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No Shoes Allowed

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    No Shoes Allowed

    This diary accompanies the review of the same title which can be found at -

    It may be of interest to those considering a gulet cruise.
    Then again, it may not...

    This was the Thomas Cook Aqua Cruise (15 October 2012 - 22 October 2012) sailing along Turkey's fabulous Turquoise Coast (sometimes known as the Lycian Route) between Fethiye and Kas. The itinerary was:
    Fethiye - Kekova - Ucagiz - Kas - Kalkan - Olu Deniz - Gemiler - Fethiye

    Monday 15/10/2012

    A smooth flight to Dalaman, smooth visa processing (£10) at the airport and smooth organization by the holiday rep precede a scenic 1-hour bus ride to Fethiye, with views of mountains and minarets, and glimpses of a turquoise sea. We switch to a minibus for the last section of the transfer and arrive in the late afternoon.

    The tall masts of a myriad gulets are reflected in the calm, clear, blue waters of the expansive marina and at the end of a wooden pier lies the Harun Bey. She’s a modest-looking twin-masted vessel but looks to be well cared for. Leaving our cases on the pier (the crew will carry them up the gangway as the grab handle is only on one side) we step aboard and are exhorted to remove our shoes. There are eight cabins - some are doubles and some are twin. None are pre-assigned so it’s a free-for-all. JacqTar succeeds in claiming one of the doubles - cabin 3 amidships. It is relatively spacious (for a gulet) with a very adequate en-suite. There are electric sockets which don’t seem to work and enough storage and hanging space for our stuff - rather more than we expected, in fact. It’s hot in the cabin (air-conditioning is only available in the early evening) but there are two small sliding windows including one in the en-suite section. The covered, open-sided dining area is at the back of the boat as are two king-size lime-coloured loungers. There are lime-coloured sunbathing beds forward (enough for everyone) as well as a kayak and a box of snorkeling equipment. The week’s weather forecast for our late-season cruise is sunny with daytime temperatures between 25 and 36 degrees and nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler.

    Prices on the drinks list seem reasonable:
    Small bottle of water - 45p
    Tea - 45p
    Nescafé - 90p
    Can of lemonade - £1.80
    Can of beer - £2.25
    Bottle of white wine - £9
    and JacqTar starts the holiday off by ordering two shandies which we enjoy on an aft lounger.

    There are 15 passengers on this cruise - one short of a full complement. The travel rep comes aboard to give us a safety briefing and introduces Captain Mehmet. The other crew, acting as cook and deckhand, are Erdem and Okan. We’ll spend our first night in port, sailing tomorrow morning after breakfast. I let the crew know that I don’t eat meat, so fish or vegetarian for me please, if that can be accommodated. The captain asks us to hand in our passports.

    Ancient Telmessos was renamed Anastasiopolis in honour of a Byzantine emperor and renamed Megri during the Ottoman Empire. In 1934 it was renamed Fethiye in honour of the aviator who perished along with his navigator in a sandstorm over the Teberiyye Desert. His statue by the marina reads, “Pilot Fethi Bey (1887 - 1914) the first aviation martyr killed when his plane crashed near Damascus”. Carved into the surrounding hills, the famous Lycian rock tombs can be seen - we’ll have a closer look at them when we return next week.

    There is minimal hassle as we wander through the old town and Paspatur market where a firm but smiling “No, thanks” suffices as a response to dining invitations from the many restaurants. Amongst the wood, leather, oils, Turkish delight and craft stores is a Watch and Sunglasses store proudly displaying the oxymoronic sign “Genuine Fake”.

    Dinner is served at half past seven. Plates of grilled mushrooms, ratatouille, chicken schnitzel, herbed yoghurt and baskets of bread plus lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil, and salt and pepper pots are laid out on the dining table. It looks appetizing, tastes even better and there’s plenty to eat. JacqTar asks for a bottle of dry white wine as we go round the table introducing ourselves. Amongst our number are a tax inspector, a nurse, a builder, a traffic planner, and a one-time aerospace engineer turned ironing-board salesman. The call of the Muezzin reverberates from nearby mosques across the water. One of the criteria for choosing a Muezzin is the quality of his voice. It appears that one of the criteria for being on the selection committee is to be tone deaf!

    This is a third gulet cruise for a couple from Wallasey. Their most recent trip (a different itinerary) was with a group of Germans with whom there was no bonding and so wasn’t at all enjoyable. One of their number was a fat middle-aged woman who insisted on bathing topless at all times and shouting “Geronimoooooo!!!” every time she plunged into the sea. The solo solo is originally from Hong Kong. His Irish wife is back in England - and apparently so fond of soaps that he doubts she’s noticed his absence. Everyone seems to have expected smaller cabins so we’re all pleasantly surprised.

    Dessert is the simplest affair possible - plates of sliced banana. Might genuine delights such as baklava be served later on? I hope so. It proves to be an enjoyable, leisurely, al-fresco meal with warm company on a warm evening - a good start, indeed.

    The marina is now very busy. Back in the market we stop at one of the many colourful stores to buy a selection of Turkish Delight and a bar of pomegranate soap. We have a look inside the historic Haman but decide to save our “bath” for next week. There are no lights on deck when we return so I can’t ask for a cup of tea - not having it on tap will require a substantial lifestyle adjustment. A couple of bulkhead collisions reminds us (painfully) that we will also require a substantial posture adjustment - and we thought our head-banging days were but a distant memory...

    Tuesday 16/10/2012

    I have a shower in bed this morning - the deck is being hosed down and I’m sleeping under the open window. The breakfast bell sounds a little after eight o’clock and the table is laid with hard-boiled eggs, tomato and cucumber, cold meat, cheese, melon, olives, honey, jam, margarine, chocolate spread, orange juice, bread, tea and coffee.

    The holiday rep, gives us a short briefing before we leave:
    - Itineraries are flexible
    - No jumping or diving off a moving gulet
    - The captain’s word is final
    - We’ll return to Fethiye next Sunday and spend our last night in port
    - A tip of £25 per booking is recommended
    She also teaches us a few words of Turkish which I try and note down although I’m uncertain about my transcription.

    The anchor is raised and we drift away on a beautiful, cool, calm, sunny day.
    “Sehitler Olmez Vatan Bolunmez” is whitewashed onto a hillside. I wonder what that means - a political or nationalist slogan, I imagine. I shall have to ask the crew when they’re not so busy.

    The captain leans gently on the wheel as he navigates blue waters surrounded by mountains. The day warms up quickly and most are relaxing on the forward sundeck and taking photos from the Bowsprit. Flying fish skim across the water ahead of us - but they’re too fast for my camera to catch them.

    I ask the captain if there’s anywhere to recharge batteries as the sockets in the cabin don’t work. He asks the deckhand to show me where to plug in my recharger - in one of the gang sockets in the saloon.

    We drop anchor after a couple of hours. Platters are laid out and the lunch bell is sounded at quarter past one. There are baskets of bread and platters of raw salad, cooked vegetables, and Kisir - Turkish tabbouleh cooked with tomato and pepper paste. It’s a vegetarian feast and absolutely delicious. I must be also because I’m in need of my sting-relief cream, having forgotten to apply insect-repellant. Lunch is cleared away and the captain lays out a map and explains the planned itinerary, which is the same as in the pre-cruise literature. He also tells us that next week is the last of the season, until next May.

    The crew doze in the saloon, whilst others swim and snorkel. JacqTar stays on board whilst I test the water. The current is rather strong so I keep close to the gulet but I can easily see to the bottom of the incredibly clear water.

    A basic afternoon tea comprising tea, coffee and plain packet biscuits is served as it should be - at four o’clock. Oscar shows us a plastic bag of squid he found amongst the rocks. We daren’t ask what he’s going to do with it but we are beginning to suspect the real reason his wife might have preferred to stay at home.

    As the sun starts to set we arrive in a sheltered bay where we’ll drop anchor for the night - and presumably avoid any mooring fees. Okan takes out the motor dinghy to tie a rope around white stratified rocks. Another gulet, the Atlantis, is moored next to us. Air-conditioning comes on in the cabin but it’s so cold I turn it off.

    Dinner, comprising grilled fish, potatoes, grilled aubergines and cauliflower, is served at half past seven. There are mosquitoes buzzing around and I forgot to bring some pyrethrum coils. Conversation topics include cosmetic surgery and rag pudding - of which several of us have never heard. Dessert comprises plates of grapes. They’re too fiddly for me if they’re not seedless.
    “What about the Turkish Delight we bought last night?” I ask JacqTar.
    “Oh, I forgot about that. I’ll go and get it.”
    The lokoum goes down very well - it must be the Bouncing Beat Water, a traditional ingredient in Turkish sweets.
    “Do you have a backgammon set?” I ask the captain. “Shesh-besh?”
    Excellent - he does. I show JacqTar how to play and after a couple of games she borrows a pack of cards and teaches me rummy - and is extremely miffed when I win at that also.

    We lie on the forward loungers on a warm, clear night looking up at the countless stars and trying to identify some of them. The quiet is wonderful.

    Wednesday 17/10/2012

    This morning’s breakfast specials are plates of omelettes and a plague of flies. The table is cleared at 9 o’clock, Okan motors out in the dinghy to untie the mooring rope and we’re soon underway on another calm, beautiful day.
    “Dolphins!” cries the captain, and we all rush to watch them.

    We’ve reached Kekova where we gently drift over the partially submerged town, sunk by an earthquake. It is a protected area where even snorkeling is forbidden so different colours in the water are the only real indicators of what is below the surface.

    We drop anchor near the opposite shore. Kayak trains are criss-crossing the water to get a closer look at the ruins. Unfortunately we can’t use our kayak to do likewise because it was badly damaged by some twerp during last week’s trip.

    Lunch is once again a vegetarian affair including an excellent warm, oily, aubergine salad with plenty of spaghetti to soak up the delicious sauce.
    “Something to drink?” Okan asks us.
    “Water. Water. Fanta. Water. Fanta. Fanta…”
    I share Indian travel experiences with Brian from Exeter. He isn’t sure whether to believe my tales of camel beauty contests, or that a “friend” tried to enter me for one such event at the Pushkar Fair a couple of years ago.

    The captain has arranged for a boat to pick us up at two o’clock and bring us back a couple of hours later. It duly arrives to ferry us ashore. Gosh, it’s hot. We walk a little breathlessly, past tourist stalls and bars, up to Simena (present-day Kalekoy) Castle and explore around the walls where basil leaves, vanilla pods and Lycian sarcophagi are scattered about. Engrossed in my surroundings I nearly tread on a tortoise. We cool down by paddling amongst wooden piers and semi-sunken sarcophagi by a small shingle beach.

    Tea, coffee and plain biscuits are served at quarter past four and the boat moors for the night in a nearby sheltered bay. There are lots of flies although my roll-on provides some protection. Most of the passengers are a little unhappy with the captain - they think him too withdrawn and nobody has seen him smile yet. I’ve chatted with him a little but it is rather hard work.

    JacqTar tries using a snorkel and mask and gains more confidence when using a float whilst Oscar’s latest expedition sees him triumphantly returning with a bag of oranges. What will he find next? It gets cooler as the sun starts to set so we come out of the water. Erdem is cooking burgers in the galley, I hang up some laundry on the washing lines forward and others repair to their favourite lounging spots

    Dinner includes kofte and roasted vegetables - swimming in oil but delicious when mopped up with bread. JacqTar asks for another bottle of red wine. Dessert is sliced plums. We chat with the Exonian foursome about their previous gulet cruise.
    “Was your captain the life and soul of the party like Captain Curt?”
    “Well, I thought ours was taciturn until I met this one,” says Sue.
    She tells us that dessert was also just fruit on that cruise although a birthday cake was served up one night. Their cabin on this cruise is more comfortable - their previous boat didn’t have the luxury of a shower cubicle, just a hose that you pulled out of the hot water tap to give yourself a spray.

    Brian and Oscar want to learn how to play backgammon so I act as Brian’s second whilst Barbara looks after Oscar. They play to the soothing sounds of Northern Soul.
    “Whilst your opponent is fretting about what to do, take a sip of beer and look uninterested,” is my advice to Brian on how to psyche out the opposition.
    It’s a tight game but it works a treat - he finishes second. The experts then show the beginners how the game should be played, and I repeat my protégé’s success.

    It’s a wonderfully clear night. The captain sleeps on one of the aft loungers and we stargaze again. It’s so quiet…

    Thursday 18/10/2012

    We awake to another beautiful day under a cloudless sky. After breakfast, as we sail across a smooth and shimmering sea, some of us join JacqTar doing her Pilates routine on the sundeck. That creaking sound… No, it’s not the boat. It’s me. Two hours later we arrive in Kas and the captain calls a conference in the saloon. What do we want to do tonight - stay in the harbour or drop anchor in a bay further away? The vote for the harbour is unanimous.

    Atop hilly streets lined with pomegranate trees and bougainvillea, the Harun Bey with its distinctive green top is easy to pick out amongst the dive-boats, fishing boats and other gulets moored cheek-by-jowl. JacqTar buys a snorkel from one of the dive shops - a measure of how well she’s come on this week. Small cafés and shops make for a pleasant area to relax by the water and in the adjacent Republic Square where a statue of Ataturk bears one of his quotes - Yurtta sulh, Cihanda sulh (peace at home, peace in the world). Watching fishermen repairing their nets, that peace is certainly evident here.

    Almost everyone has returned for lunch. There is garden salad, cooked courgette salad, and Biber Dolmasi (gently-spiced stuffed peppers) which are so good that I have three!

    Kucukcakil Beach is closest to the harbour but it’s very small and so sheltered and shaded that the water is very cold. We head on another kilometer to Buyukcakil Beach on a large inlet bathed in sunshine where the beach is a mixture of pebble and shingle. The Exonians have been here all afternoon and their return taxi is due in a few minutes. The water is still rather cold but there’s plenty for the snorkeler to see. I need to buy swim shoes - swimming in sandals isn’t a good idea, unless the idea is to ruin them.

    We’re a few minutes short of the first century Hellenistic amphitheatre when the sun starts to set and for a few minutes there is a burnt orange glow surrounding hills bathed in shadow. Our arrival doubles the number of current visitors to one thousandth of its capacity. We test out the acoustics.
    “Are you dancing?” I ask JacqTar from centre-stage.
    “Are you asking?” comes her clear reply from the topmost tier.
    “I’m asking.”
    “Then I’m dancing.”

    It’s chicken tonight whilst my vegetarian offering is a cheese…. something. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. There are side plates of salad, cauliflower omelette, and bulgur wheat and courgettes. Conversation includes such diverse and unconnected topics as massage parlours and Korean Air.

    A fine evening is spent relaxing at Café Bey Bey, out on the patio decorated with lanterns and greenery overlooking the harbour. Are orchids out of season? I couldn’t get sah’lab in Fethiye and I can’t get any here. May organizes sporadic sessions of musical chairs to ensure maximum sociability. The general consensus is that the captain is a rather miserable soul. We think we’re a sociable bunch and wish he was making more of an effort. There’s no doubting his competence, though.

    JacqTar and I are all talked out and leave to go in search of a café that might serve baklava, but our mission is a failure. We spread out on upholstered loungers at the Kirinti Café Bar in a lovely back courtyard, and while away time over a couple of apple teas. In desperation I buy a box of cookies from a nearby store - and then we encounter our shipmates swaying their way merrily back to the boat. We’re not ready to turn in just yet, though.

    The music coming from the waterfront bars is far too loud but behind them up a hilly street is Papillon, a rather more civilised bar where the sound and quality of the music is more to our liking. We while away another hour over two more apple teas - and my tasteless, plain cookies - before heading back…and once again encounter our shipmates in an even more enhanced state of merriment. They got back to the boat to continue the party but the captain’s refusal to put lights on, on deck, prompted an impromptu conference along the lines of -
    “What’sh the shensible thing to do?”
    “Go….. to bed.”
    “OK - let’sh go out for another drink.”
    We take them up to Papillon for one last round and it’s three o’clock before we finally struggle back on board. The captain is sleeping on the aft lounger. Others are going to sleep on the sundeck….

    Friday 19/10/2012

    …and apparently it was very pleasant. We move off after breakfast. Why aren’t our sails raised or those on any of the other gulets? Is fuel so cheap in Turkey? After a couple of blissful hours we arrive at Kalkan - another picture-postcard town with a mountainous backdrop and a beautiful harbour and where we have two hours to explore before lunch. We stroll along colourful alleys and streets, past boutiques, bars and bougainvillea, under a cloudless sky. Blue glass eyes set into the paving and walls watch our every step - and perhaps the para-gliders above.

    After buying a pair of swim shoes (with a lime green strip to match the boat’s dubious colour-scheme), Sue recommends we try the ice-cream. My pistachio cone (that’s not a euphemism) is delicious and JacqTar’s blackberry confection (nor is that) is even more so. The Authentic Terrace Restaurant Café and Bar with its inviting outdoor shaded area covered in carpets and cushions is an ideal place to shelter from the sun and relax with apple tea and backgammon. Our stay is at least an hour too short, possibly even a day or a week.

    Lunch consists of pea stew (a meat-free bowl is prepared for me), salad and bulgur wheat. A post-prandial air of exhaustion pervades the boat, moored in another picturesque bay. Afternoon tea perks us up enough to enjoy an hour’s snorkeling. The seascape is a kaleidoscope of rocks, seagrass and fish and the water reflects all the colours of the blue rainbow - azure, cobalt, sky, teal… but it soon turns cold as the sun disappears behind the hills.

    JacqTar, having overcome Owen Sheers’ “Resistance” has started reading “Ajax, The Dutch, The War” by Simon Kuper. I've brought just one book - “Josiah The Great” (the original Man Who Would Be King) by Ben Macintyre. On the adjacent aft lounger, some of the smokers are chatting. The smell of cigarettes doesn’t linger though, being carried away by the breeze to leave a not unpleasant very mild hint of tobacco in the air. Okan is fishing portside but he doesn’t look to be having any success so I’m guessing there won’t be fish tonight…but I’m wrong because the main dish is trout. I’m uncomfortable with food looking up at me, accusingly, so content myself with the three salads - bean, potato and garden.

    The wind is getting up and jumpers and jackets are donned. Backgammon, cards, music, drink and chat fills the night.

    Saturday 20/10/2012

    We set off at half past six to the sound of slamming doors. This is the first time we’ve encountered a swell. I reach for a wobble pill and eventually stagger up on deck to join the others. Erdem tells us we will be in Olu Deniz today and at Gemiler tonight.

    We drop anchor at half past nine. The sea is calm and the famous lagoon with its tree-covered mountainous backdrop dotted with para-gliders is picture-perfect. An enterprising ice-cream seller pulls alongside as we get ready for a swim. JacqTar chats with Oscar, an experienced swimmer, who recommends she get a prescription mask rather than trying to use contact lenses. She confidently swims to some rocks whilst I follow, successfully testing a waterproof pouch. It’s wonderful to float and watch the sea life although when I come out of the water I find I have lots of little scratches, perhaps from being too close to the rocks.

    After a fine lunch of courgettes, pasta, and a salad of purple cabbage, onion, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, it’s time to move on and head for Gemiler Island half an hour away. I chat a little with the captain while he fishes. He has one son, Harun, after whom the boat is named and who is at university studying German….and that proves to be an exhausting enough dialogue and he retires inside.

    More enterprising locals appear. This time it’s an elderly couple selling pancakes. JacqTar has sugar and lemon on hers (anything else just isn’t a pancake as far as she’s concerned), I have honey and lemon (just for a change) whereas chocolate and banana is the most popular choice with everyone else. They’re thin dough, rather than batter which is what a pancake should be, but they’re still tasty. Another water-borne entrepreneur approaches but there are no takers for a jet-ski experience. It prompts Little Dave and Lani to tell us about their wedding in Finland which included a skidoo expedition through a forest.

    I ask the captain about going ashore and he tells us that Okan will take us in the dinghy whenever we’re ready. Surprisingly only JacqTar and I take up the offer. Is nobody else interested in exploring the legendary island of Santa Claus?

    There’s a small entry fee and we pick up a bi-lingual guide in English and Japanese (the latter having funded much of the excavation work). The route takes us along rocky paths and through church ruins, a graveyard and ceremonial passageways. The island used to be inhabited until the 12th century and was an important site for pilgrims travelling to and from the Holy Land. Today’s residents are a flock of farting goats. After an hour’s clambering and climbing we watch the setting sun from the highest point from where there are fine views. It’s quite dark when we arrive back at the pier. We wave to the boat. Can they see us? I’m not sure. There’s no acknowledgement from anyone on board. Will we have to swim back? JacqTar goes looking for the caretaker. Ah! We’ve been spotted. I can see the dinghy coming.

    The dinner bell (I’m almost certain now that the same one is used for all meals) is rung at half past seven. The main dish is goulash whilst a very tasty egg and tomato hash has been prepared for me. There’s also mashed potatoes, yoghurt, salad, and leek in Mary Rose sauce. We chat about traffic planning and vegetarianism and then the discussion becomes particularly animated when Brain introduces the well-known debt puzzle:
    A tourist reserves a hotel room for 50 Euro saying he’ll be back in an hour to check in. The hotelier rushes round to the butcher to pay off what he owes for last week’s delivery, the butcher uses the money to pay the local farmer for the two pigs he recently bought, the farmer visits his favourite floozy to pay her for the previous night, and she uses the money to pay the hotelier for the room they used. An hour later the tourist returns and apologetically tells the hotelier he’s changed his mind, takes back his 50 Euro, and leaves behind a happy, debt-free town…or does he?

    Sunday 21/10/2012

    Today is cooler with lots of clouds. Some of the others want to explore Gemiler Island before we set off but the captain says we have to go. They’re a bit disgruntled (surely an hour wouldn’t make any difference?) although I can’t understand why nobody came with us yesterday.

    “I’m going to do something really courageous,” Brian announces as breakfast is cleared away.
    “Going snorkeling?” asks Big Dave.
    “No. I’m going to ask how much my bar bill is.”
    “Oh, I think you should have a drink before doing that.”
    A few minutes later Brian comes back and asks, “Lani, would you say we’re friends now?”
    “Yes, why?”
    “Will you go and pay my bar bill?”

    The captain is more communicative this morning, telling us that we’re off to a nice bay for some snorkeling until lunch then we’ll head back to Fethiye. Brian is aft, piloting, whilst JacqTar is forward, pilate-ing. The scenery is as beautiful as it’s been all week.

    Meat-eaters have chicken schnitzel for lunch whilst I have fried courgettes in yoghurt. My food is delicious although the chicken seems to be the first failure culinary failure of the week. It’s cool and breezy as we eat, with lots of cloud. A harbinger of what awaits us shortly?

    I ask the captain if he’d like a game of backgammon. He advises me to ask Okan as he’s a better player. I would, but he’s not around. Maybe I can catch him later.

    We arrive back in Fethiye at half past two and questionnaires are handed out. I temper JacqTar’s criticisms of the captain a little, and conclude positively with “Overall, an excellent holiday and would recommend to others”.

    We set off into town where the fish market is an experience not to be missed. Take your purchase from the central dias to any of the surrounding restaurants and for 6 Euros you’ll have a delicious cooked dish served with salad and lavas (flat bread). We’re not hungry but we have to try some. JacqTar buys red snapper and has it grilled at the Hilmi Seafood Restaurant. There’s plenty for us to share although I’m a little distracted by one of the adverts on TV in the restaurant - for Arcelik!

    We walk up to the Lycian Rock Tombs but there isn’t much to be gained from continuing on up to the Grave of Amyntas (the ruler of ancient Telmessos) because there isn’t anything to see inside - but I wasn’t going to admit as much to JacqTar who couldn’t be bothered slogging up the dozens of steps with me.

    An hour should be enough time to enjoy a good scrub-down at the historic Hamam. We sweat it out for half an hour before being thoroughly massaged and exfoliated. There are separate facilities for men and women, as well as for mixed which is our choice.

    We’re a little late back for a dinner feast of roast chicken, tomato and cheese salad, cabbage, grilled mushrooms, grilled aubergines and courgettes. After a dessert of peeled peaches, we all decamp to the nearby Deep Blue Bar. Our cocktail of choice is a Tweety - pineapple juice, lemonade and grenadine. The accompanying bowls of peanuts and popcorn are irresistibly more-ish. By midnight we’re ready to head back so we leave others to revel on. The brewing storm provides a spectacular sound and light show.

    Monday 22/10/2012

    Those we left fairly soaked in the bar last night got another soaking on their way back to the boat. It’s cool and overcast - a marked contrast to the last few days.
    “Does anybody know what the weather is in Manchester?” asks JacqTar. “It might be sunshine.”
    After breakfast is cleared away, my incurably optimistic companion settles the bar bill which is rounded down to £50, payable in sterling.

    Although most felt surprisingly uncomfortable with the very-reserved crew, they did take care of us and the boat throughout the week so I’m less reticent than others to give them the traditional thank-you. They seem genuinely pleased with the tip.

    Our departure is a jumble of handshakes and kisses. It’s been an exceptionally enjoyable, stress-free holiday and our karma remains undisturbed even when the airport bus catches fire…


    Thanks for another interesting read tpms2000. Mind you, as interesting as it sounded, I think I'll be sticking with the big floating blocks of flats



      Nile cruise, ocean cruise, gulet cruise.... I'm just enjoying working my way through the various water-borne experiences. I started in the Caribbean 15 years ago and every one has been just wonderful, even when things haven't gone to plan.


        Thanks for a great read, I would love to try it, especially as you ate so well without meat, would suit me fine! But sadly himself has no interest at all & prefers life's luxuries, ah well!
        Lizzie sigpic


          Diary links that work - hopefully......

          The links above to other diaries probably don't work. Hopefully, these will:

          3) A cruise to New York
          FORUM > Cruise Lines > Cunard Cruises > A Solo Crossing of the Atlantic

          2) A cruise of the Western Mediterranean
          FORUM > Cruise Lines > Cunard Cruises > A Tale of Two Virgins

          1) A cruise across the Arabian Sea
          FORUM > Niche Cruiselines > Voyages of Discovery > A Solo Traveller Sails Pirate-Infested Seas


            Originally posted by JakTar, Lytham View Post
            The links above to other diaries probably don't work. Hopefully, these will:

            3) A cruise to New York
            FORUM > Cruise Lines > Cunard Cruises > A Solo Crossing of the Atlantic

            2) A cruise of the Western Mediterranean
            FORUM > Cruise Lines > Cunard Cruises > A Tale of Two Virgins

            1) A cruise across the Arabian Sea
            FORUM > Niche Cruiselines > Voyages of Discovery > A Solo Traveller Sails Pirate-Infested Seas
            May I ask the reason you've put links to your past reviews/diaries? This one was very interesting the first time around but they are a tad out of date now. Four years out of date.


              Originally posted by Topdeck, London
              There was me thinking Cunard was so stuck in the past 100 year old reviews would still be relevant for those that have not read them yet.
              Not read them yet so can't comment.


                It reminds me of the gullet cruise I went on a few years ago I think the success, or not, much depends on who else is o board on such a small boat. We also booked with Thomas Cook, at a very reasonable price. I couldn't find many reviews but some had horror stories of rats being on board. I didn't see these until after I had bod s as precaution I bought a silk sleeping bag liner, usually used for camping. I intended to fully immerse myself in it at bedtime as protection from the rats. We didn't have proper instruction where to find the gullet, just the name of it, and that it would be in Bodrum harbour. Well, we walked up and down the harbour but there was no sign of it. We were just about to find a hotel for the night when we got a phone call to say the gullet had broken down and someone would meet us to take us to another one.
                Not knowing what to expect, we feared the worst. It would surely be full of giant rats. We couldn't believe our luck when we saw it. It was magnificent. Brand new and definitely no rats. It had 6 luxurious cabins and only one other couple on board. With 3 crew to look after us and cook delicious food as we sailed along the Turkish coast it was a holiday to remember for all the right reasons. It could have turned out so differently though. We saw several gullets with lots of young party people on board which wouldn't have suited us at all.


                  Sorry, but how can a guest post without registering as a member first? Is there a problem with the sites security?

                  Cheers OSD
                  Our cruising days are over now.................


                    Originally posted by Old Sea Dog, Stockport View Post
                    Sorry, but how can a guest post without registering as a member first? Is there a problem with the sites security?

                    Cheers OSD
                    No site security problem and no guest name posting OSD.

                    I have a reasonable memory and as the writing style was rather 'distinctive' for reviews, they stuck in my mind. I remember seeing all the reviews linked in #5, on another site so I had a quick look and found them posted under the JakTar moniker.
                    Last edited by Mrs M; 19th May 2016, 06:31 AM.


                      Hello Mrs M,

                      I actually repaired the links from the post of my most recent cruise, to Macaronesia last November/December (https://www.cruise.co.uk/forum/1010-...ise-diary.html) and thought to repair the earlier diaries whilst I was at it. I think the descriptions of the experiences of river, gulet and ocean-going holidays are still relevant and hope they may still be of some interest even now to anyone considering such trips. But perhaps I'm wrong...

                      Best regards


                        Originally posted by JakTar, Lytham View Post
                        Hello Mrs M,

                        I actually repaired the links from the post of my most recent cruise, to Macaronesia last November/December (https://www.cruise.co.uk/forum/1010-...ise-diary.html) and thought to repair the earlier diaries whilst I was at it. I think the descriptions of the experiences of river, gulet and ocean-going holidays are still relevant and hope they may still be of some interest even now to anyone considering such trips. But perhaps I'm wrong...

                        Best regards

                        I see #5, bumping your past reviews which incidentally, were written under another name. Over the years, regular members of the forum have all written many reviews and if we all kept bumping them, the forum would be awash with out of date reviews.

                        Sorry, but that's my take.
                        Last edited by Mrs M; 19th May 2016, 11:15 AM.


                          Originally posted by Topdeck, London
                          putting links in is not bumping that is when a thread gets a new post to bring it up to the top of chronological ordering.

                          Putting links into a review thread to previous work or other relevant contrasting review is not going to have a site awash with reviews.
                          Topdeck I bow to your immense knowledge and sincerely regret using terminology which although rather descriptive is not the correct word.

                          As for your opinion re 'awash', I DID refer to #5 which had links and NOT the actual reviews. I also said 'if we all kept bumping them', kept being a key word as this is the second time Jack Tar has 'bumped' his/her past reviews and so as an experiment, let's have every member putting in links to their old reviews every now and then and then let's decide if the forum is 'awash'...or not.

                          On second thoughts, no need for the experiment, I'll just stand by my comment.


                            Originally posted by Topdeck, London
                            MY BAD,

                            missed that this was a old review from 2013 it is indeed bumping.

                            Thanks Topdeck. Can't do the group hug smiley as none of the extras will post, but considered it posted.


                              Originally posted by Topdeck, London
                              MY BAD,

                              missed that this was a old review from 2013 it is indeed bumping.
                              I don't know what 'bumping' is. I only ever post an item once, and then leave it.
                              Maybe amending links caused it to be 'bumped' (whatever that is).


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