Formerly a fishing boat, Ante Bubalo and his son, Luka purchased the 115-foot-long retired boat ten years ago, had it stripped it to its shell, and completely restored at a cost of two million Euros. It took three years to renovate and rebuild, a better option than purchasing a new boat, since the hull was of much better quality and thicker than the hulls on new boats.
It was Luka’s dream to make La Perla a reality, after earning an economics degree at university. Working with a boat designer to carry out his vision, they gave new life to the old fishing boat by creating a luxury yacht for tourists. Luka’s wife did the interior decorating, and together, they made La Perla into a comfortable cruising yacht perfect for enjoying the Adriatic Coast.
Although now retired from his business of selling prosciutto to stores and restaurants throughout Croatia, Ante assists Luka with his charters that are booked eight months of the year. Luka is usually on board La Perla for each charter; however, for our cruise, Ante stepped in to cover for Luka.
Ante’s favorite task of each day was going shopping, picking up needed provisions as well as treats for the passengers. Each day there was a new surprise—a special cheese, local chocolates, cookies, or other tasty snacks he placed out in the lounge for us to nibble on throughout the day and evening.
La Perla was wonderful! Our cabin was surprisingly spacious, well-designed, and had more storage space than we needed. Suitcases fit perfectly in the bed platform cabinet, so we were able to stow them away and out of site. The bed was very comfortable, and we were amazed at how smartly designed the bathroom was for a yacht of its size. We also enjoyed our cozy balcony!
Open-seating meals were always enjoyable with the other twenty-two passengers. There was never a shortage of conversation! We also never left hungry. The variety of food on the buffet for breakfast and lunch was terrific, and the chef also prepared dishes to order. Dinner was white-glove service with multiple courses and plenty of wine, which was included in the cost of the cruise. I especially enjoyed the octopus we had one evening as well as the wonderful views of the sunset we enjoyed during dinners. A couple of times, a few of us grabbed our cameras and made a beeline to the aft deck to capture some photos!
While we were cruising, the indoor and two outdoor lounge areas were very comfortable to relax at and enjoy conversation with the other passengers. There were also plenty of lounges for sunbathing, and I even found some deck space by the spa to do my Theraband exercises and yoga. (Try balancing in a yoga pose on a moving yacht; it was a fun challenge!)
There was also a (very!) small gym; however, we opted to do a LOT of walking in each port and take in a couple of swim sessions when La Perla was anchored. (More on that in a future post.)
The most memorable part of La Perla was Ante and his staff of nine. They were always friendly and eager to please, and we enjoyed getting to know them while on board. There were plenty of laughs and good times!
If you are considering a trip to the Adriatic Coast of Croatia, cruising aboard La Perla is a great way to go. Not only was the boat able to travel much closer to the coast, but we were also able to spend a day on the island of Korcula, which is inaccessible to large cruise ships. Considering it was a highlight of the cruise, it was a great decision to go small!
As you will see in later blog posts, La Perla also had the advantage of being able to anchor in coves, so we could enjoy swimming off the platform, kayaking in their tandem ‘yak, and circling a small island aboard their tender. Besides, we got to know all twenty-two of the other passengers as well as the crew. Try that on a cruise ship!
Now, for a shameless commercial, even though I am in no way affiliated with the company: Book La Perla through Vantage Travel. This was my fourth trip with Vantage (and Bruce’s second), and we loved it! Call (888) 756-6677, give them my name and number (Elaine Krugman 2569087), and you each (if you are traveling with a companion) will receive $50 travel credit.
Stay tuned for more adventures aboard La Perla as we cruise south along the Adriatic Coast! Meanwhile, check out this video from Vantage.