|Gulet holidays have been a popular holiday for a number of years but it's not until you actually spend time on one of these magnificent boats that you really understand what it is all about. |
Gulets have to be seen to be believed, the level of luxury that is available is unsurpassed and whilst cruising the Aegean or Mediterranean may once have been the privilege of kings, oligarchs and rock stars, the Turkish Blue Cruise has made cruising on a private yacht - albeit for a week - affordable to many.
In general this sort of holiday is taken by a group of friends or a large family group, often it is a special celebration; the majority of the gulets accommodate 8 persons upwards, although Ilios Travel's programme does feature one smaller boat - Artemis - suitable for a couple or a small family (Artemis Gulet at a charter price of £4700 per week) and Haydi, a newly built, luxurious vessel for up to 6 persons. (Haydi Gulet at a charter price of £1300 per person based on 6 sharing for 1 week)
Whether it is a super luxury gulet or a standard gulet there is one feature that never varies; the quality of the food is always exceptional. Each gulet has a full time cook and clients are consulted in advance about their menu choices, likes and dislikes, favourite wines, allergies, special events like birthdays and anniversaries etc. The costs of this are met by the client but all preparation and service is included in the charter price. Three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner - is to be expected but then most days the cook whips up a cake or some savoury pastries for afternoon tea!
Routes are based upon departure harbour, with Bodrum, Marmaris, Gocek and Fethiye all offering Blue Cruise departures, embarkation is generally on Saturday and the cruises tend to run for 7/14 day periods but in low season shorter cruises may be available. Visitors to Bodrum early in the year often remark on the incredible number of gulets sitting in the port, it's not until June that the harbour empties out, Blue Cruisers like their sea warmed up and whilst the early months can be a little fresh there is the advantage of having the coastline pretty much to yourselves, it's not until July that it gets busy.
The popularity of the "all inclusive" holiday is as we know due to the no hidden costs element and whilst gulet cruising is not a cheap option there really are no hidden costs - it is purely a case of cost of charter + food cost (allow £40/£50 per adult per day to include alcoholic drinks) + crew tip + payments to the ice cream man who delivers Magnums by speed boat every afternoon! (could be the highest cost element!)
With a week afloat the option of combining the holiday with a few days in Istanbul beforehand could work very well, Istanbul is a delight in high summer when residents have decamped to the coast; or, just to get a feel of the area a couple of nights before and after the cruise staying in one of Ilios Travel's small boutique hotels on the Bodrum Peninsula or if it's a full two week holiday then there is always the option of an additional week in a private villa and some of those come with cooks too!