I have booked onto many boat trips in various countries and have always enjoyed, however this was not one of the best, as we had a poor experience from start to finish.
When we booked the trip via Viator, the advert stated that the trip 'included hotel pick-up and drop-off within a certain area' and advised that you contact the tour guide to confirm. It also stated that 'exact pick-up times would be advised'. Therefore when we booked the trip, we confirmed at the time of booking the hotel and area we were staying in Cavtat. We did not receive any further communication from them to advise what time we would be collected (other tours we booked via other agencies had contacted us after booking to confirm pick-up times). Therefore a week before travelling, I emailed via Viator to ask for confirmation of pick-up time, and the response I had was basically a 'copy and paste' of what was written on the advert - so we still had no confirmation of whether they would be collecting us from the hotel, and if so, what time.
Therefore, the day before the trip I telephoned the company directly to ask for confirmation - the person I spoke to initially said that we should meet him at the main bus stop in Cavtat at 8.30am, and then he changed his mind and told me he would collect us from the hotel at 8am. On the day of the trip, we were collected in a car at 8am, and taken to the port in Dubrovnik - no other passengers were collected on route. We arrived at the port by 8.30am, and was shown where the boat would be leaving from at 9.45am - so we had to hang around the port for over an hour, with no other communication from them, and no sight of any other customers. The person who collected us told us to go for a coffee and come back later.
We went back to the boat about 9.30am, and was told that there were 2 boats going on the trip, and we could pick which one we wanted. We therefore settled onto one of the boats awaiting the arrival of all other passengers who appeared to have been dropped off in a bus.
The boat trip itself was ok - the boat was completely covered over, so we had no sun on us and therefore with the sea breeze it was quite cold. There were no toilets on the boat either, so we had to wait until we got to the islands. The 'all-inclusive drinks' was just a cool box with 1 bottle of cheap white wine, 1 bottle of red wine and a bottle of lemonade.
We stopped at the first two islands for only 40 minutes each, and therefore had very little time to see anything at all. I feel that the only purpose of stopping at these islands was for them to take us to the beach bars where they no doubt had connections too, knowing that passengers would be forced to buy drinks and use the toilets. Upon departing the second island we were served up our food. My husband had opted for the chicken, which came with salad and bread. However, as a vegetarian I was served a few slices of courgette and onion with a small salad and bread. The vegetables appeared to have been cooked with the meat, and were therefore greasy and as such i could not eat them (thankfully I had the bread to eat). At the third island, we stopped for a few hours, which was nice as we were able to spend time on a sandy beach.
However, our whole day was completely ruined upon arriving back at the port in Dubrovnik. The captain of the boat told us to follow another man to where the transport back to the hotels was parked. Along with everyone else, we followed him to a carpark. He asked each person what hotel they were staying at, and showed each one to various minibuses. However, when it came to us he told us we would have to wait in the carpark for the captain. He then spoke to someone on the telephone before driving off and giving us no further information. A few minutes later the captain arrived, and told us that we had booked hotel pick-up only, and we were not entitled to a hotel drop-off. I advised him that the booking had stated 'pick-up and drop-off' and we were expecting to be dropped off. He then showed me a screen on his phone stating 'see, it is pick up only'. Luckily, before he pulled his phone away from me, I was able to spot that it clearly said 'pick-up and drop-off'. I pointed this out to him, at which point he reluctantly replied 'oh, ok then' and then told me I would have to wait until the minibus returned. However, he was unable to give me any timescales of when this may be. He could see how upset I was at this, and as an alternative he handed me 50kuna and told me that we could catch the public bus back to the hotel. I asked where I could catch the bus from, and he told us that he would arrange for someone to take us to the bus stop, and that the buses run every 15 minutes.
We were then taken to the main bus station and dropped off. We went to the ticket office to book tickets for the bus, only to discover that the total cost from the main bus station was 54kuna (not 50kuna - it is only 50kuna if you catch the bus from within the city itself). Luckily we did have a small amount of money remaining, despite having spent a considerable amount during the day for coffees whilst stranded at the port for an hour whilst waiting in the morning, and also the 100 kuna for sunbeds and umbrellas on the island. The buses ran once per hour (not every 15 minutes as he had claimed). As we had missed the previous bus by only a few minutes we had to wait another hour for the bus, and therefore by the time we arrived back at the hotel we had been out for almost 12 hours without hardly any food!
This excursion could have been really nice, however the appalling customer service and complete lack of regard for our wellbeing in not taking us back to the hotel as we had booked completely ruined it!