Sections on this page:
- Vessel & Cruise Questions
- Pick-up & Drop-off Questions
- Food & Beverage Questions
- Booking & Payment Questions
Vessel & Cruise Questions
What is the name of the yacht I will be on?
For our cruises you will be on board the “Zoe Yacht”, a 17 meter/55 feet long fly-bridge motor-yacht catering for up to 12 guests and which we are the owner of. This is the yacht shown in all the photos on this website and used for all of our cruises. Please check out our photo gallery here.
Can you arrange larger boats?
Yes, for larger groups, we do also organize other kinds of boats and yachts. Please just email us with your travel date, how many people you are and what you would like to do for a quote, details and photos.
Will there be anyone else on the yacht with us?
No, it’ll just be you and your chosen companion/s (plus the crew) on board Zoe Yacht, nobody else, as all our cruises are a private charter – just for you only.
Will my privacy be respected on board?
Yes, our crew is accustomed to entertaining all kinds of guests on board including prominent ones. The professional crew are discreet and will maintain a low profile waiting on you from the moment you board appearing when needed, disappearing when you want privacy. Confidentiality is an important part of the service we offer.
What do I need to bring /wear?
You should bring your camera, a sunhat and sun-cream (there is equally plenty of shade for those who want to avoid the sun). For those taking a swimming cruise (Prince’s Islands cruise), you will also need to bring a swimsuit and towel.
There is no dress code so you can wear whatever you like to feel comfortable, casual or formal. We recommend light and comfortable clothing in summer, with a hat readily at hand and an extra layer in case it can be a few degrees cooler on the water or in the evenings. In winter, you’ll need some extra layers like a pullover and jacket/coat. We also have shawls on board if you need.
Which cruise do you recommend for families?
We welcome families and children of all ages on board all our cruises. Probably one of the most enjoyable cruises for children in the summer are the swimming cruises to Princes’ Islands or Poyrazkoy with swimming stops and chance for fishing, which is very popular with many Turkish families also. Shorter cruises on the Bosphorus also have lots to keep young minds happy with the chance to look out for dolphins and ships, explore the boat, sit next to the captain to see what it’s like at the helm or feed the seagulls!
Please note that babies, toddlers and children require parental supervision at all times. Babies and toddlers should sit on parent’s laps or be seated next to their parents.
Which cruise do you recommend for swimming?
Swimming stops are possible during both our 6 or 8 hour Princes’ Islands or Poyrazkoy Black Sea cruises if conditions suit on the day. There are many picturesque small bays and calm coves dotted along these shores that make it ideal for swimming opportunities.
For your convenience, our boat has a large swim-deck at the aft equipped with a shower and steps into the water. Please ask the crew if you would like to use a cabin for changing clothes. Please bring your towels and swimwear.
Swimming cruises are also popular among many local families at weekends and children are welcome on-board. This is great to escape the heat of the city in the hot months of summertime.
What if we want to get off or have a stop on the way?
Please check which cruises include stops for getting off already:
- The 2-3 hour Sightseeing, Sunset and Dinner cruises loop around the main Bosphorus highlights, so you’ll stay on board during the entire cruise without stopping and see the sights in passing.
- The 4-6-8 hour Black Sea Mouth Cruises include a stop at Anadolu Kavagi village on the Asian Side where you can get off and explore or have lunch.
- The 6-8 hour Princes Islands Cruises include swimming stops if desired, and a stop on the islands to explore or have lunch.
- Alternatively we can drop you off at somewhere you’d like to visit before or after the cruise.
- Or please ask for a custom cruise.
How hot might it get?
In general, temperatures at sea are comfortable throughout the summer and ample shade is always available. There is also air-conditioning and heating systems available inside our vessel.
Is smoking permitted on board ?
Smoking is not permitted inside the yacht, however, you may smoke on the outside deck areas with ashtrays provided. Substances that are illegal on land are also illegal on board.
Is there a bathroom/toilet on board ?
Yes, there is a fully-equipped bathroom on board with toilet, sink and shower which is regularly-maintained. It is signed and located down a few stairs inside the vessel on the right. Or please ask the crew and they will be happy to show you where it is.
Flushing a marine toilet is easy, just press and hold the flush button for a few seconds or as needed. Please use the rubbish bins provided for all other waste.
Can we play our own music?
Yes absolutely! You can easily connect your smartphone to our system to play your own music playlists from Spotify and other similar music apps or mp3s. We have cables to match most phones on board and our crew will be happy to connect yours. This is great for a party, special occasion or a romantic setting :)
Alternatively you can listen to your radio or ask for one of our music playlists.
Please note that at some late/very early hours or when close to some residential areas loud music may not be permitted. The crew will arrange it if so.
Also, if you prefer to have no music at all and just enjoy listening to the natural sounds of the sea, the boat and Istanbul, that is wonderful too.
What’s the style and tempo of cruising?
Our cruises aim to provide our guests with a calm and relaxing experience away away from the rush of the city gliding at a leisurely pace for optimum sightseeing. On Zoe Yacht, so you’ll be able to soak up the sights, relax and enjoy some leisure time. So if you’re a speed seeker, our cruises may not be for you.
Will someone tell us about the sights?
It depends how much you’d like to know!
If you’d just like to know the names of the sights, the crew can mention these when passing and you can just relax and enjoy the cruise experience, which many of our guests do.
Or if you’d like someone to tell you about the sights in more depth, please book a Tour Guide in the “Optional Extras” section during online booking for an extra fee. In this case they will be on board with you to tell you all about the sights, history, geography and culture etc. Tour guides are professional, experienced and knowledgeable local guides who are fully-licensed under the Turkish tourism ministry. Currently we only offer English-speaking tour guides.
Many guests prefer to cruise purely for pleasure without a guide, so it’s optional.
What if we have bad weather?
Please rest assured that we only cruise when conditions are suitable according to the captain or marine authority – safety first. Otherwise we depart rain or shine every day all year around.
For your comfort, there are 2 fully heated seating areas to choose from on the first level – the indoor and outdoor lounge. Both have their own table and cushioned wrap-around style seating. The indoor lounge has large windows to continue enjoying the view. The outdoor lounge has a transparent cover which is available for rain or wind, which can be partially or completely open/covered as needed, so you can always see the view from here too.
This means you can sit comfortably inside or outside, or both, whatever you prefer. So you can continue to enjoy the views, dining and relaxing all year around.
Accessibility / Wheelchairs & Strollers
Please note that a few steps of walking plus 1-2 stairs are required to board the yacht initially and in the case of any land vehicle used for transfer.
Collapsible wheelchairs or strollers can be accommodated, providing the passenger is accompanied by someone who can assist them board and disembark for the few steps required.
Once on board, passengers may remain seated comfortably throughout the cruise on the main first level to enjoy the views and service from our crew.
To access guest bathroom on board requires some walking and a short stairs of 4-5 steps, so please note that passengers would need to have some level of mobility for access.
We would be happy to share more detail and photos, so if you have any queries about access for someone in your group, please email us.
For safe boating, our vessel has all required safety equipment and precautions, which are regularly maintained and checked by the maritime licensing authority.
In case of emergency, adult and child life-jackets are located under the seating indoors on the main deck (near the captain’s chair), where indicated by the green and white life jacket signs. Also life-rings are located at the back of the boat, on both the first and second levels.
Are the crew and yacht fully-licensed?
Yes, all of the crew hold all the necessary qualifications appropriate to their roles on board. Our captain and first-mate are highly experienced and come from local mariner families. They are intimately familiar with boating and Istanbul’s waters since childhood.
Zoe Yacht is legally licensed for cruising under the Turkish Chamber of Shipping for Istanbul. We are also legally licensed for tourism by TURSAB (the Turkish Tourism Authority) with the highest possible license, of A-Grade, License No. A-5339.
Pick-up & Drop-off Questions
What kind of vehicles do you use?
For your comfort where land transfers are needed, we use new-model air-conditioned deluxe vehicles with driver, usually with Mercedes Vito, Mercedes Sprinter or Volkswagen Transporter vehicles.
Where can we get picked up from?
We can pick you up right from your hotel or cruiseship in Istanbul with round-trip hotel transfers provided (FREE for European-side city-center hotels/cruiseships), or directly from selected Bosphorus hotels and restaurants with their own piers (for hotel residents/ with restaurant reservation), or from these piers: Kuruçeşme, Arnavutköy and Kabataş piers (all on the European Side), or from Beylerbeyi and Kuleli piers (both on the Asian Side).
Other locations may be available on request or for an additional fee.
Please see full details of our pick up areas here or just ask us about a custom pick up point.
Do you pick-up from anywhere on the Asian Side?
Yes, we can pick you up and drop you off for free directly from these Asian side piers: Beylerbeyi or Kuleli piers.
Currently this option might not be shown in our booking system, but for now you can just choose PICK UP & DROP OFF > Yes, I would like to have a roundtrip transfer service to the yacht pier > Then enter a note that your would like to be picked up at Beylerbeyi or Kuleli.
We also pick-up from some Bosphorus hotels and restaurants with their own piers on the Asian Side, for example Aija Hotel. You do need to be a guest of the hotel or restaurant.
Some other piers may be possible for an additional fee – please contact us.
Food & Beverage Questions
Do you serve alcohol on board?
Yes, we can serve a variety of drinks from our on-board bar. When you arrive on board you will be presented with our Zoe Bar Menu to choose from, or please ask our crew.
We offer a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase at standard bar prices. These include some of the major international brands for whisky, vodka, gin, rum and champagne, and local brands for raki, beer, red and white wines, sparkling wine, coke, sprite and fruit juices.
Water, tea and coffee (Nescafe) are available on request and provided free-of-charge.
Can we arrange a pre-paid bar or drinks package?
Yes, many companies and groups often wish to arrange it like this for their guests. We can arrange a special package with limited or unlimited drinks from the bar in accordance with your wishes. Please just email us with your ideas.
Can we bring our own drinks or snacks with us?
Yes you can bring your own drinks and snacks on board by paying a one-time cork/service fee of 50 Euro. This is a single fee only, it is not per bottle and not per person. So you can bring as many bottles as you like.
Once on board, our crew will be happy to provide the glasses, ice and service to help you.
If bringing your own snacks, it is best to bring cold snacks (as cooking/heating is not available on board).
Please note that we carefully manage storage and refrigeration space on board according to the daily schedule. While it’s no problem to keep a couple of your brought-on items cool in our fridge, we do ask to contact us beforehand if you are thinking of bringing many items that require cooling.
To book this option in the online booking system, select “Cork & Service Fee” as 1 item.
Dining On Board
If taking one of our lunch or dinner cruises, please advise any beverage preferences or special dietary requirements (and see additional note further below) in advance, at least 24 hours beforehand, and we will do our best to provide alternative meal choices or your preferred beverages where possible. All catering and beverages are subject to availability and season.
Please note that food is only available on board when reserved at booking time or in advance (latest 24 hours beforehand). If you have already booked a cruise and would like to add a menu, cake or other extras, please email us and we will try to arrange it – subject to availability.
Special Dietary Requirements
Food is catered from outside by local restaurants. If you have a food allergy or special dietary requirement, please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions before ordering and please ensure to add a note about it while online booking in the Notes section.
We cannot guarantee that any dish served is 100% free of gluten or other allergens, their traces or cross-contamination, however we will strive to provide you with the information necessary to make an informed dining decision.
Please see more information below:
All our meze dishes in Menus 1-3 are made from naturally gluten free ingredients freshly prepared at a local restaurant daily. Also our main courses of grilled meat or fish are naturally gluten-free (however sauces, bread, condiments, sauteed/fried items and other snacks are NOT gluten-free). Please be advised that the same kitchen also works with gluten-containing ingredients so there may be a possibility of gluten cross-contamination/trace.
- Dairy / Vegan:
Some of our meze dishes contain dairy using Turkish yogurt. Please let us know in writing at least 24-48 hours in advance if you are dairy-free or vegan and we can replace those with other alternatives, subject to availability.
Again please note that we cannot guarantee any dish is 100% free of gluten, lactose, or any other food allergens, their traces or cross-contamination.
All menu changes subject to advance notice and availability.
Booking & Payment Questions
How far ahead of time do I need to book?
We suggest that you book early to secure the dates and times which best suit you. Weekends and holidays tend to book up early as the Bosphorus is the preferred place to be and there is local demand from Turkish families and residents as well as foreign visitors.
We have limited availability with one yacht, so once someone books a particular time, that time slot is gone, and is no longer available to book in our system.
Our online booking system allows for instant real-time bookings just as you would book a hotel or flight, so bookings can be made anytime 24/7.
How do I make a booking?
Simply book online using our online booking system for real-time availability, secure payment and instant confirmation. It’s safe, quick and easy – please read more about how to make a reservation here.
Booking online with us is like booking a flight or hotel online – you’ll receive instant email confirmation after booking. You can view our terms and conditions, cancellation policy during booking, or here.
Please do drop us an email or pick up the phone if you have any questions or need help with booking.
What Forms of Payment do you accept?
- Visa, MasterCard or AMEX – Payment can be made instantly and securely online at any time using our online booking system or credit card booking form. International and Turkish credit cards are all accepted.
- Bank Transfer – Available for advance bookings and subject to an additional bank transfer fee. Full payment is required at booking time. International bank transfers may take 5-10 days to arrive. Please send us receipt of bank transfer at transfer time. Please just email us for our bank details if you prefer this option.
How do I know my booking is confirmed?
After booking, you will receive an email confirmation including all details of your cruise, pick up time, instructions and our 24/7 contact number. If you don’t receive this for any reason, we suggest checking your Junk/Spam email folders, or simply contact us and we will resend it.
I booked online but didn’t receive an email confirmation
Occasionally email confirmation may get caught in Spam or Junk email folders. But if you can’t see it for any reason, just contact us and we will be happy to resend a copy of the confirmation to you.
I’m trying to book online but I get an error
Please contact us with any problem at all that you’re having and we’ll be happy to help you. If you can take a screenshot of any error and send it to us that would be very helpful too. Sometimes trying with a different browser or device or retrying a little later resolves any issues. Or we can email you a credit card booking form as an alternative way of booking.
Can I cancel my booking?
If you need to cancel your booking our cancellation policies will apply. Please see our booking Terms & Conditions for full details.
Can I make changes to the members in my party?
If one of your party members can’t make it, you can substitute another friend! Please contact us to ensure that we have a record of your change.
Can we get an invoice for our company?
Yes, please just let us know your company details and we can send you an invoice.
What travel insurance do I need?
You will need personal accident and travel insurance.
We hold professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
How do we contact you?
For any query please go to our contact us page for our telephone, email and address. Also our opening hours are shown there.
A 24/7 emergency contact number is also given to all our guests who book directly with us (shown on your booking confirmation). If you have a question or concern that needs to be addressed outside of the regular office hours, please call us at that number for immediate assistance.
Awards & Reviews:
Please see our Certificate of Excellence and previous guest reviews on Trip Advisor.
A truly magical experience... it was certainly the perfect way for friends to celebrate a special occasion. Thank you for all the lovely details, like the flowers and your staff’s helpfulness.
I would recommend this experience to anyone looking for an exclusive and impressive way to discover the Bosphorus.