10 years since we launched Free Spirit Yacht Cruises. Hard to believe.

10 years. Hard to believe.

It’s been ten wild, where-did-they-go? years since Joe and I launched our version of Free Spirit Yacht Cruises.

The company was originally founded by Joe’s parents in 1983 and was thriving. Joe worked there for eighteen years as a captain. But his parents were retiring, and we had our own plans.

Our first plan was to get married. As it turns out, that was a great decision! Right, Joe (wink, wink)? Next, we would buy the company.


Joe and I work well together and our backgrounds and skill sets complement one another — important because even though we both had a lot experience in the yacht charter industry, we were basically building a new company.

Our Free Spirit Yacht Cruises Journey

One particularly challenging issue – the year we launched followed on the heels of the Great Recession. Yacht charters were not exactly high on the list of necessities. People who had lost jobs were thinking about finding new ones and putting food on the table. Marketing yacht charters would require a lot of energy, creative marketing and patience.

Free Spirit Cruises

Fortunately, Joe and I both like a challenge. We didn’t let the economy deter us. Chicagoans love summer and Free Spirit Yacht Charters is a service that our clients love.

Company Cruise

Free Spirit Yacht Cruises

So we put one foot in front of the other (in deck shoes) and moved ahead. We did some redesigns on both the Free Spirit and the Gypsy Spirit. New finishes. New furniture. Lots of paint. And lots of elbow grease.

Meanwhile, we ramped up the catering, adding themed buffets and premium bar options and bringing in topnotch catering companies. We wrote a marketing plan and implemented it. Joe and I hired experts to help us in areas where we needed assistance.

At the same time, we went out and introduced ourselves to concierges and hotel managers. We joined a few chambers and did some networking (Joe was always the guy in the Hawaiian shirt, summer or winter). We passed out lots of cards and brochures and redesigned our website. A lot of work but well worth the effort.

Captain Joe

Today we are the proud owners of a company we love. And we get to spend every April through October out on Lake Michigan. Pretty sweet deal if you ask us!

So even though we’ll occasionally join in the Chicago sport of complaining about the cold, we know it’s just a matter of time before our yachts are back in Burnham Harbor.

We’re looking forward to the 2017 yachting season. We’ve already nailed down dates for some upcoming events. Merlot and Massage Cruise, anyone? Yacht yoga? Fireworks cruises? Never too early to sign up for these.

Yacht Yoga

Yacht Yoga

We’re excited about getting back on the water and hope to see you on an upcoming charter for your company meeting, client appreciation cruise, family party, wedding, shower, anniversary……you name it….if you’re celebrating an event or entertaining clients, we hope you’ll do it on a Free Spirit luxury yacht.

Merlot and Massage Cruise

Merlot and Massage Cruise

Free Spirit Yacht Cruises is already booking charter cruises well into 2017, so don’t wait too long if you’ve got specific dates in mind.

Learn more about Our Story.









Love is in the air…

There’s a song like that! Joe and I are feeling a lot of love considering today is our wedding anniversary. Our wedding celebration took place on the beach in Marco Island. Very romantic!! We have such wonderful memories and pictures.

A couple of months ago, the Steve Harvey Show taped a segment aboard the Gypsy Spirit and we’re so excited to be able to talk about it now. The premise is a husband and wife rekindling their love life and she has always wanted to go on a boat. It was so amazing to be a part of such a beautiful love story.


It was a pleasure working with the Steve Harvey Crew! All of us at Free Spirit Yacht Cruises had so much fun being a part of such a romantic and beautiful event. Our very own Captain John will be making a celebrity appearance on the show.

Captain John

Thank you Steve Harvey for helping empower people’s lives and being such a positive influence in our world. We believe this will definitely build a stronger bond for this couple and their family.

Love Story

Don’t miss the Steve Harvey Show this Tuesday, November 25th!!! Check your local listing for air times.

Have a safe and happy cruise experience

DSC04449We’ve received some Yelp! reviews that make us think they’re about another company. Especially when the feedback we’re used to getting is more like: “I cannot thank you enough for such an amazing event. It was incredible, and we intend to make it an annual party!”

Free Spirit Yacht Cruises has a large corporate clientele and many charter with us year after year. Happily a great deal of people feel their Free Spirit experience was exceptional and have shared feedback with us.

We had been cruising along…. receiving praise and positive feedback from happy clients for years. And then the storm hit! Literally.

2011 was a turbulent year with economic uncertainty, crazy weather patterns (including very choppy waves) and a few unhappy yacht charter guests. But as service providers, even one unhappy customer is too much.

It’s disheartening to know that we have had people on our yacht charters who were not happy with our service. And although we know that you can’t make everyone happy all of the time, we still hate to hear it.

Our response:

“It is our goal to provide an excellent experience to all of our charter guests. We extend our deepest apologies to the unhappy charter guests who had a bad experience with Free Spirit Yacht Cruises. To all who have sent us feedback, we thank you. We will evaluate your comments to build a company that serves you better.”

In light of our 2011 charter season, we have created a FAQs to help ensure you have a safe and happy cruise experience.