The Yacht Week Croatia | Planning Guide

I’ve heard everyone say it… “Yacht Week is the best week ever” but I truly didn’t understand how great it was until I lived it. Seriously. Everything about it, from the people, to the the islands, to the activities, parties, sailing…the whole vibe is above and beyond anything I could have anticipated. I covered lots about packing and all the theme nights in my YACHT WEEK CROATIA PACKING LIST but for all the other ins and outs of planning yacht week… keep scrolling!

WHAT IS YACHT WEEK?

Besides the best week ever, basically yacht week is a week long sailing trip throughout the destination of your choice (Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, BVI). You charter a boat and sail island to island along with 40+ other boats, and basically enjoy the beauty of the islands during the day and party in the evenings. Unless you want to book AIR BNBS or hotels at any of the island stops, you sleep on your boat every single night. Despite assumptions, you’re actually not “sailing” the entire time — only about 2-4 hours per day, in the mornings and then dock at a marina in the nights, with the exception of one night spent in the bay. Going into it I thought it would be a party week 24/7. While the evenings are a lot, there’s also ample time on the islands for activities – it’s really just what you make of it, but this week definitely requires a high energy level.

PLANNING?/COST

Overall we started planning for Yacht Week back in March and went Week 30, July 20-27th. Planning ahead is kind of key here. You have to determine your week, your boat, your crew (all of your friends), and lots of logistics. They Yacht Week Website does an amazing job at mapping everything out as user friendly as possible. Once you’re in, you create a profile and it logs all of your planning/payments/logistics online. You will need a lead person to take charge of the booking (this was my friend Danielle, so I don’t have much on that here) but every person can pay their portion separately making the booking, payment, and planning process very seamless. 

Your cost will depend on the boat you choose, if you have AC, how many bathrooms, cabins, etc. but for the 8 of us in a 51 foot sailboat with a Skipper and Host, and minimum food package — the cost per person was $2,000, (not including costs on the islands/ additional alcohol, on land activities) and this was paid in increments over 3 months. On the website, costs start around 700 per person so there are also less expensive & more expensive options.

YOUR CREW

While there are so many factors that go into making yacht week such an incredible experience, like anything in life, who you’re with can make or break it. Overall, the boats get filled. You can either fill up a boat with you and all of your friends, or tag along with a friend or two and join another boat blindly. I was actually surprised at how many people we met went with the latter route — so if you don’t have a group of 8-12, all good you don’t have to miss out on the week, just be aware you will be living with with your crew for a week in very close quarters. That said, I’d advise going in at least with one solid friend that you’re down to share a tiny room with. If not 3-4 friends (for girls – an even number).

If you want to do Yacht Week like we did, which I personally recommend – find a really solid crew. We had a good mix of “partiers” “adventure-people” “go home by 1am” “stay up til sunrise”. You need a blend and our crew ended up being PERFECT. I could go on and on for days about how much I love these girls and how amazing everyone got along but originally it was a hodge podge trying to find people who were in. For summer, start trying to rally your crew in February/March. People will drop, people will join in, it’s inevitable. But to hit your payment dates it’s best to lock in a crew early.

If you want to book an all girls boat, be sure you book early on! We’ve heard it’s harder to book all girls if you wait too late in the game, and during the initial planning process, you’re required to select the genders of each crew member. If people drop out, you can find a replacement before a certain deadline, but you have to replace with the same gender. (Ie a girl to fill a girl spot or guy to fill a guy spot).

YOUR BOAT

Ok so choosing your boat. You can go one of two routes, a sailboat or catamaran. 

We went with a 51 foot sailboat with 4 cabins, 1 bunk room (where our host slept), a skipper room, and 3 bathrooms. If given the options I would 100% pay extra to have AC. During the day it’s not an issue while sailing, but at night it was a game changer. If you’re traveling with a big group of girls too, we found it helpful having an extra bathroom. You actually don’t shower on the boat if you don’t want to. Most islands (except 1 or 2) have bathhouses so we’d shower at those each night and or shower on back of the boat. If anything it’s more to have space, mirrors, and storage. *Girls do bring a portable mirror though! – You’ll want to spend as little time in the cabins as possible (more in my packing guide)

Catamarans are double to price so if you have the budget it’s worth the splurge. It really just comes down to preference/budget. The bedrooms in the sailboats are quaint. Again share a room with someone you’re comfortable with, but really you’re only in there to sleep and change clothes. 

Dining space – you’ll eat all of your served meals if you get a host at the table outside on the back of the boat (Breakfast, lunch, and 1-2 dinners). There is a big table inside but you really don’t spend time down there. It’s hot and a bit nauseating if the water is bumpy.

Tanning Space — While sailing, you’re free to sit at the front or back of the boat. Every morning I’d have my coffee and watch the horizon to set sail. There’s plenty of room for 8 girls on a sail boat, even though the catamarans are nice! And you’re welcome to stay sleeping too, I’m just an early riser. 

SKIPPERS/HOSTS

If you’re going on Yacht Week, I can’t advise you more to get a skipper and a host. No question. Our friend had done yacht week before without a host and I feel like it would be a completely different experience making your own meals and taking care of everything. Adding both of these makes it feel like a true vacation. During the pre-planning process you can request a specific host or skipper. We opted to go in blindly getting whoever was assigned to us and truly got the best Skipper (Vinko) & Host (Therese). They made our week AMAZING.

The Skipper is in charge of your safety, sailing the boat each day, getting you docked at all of the marinas, fueling the boat, and coordinating water taxi transpo. Given the option I would try to choose a skipper from Croatia. Vinko, our skipper literally became our family. Growing up in Split he knew the ins and outs of everything. He’d wake up early to get us to the best spots, talk to the locals to reserve places on the marina, and all those little details that made our experience above and beyond.

The Host is like a live in friend that keeps everyone fed for breakfast and lunch and a few dinners throughout the week. Along with the skipper they come to dinner with you every night  (so factor this into your budget) and essentially they’re part of the family — they eat what you eat. In exchange hopefully you luck out like we did and you’ll get the most amazing meals. Our mornings started with delicious homemade muesli parfaits, pancakes, omelettes, Nutella puff pastry, fruit platters… the list goes on. You’re definitely taken care of and its 10000% worth it.

ACTIVITIES

I mentioned this before – but despite the reputation, TYW isn’t just a week long party, there are lots of activities and down time if you want that kind of trip too. At a few island stops, the events team coordinates HIIT Classes, Water Aerobics, and Yoga. Then on your own time you can pay separately for Scooters, ATVS, Jet Skis, pool/ocean cabanas, or just explore the villages and towns. (More On my Yacht Week Itinerary coming tomorrow)

PARTIES/TABLE SERVICE

A big part of yacht week is the float parties and night scene. I wouldn’t advise coming if you’re not down for some fun nights outs or day drinking, but if this is your thing you’re going to love it! The float parties were our favorite —especially the tunnel float day, where all the boats tie up to one another for the night. It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint, but all of the nights were amazing.

Table Service — if you’re down to splurge on tables at all during the trip Fort George (tropical retro night) and Carpe Diem (White Party/ Riviera Chic) night are the places to do so. *More on this in my packing guide. 

Night Vibe | Same with island activities, the nights are also what you make of them and as crazy or mild as you want them to be. Some nights (first and last) I didn’t drink at all besides wine at dinner.. other’s you’ll want to stay up until sunrise. You can always go back to the boats from the bars/clubs, there will be shuttles, taxis, or water taxis depending on the island and I always felt safe. Plus the islands have really great spots if you want to just grab dinner and a drink or go on a little date night if you meet someone 🙂 

TECH LOGISTICS

CELL SERVICE / WIFI |I pretty much had phone service then entire trip even while sailing. You never feel like you’re just stranded in the sea + there’s limited wifi on board if you do need it.

APP | That’s the bulk of it all but any other specifics definitely download the “Day Eight” app. They break down every single day by the hour when your yacht week date approaches and do an amazing job at mapping everything out super clearly.

SEASICKNESS

A big reason why a lot of our friends dropped out or weren’t on board in the first place for yacht week was because of the whole boat thing and they didn’t like the idea of being sea sick. Yes you are sailing (really only 1-4 hours a day max), but only one of the girls from our crew was seasick during a rough sail the second day. Other than that no one really had any issues. Actually, everyone kept saying how well they slept on the boat — it literally rocks you to sleep. I grew up boating so personally didn’t have any problems and didn’t have to use anything, but a lot of the girls used the sea sick bands (in my packing list) and they really helped. If anything it’s hardest the two days after you come home. I’d lay in bed and still feel like I was moving. Sea legs are real..

If you want a bit more about the actual week itself…. Read My Yacht Week Itinerary (coming tomorrow), I cover every day, all the islands, and specific recs for each and again, tips for what to bring, read my Yacht Week Packing List!

All aerial photos from our week by Mike Lesley Verstraten

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