Captain Ivica, undisputed king of hospitality
Who is the captain in why it matters
When it comes to gulet Dolin, you can’t just start with a technical description of the vessel. You have to understand the story behind this gulet as well as the owner, Captain Ivica Benić known as John (Ivica in English means John). John spent his childhood in Australia, which meant he could think a bit different than the other yacht owners in Croatia. Because of this, his native language is English (with very strong and cool Australian accent, of course) and like most Ozzies…he is very open and easy going.
He fulfilled his life-long dream
It was Ivica’s dream to own a boat for past 30 years of his life. When boats were mostly available for mass tourism in Croatia for groups of 20 to 40 people in 15 plus cabins, Ivica wanted to own a gulet that flopped the popular consensus on its head. A gulet for just 8 people, and with 4 cabins. This way he could really concentrate on the guests individually and pay them special attention and this is exactly what he is doing now.
When it comes to Dolin, Ivica (John) will do everything he can to:
- Show you the most stunning bays Croatia has to offer
- Tell you about the history, highlights, and other special things about Croatia
- Serve you the best local dishes in way like your mother would serve them to you
13 Highlights of gulet Dolin
1. No Noise. No Fumes
In 2019, capt. John invested in “Solar Energy”. It is one of very few vessels in Croatia that has solar panels. Dolin is since 2019 thus labeled as “eco gulet”.
20 hours out of the whole 24 hours, the solar power covers everything (ice makers, refrigerators, air condition, lights,…) The only thing that needs a basic generator is when the oven is running or to fill up the batteries a bit in the evening. So while on most gulets, during the night the air conditioning needs to either be turned off due to the fuel consumption or if running it makes noise all night – on Dolin you can use A/C entire night without any noise from a generator.
This is also important during the day. When the gulet anchors in some beautiful bay, away from crowds, where all you hear should be waves and crickets, the sound of a generator can be a bit annoying. On Dolin you will have no noise and no fumes.
2. 24/7 Air Condition
We need to note this one more time. Most of the luxury gulets that are much more expensive than Dolin, have the air condition policy, where the generators are switched off at around midnight (A/C is switched off along with this) and have from 6 to 8 hours of A/C included in price. On Dolin, air conditioning can run almost 24/7 (anytime you would need it) which is very good during the hot summer months.
3. Flexible Cabin Configuration
Dolin is probably the only gulet with such cabin configuration. Dolin has 4 cabins and 2 cabins are connected with a “movable wall” and can be transferred into just 2 really large cabins.
How this works:
4 couples: You can use all 4 cabins separately. Each cabin has its own private bathroom and a double bed.
Families with smaller children: You can “open the wall” and you get 1 x huge cabin, which has 2 beds and 2 bathrooms. This means the parents will sleep in the same cabin as children, keeping an eye on little toddlers while having a comfort of 2 bathrooms and enough space. This is perfect if 2 families with kids travel together as well.
Smaller groups of 4 or 6 or even just 4 people: 4 people can use 2 cabins with normal configuration and 2 people can take 2 cabins, transform it into 1 large cabin and each person will have his own master bed and bathroom, while they will still stay “in the same room”.
You can make any combination you like and use Dolin as:
- Normal 4 cabins gulet
- Gulet with one large cabin and 2 normal cabins
- Gulet with 2 huge cabins each with 2 beds and bathrooms
4. Captain John & Dolin Team
Ivica is the Owner and the Captain on Dolin and you can turn to him for anything concerning the cruise, such as planning the whole day, when you have meals, where you would like to anchor, when to use water sports and so on. He gives his total attention and no request is a challenge, he’s very easy to speak with.
When we talk about Ivica, we have to talk about his values and what he believes in. His mindset is:
- CLIENTS CAME TO RELAX AND ENJOY: so his main motivation is to do everything humanly possible to take you away from crowds, to beautiful non crowded bays and to show you Croatia in all its bliss. He likes to go to locations where other vessels can not go – to take you away from mass tourism.
- CLIENTS COME TO ME TO EAT WELL: Ivica is a “modest” person and he does not pay a lot of attention to “luxury” and to “show off”. Food is a good example of this. You will not be served in “white gloves” and food design is not the one you will find on a deluxe yacht or in a high end restaurant. But you will eat like a king. You will eat local food. Get local ingredients. You will gain weight. And you will experience the best local dishes, that will feel like your mother prepared them.
Dolin is a family operated vessel. While John is “the main figure” on the gulet, his wife Anita holds everything together as a glue.
5. Watersports – Free Of Charge
As far as water sports are concerned. Ivica can barely wait for the first candidate to come forward and ask to give it a go on water skies or donut. Ivica will prepare everything you need to have the time of your life and explain all you need to know to stay safe and have fun. Water sports on gulet Dolin are included in price. Beside water skiing and donut ride, you can use a canoe for a more relaxing experiement.
6. Food on Dolin
Food on Dolin is local, ingredients are fresh and you will not be hungry. The design of the food is not as in a Michelin Star restaurant. But if you would like to experience “real Croatia” though food – you will experience it on Dolin.
7. Beverage on Dolin
Most gulets don’t allow you to bring your own drinks on board, so you’d need to buy drinks from the yacht bar or pay an All Inclusive package, which can be expensive and limits your options if you like to explore every day. Dolin is very different, you can bring your own drinks on board with corkage fee (€ 400).
You can bring a selection of drinks depending on your tastes – high-quality wines, domestic spirits, beer – whatever you wish and just store it in the refrigerator on board! One of Ivica’s many great traits is that he also likes to take guests to the best wine cellars on the islands, so you can stock the bar with top quality wines (wines that sell for a good price!) and enjoy them as you take in the superb scenery in isolated bays on board Dolin.
8. Special wine tour cruise – Exclusively with Dolin
There are two different Wine Cruise Routes in Croatia:
- Normal Wine Route – popular among many different gulets
- Special wine Route Tour, which is exclusive to Dolin
This wine cruise route is highly recommended for:
- Active seniors
- Passionate wine lovers
- Middle-aged couples to relax and escape the stresses of life, while enjoying some of the most quality wines you can get
9. Flexibility on cruise routes
Ivica is the most flexible and nicest person in the world! If you want to experience Croatia, its amazing bays and everything else that comes along with it – Ivica will do a top job. His dedication to customer service means you won’t experience Croatia in another way like it! For cruise routes, Ivica is great at coming up with activities and places to visit that will provide you with unforgettable memories.
One more thing to note: An extra day of cruise – is this free of charge?
Lots of gulets need to come to “home port” on Friday evening. This means on Friday during the day you stay in nice bays, have lunch and then slowly go back to the port. Lots of people use this time to get in some extra swimming in the beautiful waters of Croatia, but by late afternoon you are already in the port – and it is more or less the end of your cruise!
Some people dislike this, feeling that they have missed a day’s worth of exploring. It feels that Friday marks the end of your cruise before the day has already begun! Ivica is great at making this day worth it. He can take you to a really nice bay, away from everything and for the last night, you can stay on anchor and enjoy dinner on the gulet so the next morning you can still have a morning swim before breakfast. This truly feels like you’ve added a whole extra day to your cruise.
Bays that hide paradisiac beaches, while the greatest beauties are hidden underwater so you need snorkeling equipment to experience it, searching for shells and looking at amazing sea creatures. We must not forget the islands themselves.It’s definitely worth, going for a walk and viewing the idyllic villages and small towns with their homelands. Many of the islands are also uninhabited, so it’s nature at its very best.
11. Small draft of gulet means it’s perfect for snorkeling
Dolin measures 27 meters in length, 5.5 meters in width and 1.9 meters in draft. Its small draft allows navigation closer to the inside of the bay – to shallow waters; where the swimming and snorkling give you an amazing experience that’s ”out of this world”.
Dolin can go to a lot of places such as (bays), where other gulets can’t due to their larger size. Smaller bays means you get more chances to dive into the depths of the turquise sea to, search for sheelfish, and take underwater pictures.
12. Lots of deck space
Dolin is the largest “standard type” gulet in Croatia with 27 meters in length. The deck offers enormous space where you can relax and take in the sights as you sunbathe between ports.
13. What others are saying – Testimonials
The crew we had on board Dolin were wonderful. We all got on so well and they couldn’t have done more for us. Going off the beaten track and seeing such beautiful scenery. We really loved going to the quieter places. Captain John was really good about giving us options of what we could do and where we could go. It was so relaxing. For us as a family we felt there was too much food! We don’t eat nearly as much at home but I’m sure lots of people do. We didn’t realise the cabins would be as hot so more air con would have been good. We had a great time though.
E. Fortescue (UK)
The crew overall was great. The captain was very friendly and knowledgeable, the cook was fantastic and fed us incredibly well. The young man who was helping with odds/ends cleaning/etc. was really nice and social, and while he was learning still, he was very eager and very helpful. We never felt pressured to go anywhere or do anything specific. The weather was great, and the trip was incredibly relaxing. On days that we wanted to do more activities, the Captain provided plenty of on-land suggestions.
N. Huth (USA)
From Vesna to Tony to Danko to the Capt the crew was FANTASTIC. Captain was top notch, explained everything really well, made us all fell like we were part of the family. I would book this again and have already begun telling my friends back here. Please add me to whatever mailing lists you might have. I’ve got a host of pictures and even better memories. The crew took great care of us. The entire trip was a blessing – I only wish I hadn’t needed to come home…
My modest suggestion would be regarding having on board water and sparkling water – we went through it in droves. May a bit more fish. All was pretty great. One minor suggestion: Is it possible to have side ”mesh” sheets (like the kind that provide shade) to pull out at a night to block some of the wind? I slept on top of the boat every night looking at the stars – beautiful, and would do so again. Some nights were very windy though – wondering if a sheet-like shield might have helped.
F. Golding (UK)
Dolin has been in Goolets Company offer since season 2012. We organized more than 120 groups since then, did several team building events, and also used the vessel for our own holidays a couple of times.
The company CEO (Mitja Mirtič) is one of the largest fans of gulet type holidays and while he is cruising with DELUXE gulets on a yearly basis, he always likes to return to Dolin. In the words of our company CEO, what he thinks about Dolin:
“Dolin is one of my favorite vessels for several reasons. First, we have a great friendship with John and his wife Anita and I am always amazed at how nice people they are and how large their heart is. Second, for me, one of the most important parts of the Gulet Holidays is swimming and snorkeling. I have to say no other captain until now did take me to such bays as John has. Third…I just love the deserts that are made on Dolin. I always gain weight on Dolin, but I love every second of the process. When I come to Dolin, I just feel at home. Dolin is not a luxury yacht and it is true, that John could put more effort into “makeup” and design. If you are into luxury, Dolin is not for you. If you are in to experience…you will be amazed”.