What’s a Gulet cruise? No, it’s not a cruise with an all-you-can-eat buffet where you can stuff food down your gullet. A “Gulet” is a traditional two or three-masted sailing vessel from the southwestern coast of Turkey. It is also the ultimate in luxury travel.
My cousin Michael is in the luxury cruise business. Egyptian football star Mohammed Salah was the latest celebrity he hosted on his yacht. But it’s not just celebrities that book cruises on luxury cruises. On our recent trip to Turkey we found out that Turkish luxury gulets are one of the best ways of discovering the beautiful coastline of Southern Turkey. Some of the most popular itineraries cover the many hidden bays between Budrum and the Gulf of Fethiye, places like Ölüdeniz, the Seven Islands, Cleopatra Island, Karacasöğüt, Longoz Bay, and Kissebükü Koyu.
A few of the highlights of the Turkish Riviera (also known as the Turquoise Coast)
Above: Olympos Beach
Above: Konyaalti Beach
The Turkish Riviera is one of the most beautiful coastal waters anywhere in the world. Discovering it is the primary reason people book gulets.
The flexibility of building your own itinerary
Many people book a luxury gulet cruise because of the flexibility. Whatever your itinerary they’ll cater to what you want. Have a look at this article covering the most beautiful beaches in Turkey for itinerary ideas. Most people book a week with their friends and family. But the possibilities are endless – some people hire a gulet for a month and add the Greek islands to their itinerary. The size of the gulets also vary: you can book one that accommodates 8 people or one that accommodates up to 20.
The Ultimate in Luxury?
Have a look below.
Above: The “Double Eagle”. 5 Cabins, 12 guests, 5 cabin crew
Above: The “All about U”. 6 cabins, 12 guests, and a crew of 8.
But the best? Gulets have a crew taking care of you. There can be as many as 8 crew members on the larger vessels. That includes a personal chef. Do your favorite foods include prawns, charcoal-cook fresh fish, or grilled lamb chops? No problem, your chef will cook you anything you want. You want a pizza before you go to bed? He’ll make that for you too. Want him to tuck you in? I don’t know if he’ll do that but chances are he might. Before you go on your cruise you tell him what you like to eat and drink – the boat is going to be fully stocked with everything you could ever wish for.
So what to do while you’re on your gulet cruise? That’s up to you. Most people plan their itineraries around the secluded bays and islands of the Turkish Riviera and indulge in water activities like snorkling, kayaking, fishing or even jet skiing. If you’re interested in history and sightseeing your crew will arrange a sightseeing tour of some of the many sights in the region (Roman ruins for example. There are many in the region). The whole reason that people book a luxury gulet is for the flexibility of doing whatever they want.
So how much does it Cost ?
The average luxury gulet will come out to about 12,000 Euros for a week. Most will accommodate 10 to 12 passengers, making the cost approximately 1,100 Euros per person per week. Food is extra, starting at about 310 Euros per person. So you’re looking at a total of close to 1,500 Euros per person per week based on the maximum occupancy of a gulet (which depends on the gulet in question and the time of year). But look at it this way: how much would you pay for a fancy villa where you have the same view every day? And how much extra would you pay for food and activities?
Is booking a gulet something you would ever consider?
Related: A Guide on where to Go in Turkey
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Turkey Luxury Gulet. They are the number one gulet specialist for luxury cruises in Turkey with 14 years of experience and over 650+ gulet charters.