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-   -   Which Blue Voyage operator should I choose? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/which-blue-voyage-operator-should-i-choose-472492/)

Tania Sep 6th, 2004 05:46 PM

Which Blue Voyage operator should I choose?
 
I'm hoping that someone can help me with recommendations for a blue voyage company. I want to finish a 3 week trip next summer with 7 days on a gulet. I'm looking to book with a well-reputed company (rather than chance it with some last-minute marina choice). I know a lot of Fodorites have said great things about Pacha Tours gulets, but I checked their website, and their quoted price (with the single supplement) is $1300 CDN. WAY more than my budget will allow! After much research, I've narrowed it down to four companies. Here's the info:

www.bluecruisevoyager.com
Bodrum - Gokova - Bodrum
$778 CDN

www.bluecruise.org
Bodrum - Gokova - Bodrum
$850 CDN

www.compassyachting.com
Fethiye - Marmaris - Fethiye
$860 CDN

www.aegeanyacht.com
"Ceramos in Comfort" (from Bodrum)
$876 CDN (air conditioned cabins)

If any of you have traveled with one of these operators, can you please post and let me know? I'd really appreciate your input.

Thanks,
tania

sandi Sep 6th, 2004 06:37 PM

I've always wanted to do a Blue Voyage and have yet to do so, but have checked various sites including those you've listed. Unless someone can specifically recommend a particular company, it's got to be comparing apples to apples. The same size boat, number of cabins, itinerary, air conditioned or not (if in the summer I would strongly recommend a/c or you'll be baking down below).

It appears that all prices listed are basically for the boat, harbor fees - meals and drinks are extra as are any land tours from all these companies.

I think the only thing that would concern me would be sanitation - just how clean are these boats? And I haven't the foggiest idea how to determine whether there is any governing body in Turkey that oversees this? Unfortunately, these boats aren't like cruise lines that are inspected and are rated for health concerns.

I'd like to know what your final decision is and hear about the trip at its' conclusion.

Tania Sep 7th, 2004 03:28 PM

The other issue too is whether the boat is a "party" boat. I've read a few accounts of companies that draw a lot of backpackers, who pretty much take the trip as an excuse to get drunk for a week. Whereas I'm looking for something a little more...serene?

Sanitation, as you say is also an issue.

I know a lot of posters here have been on gulet cruises. So even if you can heartily recommend another company that was great and offered comparable prices to the ones I'd quoted, I'd really appreciate the input.

sandi Sep 8th, 2004 07:25 AM

Tania - Good point about a "party" boat. I gather you are planning the first part of your trip on your own. If not and using a tour operator, you might want the tour operator to handle the Blue Cruise as well. Can't vouch for an in-country Turkish company looking out for your best interest in this regard, though I'm sure there are some who will understand your concern.

Being in Canada, have you checked for a Canadian tour operator who handles Turkey, specifically Blue Cruises, to be an advocate for you? There must be some company! It will likely cost a few extra dollars, but might be worth it.

Tania Sep 8th, 2004 02:49 PM

Hi Sandi,
Actually, I posted fairly recently asking if anyone out there knew of a Toronto travel agency that specializes in Turkey, but got no replies. Tried the yellow pages and came up with nothing specifying Turkey. I would like to contact one, if only to ask them questions about logistics and getting a recommendation for a blue voyage company.

I'm planning the trip on my own, as I'm always comfortable traveling that way. I dunno, I can't work my head around "following" someone around for three weeks.

As it stands, I'm planning 6 days in Istanbul, 3 days in Epheseus, 6 days in Cappadocia, 1 day in Bodrum, and then leaving from there for the 7 days gulet cruise, and then a last night in Istanbul before heading home.
I like the idea of an extended stay in a city, another surrounded by mountains and the final stay on the sea. More restful that way!

One very promising direction I'm looking at right now for a gulet is www.turkeytravelplanner.com . Do you know it? It's EXCELLENT. It's run by an amazing authority on the country- a travel writer who's written Frommers and Lonely Planet guides, and articles in everything from Travel and Liesure to NY Times. It's a fascinating site and provides recommendations for every imaginable service, hotel, etc. And it was there that I found his recommendation for Aegean Yacht services. (the only one he recommended from Bodrum). I emailed Aegean this morning with some questions and am waiting to hear back from them. Their answers will help me decide (or at least narrow it down!)

sinan Sep 9th, 2004 12:15 AM

Hi Tania,

www.aegeanyacht.com is one of the best company BUT their price would be higher then others

Sinan

Tania Sep 9th, 2004 04:04 AM

Thanks for the input, Sinan. Actually, Aegean Yacht has 4 or 5 different types of gulets available for blue voyages, and some of them are insanely expensive. But the "comfort" cruise is completely reasonable in price; comparable to the others I listed. In the mean time, I'm STILL waiting to hear back from them!

sandi Sep 9th, 2004 07:43 AM

Tania - surprised there is no tour operator in Canada that specializes in Turkey, but have you checked with regular travel agencies for brochures on Turkey. Some of the brochures might come from Canadian based companies. Worth a shot.

Let us know what you decide in the end.

propertravel Sep 9th, 2004 09:01 AM

Hi Tania,
Blue Cruise is a sensetive issue since a week on a yacht... Crew, service, type of Gulet and its specs, year of built etc. are important. Is provisioning included?
Your quated price for cabin or private ? To my knowledge anything less then 700 Usd. a day for private charter excluding food would be a gamble.

Do your research well and post here your options for further opinions.

I know Aegean is a good company between the ones you stated on your post.
Good Luck and happy searching

Murat

mgoldsmit Jan 23rd, 2005 09:59 AM

Tania,

We (family of 4, incl two teens) are planning a trip to Turkey and would like to charter cabins for a Blue Voyage. Would love to hear about the operator you chose and how you liked them.

Mgoldsmith

Tania Jan 23rd, 2005 03:04 PM

I finally settled on Aegean Yacht, as it's a company that has been recommended not only here and on Tom Brosnahan's Turkey Travel Planner site, but it's been listed as recommended in a couple of the many travel guide books I'd combed through. I also chose them because the company's been around for about 30 years. That says something, considering how competitive the gulet business is.

I haven't actually reserved my cabin yet (I'm not leaving till August) but I've been in touch with them by email and they were very courteous, answering all of my questions.

KathrynT Nov 28th, 2005 12:12 PM

Tania,

Did you go on your Blue Voyage cruise? I'd love to hear what you thought and hope you had a great time.

Tania Dec 2nd, 2005 10:01 PM

The Blue Cruise was awesome. Aegean Yacht was everything they said they'd be and more. There were 14 of us on board, and three crew (a wife and her husband, and his brother). The boat was spotless, and the accommodations were perfect. Many people write about how it gets so hot on the boat at night that they have to sleep on the deck, but our boat, in spite of the fact that it was August, was not in the least oppressive at night because of the heat. Everyone slept on the deck at least once for the experience, but otherwise, we were all fine in our cabins.

We all raved on a daily basis over the food. It was so well-prepared, so fresh, and every special request was catered to. We typically had cocktails before dinner every night, as the CD player played smooth jazz or Turkish music and we soaked in the last rays of the sun.

The days themselves would be spent at usually 2 different destinations per day (occasionally, with the sail on the boat up). We'd each typically snorkel, swim or kayak three or four times a day in the warm, crystal clear waters off the southern coast of Turkey. Every stop we'd make would be at a quiet location, with usually no more than one or two other boats "parked" at the shore (typically another boat from Aegean Yacht Co.) The crew always made it a point to avoid the timing of crowds, and we appreciated it.

The 14 of us on board were from Turkey, Austria, Spain, the US and Canada. There was a wonderful chemistry among the group and many of us have even kept in touch by email after the fact.

A can't praise Aegean Yacht enough in making our week such a memorable one. Their crew was so kind, so professional, and one of them spoke English extremely well, making communication a breeze. The boat was immaculately clean and extremely comfortable. Their customer service at their office in Bodrum was outstanding, as customer satisfaction was a priority for them. And when you consider that they're only 195-330 euro per week for the most relaxing and wonderful time of your life, you're looking at a top notch operation.

If and when I do a gulet again, there's no question that I'd go with Aegean Yacht.

tania

KathrynT Dec 3rd, 2005 12:39 AM

Thanks for the update. It sounds like you had a fabulous time!

VIRGINIAUSH Jul 5th, 2007 04:47 PM

Hi Tania we are planning to visit TUrkey on next setember and Ive read your post about your blue voyage experience.Please I should like to know which itinerary you did and in which gulet.Thanks


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