We take you behind the scenes on what it takes to make a Cycle or Hike Cruise smooth sailing from the perspective of an Active Guide!
Being an Active Guide can be a demanding and varied role, which is why all Active Guides undertake an extensive training program to prepare them for each season! Active Guides represent both our Hike and Cycle Cruises, both of which have their own highlights, challenges and requirements.
Each Cycle Croatia Cruise will have two Sail Croatia guides onboard. Your Main Cycle Guide has covered the trails many times before and knows the itineraries first hand. They’re your go-to guide for fixing your cycle, setting the pace of the day and informing you of each route's terrain. You will also have a Tour Manager onboard who assists the Main Cycle Guide, provides additional historic information and can help you out with any questions. As with all Sail Croatia Tour Managers, Active Guides are health and safety trained and first aid qualified.
We sit down to chat with one of our Active Guides, Ljubo Juretić, on what it’s really like to be an Active Guide.
Why did you become a guide?
Most of my spare time is spent outdoors. Between hiking and biking, I’m always enjoying one or the other - or both! It was a natural decision for me to become a guide. It really is an evolution of my hobbies made into the perfect role, and I get to share those hobbies with other travellers too.
Do you need to be Croatian to be a guide?
Not at all, it’s open to everyone! There definitely is an advantage to being Croatian or even a local. We have been riding, hiking and enjoying the many trails, paths and routes over the years. We also know local secrets first hand so that’s a bonus advantage!
What is the training process you go through as a guide with Sail Croatia?
There is a diligent training process that guides undertake. You learn first aid protocol, what to do in incidents, how to manage big groups and so on. We are also trained in how to respond to certain situations and how to think on your feet, as well as technical solutions to potential bike issues. Each cruise type requires individual training and incorporates a practical and theoretical aspect. Regardless of how long you’ve been a guide with Sail Croatia, or how many cruises you’ve completed, you have to complete, and pass training every year.
What are the training aims?
There are many aims covered during our training, for example:
- Customer care
- Health and Safety
- First Aid
- Destinations & Orientation
- Bike maintenance
Ultimately, safety is the number one priority for our guests, so we need to be prepared for any situations that may come up.
Where did you do training?
Practical Training is carried out on the islands of Dalmatia, Split and nearby areas - basically all the locations we will go with our travellers, so that we have the best understanding of the area. We also complete our Theoretical Training at the Sail Croatia Split office.
What is the biggest demand of being a guide?
You may be surprised to hear that sailing with 40 guests is not overly demanding! When it comes to cycling, sometimes it’s hard to please everyone due to travellers’ different levels of fitness. Some prefer an easy ride, others more difficult. Finding a happy medium is the real challenge - although E-bikes that are available for guests to rent do help out for those who aren’t the strongest cyclists! In terms of hiking, there are similar demands, but some travellers are surprised at how hilly the Dalmatian coast is. This is of course an additional demand to tackle!
What is the biggest reward?
The biggest reward is having the opportunity to meet so many different people from all over the world! It really is amazing to see so many people get together to experience new things. One thing that always gets me is seeing past guests come back with friends and family. That’s nice.
What is the experience like for guests?
Guests find the cruises to be the best way to explore the Dalmatian coast and Croatia’s beautiful islands. We have a lot of happy guests onboard!
How do you go above and beyond for your guests?
I do my absolute best to ensure they all have an enjoyable week. I have my own way of explaining Croatia’s history, which the guests find really funny - well I hope they do and they’re not just laughing to avoid hurting my feelings!
How do you measure success as a guide?
Success really is when you see the same guests coming back for the following season. When they want me to show them other parts of the Dalmatian coast, I know I’ve made a positive addition to their experience.