A gulet (sometimes spelled gullet) is an old type of a wooden sailing boat that has 2 masts and that has originally been present around the eastern Mediterranean, especially in yacht charter Turkey. In fact, today, gulets are particularly popular on Turkish shores and most tourists who come here will want to go on a gulet cruise.
The name of the boat and its origins are quite controversial as there are similar named boats in French (goelette), in Italian (guletta) and in American (gullet). In other countries, this type of boat is also known as a schooner.
These boats are particularly popular in Turkey, because they have been built for centuries here in the region of Bodrum, which actually gave birth to the Bodrum Schooner, and this is the boat you’ll most commonly see today in yacht charter Turkey waters. The difference between this and the old boats is that the Bodrum schooner is constructed after a traditional design but with new material and technologies (usually the boats have electrical systems and are fitted with diesel engines).
So popular are these boats and so demanded are gulet cruises that the locals have even devised a name for them: they are known as a “Blue Cruise” and they generally refers to boat trips along the Turkish Riviera, ranging from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Today, a full “Blue Cruise” generally starts in Bodrum or Didim or even Kusadasi and terminates at the port of Antalya.
The reason why these boats and this type of cruises are so popular and appealing especially to western tourists is because they provide an insightful look into history, offer adventure on the water and also a pleasant means of transport along the Turkish coast.
Today, you’ll find that there are gulet cruises all along the Turkish coast, in most harbors and marinas, so it might be difficult to choose a good one. The things you need to take into consideration are listed below.
- The trip can last from several hours to several days, the boat is always crewed which means you don’t need a license. The crew includes a skipper, a cook and a waiter (varies on the size of the boat and the size of the tourist group). They never share cabins with the guests.
- Food is never included in the base price, only the charter gulet, the crew and the diesel for the engines (gulets can run on sails but they also use engines usually for about 4-5 hours a day). There are options of half boars, full board or all inclusive, but they all have to be discussed and settled in advance. Prices for food alone range from 175EUR/person to 250EUR/person.
- There are always extra costs so be aware, because some of them are compulsory. These vary from port taxes, transfers to airport or back from to the gulet, on board activities (waterskiing, jet-ski, parasailing diving, rafting etc.), extra crew (hostess or masseuse), and unscheduled stops (national parks).
Remember to always ask in advance about the price, the schedule, the amount of sailing per day, the size of the crew and boat insurance as these are the main things to look out for on a Turkey gulet cruise.