Choosing a gulet or catamaran for your cruise in Europe

If you have done several cruises in the mediterranean and Caribbean one gets a preference of type of boats to choose. If one goes for a private yacht charter on a catamaran or a wooden traditional gulet. Here our view of the experience with the two

Classic wooden sailing boats like gulets and polyester catamarans are both popular choices for sailing cruise vacations, each offering unique characteristics and experiences. Here are some key differences we have found in services, space, feeling, and crew between the two. Which kind of person are you?

Design and structure

 Gulets are traditional classic wooden sailing vessels, often handcrafted with a classic design and hand made so there are no two same yachts. They typically have a single hull and are known for their charming appearance and spacious decks and below deck space of cabins and ensuites. The warm wooden mahagony wood makes it a beautiful experience. A gulet 24 meter and above have most 6 cabins and can take comfortably 10 to 12 guests aboard.

 Catamarans are well known for their multi-hull design, consisting of two parallel hulls connected by a central deck. This design provides stability and can result in a shallower draft. The catamaran is well known and are pretty similar to each other if one rents a 60 foot lagoon in Mediterranean or Caribbean. They are made same and updated by the factory each year for more modern design and luxury options. A catamaran can take 8 guest comfortably depending on the configuration of the cabins.

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Space and comfort

Gulets are known for their spacious decks and comfortable outdoor areas. They often have a variety of lounging areas, including a large aft deck, sunbathing cushions for all guests, and a forward deck area with lounge area.

Catamarans generally are between 40 to 60 feet offer a good interior and exterior space due to their wider beam but the cabins are limited to the space of the hulls and how many cabins are aboard. Also the finish of the cabins depends on the options the charter company has taken. It is critical to check if the showers aboard are all cubical showers or share showers with toilet option. The larger the catamaran the more options.

Sailing experience

Gulets are motor-sailers, meaning they rely on both sails and engines for propulsion. While they can offer a traditional sailing experience, they are not as performance-oriented as dedicated sailing yachts. A relaxing day cruising around the islands is ideal with a gulet cruise.

Catamarans are designed for efficient sailing and can often achieve higher speeds under sail alone. They are known for their stability, making them suitable for those prone to seasickness and one can reach good speed at the right winds.

Crew and services

Gulets usually come with a crew that includes a captain, chef, hostess and deckhand and additional staff. The crew takes care of navigation, cooking, and cleaning, providing a more personal and hands-on service for your whole trip. On a gulet you have more an hotel service aboard. One has towels, sea towels, linen changes and covers over the sunbeds and cushions cleaned regularly.

Catamarans depending on the size you need to hire the crew extra for the services you require. Mostly it is only two crew, a captain and a chef or stewardess. The crew takes care of sailing, meal preparation, and general maintenance, offering a comfortable but less service-oriented experience than on a gulet. The extra services included in a gulet charter are mostly options on a catamaran and one has to make ones own bed and change the linen. the showers are smaller and can be shared or pull out of sink so no cubical showers again depending on the size of boat.


Gulets are often considered more affordable than catamarans if one compares apples to apples for space, service and others. The cost may vary based on the size, age, and amenities of the Gulet.

Catamarans are generally more expensive depending on the services they provide and how many crew and how many cabins they have. They are building larger and larger catamarans for luxury service but the price is getting up there.

Ultimately, the choice between a classic wooden sailing gulet and a catamaran depends on personal preferences, group size, budget, and the type of sailing experience you are seeking. Both options can provide enjoyable and unique cruise vacations, but they cater to different tastes and requirements of service, space, costing, and preference.

Let the summer cruises begin.

Giorgio Lindegg

Giorgio Lindegg is a Director of Yacht Boutique. Yacht Boutique is a luxury private yacht charter & Sailing cruise company that creates outstanding cruise vacations with excellent gulets in the Mediterranean Sea. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. I’d always opt for the extra space. The shower / toilet combo doesn’t work well. Sometimes you have to take the loo roll out of the room before you have a shower otherwise it ends up as a sodden mess.

    1. Blue Monday the best way is sitting in a bay overlooking the sea and sipping a good drink… Let the summer start. Have a great day.

    2. Hi Jean, I totally agree the shower needs to be separate from toilet and one needs to have a minimum of the same amenities as at home and preferably more service than home to enjoy the summer. Let us think on this blue Monday about the summer days coming. see you aboard.

    1. we agree a classic wooden Gulet the lines is the best way to cruise the waters… Happy Monday have a great day

  2. It would have to be a gulet and hotel service for me. Having looked after myself for the rest of the year I like some cosseting when I’m on holiday.

    1. Hi Jane, yes service is one of the best parts of a Sail Cruise so you do not have to worry and everything gets taken care off. Let summer start and dream on this blue Monday aboard our yacht this summer.

  3. It would have to be the hotel service of a gulet for me. Having looked after myself all year, I need some cosseting when I’m on holiday.

    1. Hi Maggie, yes Catamarans but all boats are getting more stability. the most important is having a great summer holiday on the water. Have a great Blue Monday today.

  4. It’s Blue Monday, that dark day when all that’s left of the holiday season is credit card bills.

    We need posts like this to remind us of summer optimism. Please keep them coming!

    1. Blue Monday memories of summer let summer start and have a great day and see you aboard sipping our cocktails. cheers

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