Busabout Sail Turkey Review

| May 14, 2012 | 36 Comments

Are there any better ways to explore the Turkish coastline in the Mediterranean Sea than living on board a traditional Turkish Gulet for an 8 Day Sail Turkey cruise? Well we didn’t think so when we first booked our trip and hopefully our Busabout Sail Turkey review will help you choose your next adventure too.

Busabout Sail Turkey Review

Swimming off our Busabout Sail Turkey Gulet

Busabout Sail Turkey Review

Before we booked we did hold a few reservations. We had heard stories from friends about how Sail Croatia, which we were tossing up whether to do or not, can be a real booze cruise. While we love having a few cold ones as much as the next Kiwi we were not that keen on blowing all our money on booze. Plus we didn’t want to spend our days hungover not being able to enjoy some travel adventures.

So when we booked we expected that this would be quite similar. Especially considering we had just been to ANZAC Day in Gallipoli and knew there would be lots of Kiwi’s and Aussies heading to the Turkish coast to lap up some sunshine.

Busabout Sail Turkey Pre-departure

This is the first year that Busabout have run the Sail Turkey adventure and so at the moment it is really cheap.

We were on the first trip of the season as well so £299 per person is great value in our opinion considering that you get 7 nights of accommodation and all of your meals included.

Booking through Busabout proved to be really easy and they were wonderful to deal with. We especially like that you can go on the Busabout website and see who else is on your trip through their MyTrip tab. It allows you to send messages to the other travellers to arrange things like airport transfers or meet ups before your trip if you want.

They also have options through their partner, V-Go, in Turkey. Although we stayed elsewhere in Fethiye which worked out a bit cheaper. It seemed like most people stayed there before their trip although we met a bunch of travellers before we went at our accommodation too.

The trip is from Saturday afternoon to the following Saturday morning. With the last night actually parked at the docks in Fethiye harbour so you really only have 6 nights along the Turkish coastline.

Busabout Sail Turkey

Our awesome crew! Busabout Sail Turkey Review

The Busabout Sail Turkey Trip

We met up with everyone at 4pm at the Busabout headquarters in Fethiye and they split our group of 35 into two groups. Each Turkish Gulet, which is a traditional two-masted wooden sailing vessel, has a crew of three and sleeps 18 guests on board. As a couple we were lucky that we had our own double bed in a room while some rooms had to share with three people on bunk beds.

Busabout Sail Turkey Review

Paddling in the gorgeous Turkish Water

Every room comes with an ensuite. Just be careful that you don’t flush your toilet paper down the loo because just like on land in Turkey the system cannot handle it. You have to place everything in the waste bin next to the toilet.

The rooms are tiny but who wants to spend time in their rooms when you are on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea?

Every night we expected to park up next to the other boat and tie up together. This didn’t happen though and instead we would park about 100m apart. I guess for safety reasons but it would have been nice to be able to mingle with the other boat properly every now and then.

However it was probably for the best because we definitely were on the quieter boat. Sure we enjoyed a few beers every night and had a couple of bigger party nights but we didn’t go overboard (excuse the pun). In comparison, the other boat drank up a storm. There were a couple of dudes crushing beer cans at the breakfast table!

The mornings would usually begin slowly with the Captain getting an early start driving us to another bay along the Turkish coastline. As we would all slowly emerge on to the deck into the bright sunlight we would be dropping anchor somewhere new for our breakfast usually around 8.30am.

For a couple of hours we would lounge around on the decks playing backgammon or cards. Or just relax with a good book in hand. Once it got too hot for us to lie out in the sun we would spend the time diving off the boat and cooling off in the pristine turquoise waters.

Simena Village, Busabout Sail Turkey Review

Busabout Sail Turkey Review – Simena Village

The afternoons would be spent visiting one of the small villages dotted along the coast or again go exploring the shoreline from the water. Evenings would again bring us all together over a few beers. We couldn’t get any more relaxed if we tried!

Busabout Sail Turkey Review

Relaxing onboard with snacks, beer and backgammon

The Food onboard

Simple but delicious is the only way to describe the food on the boat. We were just stoked it was mostly traditional Turkish food. For example the breakfast would be cheeses, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, bread, honey and jam. Not to mention the tea and coffee on demand.

Lunches and dinners were fairly similar and would usually be rice and pasta with really tasty roast vegetables or stews. Stuffed roasted capsicums and couscous! My mouth is watering just reliving the meals. We were also lucky to have fresh fish a couple of nights which was awesome.

All our meals were served around the huge dining table at the back of the boat. It was one of our favourite times as we would all come together every few hours and jokes would fly and shit-talked.

Busabout Sail Turkey Review Food

Busabout Sail Turkey Review – The Food

The Negatives

As we said, this was definitely one of the best trips we have ever done so far on our adventures around the world however it wasn’t all smooth sailing:

  • We wish there had been more information about the optional excursions. Nearly every day we were offered the chance to visit small villages, try adventures like Para-sailing or explore Turkish historical sites. Unfortunately with the limited English from the crew we had no idea the costs of the activities or what was involved.
    Note: At least Busabout has assured us that following our feedback they have now included more information on each boat about these activities.
  • As before, we wish we had a chance to socialise with the other boat a little bit more. Not every night but a few nights during the trip would have been good.
  • “Sail Turkey” should probably be called “Motor Turkey” as there is not a lot of sailing involved. Didn’t really bother us as the crew couldn’t handle it. But it would have been great to do a bit more than the two hours we did.
  • The final negative is that on the second-to-last day our Captain was fired. We still don’t know the reason why or what happened but it sucked as we all thought our Captain was awesome.  Not really Busabouts fault either as it wasn’t their decision but actually the company they lease the boats from.

Like we said, not too many negatives!

Make sure you check out some of our favourite Busabout Sail Turkey photos from our trip here as well to check out the sights. And if you want to book a Sail Turkey trip or any other Busabout adventures then click our affiliate link below.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the Busabout Sail Turkey cruise, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

About the Author ()

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Comments (36)

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  1. Sounds like a fun trip, those few negatives aside. Mary has been dreaming of sailing around the Mediterranean for years, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see Turkey, Greece, etc. next year.

  2. Sounds like a fun time. A little weird that the Captain was fired and that the passengers actually knew about it… those things should be discreet whatever the reason.

    • It was really bizarre. Especially since it was the second to last day. You think they would just carry on. Credit to Busabout though that it wasn’t their decision but actually the company they lease the boats from.

  3. Ali says:

    Overall sounds like a pretty good trip. It’s good that your review helped them provide better information going forward.

  4. Wow, only 300 pounds for a full week? That’s a steal! We’d definitely consider doing this someday, although it is a bummer that there isn’t more actual sailing.

    • We were hoping for more Sailing but I think it is too much work and just easier to motor everywhere. You don’t cover huge distances either with only about 1 – 2 hours driving a day. £299 for a week but goes up during peak season in the middle of summer. Would recommend the shoulder season as it would be too hot otherwise!

  5. I would love to do this 8 day trip. Is it BYOB?

    • Strictly not BYO. But Efes (beers) are only 6 Turkish Lira each. Our bar tab between 2 came to about £150 after the week. Some dudes on the other boat had a £500 tab each though!

  6. Natalie says:

    I agree with Stephanie, the customers should not know about the captain being fired. Shame you did not know about the little excursions as well, because there are so many delights on the coastline. All in all though, it sounds like you had a fab time for a very good price.

    • They have changed the information at least so that is good. And while it was not Busabouts fault he was fired (separate companies) it shouldn’t of happened in front of us.

  7. Angela says:

    Wow, it looks amazing swimming there!

  8. Hmmm… Wow! So I guess they make their money on the beer tab then. That’s a pretty hefty amount for the quiet boat, not to mention the £500. I went to Fethiye during the low season which isn’t so bad, there’s definitely a different energy to a place when the party people descend upon it.
    An experience worth having.

  9. We did the Busabout Croatia sail last summer and that was amazing, like you we were so glad we were on the ‘quieter’ boat. The other boat had a group of Aussie girls drinking 24/7 and even putting on live sex shows on the deck… not really my idea of a relaxing time! We had an amazing group of people who I’m still in close contact with. Turkey has been on the list for awhile so I’m keen to check this one out, I wonder if it’s still on sale – off to investigate!!

    • Hmmm the “live sex shows” are definitely a bit much! Why is it that when people go on holiday they also leave their inhibitions behind? So disgusting most of the time.
      Definitely book through our link if you want to go Trudy 🙂

  10. Nick Paul says:

    Thanks for the honest review! I’ve been eyeing this trip for some time now, just a bit worried it will be too much of a party boat and not a chilled experience. I’m young but work a fairly stressful job, so the idea of 7 sleepless nights while on holiday doesn’t appeal to me. I’m keen to relax as much as possible. What do you think? Good idea, or bad idea?

    • Hey Nick thanks for dropping by. Our boat was not really a party boat so it was really chilled out and we loved it! The other boat seemed to be a bit more intense but that’s just the way it is sometimes. But both boats were a lot more relaxed compared to Sail Croatia. The Sail Turkey parties happen on the boats and you don’t dock every night so its more fun in that respect. Plus you can head down to your cabins where its quiet whenever you want. Let us know how you get on and click on the link if you want to book 🙂

  11. Hannah says:

    I’ve been looking at this tour for some time. Love the review. I’m going to Europe next year as a solo traveler, do you think this trip is good for someone on their own?
    Hannah 🙂

    • Hey Hannah, thanks for stopping by and checking out the review. Definitely do it as a Solo Traveller! Adela’s sister did it after us on her own and absolutely loved it 🙂 Have you seen the hop-on/hop-off tours that Busabout runs around Europe. That way you can meet other travellers in a friendly environment as well. Can check it out here – Busabout

  12. Jia Lin Luo says:

    Thanks so much for the review! I’m just about to book for one of next year’s cruises, I was worried whether or not the first trip of the season would be too cold but from what you guys are saying it seems fine. Like some of the previous comments, I too am a bit worried about it being a booze cruise; I like to have a good time and all but not a big drinker and not looking to get smashed all the time. Any tips on maybe picking the quieter boat?

    • Thanks for dropping a comment 🙂 It was definitely warm enough in April for it. I think mid/late May would be perfect as one of our friends did it at the end of July and she said it was wayyyy too hot! Not everyone boozed on the other boat, there just seemed to be more of them. I am pretty sure when you book with Busabout you can leave a comment asking them to put you on a quieter boat too. They are really nice to deal with before your trip and will help out as much as possible.
      All we ask is you book through our link on the page. Doesn’t cost you any extra but gives us a little bonus as affiliates 🙂 Let us know if you go because we want to hear about it!!!

      • Lachie says:

        Hi there,

        Review sounds great, I’m probably a bit more geared towards doing this trip as a party trip though, crushing beers at the breakfast table etc haha. My friends have already booked and I’m just weighing it up now. Of the 8 nights how many are you in a port where you can go ashore to party it up to the wee small hours? The trip itself sounds like it will really suit me during the daytime hours I’d just love it push on a bit after dark each night.

        • Hey mate. This trip only stops twice to go ashore for a few brews at night. However they do party pretty hard all night on the boats, which I enjoyed more anyway. Also all the boats are in the same bays so you can mix it up on other boats etc.
          The Sail Croatia cruises are the ones that pull into port every night and you might prefer those, but definitely don’t discount Sail Turkey!

  13. Amity says:

    I just booked this trip for late May this year. Can’t wait to escape cold London for a week on a boat 🙂

    Just wondering what the power supply was like on the boat, I read on V-Go’s website that you can only charge cameras etc when the boat is docked to land. Was this ever an issues? Thinking I may invest in a spare camera battery.

    Thanks for the blog, gave me a great idea of what to expect!

    • We went at the end of April and it was already so hot! You will love it Amity 😉
      For the power supply we had no problems charging everything from phones to camera batteries. Most of the time you are using the motor so there wasn’t a problem with charging things. Just a limited number of plugs. We always carry spare batteries anyway just in case 😉

  14. Ricardo says:

    This all sounds so great. I am heading for Fethiye in a few weeks to look at properties. Hopefully I will be able to go on one of these boats next year, once I am permanently established there. Have been to Turkey many times (my friend is Turkish), and cannot wait to start this wonderful adventure… retiring to Turkey!!! Just turned 51, so hope to be on ok shape for a few years to enjoy my life in Turkey!!!

  15. Jon says:

    Hi Cole,

    Just read your review, I’m very tempted to book the trip in August 13′. Me & a mate, both single teachers, 27 & 29 are looking for a blend of chilling, sunbathing, swimming & will be keen to drink most nights, some till the early hours. Having said this, would you recommend this trip to us? Also what are the average age range and boy to girl ratio’s on the boats?



    • Definitely recommend it Jon. Loads of fun and lots of drinking if you want to do it. Plus plenty of relaxing time too in the sun. August will be scorching!
      At least 2:1 Girls to Guys as well so that works in your favour 😉

  16. Kirsty J says:

    Hey ya,

    Thanks for the review. We are going in August this year, and as you can imagine the price has gone up since 2012. I’ve seen you have to buy booze and water on board, so just wondering how easy is it to bring that on yourself (esp water!) if your discreet enough and within reason..


  17. Kirsty M says:


    I just thought id add to this message after doing the busabout turkey trip. It wasnt worth the money we paid for it and we got 20% off the price. Busabout sublet to a turkish company and dont have guide like on the croatian sails (if you’ve done them). We were really disspointed with the tour and even complained as there were several ‘hidden’ costs eg. when we stopped at a port one day, which was miles from the town, we were told (once we had all boarded this mini bus/shuttle) that we needed to pay the driver to get into town. No other options were given – lunch wasnt provided that day even though it was stated on the itinerary. You cant lock the doors to your cabins and the crew went into our rooms and took any booze we had brought on boardl even if you werent going to drink it. Again we complained and nothing came of it.

    I wouldnt recommed pre booking a company do to a turkish sail – you can basically turn up and book a few days beforehand. Obviously a lot has changed since 2012 and its quite a shame. I’ve done a lot of busabout tours and I was ashamed at this sail.


    • Hi Kristy,

      That is a shame to hear that you were disappointed with your Busabout sail Turkey trip. Moss and I recently did the trip ourselves in August 2014, however our guide was very informative and clear about the ‘hidden’ costs you have mentioned. For example, we were given the choice of catching the shuttle bus and everyone on the boat voted to give the chef a break and go buy our own lunch. I can understand why you were disappointed though, every penny counts when you are travelling on a budget!

      Thank you for your honest feedback, and for any one considering Sail Turkey, you can read the post from our August 2014 adventure. Simply use the search bar at the top of the page and search ‘sail turkey’ 🙂

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