Croatia may be famous for its unspoilt cruising grounds but not many people realise you can also charter a locally built superyacht for a fraction of the normal price. MBY editor Hugo Andreae reports from the vacation of a lifetime...
You know you’re in for a special boating experience when you step through customs to find a suited and booted chauffeur waiting to whisk you straight from the airport to Split’s main harbour in a spanking new Mercedes limousine.
Then again when our home for the next few days is a 50m superyacht that will be cruising languidly through some of Croatia’s prettiest islands, squeezing into the back of a 20-year-old Toyota Camry driven by a chain-smoking cabbie isn’t really going to cut it.
It’s this level of service that helps to justify charter company Goolets’ claim that it offers guests the full superyacht experience in one of the world’s finest cruising destinations for a fraction of the usual price.
If this sounds a little too good to be true (and I have to admit to having the same concerns myself), there is a perfectly valid explanation for how they are able to make the sums add up.
Instead of acting as charter brokers for privately owned superyachts built by world-renowned European yards and staffed by highly paid crew, it rents out locally built and crewed craft designed purely for commercial charter operations in their own home waters.
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The one we are about to join, the 49m motor yacht, Ohana, forms part of Goolets’ select fleet of 40m plus Dalmatico Super Yachts (DS Yachts). It was commissioned in 2020 from a local Croatian shipyard by a chap called Josip Šerka to run as a business and refitted in 2022 to keep it in peak shape.
He captains it himself and hires his own crew, partly to keep costs down but also to ensure guests experience Croatia’s famously welcoming hospitality and cuisine.
It’s still not a cheap holiday (you have to charter the whole yacht, not just individual cabins) but instead of the usual €250,000 per week that a top notch 50m superyacht would cost, prices for Ohana start at €80,000 per week.
What’s more, rather than the usual 10 guests in five cabins, most privately owned superyachts accommodate, Ohana sleeps up to 30 guests in 14 cabins. This brings the cost down to as little as €4,000 per head – not much more than you’d pay for a fully catered holiday in a smart hotel or smaller crewed yacht.
Read Hugo’s full report on chartering Ohana in the October 2023 issue of MBY, out September 7.