & Gretchen Quinn  25 SEP Train, 4:10P Classic N/A 29 Sep, 7:15A, AA 43, 2:50P