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.









Join us for a night of networking fun on Lake Michigan.

DSC_7623Never been to a tweetup? Here’s your chance! We’re having one this Tuesday night, and it might be the most fun you’ll have on Lake Michigan all summer.

The Local Tourist (TLT) is hosting a “tweetup with a twist” Tues June 29th, 6 – 9p, aboard our Free Spirit luxury yacht.

3 hours of meeting interesting new people who share a love of being out and about in our fair city, eating scrumptious food (Middle Eastern buffet, decadently delicious cupcakes), beer/wine/soda bar and basking in the breezes of Lake Michigan on a beautiful, weather-perfect Chicago night (yep, it’s supposed to be in the 70s!)

You can tweet if you want to (sending updates and photos from your cell phone) or turn off your tech gear and just hang out, chill and have a good time.

They’ll be jam-packed goody bags for everyone…filled with all kinds of super swag (coupons to the hottest local restaurants and summer attractions). So not only will you see Chicago’s world famous skyline from the deck of a luxury yacht, but you’ll get all kinds of special offers for lots of other fun things to do in our super city – like Chocolate Tours and Ravinia and festivals and more.

So don’t wait till it’s all filled. Here’s where you can get more info or book a reservation online right now!

Don’t forget to share this with your friends. They’ll thank you.