The selection and offer of gulets available for private charters and cruises in Croatia are diverse. In recent years, gulets have topped the list of most desirable vessels. Increasing demand has been accompanied by an increase in the gulet fleet and the quality of service. This article will introduce you to gulet charters, what to expect, and how to book.
What is a Gulet?
Gulet is a traditional motor-sailing vessel mainly built in the coastal towns of Bodrum and Marmaris, although similar vessels can be found all around the eastern Mediterranean.
Gulet is one of the most popular boats for charter in the Mediterranean. Gulets vary from 14 to 35 meters and offer comfortable accommodations in air-conditioned cabins, bathrooms, and additional amenities typical for modern yachts.
Today, charter gulets have a classical outside look and lines, but inside, they are furnished and equipped with amenities characteristic of modern yachts and designed for comfortable cruising.
Charter Gulets can accommodate 8-16 guests in 4-8 guest cabins, mostly double and twin cabins. Croatia, Greece, and Turkey are the most popular Mediterranean gulet charters destinations.
What are the pros of the Gulet Charter?
Gulets offer comfortable accommodation in air-conditioned en-suite cabins, with enough storage space for your belongings and a guest's saloon with a bar. In addition, there are many outdoor spaces: an aft deck with an al-fresco dining table and a front deck covered with sun pads. More luxury gulets have a Jacuzzi, and some have a sauna.
Gulets are fully crewed boats, meaning every detail of your sailing trip is covered. Depending on the size and the charter price, there can be 3-7 crew members.
Chartering a private gulet allows you to choose your cruising itinerary and, of course, be in agreement with the captain. You can hire a gulet from Split, Trogir, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Istria in Croatia. However, most of the Gulet fleet is in Split and Dubrovnik and is also available for one-way charters.
Gulets are a perfect choice for larger families and groups of friends. Gulets have water sports amenities like a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, fishing and snorkeling equipment, water skis, and a tender boat. Of course, the list of extra equipment depends on the size and price. More luxury gulets have Jet ski, sea scooters, etc.
How much does it cost to charter a gulet?
Gulet charter prices vary and depend on the size, comfort, quality, number of crew members, and the rental season. There are three basic categories of gulets: standard, luxury, and deluxe.
Average prices per week based on the category:
Standard gulets from 15.000 EUR-25.000 EUR per week
Luxury gulets from 25.000 EUR-50.000 EUR per week
Deluxe gulets from 50.000 EUR -100.000 EUR per week
The charter price includes:
Accommodation on the yacht, crew wages and food for the crew, VAT, fuel for main engines up to 4 hours cruising per day, 24 hours fuel for daily generator use ( air condition), complete linen and towels, tender, yacht insurance, service on board, sojourn taxes, yacht cleaning, use of leisure equipment on board, WiFi.
The charter price does not include:
Food and beverages, port and marina fees, private expenses, transfers from/to the airport, fuel for the motorized program (waterskiing, jet ski). These extra costs will be charged from the APA (Advance Provision Allowance), usually 30% of the charter price.
APA covers the following costs: food and beverages for the Charter Party, port fees, national park entrances, fuel for Personal Watercraft, shipping agents fees, custom fees, charter licenses if cruising in Montenegro, and other costs for services requested by the Charter Party during the charter such as but not limited to hire or purchase costs of any special equipment placed on board at the Charterer's request, shoreside transport, and excursions. The Captain will produce final accounts at the end of the charter, and any unused funds will be refunded directly to the Charterer in full. If the funds are insufficient, the Captain will advise you accordingly, and bills will be settled upon disembarkation.
How far ahead should I book a gulet?
Although a wide choice of gulets is available for private charter in Croatia, booking at least eight months before the charter is wise. If you want a more luxurious option, look for the perfect match at least 12 months before. If you plan to cruise during the peak summer months, booking your gulet charter well in advance is advisable as these months are in high demand.
Turkey has the widest gulets offer in the Mediterranean, so you will likely find a suitable yacht anytime. However, just like in Croatia, if you are looking for a more luxurious version, plan your cruise at least six months before the trip.
Greece has the lowest number of charter gulets of all the Mediterranean countries. Therefore, it`s never too early to start planning the cruise and gulet charter in Greece.
When is the best time to sail in Croatia?
Thanks to its position in the moderate climate belt, Croatia enjoys a predominantly mild climate that favors year-round sailing opportunities. Officially, Croatia's sailing season starts in early April and ends in late October.
The best time to charter a gulet and cruise in Croatia depends on your preferences and what you're looking to experience during your cruise. Here are some considerations for different seasons:
1. Summer (June - August)
Summer is the high tourist season in Croatia, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Daytime temperatures can range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius. The sea is usually calm during summer, providing smooth sailing conditions. This is the ideal time for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying water sports. The coastal towns and islands are vibrant with cultural events and festivals.
Summer is ideal for water sports activities
2. Spring (April & May) and Fall (September & October)
Spring and Fall offer milder temperatures, making outdoor activities more comfortable. Daytime temperatures range from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. These shoulder seasons are less crowded than the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed and authentic experience. Spring brings blooming landscapes, while fall showcases warm colors. Both seasons offer beautiful scenery along the coast and islands.
The best time to charter a gulet ultimately depends on your preferences. The summer months are ideal if you enjoy the buzz of summer activities and warm weather. The shoulder seasons might be more suitable if you prefer a quieter experience and a more temperate climate.
You can enjoy the Gulet cruise at any time of the season
What kind of menu is served on a gulet?
The guest can choose between two food packages, half board and full board. All menus are freshly prepared and based on local, fresh ingredients.
Breakfast will typically consist of a full and varied buffet, including bread, pastry, jam, butter, honey, fruit, cheese, eggs served in various ways, ham, cereals, tea, coffee, and fresh fruit juices.
Lunch consists of a main course, including fish, meat, chicken, and vegetables. This will be served with side dishes, salads, and vegetables, followed by fresh fruit or dessert.
Dinner time on a gulet is a unique experience, usually lasting for a few hours. As the sun goes down, you can indulge in the sunset view, relax with family and friends, capture fantastic photos, and create lifelong memories. Dinner is served in the alfresco dining area, just like all other meals, except in case of unpleasant weather conditions, the dinner service will move to the saloon. Following an aperitif, you can enjoy a three-course dinner beautifully presented and served by the professional and friendly crew.
For more expensive luxury gulets, lunch and dinner are served in several courses, and light snacks are served during the day. 1st class fish and meat complexly prepared food require top chef skills and the most demanding palate.
What are the drink options on a gulet cruise?
There are several drink packages available on a gulet cruise:
- Beverages are paid according to consumption - by bar price list.
- The all-inclusive domestic drink package includes Croatian quality wines, domestic beers, spirits, soft drinks, natural and mineral water, milk, tea, and coffee. The average price is 200 EUR per person per week
- All-inclusive non-alcoholic drink package appx 90 EUR per person per week.
Foreign liquors and wines are not included in this package. These can be ordered extras, or the clients can bring the drinks (if the gulet charter policy allows). If the clients supply the drinks, the service (corkage) fee applies, approximately 500 EUR – 700 EUR per week.
What places can I visit on a gulet charter in Croatia?
A gulet cruise in Croatia offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the stunning Adriatic coastline and visit various historical sites, charming towns, and beautiful islands. Here are some popular destinations and attractions you can consider including in your guide:
Known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with well-preserved medieval architecture. Walk along the city walls, visit the Old Town, and explore historic sites like the Rector's Palace and the Cathedral of Assumption.
Home to the impressive Diocletian's Palace, Split is a vibrant city with modern and ancient elements. Wander through the narrow streets of the palace, visit Peristyle Square, and climb up Marjan Hill for panoramic views.
This island is famous for its lavender fields, medieval architecture, and vibrant nightlife. Visit Hvar Town, explore the historic fortress, and enjoy the lively atmosphere in the main square.
Claimed to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, Korčula is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Wander through the narrow streets, visit St. Mark's Cathedral, and enjoy the local cuisine.
This island is home to Mljet National Park, which features beautiful lakes, forests, and a Benedictine monastery on an islet in the middle of one of the lakes. It's a peaceful and scenic destination.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Trogir, is a historic town with a well-preserved medieval core. Explore the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and the Kamerlengo Castle.
This less touristy island offers pristine beaches, charming fishing villages, and the famous Stiniva Bay, Green Cave, and Blue Cave on the island of Biševo, known for its magical blue light.
This stunning archipelago of around 140 islands offers unique, untouched natural beauty. Many of the islands are part of the Kornati National Park.
Located in central Dalmatia, Krka National Park is renowned for its breathtaking waterfalls cascading over a series of limestone steps. The park is a fantastic destination for a day trip during a gulet charter, offering the perfect blend of natural beauty and outdoor activities.
If you would like to charter a gulet and cruise the Mediterranean with your family and friends, please feel free to get in touch.