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A Day in the Life of a Gulet Cruise: Guest and Crew Perspectives

Same Boat, Same Day, But Very Different Experiences During a Typical Day at Sea

Posted: Jan. 14, 2020

While there's no such thing as a "typical day" on a gulet cruise, here's an (only slightly) tongue-in-cheek look at a day aboard Arkadaslik - from the perspective of guest and crew.

Guest Perspective Crew Perspective
7 AM [While on vacation, there is no 7AM.] Wake up, shower, get dressed.
Start hot water for coffee and tea.
Drink coffee, check wind and weather conditions, and review day's plans.
Rinse decks with sea water.
Mop sundeck and salon roof to remove dew.
Tidy boat.
8 AM Open eyes, scratch nose, stretch, turn over, go back to sleep. Take dry laundry down from line, fold and put away.
Check fuel, and engine's water and oil levels.
Drink more coffee.
9 AM Open eyes again, see glorious sunshine through the window, leisurely have a shower in private ensuite bathroom. Prepare breakfast – bearing in mind that Guest X has a milk allergy, Guest Y is gluten intolerant, and Guest Z doesn't like eggs unless served with Tabasco sauce
Set breakfast table. Don't forget Tabasco sauce.
Greet guests and offer coffee, tea, and juice as they come on deck.
Drink more coffee.
10 AM Drift up to the main area to find a plethora of food waiting including eggs, bread, a wide selection of spreads and cheeses, fresh orange juice, water and hot drinks. Eat and drink to heart's content and maybe even have a slice of cucumber to try and be healthy. Serve breakfast.
Monitor the table and provide refills on food and drinks as necessary.
Clean guest bathrooms while everyone is eating.
Eat breakfast.
Clear breakfast table, wash and dry dishes, and put everything safely away
Sweep / rinse deck under dining table.
Confirm day's plan with guests.
11 AM Stretch out on a comfy sunbed with a good book or some music and watch the world go by as the Captain steers the gulet to the next bay. To break the monotony, ask the crew to bring a glass of wine out to you (it's not too early is it?). Check that kayaks and paddleboards are safely stowed and all guests are on board.
Untie lines and lift anchor.
Pilot boat to next destination.
Start first load of laundry of the day.
Check on guests – offer drinks and snacks, answer questions, help find lost sunglasses, remind everyone to apply sunscreen.
Stop boat mid-trip and hop in dinghy to retrieve guest's hat that flew into the sea.
12 noon Look around in awed delight as the crew let down the anchor at a beautiful secluded bay. Grab a towel, tentatively dip a toe in the sea then take the plunge and dive in, enjoying the freshness of the sea and marveling at the marine life through the crystal clear waters. Decide to try one of the gulet's paddle boards for the first time ever. Drop anchor and tie lines.
Share information about the destination with guests.
Put kayaks and paddleboards into the sea.
Offer freshly laundered beach towels.
Offer drinks.
Start lunch preparations – bearing in mind that Guest A doesn't like sauce on the pasta.
Hang first load of laundry on the line.
1 PM Fall off paddle board. Get back on paddle board. Repeat. Decide that you might be better suited to kayaking. Photograph people attempting to paddle board for the first time.
Cheer and coach as appropriate.
Offer drinks.
Continue lunch preparations.
Set lunch table.
Remind everyone to apply sunscreen.
2 PM Climb back on board gulet swearing never to go near a paddle board again. Join fellow travelers for another incredible meal, freshly cooked and prepared by the on board chef. Have another glass of wine. Serve lunch, including a special plate of sauce-free pasta for Guest A.
Monitor the table and provide refills on food and drinks as necessary.
Tidy foredeck and sunbed area while everyone is eating.
Eat lunch.
Clear lunch table, wash and dry dishes, and put everything safely away.
Sweep / rinse deck under dining table.
3 PM Back on the sunbed for a short nap. Take dry laundry down from line, fold and put away.
Check that kayaks and paddleboards are safely stowed and all guests are on board.
Untie lines and lift anchor.
Pilot boat to next destination.
Check on guests – offer drinks and snacks, answer questions, help find lost sunglasses, remind everyone to apply sunscreen.
Sweep and mop salon floor.
Start second load of laundry of the day.
4 PM Ok, a long nap. Paper work, post to social media, upload photos to website.
Check on guests – offer drinks and snacks, answer questions, help find lost sunglasses, remind everyone to apply sunscreen.
Drop anchor and tie lines.
Share information about the destination with guests.
Put kayaks and paddleboards into the sea.
5 PM Wake up to find yourself in another stunning bay. Put some proper clothes on. Jump on board the dinghy to go ashore and look round the ruins, island, town or village that is close by. Ferry guests to shore in the dinghy.
Ferry garbage and recycling to bins on shore.
Tidy boat.
Clean and polish chrome.
Clean windows.
Rinse decks with sea water.
Fix whatever happened to break during the day – on old wooden boats, something always breaks!
6 PM Return to gulet and indulge in another quick dip to build up an appetite. Freshen up and maybe put on a bit of lippy (women too).
Connect to the Wi-Fi and Skype with friends and family back home. Make then jealous by taking them on virtual tour of the boat and introducing them to crew.
Monitor guests and collect them in dinghy when they want to return to boat.
Answer questions about the destination.
Offer drinks and snacks.
Start dinner preparations – bearing in mind that Guest B has requested a special menu to celebrate a milestone birthday.
7 PM Take a seat at the dining table and have another glass of wine before dinner whilst catching up on the day with your fellow travelers. Tell the Captain that you think he looks like George Clooney. Gather beach towels and put in third load of laundry for the day.
Offer more drinks, more snacks.
Continue dinner preparations.
Decorate boat for birthday celebration.
Set table for dinner.
Tease the Captain about the slightly tipsy passenger who's getting "flirty" with him.
8 PM Marvel as yet another superb meal is laid out before you. Pick which bit of freshly caught fish you fancy and pile your plate high with salad, potatoes and various Turkish specialties. Have a glass of wine. Hang freshly laundered beach towels on the line.
Serve dinner and drinks.
Monitor the table and provide refills on food and drinks as necessary.
Eat dinner.
Compliment the chef – dinner was very good!
9 PM Sit back and let main meal go down so that there is enough room for ice cream. Have a glass of wine… And some ice cream… And a piece of birthday cake. Clear dinner table, wash and dry dishes, and put everything safely away.
Serve dessert, including a surprise birthday cake.
Sing happy birthday and take lots of photos.
Review the day with guests and plan next day's itinerary.
Prepare fruit plate.
10 PM Get comfortable with another glass of wine and the fruit plate, whilst asking the crew if they can leave the bottle... Offer fruit plate.
Sweep and wash the kitchen floor, empty garbage.
Put final load of laundry (table cloth and linen napkins) into the washer, hang on the line when done.
Keep an eye on guests, especially the one that wants us to "leave the bottle", and refill drinks as necessary.
1 AM Maybe I will try paddle boarding again, hiccup... Say goodnight as guests head to bed.
Restock drink fridge – did we really go through that much wine?
Crew debrief and nightcap.
Fall into bed, exhausted but happy, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Many thanks to my friend Sian for coming up with the idea for this post and providing her perspective as a recent guest.