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Ask T+L: Croatia, South Pacific, Singles Cruises

Joshua Paul Ask T+L

Photo: Joshua Paul

Q: Can you suggest a weeklong itinerary through Croatia? —Sean Hartnett, Santa Barbara, Calif.

A: Narrow your focus to one area of Croatia, such as the Dalmatian Coast. Begin by spending three days in the southern coastal city of Split. Visit the magnificent fourth-century palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian and wander the city’s ancient marketplace. The centrally located Hotel Park (Hatzeov perivoj 3; 385-21/406-406; hotelpark-split.hr; doubles from $211) offers stylish rooms with views of the sea. On day four, head to Brac Island (it’s a 30-minute ferry from Split). Spend the day sampling locally made cheeses and wines, and strolling along golden-sand Zlatni Rat beach. A two-hour ferry ride will take you from Split to Hvar, an island where you can explore medieval monasteries set atop hills—all in a day. Drive southeast from Split to historic Dubrovnik—a UNESCO World Heritage site—for the remaining two days. And stop in at Restaurant Nautika (Brsalje 3; 385-20/442-526; dinner for two from $176) for lobster medallions in dingac wine sauce.

My fiancé and I want to travel to the South Pacific. Where should we consider staying? —Joanne Kim, Mableton, Ga.

We asked T+L special correspondent Shane Mitchell—a veteran of these remote shores—to reveal her favorite places to stay. Along Fiji’s Great Sea Reef, Nukubati Island (800/707-3454; nukubati.com; doubles from $680, five-night minimum) provides quiet comfort in seven beachside bungalows, all with custom-made rattan furniture. In French Polynesia, book one of the 80 floating bungalows at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (800/327-0200; intercontinental.com; doubles from $1,090). The views of marine life through glass-bottom coffee tables make it worth the splurge. The Wakaya Club & Spa (800/828-3454; wakaya.com; doubles from $1,900, all-inclusive, five-night minimum) sits on a private 2,200-acre Fiji island with 10 spacious bures (thatched-roof cottages).

Are there any cruises specifically tailored for singles? —Susan Bachman, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

While none of the major lines offer exclusive singles’ cruises, several companies can help you plan a solo voyage. SinglesCruise.com and Singles-Cruises.com partner with major cruise lines to cater to individuals traveling alone. Adventurous singles can sail a catamaran for seven nights with Carnival Caribbean (singles-cruises.com; 800/397-0366; from $709). Or explore Grand Cayman aboard a Carnival Liberty ship (singlescruise.com; 800/393-5000; from $587).

Many T+L readers have asked us about volunteer vacations. Here, a quick list of resources and trips we recommend. For more, go to travelandleisure.com.

  • From Tajikistan to Malawi, Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program (habitat.org) builds affordable housing for the needy.
  • Massachusetts-based Earthwatch Institute (earthwatch.org) combines scientific education with field work—think studying elephants in the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya.
  • Teach English in a remote Andean village or construct playgrounds in Vietnam through Globe Aware’s (globeaware.org) weeklong immersion programs.
  • Volunteers with the American Hiking Society (americanhiking.org) build bridges and clear trails on one-week backpacking and canoeing expeditions in parks nationwide.

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