If you’re anything like me you’ve watched every episode of Bravo’s Below Deck – and begun to dream of one day chartering a yacht yourself. But what is it really like? Can you ask for anything you like? Is the food as top notch as Chef Ben always makes?
Luckily, I was invited by luxury Croatian yacht broker Goolets to spend some time aboard their 48 metre boat Freedom and sail around the Adriatic Sea to find out.
This year, Goolets is transforming the Freedom into one of the only yachts on the market which can take 23 guests on board inside its 11 cabins – meaning it’s perfect for wedding parties, big groups of friends and family reunions. And, Goolets has over 100 luxury vessels in Croatia including mega yachts, mini cruisers, and wooden yachts for clients to choose from.
Freedom features a hot tub, on-board swimming pool (yes, so you wan swim while sailing), jet skis, SeaBobs, a tube ride, paddle boards, canoes and more. Plus, you’ll be treated to the finest meals from a private chef made with premium ingredients, local seafood, traditional and international specialties and the most sumptuous deserts.
British tourists will soon need to follow new rules when entering EU countries
There’s even an onboard masseuse to help you unwind and gym equipment – from weights to exercise bikes – to keep you in shape. Whichever you prefer.
But what makes a charter yacht different from a smaller-rate cruise or better than a five star hotel resort? Above all else it has to be the personalisation of your holiday. Before boarding you’ll be asked to fill in a preference sheet and work with one of Goolets’ concierges. You’ll have one assigned to you who will listen to everything you want and they'll deliver…
CEO, Mitja Mirtič – who founded Goolets with wife Alenka 16 years ago – shared some of the most outlandish requests the brokerage has ever received. And they’re even more wild than the sudden beach picnics, foam parties and additional dinner guests seen on Below Deck.
Mitja told me about the time a client wanted the hot tub filled up with, not water, but expensive Champagne! And, the customer gets what they want.
Another yacht passenger demanded that all of his transfers from airport to yacht and back be in Lamborghinis. Only the best after all…
Once, a party animal rented not one, but two yachts – one to sleep and spend the day on and the other to drink on.
While an elderly gent wanted to dock – and sleep – by day and sail the sea by night so he could watch the ocean in the dark. What a dream!
A spokesperson for Goolets stated: “Our main Emphasis is on one thing: the client! We take care of everything – in a smart way. At Goolets, we take care of every detail. It all starts with finding the vessel and crew, providing the best match for a group's structure.
“Priorities include the group's size, age range, budget, the goal of the holiday or company gathering, the client's preferences for the itinerary, cuisine and any special occasions.
"Our careful preparation of the crew (captain, chef, hostess, deckhands, stewards, masseurs etc…) to match the clients' expectations is also of paramount importance."
But, what were the highlights of my first trip aboard a charter yacht? On board the yacht Freedom we visited Split, Brač, Korčula, Vis and Hvar. And this is what I found…
Food and drink
When it comes to eating there are a number of options. The private chef will whip up culinary delights from your choice of breakfast to three course lunches made from seasonal, fresh seafood or meat and exquisite desserts.
During my voyage we were treated to peach tiramisu which looked just like a tiny fruit, langoustine and scallops in butter with ceps, a shrimp and mango ceviche and white fish fillet with lentils, creamed pumpkin and a squid ink net.
There was even a cuttlefish salad which tasted fresh and light.
As always, special requirements are always. My partner, Adam, was served exclusively vegetarian food which was fresh and tasty and included stuffed aubergine, a spicy pasta and courgette carpaccio with a lime and olive oil emulsion. And, the stewards are knowledgable about all of the food and wine served – you have only to ask.
Plus, if you want to you can even stop off in a number of Croatian hot spots to sample the local food you can.
We visited Gostionica Gariful in Hvar which has hosted celebrities, footballers and more. They served up oysters with citrus jelly, ahi tuna with a spicy mango sauce and tasty prawns all flecked with edible gold
Largest waterpark in UK to open with 25 pools, 35 slides, saunas and swim-up bars
Or, you can dock for a drink at the Moro beach Stupe – a beach bar which serves bottles of wine that are aged under the sea – and so come with a dusting of barnacles – and oysters.
The experience takes place on a tiny island outside of Korcula. And, it’s the only building on the island too… so it’s extra private.
Of course, all the food and drink is served by the staff who will feel like your close friends by the end of the voyage… and they'll even recommend their favourite local spirits, cocktails and wines.
Croatia as a yachting destination
You might not be aware that Croatia has more than 1200 islands and islets in the Adriatic Sea. Many have their own unique history from Venetian settlement to communism. Korčula even has a great fortress…
Some have served as bases for the British army while others are filled with stories of medieval lovers.
This means history buffs can treat themselves to tours by the local experts and get their fill of educational information.
As well as history, many of the islands have areas of outstanding natural beauty like Brač which has a white pebble beach with stunning turquoise water – and plenty of bars.
And, the famous blue cave can be visited on the island of Biševo – this TikTok famous spot sees you duck into a grotto in a tiny boat where you’ll be left in awe by the water… which glows bright blue.
Some of the most magical parts of a yacht trip are the things you can only do while on a boat. Whether that’s drinking with friends in the hot tub while the Freedom cruises around the coast or using the various water toys.
Plus, there’s something very special about putting down the anchor and going for a swim in the ocean almost anywhere you like.
We even stopped off in a tiny bay which seemed highly difficult to access from land, but gave us stunning views and crystal clear water.
And, of course, waking up every day and throwing open the curtains and seeing either a new destination to explore or the deep blue sea sparkling beyond the window is incomparable.
Mitja and Alenka commented: “We are still talking and thinking daily, about what else we could do to make clients' lives aboard our yachts more inspiring and something they will never forget.
“We are very proud to be a part of this huge market shift going on right now in Croatia and in the knowledge that we are the only agency in the world with such a diverse range of crewed yachts to offer in this market.”
The cost of a Goolets yacht will depend on the size of the boat, your party, how long you wish to sail for and a number of other factors such as the time in the season, but a week on the boat Freedom is listed as costing between €80,000 and €100,000 (£68,000 and £85,0000).
So, it really is a dream trip to take – many would say once in a lifetime. The Goolets motto is "Life is Good" – and it definitely is good above deck…
Check out goolets.net to find out more information about more than 100 luxury yachts which are available for charter.
Is a yacht holiday your dream trip? Tell us in the comments section below…
Source: Read Full Article