Treat your staff. Wow your clients.

This photo pretty much says it all. Late afternoon cruise. A glimpse of the world-famous Chicago skyline in the background. Relaxed and happy group enjoying a Chicago summer cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.

Company CruiseThis summer, we’ve already had more than a few charter cruises that looked like this. Company outings to treat staff to something special. Or companies entertaining clients on a corporate charter that says: “We value your business and want to show you how much!”

Whether you’re doing a company party, a corporate meeting or a client appreciation party, few venues can top a private luxury yacht charter.

Three hours relaxing as you cruise Lake Michigan. The spectacular Chicago skyline in the distance. A delectable buffet. Music in the background (live, DJ or iPod). Hanging out with people you like and enjoying a summer afternoon (or morning brunch or evening). Your call – we do them all.

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.

This is the kind of feedback we get:

“Thank you – everyone on the team had a great time at our outing! The service, experience and everything exceeded expectations. The #1 surprise was how good, helpful and organized all the staff on the boat were. We never had to ask for anything – they were always one step ahead.

Thank you for helping me organize the outing! Hope to do another one again in the future.”

Dean Gordon
FTI Consulting

Want to do something really special for your team or clients? Call us today to find out how to book a private charter for your group.




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


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

Trends in Corporate Entertainment – What Are the Pros Predicting for 2014?

We’re still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner (aren’t you?). But articles on dining and entertainment trends always catch our eyes… matter how much stuffing we’ve consumed.

So we read Lewis Lazare’s article in the Chicago Business Journal, The biggest corporate party trends in Chicago for 2014, with interest.  Lazare interviewed the CEO of Kapow Events who shared his predictions for the top five corporate entertainment trends in the coming year: ethnic parties, entertaining locally rather than client trips, unique venues, experience-themed events and shorter planning periods.

If, in fact, these trends do pan out, we’ll be happy. It’s hard to top a private luxury yacht on Lake Michigan when you want to entertain clients in a very special venue. And we’re all for staying in town to entertain…..especially if that town is Chicago and it’s summer!  We don’t need to tell you how special Chicago summers are. Especially right about now when the winds are howling and the temperature’s dropping.

If you’re starting to plan corporate….or private…events for next year, now’s a good time to mention that our rates will go up on January 1st. But you can still lock in 2013 rates if you book a 2014 charter before the end of the year.  After all, who doesn’t like to save money and still get a stellar experience!

We’re grateful for clients and friends like you

Thanksgiving always makes us stop to think about all the things we’re grateful for – our health, our family, our friends. And right at the top of that list are clients and friends like you. And feedback like this:


Just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for the wonderful cruise this Sunday!  We got so many compliments from our guests – everyone enjoyed it. The boat was wonderful, very comfortable. We loved the food! And of course we were so lucky with the weather.

We won’t hesitate to recommend you if anyone is looking for cruises around the lake or the river in the future.

Thanks again to yourself, Captain Joe and the entire crew!

Steve (Evans)”

People like Steve and clients and friends like you are the reason we love what we do at Free Spirit. Few things are as rewarding as knowing that your work is making people happy.

So this is the time of year we like to thank you for your business this past season. You make our days full and our work fulfilling.

We wish you tantalizingly tender turkey and scrumptious stuffing. Sinfully sweet pumpkin pies. And a warm happy holiday with your families and friends.

Enjoy, Everyone!

Ready to get out on Lake Michigan?

Who’s ready for summer? Besides us!

We know it’s a tad cold out, but we’ve already started getting calls asking about open cruises (can you believe it!). So we want to share what we’ve got planned for 2013.

Back by hugely popular demand, our Merlot & Massage Cruise will be on June 18th.

2-1/2 hours of pampering, relaxing, enjoying a yummy light buffet and hanging out with your friends. It’s the ultimate tranquil treat. But it books up fast (hint: don’t wait to buy your tickets).

Equally high on our clients’ lists of Chicago Summer Must Do’s is our annual Mother’s Day Cruise. This year, it falls on Sunday, May 12th.  Want to give your mom (wife, daughter, significant other) something truly special? It’s hard to top an afternoon on our luxurious Free Spirit yacht. Just think: 3 hours with family (or friends) basking in the view of our glorious Chicago skyline, enjoying mimosas and a delicious brunch buffet. This cruise fills up quickly as well, so check with the rest of the family and book fast.

And here’s a shameless plug…..speaking of booking up fast, we book private charters all year long…both corporate (office parties, client entertaining) and celebrations (weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, bachelorette parties, showers). If you’ve got a date in mind for a private charter, call us…..before someone else books your date.

To check dates, give us a call at 708.361.2220.

We’re excited to welcome you aboard in 2013!

Saying goodbye to summer.

We probably say it every year, but this summer flew by awfully fast.

Probably because this was a super season for yacht charters. Those sweltering 90 and 100 degree days are just a whole lot cooler out on Lake Michigan. So our crew, Joe and I  were happy campers (well…. cruisers).

If you didn’t get a chance to hang out on Lake Michigan, you still have a little time before the snow hits. And if you were meaning to book a charter but never quite got around to it, you’ll be happy to know there are still a few openings before the season officially ends.

Free Spirit cruises through mid-October. You just might be able to squeeze in a fun family gathering, a get together with friends, or a company charter before the boats go to bed for the winter.

To check dates, give us a call at 708.361.2220 or email.

Who’s on board for the most fun Girls Night Out ever? (and guys are welcome too)

Yes, we’re talking about our annual summer hit, the have-we-died-and-gone-to-heaven Merlot and Massage Cruise. Probably the most talked about Free Spirit Yacht cruise we do all year.

And why not? Who doesn’t crave 2-1/2 hours of soothing, relaxing, oh-so-indulgent R&R. The ultimate tranquil treat. And especially fun if you come with a few of your best gal pals.

Chicago CruisesYou’ll enjoy deliciously soothing chair, hand and foot massages from Lincoln Park Massage Spa, one of Chicago’s top rated massage salons. Dine on a scrumptious light buffet with a wine, beer and soda bar. And soak in Chicago’s spectacular skyline from a Lake Michigan vantage point – on a luxury yacht. Best view ever!

We’re almost sold out, so don’t wait to sign up. And tell your best friends so they can join you.

Merlot and Massage Cruise
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
5:30 – 8p


Book reservations now!  Merlot and Massage Cruise Details.

Questions? Reach us 708.361.2220 or email:

And yes, we do offer private Merlot & Massage Cruises if you’d like to book one for your office outing or Girls Night Out party.

Ho, ho, ho. Hardly any snow….

We’re crossing our fingers as we say this. Cause we all know how tricky Chicago weather can be.

But so far, the Winter of 2011 has not been too bad. Yes, we’ve escaped a bit down in Florida….and it was lovely to be out on a boat though it wasn’t like being aboard a Free Spirit yacht on Lake Michigan. But we’re home, staying warm inside and busy getting ready for the holidays.

Free Spirit Merlot and Massage CruisesSpeaking of holidays, we’ve got the perfect gift for family, friends and colleagues. Enough with the sox and scarves and mittens! Give something truly special this year. Something to look forward to. A gift of relaxation and fun. Yes, we’re talking gift certificates for our Merlot & Massage Cruises.

Who wouldn’t love a 2-1/2 hour cruise, relaxing on a Free Spirit luxury yacht, cruising Lake Michigan, dining on a scrumptious light buffet, drinking wonderful wine and enjoying soothing hand, foot and chair massages from Chicago’s Lincoln Park Massage Spa?

We’ve got two dates to choose from (or pick both): Tues, June 5, 2012 or Tues, June 19, 2012.

If you’ve never enjoyed one of these cruises, check out the video and see what you’re missing.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you and yours from all of us at Free Spirit Yacht Cruises.

Take Advantage of This Incredible Weather…

Book a Corporate Cruise With Free Spirit Yacht Cruises. Summer may be over but look outside. This is the kind of weather that gets Chicagoans through the rest of the year. The forecast: bright little sun icons all week. Not a rain cloud in sight!

So if you’ve been thinking of a Last Hurrah before that white stuff falls, this may be the perfect opportunity. September is a fabulous month to cruise Lake Michigan.

Thought we’d share some recent feedback from our corporate charter clients:

“I cannot thank you enough for such an amazing event.  It was incredible and we intend to make it an annual party!”

Dayre Lashnits
New York Stock Exchange


“I wanted to let you know that everyone had a fantastic time yesterday.  Everything was great, especially the food.  I want to thank you and your staff for a wonderful cruise.”

Gloria Linda Williams
The Boeing Company


“Our group from Bain & Company thanks you for a wonderful evening on Friday 8/19!”


From Joe and I and our entire crew, thank you for this wonderful feedback! It’s what makes our work worthwhile…..seeing guests relax, unwind and enjoy the spectacular Chicago skyline as we cruise on Lake Michigan.

If your staff could use a Last Hurrah, call us. Or click here for more info or to book a charter for your group.