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On a Freighter Even the Routine is Extraordinary
And the Destinations are Some of the Most Exotic in the World

[Seaworthy News, September '15]

The Futura Cruise for a Special Occasion
by Ranko and Maja Zunic

Deluxe category cruiser Futura alongiside at Hvar harbor
You’ll need more than one trip to discover the 101 delights of Dalmatia - the rugged coastline of Croatia, protected by a gorgeous Adriatic archipelago and backed by the dramatic mountains.

We have sailed earlier on the northern route, leaving the central area hopefully for another occasion. This summer we took the southern route, and asked our good friends Rita and Massimo Brandinali, from Bologna, Italy, to be our guests.

Starting from Split, where Maja and I traveled to on the day we married in Dubrovnik, 50 years ago - well dressed, spending the first wedding night in deck chairs on a coastal liner. Now we are in jeans, having deluxe accommodations and service for 7 days.
Cruise Cratia KL-2 Deluxe Route

Nearly 2,000 years ago the Riva, one of Europe’s finest seafront promenades, won the heart of Roman Emperor Diocletian who hoofed it to Split after he abdicated. A guided tour takes us in his footsteps, visiting his palace, a lavish colossus with vaulted basements and a graceful colonnaded courtyard, Peristil, is the town’s most remarkable man-made attraction. Walking out through the Old City, you squeeze down the narrow Pusti me da Prodjem (Let me Pass) streets.

Capt. Ranko and Maja Žunić, family home at Sumartin, Croatia Captain Damir Naranca did us a favor and passed by the Zunic family home in Sumartin on the Island of Brac, and sent our greetings by the ship's horn.

On the visits to Split, Korcula and Trstenik, Pelješac we met with our old friends, while in Dubrovnik, for a day and two nights, time was short to greet all the friends and Maja’s family. Maja Žunić with Rita and Massimo Brandinali

Maja with Rita and Massimo, talking (most likely) about Dubrovnik's history

The highlight of the cruise was the visit to Palmizana Island; an exciting taxi boat ride on Mistral waves from the town of Hvar, and dining on fresh local seafood and wine. Captain’s dinner followed on the last night of the cruise, while the vessel was resting alongside at Bol, island of Brac. At the table, Captain Naranca is the first on the right, then Massimo and Rita, tour manager Tanja, myself and Maja, and Spanish guests, Ana and Tomas.

Brandinali, Zunic and Capt. NarancaCaptain's Dinner on the Fortuna

One of the topics at the table was our common satisfaction with the cruise: a variety of destinations, from the Mljet National Park, the vineyards and wineries of Grgic and Milicic on the Pelješac Peninsula to historic and cultural centers like Split and Dubrovnik.

According to Massimo and Rita "... the Futura is an elegant yacht; everything was spotless and shiny, a welcoming and courteous crew, spacious cabin with two picture windows made it very bright, good food Mediterranean style, generous buffet breakfasts ...". Since 2003, Massimo and Rita have booked with us at Maris five long roundtrip voyages on freighters, including an around-the-world cruise:

Rita and Massimo BrandinaliRita and Massimo Brandinali

Mr. and Mrs. Brandinali on the CMA CGM Utrillo, World Cruise 2005
Neptune blessing passengers and cadets on crossing the Equator for the first time,
and dining with fellow passengers and officers

What attracts them to freighters is a relaxed, friendly atmosphere among passengers, officers and crew, similar to what we found here on the Futura in a small group of 27 guests, coming from Australia, Canada, Italy, Spain and the USA. On larger cruise ships, by contrast, this quality is lost, as is the intimacy with the sea and nature.

Early in the morning, before the vessel sailed from Bol back to Split, Maja and I disembarked to spend a couple of days in Sumartin with relatives and friends, and a night at the Hotel Osejava in Makarska, where we lodged 50 years ago following the wedding night sleeping in deck chairs. Capt. Ranko and Maja Zunic at Hotel Osejava, Makarska, summer 2015
Capt. Ranko and Maja Zunic at Hotel Osejava, Makarska, summer 2015

Our report from the KL1 cruise in 2012
For more information and reservations, please visit page Cruise Croatia

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