We had the terrific experience of spending a week on a gulet cruise leaving from Bodrum. This has been the best holiday of our lives and we have seen most of the world.
We booked this through a broker but we strongly recommend that you book through the agency direct (http://www.barbarosyachting.com/). It will save you money as well providing the best gulets. There are 2 ways you can book a gulet, charter the whole boat or charter a cabin. We did the cabin bit but if we were going with 8-10 friemnds we would have chartered the whole gulet.
We were met by the agency and shown to our boat (La Mer) which was moored in the Bodrum harbour on the main street. We were advised to travel lightly as space is of a premium!!!
A gulet is a traditional Turkish fishing boat renovated to accomodate cruises. It usually has 5-6 cabins below deck, with a galley and a sitting area. On deck there is a dining area, forward sundeck and rear shaded deck. The boat is crewed by 3 people, a captain, a cook and deckhand/waiter/clown/fisher/impersonator ( I think you get the message). There were 8 others taking the cruise (4 Brits and 4 Belgians, all couples).
After everyone was on board, we had our first meal, dinner. We cannot rave enough about the food on the gulet. 3 meals a day, hot lunch and dinner plus afternoon tea. The food was delicious, never starved for a moment and all great quality. We marvelled how the cook managed to put these meals in front of us every day.
We stayed the first night in Bodrum in case anyone wanted to hit the clubs and go disco'ing/dancing. None of us did!!
We left Bodrum the next morning and sailed for about 2 hours before anchoring in a beautiful little cove where we could swim, which of course we did.
Lunch was at 12- 12:30. After lunch we sailed again for an hour or 2 and again swimming or snorkeling or jsut plain admiring the views. Afternoon tea was at 5, usualy biscuits or homemade cakes with coffee and tea. We usually stayed overnight in the last place we stopped at afternoon tea. Dinner at 8 around the dining table was always a lot of fun. Plenty of wine and beer flowing (alcohol was paid for separately). The crew was very good and we had terrific fellow passengers who kept us in stitches every night. Our waiter/comedian was also a masseur ( as well as the local wrestling champion!!) so our back got a good rubdown most nights.
Breakfast is at 8am so bedtime was never too late (for us).
The cabins are not luxuruous, but small and comfortable. A double bed with storage space underneath, a bathroom/toilet with a handheld shower.
We slept like babies every night.
The itinerary was similar for most days; breakfast, sail for a few hours, lunch, sail, afternoon tea and dinner. We stopped off at a few lovely harbours where we went ashore and wandered around the harbour.
All in all a fantastic holiday. If you are after a luxury cruise thi is NOT for you. If you want to taste the life on a gulet and enjoy the sun, swimming, having a good time with fellow passengers then this is THE holiday for you.
Very strongly recommended.