What is a Blue Cruise?

All About Blue Cruise Gulet Holidays

The term Blue Cruise generally refers to recreational sailing holidays in the Mediterranean aboard wooden yachts called gulets [pronounced "goo-lets"]. These sturdy wooden boats act as both transportation and accommodation during a Blue Cruise holiday, cruising between anchorages that are often inaccessible by road. Guests often say the experience is similar to staying at a floating seaside resort with everything you need onboard - hotel, restaurant, swimming and sightseeing access, and crew included!

While gulets may look like historic wooden ships, they are designed to accommodate holiday travellers and are equipped with modern conveniences and safety equipment. Even the most basic vessels feature guest cabins, private toilets and shower facilities, and a host of safety features to keep everyone onboard safe while travelling along the Turquoise Coast. Gulets have a broad beam, low profile and heavily weighted hull, making them exceptionally stable vessels for cruising - a benefit for passengers who are susceptible to seasickness.

compilation of images of a gulet in full sail

Although it varies from cruise to cruise, most Blue Cruise itineraries alternate periods of cruising (usually under motor) with time at anchor. This allows guests to enjoy a variety of locations on their vacation, without the need to pack and unpack suitcases between destinations.

compilation of images of blue cruise guests enjoying the water

You don't need any boating experience or qualifications to enjoy a Blue Cruise vacation. Similar to cruising on a larger cruise ship, the boat is staffed with crew who are responsible for operating the gulet and keeping it safe and clean, preparing and serving meals, and attending to guest needs.

The History of Blue Cruises

The term Blue Cruise (also called Blue Voyage, Blue Tour, or Mavi Tur in Turkish) originated in a Turkish book entitled "Mavi Yolculuk" (which translates to "Blue Voyage"), written by historian, translator, academic and archaeologist, Azra Erhat. Published in 1957, the book describes the author's wonderful experiences sailing through the gorgeous blue water of Turkey's south west coast.

The concept of the Blue Cruise entered the Turkish imagination even earlier though, through the writing of Cevat Şakir Kabağaçlı (aka, The Fisherman of Halicarnassus). Exiled to Bodrum in 1925, he eventually chose to make the small seaside town his permanent home, taking his friends on boat trips and introducing them to this beautiful part of the world.

Prior to the 1980s, cruises were available only to the privileged few with access to private boats - or those willing to forego their creature comforts and sail on fishing or sponge diving boats. Over time, boat builders recognized a potential new audience and started building sturdy wooden yachts specifically for holiday cruises. Gulet cruises grew in popularity, with people from all walks of life chartering boats for enchanting sailing holidays on the Mediterranean.

blue cruise guests

Nowadays, gulet cruise holidays offer holiday-makers the perfect opportunity to leisurely explore the spectacular coastlines of the Mediterranean, and spend time in the tranquil coves and inlets. Some routes even include visits to cities, towns, and villages along the coast.

People who thrill at sailing, love the sea, enjoy exploring historic and cultural sites, and appreciate nature will enjoy the uniquely relaxing experience of a Blue Cruise yachting holiday.

Do you have questions, or need more information about Blue Cruises? You are welcome to send us an e-mail any time - we always do our best to help!