Picture this: a personalized vacation experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world, where you, your family, and your friends can literally choose your own adventure. From cooking to cocktails, to tourism and adventure, you set the rules. A full team is at your service at all times, and no request is too big or too small.
That is the dream experience I had recently in the beautiful Adriatic sea. They invited me to spend 5 days on board the ohana, a Croatia-based $3 million superyacht available for private charter. The exclusive experience is no longer just for high society; It turns out that this type of vacation is more achievable than ever. Here are my top takeaways on the luxury travel option and why it might be the perfect way to celebrate your next big special event!
Destination: Dalmatian Coast
Croatia is wonderful. With over a thousand miles of coastline, the pristine Dinaric Alps, hundreds of islands, and crystal clear waters, its natural beauty is immediately apparent. Add in a mild climate, loads of culture and history in picture-perfect cities, and some of the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels, and it’s not hard to see what makes this Balkan nation so special.
Croatia is no longer the hidden gem destination that it was a dozen years ago. High society and celebrities routinely charter mega-yachts on the beautiful Dalmatian coast, and locals described to me how summers often turn the idyllic islands into a frenzy of wrestling.
I was lucky enough to visit in the off season. The crush of summer crowds had dissipated, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the weather was still warm. A super yacht cruise was the perfect way to explore the beautiful country.
The small ship experience
Although I have sailed before, it has been in much larger boats; Going out on the open sea on a yacht with a capacity for only 35 guests was a new experience. I was invited on board ohana by Goolets, a charter company based in neighboring Slovenia. The Goolets staff (the name is a nod to the schooner, a traditional wooden sailing boat) works with each client individually to assess their interests and preferences. They then recommend a yacht from their preferred fleet and take care of everything else. From menu and bar creation to organizing activities, itineraries and transfers, it all adds up to the perfect, personalized vacation.
“Attention to detail is what makes the difference,” explained Goolets founder Mitja Mirtič.
“When demands are made, they are expected to be ‘exaggerated’ met. There is no room for mistakes.”
Upon boarding, I immediately felt at ease. I was warmly welcomed with cocktails by the small but attentive crew as my luggage was carried to my cabin. I met our stewards, deckhands, captain, and chefs; he explored the 160 foot yacht; and I settled in what would be my home for the next 5 days.
While I had a general idea of the itinerary, I hadn’t visited Croatia before, so my approach was simple: embrace it all!
From the culture vulture to the water baby
We leave the beautiful port city of Split and head to three islands: first Brač and Hvar, then Korčula. Each one was quite different; all were impressive and historical. While on Brač, I was able to stroll to the famous horn-shaped Zlatni Rat and sunbathe on the pristine, pebble beach. I wandered around the town of Bol and sampled some lovely Croatian vintages at Stina Winery. In Hvar, I walked up to its historic fort and marveled at centuries-old churches and squares.
The walled city of Korčula was an absolute gem, with its cobbled streets, chapels, city museum, and bell tower with an extraordinary view. As we headed back north, Makarska and Omiš were also worth exploring stops. With Venetian, Ottoman and Habsburg influences still being felt in Croatia, there was plenty to experience at each port of call.
We also had time to enjoy the Adriatic, with stops for swimming every day. There were water toys, from inflatables and paddleboards to kayaks and even a jet ski. When you were ready to warm up, the hot tub on the upper deck fit the bill. And of course, the crew covered guests with extra snacks, drinks, and towels.
The private charter experience allowed me to have the best of both worlds – I was able to learn about the history and culture of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast while relaxing and enjoying the sun and water. It was perfect, thanks to the careful planning of the staff and crew.
A warm and familiar atmosphere
When I mentioned my upcoming adventure in Croatia to my friends, many jokingly asked me if I would be sailing on the super yacht of a disgraced oligarch.
In a word, no. As it turns out, ohana it’s a family affair.
The Croatian tradition of sailing has been strong for generations. And now that the destination is packed with tourists, those traditions are more important than ever. Case in point: ohanaCaptain Josip Šerka is also the owner of the superyacht. The pride he felt in her, and in her team’s performance, was evident. The level of service that I experienced on board was not fussy or overly formal. Rather, it was complete and comfortable.
“These ships are not only big and super spacious with perfect services,” Mirtič told me. “They also have a soul, and you can almost feel the energy and effort that went into them.”
That soul was evident after dinner one night. Captain Josip treated one of the younger members of our sailing party to a cake, burning with birthday candles. It was a sweet way to go the extra mile.
Not quite below deck And that’s a good thing!
Many of us are familiar with the reality show below deck. The hit television series Bravo takes viewers inside all of the behind-the-scenes angst involved with chartering a yacht from the perspective of the crew. I watched a few episodes, with dread, before my trip. The last thing he wanted was drama of any kind.
Fortunately, none were available.
Captain Josip admitted that there have been some surprising requests for ohanaThe crew of in previous trips, but explained that each one was handled with discretion, efficiency and satisfaction of the guests. I’m glad our boating group was more interested in relaxing than having a lot of fun or being obnoxious.
a little too pampered
During our 5 days at sea, I ate every meal on board, with local seafood, artisan pastas, and beautiful Croatian wine complementing each course. Everything was delicious, but quite filling. I wanted to do some work and I brought gear to do just that.
Nevertheless, ohana she didn’t have a gym on board, which meant she couldn’t run. First world problem? Absolutely, but I did miss racking up my miles!
That situation will soon be remedied. Although she is adorable and only 3 years old, ohana it’s already shining. This off-season, it is undergoing Goolets recommended renovations. The lower deck cabins will be converted to add a children’s theater and playroom. An outdoor gym space is also planned, as is a renovation of the outdoor dining space. These tweaks will further enhance an already great experience.
my only regret
ohana I sailed from Split and booked an additional two nights there before boarding the yacht so I could see the city. The islands we visited were also beautiful. The only thing missing? Dubrovnik, the jewel considered one of the most beautiful cities on the Dalmatian coast.
In a typical charter experience this would not have been a problem. The crew could have been mentioned and a stop there would have been scheduled. However, I’m still kicking myself for not having more time to visit on my own. It was bad planning on my part; certainly not the fault of my gracious hosts.
On the plus side, it gives me the perfect reason to go back to Croatia!
You don’t have to be a billionaire to vacation like this
chartering of ohana starts at around $100,000. That includes a mandatory advance provisioning allowance that covers food, beverages and port taxes.
Do the math and this exclusive travel experience is now within your reach. After its repair, ohana 30 people will sleep. That’s on par, per person, with a week-long cruise on leading lines…one where No you can choose your own adventure with your family or closest friends.
The ships in the Goolet fleet are not billionaire ships. You won’t find helipads, beach clubs or huge swimming pools on board. But their superyachts are a lovely, affordable option worth considering for a big birthday, anniversary, or other special event (especially if you want to celebrate in one of the most beautiful corners of the planet).
The new approach, balancing superyacht cruising while keeping budget in mind, has proven popular. Mirtic says ohana is almost fully booked for next season and expects interest to stay high.
“Do the boats have the same ‘luxury’ as the mega yachts that are rented for [around $819,000] one week? Of course not,” she says. Are people willing to pay [around $102,400] rent a boat of 50 meters and more than 10 cabins with superyacht services? Hell yes!”
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