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.




We’re going on a yacht cruise today. You’re kidding, right?!

What to wear on a yacht cruise?The beautiful beast called Chicago weather has everybody’s attention once again. It’s October 4th and we’re waking up to forecasts of snow flurries, blustery winds and raw temps. What the !*#!? It’s early fall.

You think you’re upset? What about the people who’ve booked their wedding or company outing for a yacht cruise today (yes, we have them on the schedule!).

We can’t do anything about the weather. But we can control the venue. If you’re booked with Free Spirit Yacht Cruises, you’ll be happy to know we have heat. So you and your guests can be cozy and warm inside.

Of course, you’ll want to prep for the weather anyway cause you have to get to and from the yacht. Here’s an example of how you may want to dress if you want to go on deck to enjoy the full experience of being on a boat on Lake Michigan.

Ah, the joys of living in Chicago. Challenging to say the least. Happy weekend, All!

Chicago – Home to World-Class Architecture

Ask someone who’s never been to Chicago what they’d expect to see on a visit here. You’ll find that expectations may be far different than reality. Tourists, especially from abroad, seem to know Chicago as the place where Al Capone ruled in the ‘30s or where Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to stardom (the latter is far preferable to the former!).

But ask someone who’s visited here what most impressed them and you’ll generally hear “Chicago’s beautiful architecture”. Especially the world-famous Chicago skyline.

Chicago Skyline

We can’t help but agree. And we consider ourselves blessed because from April through October each year, we pretty much live at Burnham Harbor. We get to view the Chicago skyline on a daily basis. In the morning, when the rising sun bathes Lake Michigan with sparkly, glittery beauty. In the afternoon, as the skyline becomes a regal backdrop against the sandy beaches lining Lake Shore Drive. And our favorite — in the evening, when sunset settles over the shoreline and skyscrapers are aglow with twinkling lights as a wash of gold and pink fades behind. Our city is truly spectacular!

When first-time visitors are out on one of our private yacht cruises, they often ask us about our favorite buildings in Chicago. Not an easy question!

We’ve asked some of our friends to share their favorites. Here’s what we heard….and why:

  • the John Hancock Center (lovingly called “Big John” by Chicagoans), our X-braced black steel giant, now home to TILT, which does just that from the 94th floor
  • the Prudential Building, sleek, solid and linear with its limestone facade
  • the Wrigley Building, the grande dame of the Mag Mile, clad in glistening terra cotta tiles
  • 333 West Wacker, the green-glass beauty that curves around a bend in the Chicago River, a favorite with Free Spirit Charter guests who take our Gypsy Spirit river cruise
  • Aqua, Jeanne Gang’s futuristic Lakeshore East beauty with balconies of rippling layers
  • Marina City with its bizarre corncob twin towers
  • Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s architectural gem and the tallest building in Chicago
  • the trifecta, the 57-acre Museum Campus, home to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium
  • Trump Tower, the glittering silver-glass skyscraper on the Chicago River and another Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design (preferably minus “the Donald’s sign)

So what would you say? If you had to name your favorite Chicago building, what would it be? We’d love to know.

We’re always looking for local feedback — from the people who know and love our city — to share with first-time visitors to Chicago who cruise with us. Include your name and why you chose the building you did, and we’ll use it on a list we’re compiling to share with our guests.

No Wake

Puttin’ around the Marco waterways, and all you feel is the warm sun melting your stress away, the dazzling water gently motioning underneath and an innate calmness from being around water.

And then you see “No Wake.” What does that mean? In boating terms, “slow down”.  But it could certainly apply to more than your speed on the water.

Being in Marco Island (sometimes referred to as “God’s Waiting Room”) put’s a totally different perspective on life. Every day we hear pearls of wisdom like “You can’t buy time”…. “Time and tide waits for no man”….. “You can’t roller skate to heaven with your money”….and so on.

The message is always the same though the words may differ. Slow down and enjoy yourself. Take the time to note the good things in your life. Sometimes we take them for granted.

We really enjoy meeting people, being on the water, and sharing special moments. This is how we have fun.  But we always find great pleasure in seeing other people slow down and relax as well. That’s why we love seeing our clients enjoying time with their friends and family when they’re on a charter with us.

We hope you’ll keep Free Spirit Yacht Cruises in mind for celebrating the good times in your life.