Chartered Yacht Cycling.

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Only a few months left to get it together and get on board. When Bill McCready of Santana Adventures first approached us about inviting our Terry friends on an international bike cruise that involved Venice, the Italian coast, the Dalmatian Islands and some other places we’d never heard of riding before, we knew he and his wife, Jan, had a long history in tandem adventures around the world, but what we didn’t know was that they had perfected this form of bike travel that involves a yacht.

Jan and Bill got their start creating and leading cycling tours for others. They later founded Santana Cycles which grew to become the world’s leading manufacturer of tandem bicycles. In 2005, Santana set an entirely new standard for cycling tours by chartering a luxurious cruise ship. The travelers who joined on that first cycling cruise discovered 5 advantages:

First, they were freed from a wasteful hour of daily drudgery. When you stop to consider the steps, previous bike tours waste an hour of precious vacation time with each change of hotels. That’s how long it takes to find the hotel, figure out where to park and lock your bike, stand in line to check-in, find your stuff, schlepp it to your room, unpack to clean up before dinner, repack the following morning, drag your luggage to the truck or van and then stand in line to check out; all before unlocking your bike and pedaling to the next hotel. On a chartered cruise ship you unpack once. Instead of living out of suitcases, waiting in front-desk lines, or securing your bike, you simply flash your scan-card as you walk your bike across the gangway.

Second, when participants didn’t need to adjust to a new mattress, pillow and thermostat each evening, they slept better. The spacious staterooms on Santana’s charters are soundproofed, individually air-conditioned and furnished with luxurious twin or king-width bedding. Private bath with shelves, cabinet and hair dryer? Of course.

Third, superior cycling. Previous forms of bike tours follow a dot-to-dot format. When viewed on a map the dots show the location of the overnight stops and the lines are the rides linking them together. A few lines represent fault-free days of cycling. Most of the lines are flawed. Stretches of busy roads with boring or ugly segments are a natural feature of routes linking places to sleep. A cycling cruise breaks the dot-to-dot pattern. As you dine, shmooze and snooze the ship unties and relocates up to 150 miles, passing all those less-than-perfect stretches to find a hand-picked spot for a superior selection of rides. Compared to a set-in-place string of hotels, a cruise ship is like a magic carpet that allows a perfect string of vacation days; all with great cycling.

Fourth, a wider choice of rides and activities. Santana selects ports after scouting thousands of miles of available routes. Each day has multiple choices. Shorter routes are flatter and follow the coast. Longer options loop inland to find great climbs and descents. Normal cruises stop at one port per day. On most days of a Santana cruise our chartered ship sees us off on our morning ride before racing down the coast to welcome us back aboard at a different port. When the ports are separated by too many miles or hills, a morning convoy of buses and moving vans can whisk some or all riders (and our blanket-wrapped bikes) to a various higher-elevation ride starts closer to the afternoon harbor. Unlike previous tours, the afternoon rides of a cycling cruise feature a downhill finish. Additionally, every day is a potential layover day. If you “play too hard” on one day, it’s always OK to take the following day off. If you don’t ride, there’s an additional choice. You can enjoy the ship before exploring the afternoon port, or hop aboard Sergio’s reclining-seat coach to see the country. It’s your vacation, and no other cycling tour features a wider range of included daily options.

Fifth, multiple regions or countries. When you look at other week-long cycling tours, the total distance between start and finish seldom exceeds 250 miles. At most you’ll experience two adjacent regions. On Santana’s cycling cruises you’ll cover up to 1,000 miles and allow you to experience twice as many regions. Most cruises cross international borders (while you sleep!) to experience multiple countries. When you consider how much it costs to fly to-and-from Europe, why not sample more places before returning home?

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The Venice/Dubrovnik itinerary is outlined in great detail HERE >

These photos will give you a little taste of what’s in store…

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For more information, click here >




  1. Merida Munn says

    I’m interested in the October 2017 Croatia cruise but would need to share a room..Do expect other single female riders to sign up and how do you screen the right room mate for me? For instance, I sleep very lightly, so snorers are hard for me to share with…I’m also up to the bathroom at least once or maybe twice through the night…

    I have a folding Brompton electric bike with a trailer for my clothes..Can I bring these items onto the ship?

    Looking forward to a prompt reply to give me time to think about signing up…

    • Paula Dyba says

      Hi Merida: Room sharing is a definite option on this cruise. I am leaving it to Bill and Jan at Santana to reply directly to you about how the logistics of pairing roomies up goes and I’ve forwarded your questions directly to them. You should hear back from them asap. I’m sure the Brompton & trailer are totally good to go — these guys have tandem trips which I think are pretty complex things to deal with when it comes to transport.
      Sure hope you can make it!

  2. Merida Munn says

    Still haven’t heard anything from Santana yet…I’d like to give a serious commitment to this trip if only I could get answers to my question…

    • Paula Dyba says

      Hi Merida: Here’s a note from our host, Bill:


      Plenty of other single females.

      Plenty of space for your Brompton’s trailer.

      We currently have one woman who still needs a roomie. Anjela has traveled with us before and is delightful!! She wants to share a D-deck room with twin beds. These rooms with two large portholes are forward of the crew rooms and further forward from the engines. Great for light sleepers. Another advantage of the lowest deck is less motion (which shouldn’t be a problem in any case).

      If you wait too long, or decide you’d like additional space and privacy, the single supplement for a D-deck room is $500 — that works out to $50 a day for an unshared closet and bathroom. Single supplement for a C-deck room is $750. Single supplement for A or B deck is $1000.

      The smaller F rooms are not as quiet, and only have one window.

      If you wish to phone my wife Jan (toll free at 800/ 334-6136 ext 116), you can learn more about the ship, its itinerary and Anjela.


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