Best European Cruises

by Danielle Contray


We've all had Riviera fantasies of sipping Champagne as our yacht slices the surf off the coast of Antibes. You meet your Ferretti 76 (and bronzed three-person crew) in Monte Carlo, stop for a bit of shopping in Nice, then find the party in St. Tropez. Then you get the bill: a total of 35,000 euros for your little sail through paradise. But the yachting life need not sink your savings. Charters continue to thrive in Greece, where islands and hidden beaches are often best accessed by smaller vessels. But for the best value, cruise Turkey, where a traditional wooden gulet rents for about $8,500 a week from Turktour. The eight-passenger boat comes fully staffed, but you can lend a hand if you aren't too busy sunning on the deck. There are plenty of options for itineraries: We recommend meeting the boat in Bodrum for a round-trip sail of the crystal Aegean, swimming, snorkeling, and feasting on lamb kebabs along the way. Get off the boat to hike the forest on Kufre Bay and explore the ruins on Cleopatra Island, which, legend has it, was a wedding gift to the Egyptian queen from Mark Antony, who had the sand brought over from Africa. Elizabeth Taylor never had it so good!

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