What is better. Gulet cruises or cruise liners that can take up to 3.000 guests on board. All the time I was in favor for gulets but it was all just a bunch of speculations – as until you try it out by yourself – you can not be smart about it.
So I have decided to try it out and see for myself. So I booked a 12 days cruise on MSC Splendida huge luxury cruiser that can take more than 3.000 guests and around 1.500 or more crew and went on a nice route with my family.
We cruised on this route: Genoa – Barcelona – Casablanca – Tenerife – Madeira – Malaga – La Chevitavecchia – Genoa.
I will write a comparison between gulet cruises and cruisers the way I have seen it.
Here we go:
The food in Splendida was amazing. That is for sure. And especially the quantity of the food was maybe even too much. For breakfast, you have everything you can imagine, from eggs, pancakes, vegetables, sandwiches – everything. Then you have lunch (self-service) and again you have huge possibilities of what you can eat. Dinner is served and more of a GALA type of thing. You can choose several dishes and you have lots of different servings.
On the other hand, there were also bad things about food. First of all, crowds are huge, especially for breakfast. 10 minutes to find a free table, 15 minutes to gather food you like for kids and 15 minutes gather food yourself. Lots of noise and you need 1 hour just to have food on your table. When I remember how you just sit in front of the table in gulet, outside on the deck in the fresh air, crew serves you and there are no crowds…just pine trees and sea around you. Gulets definitely win IN MY EYES!!
You can not choose between so many different foods on gulets, however also the food in Cruise liners is good but it can get boring. You feel it that it is prepared for the huge amount of people and in 10 days you have enough of everything.
When it comes to the size of the cabins, bathrooms and deck area, gulets can not compete. Our cabin on SPLENDIDA was huge, super spacious with everything you need. It is more of a hotel room. Gulets have smaller cabins and bathrooms that are for sure.Also on cruisers, you have everything from SPA, POOLS, SAUNAS, GYM, SEVERAL RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, DISCO – almost everything what you can imagine….While on gulets you have your cabin, smaller saloon with TV and several meters of the deck. So this is not comparable.
But again, we come to experience stuff. If you like to spend your cruise in casino, if you do not really like swimming in the sea but you prefer pools and if instead of spending easy evening with a group of your friends in some nice bay under millions of stars you prefer to shop on board and have a beer in one of the several bars (which are crowded) – than the cruise liners are for you.
The route we had on Splendida was very very nice. All of the places were interesting, however, the concept the cruise liners use killed me. Here the gulets won big time for me. I will explain why:
1) You have very limited time to every destination. You arrive there in the morning and after breakfast and you have time entire afternoon to check out the place and come back on the ship. So you have around 5-7 hours to check every place. This sounds like a lot of time, but it is really not. You can not get a feeling a bout Barcelona for example in 5 hours. You can not even take a swim in Tenerife in this short time. It is all rush, check the place with a bus or book a trip from the company (which is crazy expensive) and go back to ship.
2) In every city, the ship has to park in an industrial ugly port and you need 1 hour just to get off the ship and 1 more hour to find some place which is interesting to visit. It gets really boring after a couple of towns you visit.
3) You are part of 3.000 people that leave the ship. So when you arrive at any city all people immediately know where you are from and all they see in you is somebody they wish to RIP OFF. At least that was the feeling I had. You have “I AM TOURIST – TAKE LOTS OF MONEY FROM ME” written all over you…and it is not a good feeling.
4) one day you spend in some city and then one day it is all day just CRUISE, CRUISE, CRUISE. As I am not a fan of shopping and casinos, and I hate crowded pools, there is really nothing much to do…
5) You can not really jump from the ship and take a swim. This is what I missed the most. That genuine feeling of nature, sea, and easygoingness – this is what I really missed.
My own personal opinion after the cruise was like this. How the cruise liner was being cleaned, how everything was organized, how nice the crew was and what kind of variation of food was available – THIS WAS ALL VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE. The size of the ship was also amazing! And I will come back for sure again……..WHEN I AM 80 YEARS OLD 🙂
The fact is if you are 80 years old, with tons of cash which you wish to spend on all extra trips, spa and other organizations they have on board – YOU WILL BE THE KING AND YOU WILL HAVE THE BEST TIME EVER!
If you are younger (or even older than 80 years), but you wish to escape mass tourism, take an easy morning swim in the sea directly from the gulet and check everything in easier going pace, then GULET CRUISES win BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG TIME!!!!
I am happy I tried it out so that now I can say FIRST HAND:
GULET CRUISES RULES!!! And they are much much nicer (for me) than any hug
e cruise liners!
You can check photo gallery of our MSC Splendida cruise: