Azamara’s itinerary begins in Venice, which is fitting in some ways given that the Serene Republic was in control of many of the country’s major ports for centuries. (And those that weren’t controlled outright by Venice were usually in some wary détente with them.) Rijeka is the first Croatian port and one that retains vestiges of the Hapsburg Monarchy that once ruled those lands. On a guided shore excursion, pass by the Leaning Tower of St. Mary’s Church on the way to the St. Vitus Cathedral. Step inside this Roman Catholic Basilica and marvel at its dazzling stained-glass windows. Move on to Kolber Square at the town’s center, where you’ll visit the bustling green market; then savor freshly brewed tea or decadent hot chocolate at the Samovar Tea Bar – Rijeka’s very own producer of fine teas, where you’ll find modern design blended with old-world charm. If you would rather get out of town, Azamara has another excursion that offers an introduction to the nearby island of Krk, with its clifftop villages and family-run wineries. With a late departure, you won’t need to rush back to your ship.

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