The ship got to Dubrovnik in the morning and anchored out in the harbor away from the dock. Instead of being able to walk off the ship directly onto the dock, we took tenders to shore. In case you didn’t know what a tender is (apart from the chicken variety you get at Burger King), here is a picture:
The ship takes six of these everywhere it goes, attached to the side just to the aft of the lifeboats.
Dubrovnik is the only port we visited on this cruise that I had been to before. In March of 2004, I rented a car with Judi, Sarabeth and Abi and drove from Budapest to the Adriatic coast for spring break. We drove through Zagreb to get to the Croatian coast, where we stopped at Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. Then we turned around and headed back north further inland. On that trip, I read a history of the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999) in which I found out that the medieval center of Dubrovnik had been shelled by the Yugoslav Army for no apparent reason. The authors of the book characterized it as bitter country boys in the army taking out their frustrations on a rich resort town.
Whatever the reason, Dubrovnik was a strategically unimportant town that was damaged. But you wouldn’t know that to look at it now. A lot of the roofs in the Old Town look new, and you can’t really see anything that is obviously war damage.
Princess was kind enough to offer free shuttle service from the dock to the Old Town, which we took advantage of. When we got there, the first thing we did was go up on the walls and walk around the city. It was cool and overcast (much like the first time I was in Dubrovnik), but it was not a bad time to be up on the wall. If it had been hot, we would have been baked by both the sun above and the stone below. By the time we went all the way around and came down, the weather was better and the line to get up on the wall was looooooong.
The Old Town was crowded, since there were three or four cruise ships in port that day. We went to a Dominican monastery and then the Cathedral, which houses the head, arms and foot of St. Blaise. You have to pay to see those, though. Since none of us is a devotee of St. Blaise, we decided to skip that.
When I’m traveling around, I like to buy just a few things: on the cheap end, patches (to sew on backpacks), stickers (to put on water bottles) and magnets (to put on a refrigerator, in case I ever own one). I also like to look into buying things that the place I’m visiting is known for. I heard that they produce lavender products in Dubrovnik, and that the necktie originated in Croatia, so I looked for the two of those. I bought a small bottle of lavender oil at an outdoor market right after we left the Cathedral, and then looked around for a tie shop. My dad and I looked all around the Old Town for a tie shop, and finally found one, but the cheapest ties there were 57 euros. So much for buying an authentic Croatian necktie.
After walking around for a little longer, we took the shuttle back to the dock, and the tender back to the ship. In the evening, we went to Michelangelo’s again. After this, we went to one of the dining rooms just about every night rather than the buffet. We usually had a four-course meal, with the menu changing each night. It usually took about an hour and a half, and it was a good way to relax after the long day of walking around ports all day, trying to get the most out of the short time we had there.