Entertaining Clients in Chicago.

There’s a reason why tourists love visiting Chicago in the summer. Actually, there are many reasons. A wealth of museums, world class architecture, outstanding restaurants, great theater, Chicago blues and jazz clubs, interesting and diverse neighborhoods, glorious parks and bike paths, Millennium Park with its free concerts, the Bean, Divvy rental bikes and Lake Michigan, to name a few (if we missed anything you love, feel free to let us know).

Since Chicago is such a mecca for entertainment and things to do, it stands to reason that it’s also a wonderful town for business entertaining. Everything from sophisticated nightlife to picnicking in one of the city’s beautiful parks. With so much to choose from, it can be challenging to decide what to select when you have clients you want to entertain.

Entertaining Clients

Choose Chicago is one of our favorite resources for business entertaining in Chicago. The site offers every possible option for pulling together a successful business meeting or event – from venues to hotels, transportation around town as well as to and from the airports, caterers, entertainers and more. We recommend their handy and helpful Chicago Planning Guides to visitors new to Chicago. Our meeting industry colleagues often tout the Official Meeting Professionals Guide as a great tool for planning an outstanding event.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention OUR favorite venues for entertaining clients in Chicago – our Gypsy Spirit and Free Spirit luxury yachts. There’s something very special about a private yacht charter. If you want to truly impress your clients or have a very important business meeting to conduct, hosting it on a luxury yacht might be the difference between landing that big new contract or missing the boat (sorry, couldn’t pass that one up).

Whatever you decide…..whether you take your clients to an upscale 5-star restaurant off the Mag Mile, an authentic Italian Trattoria on Taylor Street or a picnic in Lincoln Park, you’re bound to enjoy entertaining in Chicago.

It’s almost time! The 2014 Chicago Air & Water Show.

The 2014 Chicago Air & Water Show is this weekend, Saturday, August 16th and Sunday, August 17th from 10am – 3pm. Chicagoans start flocking to the lakefront early in the morning to get a great spot to watch one of the most exciting events of the summer.

Love aerial acrobatics, daredevil performances and parachute jumpers? Then you know where we’re going. And where you should be going if you’re looking for family fun in Chicago!

With headliners like the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, the Firebirds and more, it’s the show our city looks forward to all year and one of the highlights of summer in Chicago.

Our favorite viewing spot is on the decks of the Free Spirit and Gypsy Spirit (you knew we’d say that)! Captain Joe has figured out exactly where to position the boats for optimum aerial show watching. But if you’re not on a yacht (we’re all booked this year), the next best spot is at North Avenue Beach or anywhere between Oak and Fullerton along Lake Michigan.

Want a little pre-show highlight? Here’s a peek at the Air & Water Show from previous years.

Wherever you choose to watch, we hope you have a wonderful time!

Thank you for a great cruise!

This is our goal with every charter cruise we run! Our business is helping you host memorable events and we’re happy to be receiving feedback like this:

“We had another fantastic time, will be back, and will continue to spread the word!”

“Everyone had a great time. You will be our “go to” charter service going forward and I will recommend to others as well.”

“We had a fabulous time! Thank you!”

There’s still lots more summer to celebrate in this town!

Yes, we’ve heard people complain that it’s not hot enough. But we think this has been a spectacular Chicago summer so far. Blue skies, sunshine, strings of perfect 70-something temperatures. We’ll take it. We’ll take it!

Best of all is that there’s still another 7-1/2 weeks of boating season on Lake Michigan. We put the Gypsy Spirit in dry dock at the end of September, but the Free Spirit will be cruising till October 29th this year.

So If one of those “meant to do’s” that you never got around to was to book a private yacht cruise, you’ll be happy to know there’s still a little time before season officially ends. You just might be able to squeeze in a fun family gathering, a get together with friends, or host a company party before the boats go to bed for the winter.

To book a charter or check dates, give us a call at 708.361.2220 or request a quote.

Top ten reasons to book a private yacht cruise

 

How to Host a Best Ever Company Party

Coming up with clever new ideas for your company party can be challenging. You want something memorable. Not the same old summer picnic (not that we don’t LOVE picnics!), but something your staff will talk about for years to come.

We have clients that book their company party with us year-after-year. Could be because summer seems so fleeting in Chicago, and we all want to spend as much time as possible doing things we can’t do year round. Like cruising on Lake Michigan. Or maybe because there’s something very special about getting your group together on a private yacht for a lazy summer afternoon.

Company PartyWhatever type of party you choose, here are some tips on how to host a great company outing:

• Pick a venue that’s special. Could be the newest hotspot that everyone’s dying to see (being first is always fun!). Or you might rent out a spa for a day and treat everyone to massages and mani/peds. Or course, we’re partial to a party on a private yacht on a gorgeous summer day.

• It’s not a party without food. Chicago is a food town with one of the top steak houses in the U.S. and a vast variety of ethnic fare.  On the Free Spirit yachts we offer outstanding menu options from some of the best catering companies in Chicago. Choose from an array of mouthwatering menus, all designed to delight your company party guests. And of course we offer beverage service — from soda/juice to premium open bar.

• Don’t forget the music. Chicago is known for its blues roots. No Chicago-themed party is complete without some Chicago Blues in the playlist. Or if your budget allows, book a live band or DJ.  For an evening cocktail party, book a sexy trio or make a playlist that includes your favorite music.

A great company party will have your staff talking about it long after the event is over. Hopefully you’ll get comments like this:

Hi Joe and Angela,

I wanted to send you a note to tell you what an absolutely AMAZING time we all had on Thursday!!!  Everything was perfect!  The food was great, the staff was awesome and the boat was beautiful!!!  Thanks for everything you did to make this a fantastic day!

Shannan (Tarshis)
Senior Operations Manager
The Futures Company

 

What a week for cruises in Chicago

Cruising on Lake Michigan is a fantastically fun experience and one of the best ways to enjoy our city.

The spectacular Chicago skyline, the tranquility of cruising on our beautiful lake and connecting with friends, family or colleagues – all make for a great time.

Then there’s our weather.

Let’s just say, we don’t live in Chicago for the climate! Over the past week, we’ve
“enjoyed” what seemed to be a variety of seasons…..with the weather changing hourly. Starting out with beautiful blue skies and glistening blue waters; then ending with foggy scenes out of an Alfred Hitchcock film.

Lake Michigan Cruises in ChicagoNot that this is unusual for our fair city. Here’s a letter from a client written in August, 2009:

Hi Angela,

Please thank all your staff for their help with our cruise yesterday. Our group had a wonderful time despite the unseasonably cool weather.  We look forward to hosting again with you next summer.

Thanks Again!

Blair A. Bedalow
Member Events & Catering Coordinator
The Buckingham Athletic Club

Despite the “what season will we have today” weather, like Blair’s group, we had a wonderful week of cruises. While Chicago weather is a huge variable that we can’t control, all of our groups were able to get out and enjoy their events. And that’s something we CAN count on!

Have your next employee meeting on a luxury yacht cruise!

Want to pump up staff morale? Imagine if you had your next employee meeting on a luxury yacht cruise.

Summer is the perfect time to do all the outdoor things you’ve been longing for all winter. And that’s not limited to personal playtime (although we’re huge fans of playing)!

For example, imagine how productive a staff meeting or sales meeting could be if you moved it out of the office….especially if you moved it outside. Fresh air, tempting food and a change of scenery can do wonders for creative brainstorming or problem solving.

Let’s take it a step further and add some more enticements. Move your meeting onto a luxury yacht. Now you’ve got the cool blue waters of Lake Michigan, the spectacular Chicago skyline as a backdrop, and sea gulls sailing by as you and your team relax, recharge and do some problem solving in an easy, laid back setting.

After being cooped up all winter, hosting a company meeting on a luxury yacht is probably the nicest thing you can do for your staff. And from what we hear from corporate clients who book with us year after year, the payback in employee engagement is huge.

If you’d like to find out more about bringing your staff on a Free Spirit Luxury Yacht cruise, we’d love to talk to you, 708-361-2220.

Company Yacht Cruise

Boating season in Chicago has started!

Can you say YACHT SEASON?!

Finally! Chicago harbors are officially open. After the longest, coldest winter we can remember in years, this town is ready to rock some sunshine!

Boating Season in Chicago

We’re so excited to be back on the water. Our yachts are already busy with spring charters, and we’re booking parties and events for the rest of the summer.

This year, we’ve added some new catering options, which we think you and your guests, will absolutely love. More variety. New menus. All scrumptiously fresh, beautifully presented and yummy! So you’ll have lots of delectable options for your next party (or meeting) on Lake Michigan.

If you’ve got any dates in mind where you’d like to charter the Gypsy Spirit or the Free Spirit, don’t wait too long. Both boats are already booked for the 4th of July fireworks show and the Air & Water Show.

Speaking of booked up, we’re only doing one Merlot & Massage Cruise this year. Tuesday, June 17th. So if you’ve been kicking yourself for missing last year’s, go sign up while there’s still room. It’s one of our most fun cruises of the summer! SO much fun that a number of clients now host private M & M cruises for their friends.

Enjoy the weekend!

Musings on winter, yoga, headstands…..and yacht cruises.

As a private yacht charter company in Chicago, ours is a seasonal business.….leading a lot of people to ask, “so what do you do all winter?”

Wouldn’t it be nice to say that we winter in Costa Rica or travel abroad? We can’t say that! The reality is somewhat less glamorous. Joe still goes to the boat yard, does maintenance work and makes sure the bubblers are working so the Free Spirit doesn’t freeze in the pond. Margaret and I work on office projects and stay in touch with clients. In other words, we’re working just about year round.

This year, however, I found time to take Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga. This is the sixth week of the eight-week program. While challenging, the experience has been incredible, and I am learning so much more than yoga poses.

FreeSpiritCruisesChicagoFor example…. the other morning I woke up at 7am and decided to do an 8am class. But I couldn’t really get into it. Let’s just say, as we were going through the Vinyasa flow, I wasnʼt feeling too flowy. More like agitated. I had to keep reminding myself to quit judging how well I wasn’t doing and focus on my breathing.

Then, my instructor announced, “Next, weʼre going to do a tripod head stand.” This was something I was quite sure I was never going to be able to do. But she came over, and with a little assistance to position my head and hands correctly, I lifted my legs, one at a time, until I was in a HEADSTAND. And my earlier self-talk of “I’m not doing this well today” disappeared. I felt weightless and comfortable and awesome! Cause it wasn’t just doing a headstand. It was doing something that had seemed unattainable. I tried it and I did it! And that felt pretty terrific.

You’re no doubt wondering why I’m telling you about standing on my head and feeling great about it. Well, aside from reminding me that overcoming something you don’t  think you can do is one of the greatest feelings in the world, It started me thinking about how cool it would be to have some type of yoga-centric cruise this summer. No headstands on deck, but some grounding exercises, meditative yoga, soothing music. Sound interesting?

To be continued…

Free Spirit Yacht Cruises New Website

Anyone else looking forward to this Thursday? March 20th is the official start of spring – the vernal equinox (a much more melodious phrase than “polar vortex”)!

We’re all so ready for some warmth and sunshine. Let the remaining ice mountains melt so the tulips and crocuses can start peeking out already. After months of gray, we’re craving bright colors.

Free Spirit Yacht CruisesSpeaking of bright and new….. hope you like our spanking, sparkling brand new Free Spirit Yacht Cruises website! It’s fresh and clean and easy to navigate. We think you’ll see that it’s much easier to find what you’re looking for, whether it’s rates, photos of previous charters or catering menus.

Check it out at: freespiritcruises.com

We’d love to hear what you think about it, so let us know on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+. And please share it with your friends.

Happy sunny and no-new-snow Monday!

Coming soon to Burnham Harbor!

It appears that winter is not leaving easily this year. Although the days are definitely longer and it’s still light after 5:30 (hooray!), the weather forecasts seem to be stuck in the low digits. Sigh.

But at Free Spirit Yacht Cruises, the excitement is building and soon we’ll be in Burnham Harbor. We’re shaking off the frosty forecasts and planning for the upcoming boating season. Cause we are launching the yachts in April, and it can’t come soon enough!

Captain Joe is all set for his annual top-to-bottom inspections on our Gypsy Spirit and Free Spirit luxury yachts to make sure everything is immaculate and in perfect working order.  I’m busy booking charters from clients who are as anxious as we are to get out on Lake Michigan. Lots of parties, meetings and company outings on the horizon.

Speaking of Lake Michigan and horizons……we thought you’d enjoy watching this video we put together. Sort of a taste of what’s to come as we all look forward to another spectacular Chicago summer.  Feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues who might not know about us.

Keep thinking warm thoughts. March is next week!