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November 20th, 2013
Christmas trees are appearing around town (a little early if you ask us). Store windows are suddenly decked out for the holidays. And people are busy planning family gatherings and cozying in for the winter.
Here at Free Spirit, we’re busy planning, too. For next year. Oh sure, we manage to do all the fun holiday stuff and love spending time with family in Florida (yay, warm!) and Chicago. But as one season ends, we’re already starting to plan for the next.
Speaking of next season…..2014 will be the first time in a number of years that we’re raising our rates. With higher fuel, equipment and vendor fees, we need to adjust our rates as well.
But we wanted to let all of our clients and friends (that includes you if you’re reading this blog) know that if you book a 2014 charter before 2013 ends, we’ll hold the 2013 rates.
So if entertaining on a private luxury yacht is in your plans for next season, why not lock in the 2013 rates now? Cause few things are as much fun as hosting a company party or celebrating a special occasion or family event on the blue waters of Lake Michigan. Viewing the magnificent Chicago skyline just doesn’t get much better than that!
November 11th, 2013
Everybody loves a good story. And sea stories seem to have a special allure.
Hard not to be captivated by the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow (it doesn’t hurt that he’s played by Johnny Depp!). But sea captains seem to have a knack for spinning tales.
Whether it’s the creative freedom of being out on the water or a way to amuse himself during long stretches at the wheel, we’ve found that Captain Joe can tell a pretty good story as well.
For example…..we often get asked about the little houses out in the middle of Lake Michigan. What are they doing there? So one of the stories Captain Joe told was that the red-and-white stripped building was a McDonald’s. And he sounded totally believable!
Another time, he was telling the story of how there is a tunnel with a railroad track and railcar to get back and forth to the water intake cribs. I busted out laughing and said that’s not true. Well now my mom is saying that Joe may be right. I still can’t find anything to verify this, but it does make a great story.
There is no doubt that the construction of the underwater tunnels was a huge engineering feat at the time. And it’s one of those interesting “did you knows” to share with people visiting Chicago for the first time.
Just be assured that when Captain Joe is telling a good story, it’s all in good fun!
November 4th, 2013
Temps have dropped. The clocks set back. Winter’s on the way. For those of us who thrive on Chicago summers and hanging out on Lake Michigan, it can be a tough transition.
But there’s so much to do in our town that we prefer to focus on some of the things that make Chicago so special.
Aside from one of the world’s most spectacular skylines, miles of glorious lakefront parks, Wrigley Field and da Bears, Chicago claims fame as the town where blues were born. And if you’re a blues fan, it just doesn’t get much better than Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy Guy was named “2013 Chicagoan of the year” by Chicago Magazine.
If you’re a regular, you’ve no doubt heard Vino Louden, lead guitar and bandleader for many years for Chicago legend and “Queen of the Blues” Koko Taylor. Vino’s been around for a while — long enough to have toured with B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt. But he’s a Chicago blues man.
So where, you ask, are we going here? Some of the most fun charters we ever booked were when our clients have hosted a Blue’s Cruise — with Vino singing the blues for all the guests. He was so awesome that one client booked him two years in a row. Here’s a clip so you can see for yourself.
Till summer rolls around again, you can hear Vino at Buddy Guy’s. But when your thoughts drift to next summer and you’re thinking about entertaining clients or friends or staff, booking Vino for a Blue’s Cruise is an awesome option!
October 28th, 2013
Who loves dressing up for Halloween?
Some groups love to dress up. Others, not so much. But Halloween parties just seem to be more fun when guests are in costumes. Vintage, thrift or Salvation Army stores are a great place to find costumes. Or a quick Google search can pull up a list of costume shops online.
Here are a couple of costume ideas that caught our eye:
Quick and Easy (not to mention, cheap!): tape a quarter to your back and go as a “Quarterback”.
This one cracked us up: please don’t squeeze the charmin
A little more flash: electric jelly fish
Now that the Free Spirit and Gypsy Spirit are in the boat yard for the winter, we’ll be enjoying some trick or treating ourselves. And a party or two. BTW, Captain Joe’s costume is an identity thief.
October 22nd, 2013
We hear this question a lot while planning your private yacht cruises. The Free Spirit does a Chicago Lakefront tour while the Gypsy Spirit can do either a Lakefront tour or a Lake and River tour (your choice).
Both tours start out of Burnham Harbor where our yachts are docked. If you’re not familiar with Burnham Harbor, it’s just southeast of Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, and north of McCormick Place, the largest convention center in America.
The Free Spirit cruises north to exit Burnham Harbor, proceeds past Northerly Island and then heads south. From there we cruise by the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium cut through Monroe Harbor, wave at all of the landllubbers, pass by Buckingham Fountain, the Chicago Yacht Club, the MV “Abegweit” aka: Columbia Yacht Club, Navy Pier, and then North through the “playpen” — that Lake Michigan hangout you see from Lake Shore Drive, north of Navy Pier, where you’ll find a gazillion boaters gathered together enjoying the skyline. If the lake isn’t too bouncy the Free Spirit will cruise past the Harrison-Dever Intake Crib. Check out this old WGN broadcast about “the Crib”, see why it’s so cool!
The Gypsy Spirit can do the same cruise as the Free Spirit or you can head straight for the Chicago River, a unique part of our city, and one that you and your guests will find fascinating. The Chicago River System is 156 miles long and flows through downtown Chicago. It used to flow directly into Lake Michigan until 1900, when the Army Corps of Engineers reversed the flow of the river to prevent a recurrence of epidemics, giving Chicago the world’s only river to flow backwards. Just an interesting bit of trivia about our city! When you cruise with us, we can provide a tour guide to entertain you with anecdotes about Chicago history, architecture and fun facts.
August 21st, 2013
Labor Day is just around the corner. Kids have started back to school. Backpacks have replaced beach towels as another summer draws to an end.
This has been a spectacular Chicago summer! Blue skies, sunshine, strings of perfect 70-something temperatures. “Like San Diego” we keep hearing people say.
The good news is that there’s still another month of boating season on Lake Michigan. And you better believe that a September afternoon…. relaxing on a private yacht taking in Chicago’s breathtaking skyline…. is pretty wonderful.
So If one of those “meant to do’s” that you never got around to was to book a yacht charter, 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 a company party before the boats go to bed for the winter.
To check dates, give us a call at 708.361.2220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We wish you a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
July 8th, 2013
A guest on a recent client outing commented that she had no idea there were yachts like our Free Spirit or Gypsy Spirit available for charter on Lake Michigan. So it occurred to us that unless you’ve cruised with us, you might NOT know what our yachts are like.
We’re not a “big ship” cruise company. Our yachts are smaller and much more intimate than the boats you see docked at Navy Pier…..which is why our clients love our yachts for smaller parties, meetings and events.
To give you a better idea of what a Free Spirit Yacht Cruise is like, we thought we’d share this video with you. It was taken on our recent Merlot & Massage Cruise….one of our favorite summer events.
Hope you enjoy it!
July 1st, 2013
Our country’s birthday is a day filled with celebration. Fireworks and picnics. Hanging out with family and friends around the grill. Hot dogs, burgers and corn-on-the-cob. Mega 4th of July sales.
But what we’re really celebrating is our freedom – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The dream of our forefathers over 200 years ago. The dream of every immigrant coming to America. The reality that makes us proud to stand up and pledge allegiance to the flag — the symbol of all that we hold dear in this country.
We’re proud to fly the American flag on our yachts. We never get tired of watching it wave in the wind as we cruise Lake Michigan. It reminds us every day of how fortunate we are to live in a land where “we the people” are free to choose our own destinies.
All of us at Free Spirit Yacht Cruises wish you and your family a very happy and safe 4th of July.
June 11th, 2013
Please don’t yell at the yacht captain.
Historically, captains are known to be salty dogs, surly and just plain odd. Look at Captain Bligh, Captain Jack Sparrow and mean ol’ Captain Hook. Even our favorite sea captain, Captain Joe, has been called “mean” once or twice. But we gotta push back on that one.
Is it mean or misunderstood? We think it’s the latter.
Here’s why: when you and your guests charter one of our yachts, aside from wanting to make sure that your cruise is absolutely wonderful, we want you all to be safe. And the ultimate responsibility for the safety of passengers and crew falls on the ship’s captain.
So on those every-once-in-a-while instances where a group is partying hard –drinking heavily and ignoring the ship safety rules, the captain WILL ask guests to stop whatever they’re doing that could endanger their safety. Sitting on railings. Standing on tables. Insisting on being served more liquor when you’ve clearly had more than enough. When it’s happening on open water, it becomes dangerous (Lake Michigan is very deep).
Captain Joe…and our other highly experienced yacht captains… will never ever compromise putting passengers at risk. We like you too much!
You can read about our Guidelines for Safety on our website.
P.S. Did I mention that the Captain and I are married?
April 26th, 2013
We’re a boating family, so there’s never a question about what to give our moms for Mother’s Day. A yacht cruise. It’s our moms’ favorite way to spend an afternoon.
Want to give your mom (wife, girlfriend, SigO, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandma) something truly special this year? It doesn’t get much better than a Free Spirit Yacht Cruise Mother’s Day Cruise.
Three hours of pure bliss, relaxing a luxury yacht cruising Lake Michigan, soaking in our magnificent Chicago skyline, sipping mimosas and Bloody Marys and enjoying a scrumptious buffet lunch. Add chocolates for every mom and a raffle for a special “We Love You, Mom” bouquet, and you’ve got a Mother’s Day to remember.
Want more info or want to purchase tickets? Head over here. These book up very fast…especially after a long, cold winter and spring…so don’t wait too long!