Cruise to Italy and Croatia

This fall my mom and I took an epic girls trip to Italy and Croatia. We had been talking forever about taking a big trip together and my 40th birthday seemed like a good excuse to finally make it happen. I have to admit my mom planned the entire thing and she did an excellent job! I thought I would share a little review of our cruise to Italy and Croatia.

Woman looking out over Rome Italy

As we both have a fear of flying we decided we needed to make the long flight worth it by seeing as much as possible while we were there. After a lot of research, a cruise seemed to be the best way to visit all the cities and destinations we wanted to see. It was nice to wake up in a new city every morning and all the hard work of traveling was done overnight while we were sleeping. It was also so great to have a home base to come home to every night rather than packing up our stuff constantly.

view from a cruise ship room

Now I will say I’m not a big cruise person. It’s just not my jam. Too many people stuck in a too small space. BUT my mom found us the perfect cruise line – Azamara. Their ships are smaller and geared toward a more intimate experience. We were on the Journey which had about 650 passengers. It wasn’t crowded at all. You could easily grab a seat by the pool or sit down in any restaurant. You can see our boat below on the right. It’s much smaller than that other ship.

view over Kotor Montenegro the bay and boats

The food was delicious as well, although we typically ate in whatever city we were in as much as possible. I also can’t speak to any of the entertainment on board, as again we were kind of using it as an extremely nice glorified uber.

We would get off the ship in the morning, spend the day exploring and chill in our room at night. They did have lots of amenities like a spa, entertainment etc..but we didn’t check any of it out.

cappuccino in an italian coffee shop

The cruise was a mix of ages, lots of retired people, couples in their 40’s, and families with college aged kids. Our journey started in Rome. Then we traveled to Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, Montenegro, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Koper, and Venice. While we loved everywhere in Italy we visited, and Dubrovnik was amazing as well, we both agreed Zadar and Koper were our least favorite stops.

the spanish steps in Rome

Let’s start in Rome. We flew into Rome and spent a few days exploring before heading to Civitavecchia to board the ship. We booked a private tour guide who was amazing! His name was Pietro Petrilli and he was worth every penny.

Trevi fountain in Rome

He drove us all over the city showing us more than we could have ever seen ourselves in the few days we had there.

plate of italian food and aperol spritz
cone of chocolate gelato

He also knew all the best spots to eat. He was super knowledgeable about all the history as well, and we just had the best time with him!

image of the vatican main building

He picked us up from the airport, showed us around for 2 days, then brought us to our ship at the end of our time in Rome. It was perfect and stress free for two novice travelers.

ruins in Rome
Rome Italy

After a delicious dinner and a great night’s sleep, we were ready to explore Sorrento. Azamara does have tons of excursions you can book or you can choose to explore on your own. We did a mix of both. Some cities we book a morning tour and then wandered in the afternoons.

view of the bay in Postitano Italy

We booked a boat to Capri and road the Funicular.

blue and white boat in Positano
local paintings of boats in italy

In Positano we ate a delicious lunch by the beach and shopped. We picked up some fun local art. The water everywhere was just stunning. Oh and we went late September, early October and the weather was phenomenal! Gorgeous, sunny and upper 70’s everyday.

church in positano

The next port was Amalfi and we took a bus up to Ravello. This was one of my favorite stops of the trip. We toured an old villa there that had the most unbelievable gardens. It was definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been. They are known for their ceramic tile there and it was everywhere.

stone entrance to a villa in italy
view out of a villa window in Ravello Italy
villa in Ravello Italy
garden view in Ravello Italy

We spent the rest of the day shopping and eating in Amalfi.

shopping buildings in amalfi italy

We had a day at sea for the next day which was kind of nice to give our feet a break. We had a relaxing day reading by the pool.

view of the ocean from a cruise ship

On to Montenegro where we booked a tuk-tuk tour. This was so fun as they drove us all around the city. The views were beautiful.

houses in Kotor
cafe with umbrellas in Kotor

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch in Kotor with a new furry friend. Kotor is known as the city of cats and they were everywhere!

cat sleeping on a chair in Kotor

Dubrovnik was another favorite stop. This old city was stunning!

Dubrovnik city walls in the ocean
cafe on the stone city walls in Dubrovnik

They have a tour pass you could buy once you were inside the city walls by simply scanning a QR code. It gave us access to several museums, churches, and my favorite part the city walls.

walking the city walls in dubrovnik
side street cafe in Dubrovnik

We walked all around the city atop the walls and it was one of the coolest things of our trip.

old stone church in Zadar

In Zadar we did a little bit of wandering and shopping.

flower shop in Koper with green doors

Then it was on to Koper. We may have goofed this up because we didn’t book any excursions there and there wasn’t a ton to see. There were cave tours available but we were saving our energy for our last few days in Venice.

colorful canals in venice italy

Our trip ended in Venice and what a place to cap the trip! It was just the most fun city to explore.

woman walking along the street in venice

We wandered along the canals.

tons of books stacked on top of each other in venice italy

Paid a visit to the coolest bookstore – Libreria Acqua Alta. A booklovers dream. My mom and I were in heaven.

gondolier in venice italy steering a gondola

We of course had to take a gondola ride as well. Every corner was more charming than the last.

boats in the canals in venice italy

Finally it was time to head home from our trip of a lifetime. I would definitely do an Azamara cruise again, but also now that I was able to visit a lot of different cities, I’d love to go back and spend an extended period of time in one spot as well. It’s a really great stress free way to travel which we loved.

purple and white window boxes in venice italy

You can check out some other fun trips I’ve taken here –

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