Turkish Blue Cruises
A Blue Cruise (Turkish: Mavi Yolculuk) will sail you through one of the top cruising areas in the Mediterranean basin in the southwestern part of Mediterranean Turkey along the coasts of Lycia and western Pamphylia. The Blue Cruise was begun by a group of Turkish intellectuals in the 1940s in Bodrum who wanted to enjoy themselves and have time to contemplate that which interested them in a laid-back atmosphere. Much like cruising in the Caribbean, you take a chartered wooden gulet boat (two-masted wooden motor-sailer) and cruise from cove to cove in clear turquoise waters surrounded by pine-covered mountains. Stopping at coastal towns and fishing villages along the way when you feel like it, but mainly sitting on deck soaking in the sun while enjoying cold drinks, eating Turkish food and maybe even doing a little fishing. Going ashore at Marmaris, Fethiye, Kaş, and Antalya along the Mediterranean coast and Bodrum and Kuşadası along the Aegean coastline are usual points where nightlife are likely to allure you.
The Blue Cruise was derived from the title of a 1957 book by Azra Erhat. The term was first introduced into Turkish literature by a handful of Turkish writers and artists. Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, author of The Fisherman of Halicarnassus, Sabahattin Eyüboğlu and a circle of family and friends including artists such as Azra Erhat, who translated Homer's Iliad and Odyssey into Turkish. Those who united around the literary revue "Yeni Ufuklar" of New Horizons in the 1950s and 1960s have also contributed to the popularity of the saga of the Blue Cruise.
A complete Blue Cruise generally starts in Didim, or Kuşadası, although many tours often depart from Bodrum. They usually terminate at the marina in Antalya. Of course, if you are in Antalya and want to go on a Blue Cruise, there are cruises that depart from that city and travel in the opposite direction.
A Gulet is an all wooden motor-sailer yacht built for cruising the coasts in the calmer and warmer waters of the Mediterranean. These yachts are designed to center life on deck during the charter. They have spacious decks and a large half crescent shaped dining and lounging area in the rear of the boat that becomes the center of activity. The number of passengers a gulet carries varies according to its size, accommodating between 8 to 16 passengers on boats that range from 17 to 25 meters. They are large enough for both privacy and comfort considering that every passenger has private quarters and shares common areas such as the deck and saloon. Common quarters include a large saloon, a fully equipped galley occupied by a cook, a lot of clear deck space and plenty of sun mattresses for sun bathing. Round sterned gulets have a mattress covered perch in the aft that is called a pigeon's nest, the most comfortable place to lounge or nap on the boat, protected by canvas awnings. Unlike a bareboat, which is often limited in water supply, a gulet offers the chance to wash off the salt after every swim as it takes up to 3 tons of fresh water. A gulet is similar to a small hotel, only it is afloat. There are double berths in each cabin and occasionally, upper bunks. Every cabin has its own bathroom with a shower, and the crew sleeps and uses the facilities in their own separate area of the boat.
The price for a charter depends on the size of the gulet, its degree of comfort and the equipment on board. The electricity voltage on these vessels is 12-24-220 V. So, you should ask the Captain if you decide to take a laptop or any other item that requires electricity or needs electricity for battery charging. Remember to take a camera, swimming suit, towel, sun cream, sunglasses, beach shoes and a hat and possibly an additional swimming suit. You also need to take a sport shoes for walking while ashore and also the clothes for cool evenings in some seasons. Generally, if you wish to spend a night sleeping on the deck you will need a sleeping bag as it can get fairly chilly at night on the water. Sailing the coast of Turkey allows you to enjoy a truly enriching cultural experience with the hospitable and delightful people who are residents of the coastal villages and towns. The small harbours in coastal villages offer an intimate view of coastal life which large cruiseships can never offer. In many ways a gulet is like a full-service hotel where every room has a sea view, you know everyone and the spectacular scenery changes constantly as it drifts by you.
Many people seem to spend most of their time having drinks on the sun deck. But, for those who wish to be far more active ask the agent from whom you charter the cruise about water-skiing, skin diving, fishing and walking in the woods when your yacht is on anchor in one of many fabulous coves. Often with small extra charge, your charter company can provide a fully equipped dive boat of 10-14 meters to follow your yacht. The dive boat will carry all of the diving equipment so that your yacht will not be cluttered and you can enjoy your holiday. A certified diving instructor who knows the cruising area will make sure that you see interesting and fascinating sights. Most companies can provide transfers to and from all major airports in comfort using a car, mini-bus, large passenger van, taxis or even a limousine to suit your requirements. Guided tours with professional and experienced personnel or unguided tours to destinations of your preference are available. You will have the opportunity to visit archeological sights and ruins with organized tours in Fethiye and other coastal cities in the coastal area of Turkey. Hotel accommodation can be arranged for you before and/or after your charter through your booking agent if you so desire.
Take a Blue Cruise and rid yourself of all your blues...