We woke up early and true to his word, Omar’s breakfast was quite nice. The standard breakfast we found in Turkish Hotels and Pensions consisted of bread, cheese, egg, fruit, and coffee or tea.
Omar’s also had small filo dough dolmoths which were a lot like eggrolls stuffed with cucumber and cheese. Very tasty. He also had a nice kind of baklava which came out fresh from his kitchen.
The van to pick us up came about a ½ hour later than expected. Omar told me he had talked to the Captain of the boat and told him I was a travel writer and that he had been assured that we would be taken extra good care of. This was our first Mediterranean Cruise and I thanked him for it, but it seemed to not matter to them whether I wrote good or bad about them.
When we arrived, they tried to put us on the cheaper, more crowded boat. I insisted that we had paid for the ‘VIP’ boat and it was only because we refused to get on the crowded ‘budget’ boat that we finally were shoved onto the ‘VIP’ boat. The difference? The VIP boat was supposed to have a maximum of 30 people and the other boat a maximum of 60. The VIP boat also had a sail so that in the afternoon we could enjoy some ‘engine free’ cruising before coming back to port. The cost difference was 25 lira for the regular versus 30 lira for the VIP. Both included lunch. We had to jump from the docks to get on the VIP boat because they had started to leave without us.
The company name was Kardasler and some of their claims were simply not met. They claimed to go to places not crowded with other boat companies. We didn’t visit a single stop where there weren’t at least ten other big tourist boats. Our afternoon motorless sail never happened. the promised visit to Cleopatra Baths also never happened.
Once we got on the boat, we looked around and saw that we were among about 50 European tourists. Not a Turk in sight on this one. Many of them had reserved two seats each by using their towels on the sundeck where there were 15 cushions while they sat in the comfortable deck chairs waiting for the Mediterranean cruise to begin. So, in short, even though there was no one on the sundeck, there were no places left to sit. I found this to be incredibly rude and annoying.
Rather than going to ‘swimming beaches’ the boat stopped at a number of deep water bays where it was essential to swim quite a distance to shore through deep water. Since Hanane doesn’t swim very well, this was a problem for us. The brochure said that they would provide snorkel equipment and flotation devices, but when Hanane asked, they said no. I found this hard to believe and looked under the ladder where I found several of those foam float tubes after our first stop where she wasn’t able to get in the water. I also found that they didn’t have fins but they did have two leaky snorkel masks and unattached snorkels. If they hadn’t of advertised having the gear, we would have just bought some. Also, we saw that people who were bringing their own snacks or drinks weren’t allowed to bring them on board. I smelled greed right away.
Our first stop was, as I said, a deep water bay. It did have a rocky beach which we saw just about every other boat lower their gangplank to so that people could go ashore. We anchored far enough out so that it was not really practical. I’m not sure what the name of this was but it might have been either Gobun Bay or Cavy Bay. The water was clear and a delight to swim in, but there was something disturbing about swimming around a boat with 45 tourists bobbing in the water around it.
Our next stop was Red Bay where the water was an amazing electric blue color. This was a short stop with no beach. The water was amazing. I’m sure if Kardesler could have charged us extra for it, they would have. The small bottled waters on the boat were being sold for 3 lira each, sodas for 5 lira each, and beer for 7 lira. These are exorbitant prices and since they wouldn’t let anyone else bring drinks on board, it was gouging pure and simple.
Next stop was ‘Flat Island’ where we finally got to go ashore to a beach, but it was more crowded than the Jersey Shore on a summer weekend. Massive amounts of sunburned, pudgy English tourists. Only a part of the Island was flat, the rest was a small hill which we climbed and got some beautiful views of the two sides of the island from. It was here they cooked lunch. Unlike our beautiful fish lunch on the Kocegiz boat trip, this was slop served buffet style. Pasta with no sauce, overcooked tasteless fish, and runny salad. They charged us extra for the water and can of soda we had with the meal.
After lunch we cruised to another island where we were among about fifteen other huge tourist boats and then we stopped at another bay where it was just us and four huge tourist boats blasting music. We did swim because I had found the water noodles they told us they didn’t have and the water was beautiful though it was disturbing to be around so many bobbing pink tourists in such a beautiful setting.
The music they blasted on the way back wasn’t Turkish music but bad Western pop. Even if they had set sail, the music would have destroyed any peace that would have come with it. Each time we got up to swim, someone would move our things from our seats and take our places while no doubt leaving their things in two other places at the same time. While the scenery was gorgeous, the mercenary capitalism, overcrowded stops, lack of any beach time, and awful lunch combined with too many rude and obnoxious people on the boat made this the worst money we spent on this trip. Total for the day was 40 lira each when we factored in the drinks and a couple of ice creams.
Beautiful, yes. The water was nice. It was just too bad that this felt like we were being raped at a tourist trap. We didn’t make any friends on this trip and the view of the Lycean Tombs above Fetiye were humble in comparison to those we saw in Koycegiz.
I think it may be possible to have a wonderful time in Fetiye but the hotel prices, the tourist gouging, and the horrible customer treatment certainly didn’t make things wonderful for us.
That evening we ordered take out food from Pasa Kebap. (www.pasakebap.com) We ordered pide and the thin Turkish pizza and a couple of Turk colas. The Turk Cola’s were good with bit of lemon in the flavor. The pide and pizza were delicious and came with a light salad. Cost 11 lira including delivery. You can call them at 614 98 07 or 614 76 72. Man, it’s nice to be able to order take out food again for delivery.