Repost of a voyage report originally posted here in 2009 but subsequently lost.
In 2010 the Ivan Zajc was sold for service in Equatorial Guinea for service to the island of Malabo. She reportedly still survives (an AIS signal was last emitted in July 2015) but there is no definitive confirmation of her present location and condition.
A voyage report from July 2005 (Pictures from 2005 and 2007)
Having motored up the coast from Korcula on the little Liburnija, easily Jadrolinija’s most lovely ship, an overnight sailing from Split to Ancona on the Ivan Zajc awaited. Built for the Linee Marittime dell’Adriatico in 1970 as the Tiziano the Ivan Zajc has the distinction of having passed through three separate operators while all the time operating primarily from Italy to Split, in Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia). Originally operating from Pescara, she passed to Adriatica in 1980, with operations from both Ancona and Pescara as well as use elsewhere on the network on occasion.
Finally, in 1993 she was acquired by Jadrolinija, acquiring her present name and being deployed largely on the Ancona run, although certain domestic sailings have also been maintained (in recent years often a daytime return to Vela Luka on Korcula island in between overnights to Italy). In 2007 Jadrolinija introduced some Pescara-Split sailings, restoring the ship to her original route.
The shipâ€™s interiors are certainly distinctively Italianate, and largely unchanged under Jadrolinija. She feels deceptively small and cramped and is perhaps best as an overnight ship, although at least on sunny day sailings passengers can spill out onto the open decks. The public rooms consist of a curious windowless bar area forward complete with Purserâ€™s desk and, adjacent on the starboard side, a restaurant area. Other than that, this ship is a rabbit warren of narrow cabin alleyways, with a couple of reclining seat lounges off to port. Charming in its own way but, on a busy crossing and particularly upon boarding and arrival, full of bottlenecks with crowds of people trying to push past each other. Scattered around the ship are a series of large, framed Italian art prints.
Shoehorned onto the forecastle is a small swimming pool, empty on our night crossing and it was just aft of this, on the port-side promenade that we set up camp for the night on one of the lifejacket containers. Nabbing a decent place to sleep on the outside decks had been our first priority upon boarding: exploring the ship could wait for later although, as can be seen, there really isnâ€™t much to explore. The Ivan Zajc pulled out of Split on time and after a long day we bedded down for the night and I soon nodded off to sleep.
I was awoken abruptly in the middle of the night to find a female face leering above screeching in an Australian accent. â€œYouâ€™ve stolen my shoes! My shoes! Where are my shoes?! Iâ€™m going to have to walk around Europe with no shoes!â€. My first reaction was to zip my sleeping bag up over my head perhaps, in my half-comatose state, thinking that this was merely an unfortunate hallucinogenic reaction to the slightly tough and overcooked steak Iâ€™d had for lunch on the Liburnija. But, alas, no: this was all too real.
â€œI didnâ€™t get this paid for you know. Not on Daddyâ€™s credit card. DADDYâ€™S CREDIT CARD! DADDYâ€™S *****Y CREDIT CARD. You got it paid for by DADDYâ€™S ****ING CREDIT CARD.â€
This was altogether too bizarre a situation to comprehend in the middle of the night but in retrospect I should perhaps have advised her that if, by some good fortune, Daddy had left me in control of his credit card, I probably would have found better ways of spending money than travelling deck class on the Ivan Zajc, trying to sleep whilst lying on a hard plastic lifejacket container. Alas the opportunity was lost as our Aussie friend was soon led away by a concerned travelling companion and I resumed my slumber, slightly nonplussed.
We awoke the next day as the ship neared Ancona; the rival Split 1700 had sailed in convoy with us overnight and had arrived just before. With the early morning arrival we headed off to rouse ourselves with some coffee, cake and freshly-squeezed orange juice in a little cafÃ© in the town, which has become something of a regular haunt after early morning Ancona arrivals. Suitably resuscitated we headed off towards the main railway station where a Eurostar Intercity train would speed us down the coast to Bari.