This 5-part series was written by Sue Fockner, the Canadian owner of Arkadaslik Yachting. Sue and her Turkish husband, Captain Oktay, host private cruises throughout Turkey and Greece aboard their 22-meter luxury gulet, Arkadaslik.
- you’ve learned about gulet cruises and determined that they sound like the perfect vacation (Part 1)
- figured out which gulet is right for you (Part 2), and
- contacted someone to book your cruise (Part 3).
Congratulations – the difficult work is behind you. Now, all you have to do is pack your suitcase and go!
But what do you need to bring? Our advice – PACK LIGHT!
Already On Board
Your gulet will be equipped with the same things you’d expect in a hotel of a similar class. (This, when you really think about it, boils down to bedding, towels, and toilet paper.) Economy and standard class boats usually require you to bring your own beach towels. Higher-end gulets will provide extras like shampoo and body lotion. It’s best to consult your contract for the fine details about what’s already provided.
Fun and Tourist-y Stuff
Bring something with which to take photos. For many of us, that’s a smart phone. But if you’re an avid photographer, bring your camera and/or video recorder. Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is often referred to as the Turquoise Coast. You’ll want to take a picture or two to capture your memories and share them with friends and family back home.
If you need to keep electronics charged, make sure to pack your chargers. (NOTE: Electric outlets are not available on all boats.) And mark them carefully so you know which ones are yours at the end of the cruise. It’s not uncommon for everyone to plug their various devices into a single power bar, resulting in a massive tangle of cords! (Hint: Check out https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/ (Power Plugs and Sockets of the World) to determine whether you’ll also need to pack adapters and/or converters for use in Turkey.)
Unless you want to take your chances with the boat’s eclectic collection of reading materials (usually romance novels, in a variety of languages, left by previous passengers), bring your favourite book or magazine. And unless you want to take your chances with the crew’s taste in music, make sure your phone, tablet, or iPod is filled with your favourite songs.
While every boat we’ve ever seen has a small collection of snorkels, masks, and swim fins, you should bring your own if you’re an avid snorkeler.
The On-board Dress Code
Gulet cruises are pretty informal. Bathing suits, t-shirts, and shorts are perfect for the heat of summer. (Bring a pair of jeans, leggings, sweatpants or long trousers, and a sweatshirt or jacket if you’re cruising during the early or late parts of the season.)
Sitting on the deck and soaking in the Mediterranean sunshine is one of the best parts of a gulet cruise. But you’ll want to make sure your skin is well-protected from the strength of the sun, including lots of sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and cover-up. (Hint: Chin straps are recommended for hats with big, floppy brims.)
Most gulet cruises require you to remove your shoes when you board. If you’re averse to being barefoot, bring along a clean pair of flip-flops or slippers. (The deck gets hot!)
Dressing on Land
Bring a small daypack if you’re planning to head off on day excursions or hikes. It doesn’t need to be big – but you’ll want to carry ID, your phone/camera, and water, whenever you venture off the boat. (Temperatures reach over 40C during the height of Turkish summer!)
Don’t forget to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes if you’re planning any land excursions.
You may already know that Turkey is a predominately Muslim country. While Turkish people tend to dress more conservatively than in some other hot countries, there is no requirement to be fully covered. But, to be respectful of local customs, you are encouraged to don “real clothes” when venturing on land – shorts and t-shirts fit the bill perfectly. Not everyone wants to see your “bikini body” wandering the streets of Turkey.
And the Rest…
- Turkey’s mosquitos are relentless, and love the fresh blood of foreigners. So bring insect repellent – the stronger, the better!
- Personal toiletries, medications, and, if required, a spare set of prescription glasses and/or contact lenses
- Optional – sleepwear, socks, and underwear
There you have it, a complete list of packing essentials for your upcoming gulet cruise.
Your Essential Packing Checklist for a Gulet Cruise
- Beach towel (if not provided on the gulet)
- Reading material
- Cable and chargers for your electronics
- Clothes – bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts (warmer clothes may be required if cruising in May and October), pyjamas, socks and underwear
- Sun protection – sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and cover-up
- Flip flops or slippers
- Personal toiletries and medications
- Spare set of prescription glasses and/or contact lenses
- Walking shoes (if you’re planning to hike or go on land excursions)
- Small day pack (if you’re planning to hike or go on land excursions)