Inside super yachts where rich socialites bathe in champagne and eat food sprinkled with gold

If you’re like me, you’ve watched every episode of Bravo’s Under Deck – and started dreaming of chartering a yacht yourself one day. But what is it really? Can you ask anything you want? Is the food as great as Chef Ben always does?

Luckily I was invited by a Croatian luxury yacht broker goolets spending time aboard their 48 meter boat Freedom and sail around the Adriatic Sea to find out.

This year, Goolets is transforming the Freedom in one of the only yachts on the market that can accommodate 23 guests in its 11 cabins, making it the ideal place for weddings, large groups of friends and family reunions. And, Goolets has more than 100 luxury ships in Croatia, including mega yachts, mini cruisers and wooden yachts for customers to choose from.

Freedom has a hot tub, onboard pool (yes, so you want to swim while cruising), jet skis, SeaBobs, tube ride, paddle boards, canoes and more again. Plus, you’ll be treated to the finest meals from a private chef prepared with premium ingredients, local seafood, traditional and international specialties, and the most sumptuous desserts.

The 48m superyacht Goolets – Liberty

There’s even a masseuse on board to help you relax and gym equipment – from weights to exercise bikes – to keep you in shape. The one you prefer.

But what differentiates a charter yacht from a budget cruise or better than a five-star resort? First and foremost, it has to be about customizing your vacation. Before boarding, you will be asked to complete a preference sheet and work with one of Goolets’ concierges. You will have one assigned to you who will listen to anything you want and they will deliver…

CEO, Mitja Mirtič – who founded Goolets with his wife Alenka 16 years ago – shared some of the most outlandish requests the brokerage has ever received. And they’re even wilder than the sudden beach picnics, foam parties, and other diners seen on Below Deck.

Yacht bedroom - double bed, desk, lots of windows
Freedom has 11 cabins that can accommodate 23 people

Mitja told me about the time a customer wanted the hot tub filled not with water, but with expensive champagne! And the customer gets what he wants.

Another passenger on the yacht demanded that all his transfers from the airport to the yacht and back be by Lamborghini. Only the best after all…

Once a party animal rented not one, but two yachts – one for sleeping and spending the day and the other for drinking.

While an elderly man wanted to dock – and sleep – during the day and sail the sea at night so he could watch the ocean in the dark. What a dream!

A Goolets spokesperson said: “Our main focus is on one thing: the customer! We take care of everything – the smart way. At Goolets, we take care of every detail. It all starts with finding the ship and the crew, providing the best fit with the structure of a group.

The Adriatic Sea is ideal for yachting
The Adriatic Sea is ideal for yachting

“Priorities include group size, age range, budget, purpose of vacation or corporate meeting, client preferences for itinerary, cuisine and any special occasion.

“Our meticulous preparation of the crew (captain, chef, hostess, sailors, stewards, masseurs etc.) to meet customer 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 that’s what I found…

The back of the yacht illuminated
You can dock in one town and wake up in the next – or explore the local nightlife

Food and drink

When it comes to eating, you have several options. The private chef will concoct culinary delights ranging from your choice of breakfast to three-course lunches featuring fresh seasonal seafood or meat and exquisite desserts.

During my trip we were treated to a peach tiramisu that looked like a very small fruit, langoustine and scallops with ceps butter, a ceviche of prawns and mango and fillet of white fish with lentils, creamy pumpkin and fillet of squid ink.

There was even a cuttlefish salad which tasted fresh and light.

Finger food serving platters with caviar and flowers
Finger food serving platters with caviar, local cheese and flowers

As always, special requirements are always. My partner, Adam, was served exclusively vegetarian food which was fresh and tasty and included stuffed eggplant, spicy pasta and zucchini carpaccio with a lime and olive oil emulsion. And, the stewards know about all the dishes and wines being served – just ask.

Plus, if you want, you can even stop at a number of Croatian hotspots to sample whatever local food you can.

We visited Gostionica Gariful in Hvar which has hosted celebrities, footballers and more. They served oysters with citrus jelly, ahi tuna with spicy mango sauce and savory shrimp all sprinkled with edible gold.

Yacht dining room with tables and food
You can dine indoors or outdoors with meals prepared by a private chef

Or, you can dock for a drink at Moro Beach Stupe – a beach bar that serves bottles of wine aged under the sea – and therefore accompanied by a dusting of barnacles – and oysters.

The experience takes place on a small island outside of Korcula. And it’s also the only building on the island… so it’s more private.

Of course, all food and drink is served by staff who will feel like your close friends at the end of the trip…and they’ll even recommend their favorite local spirits, cocktails and wines.

You can dine ashore at celebrity-favorite restaurants
You can dine ashore at celebrity-favorite restaurants

Croatia as a yachting destination

You may not know that Croatia has more than 1200 islands and islets in the Adriatic Sea. Many have their own unique history, from Venetian colonization to communism. Korčula even has a big fortress…

Some served as bases for the British army while others are full of stories of medieval lovers.

This means history buffs can treat themselves to tours led by local experts and stock up on educational information.

You can stop wherever you want from Dubrovnik to Hvar and Split

In addition to history, many islands have areas of outstanding natural beauty such as Brač which has a white pebble beach with stunning turquoise water – and plenty of bars.

And, the famous Blue Cave can be visited on Biševo Island – this famous TikTok spot sees you diving into a cave in a small boat where you will be amazed by the water… which shines bright blue.

Yacht-only experiences

Some of the most magical parts of a yacht trip are the things you can only do on a boat. Whether it’s drinking with friends in the hot tub while the Freedom cruises around the coast or using the various water toys.

blue grotto
The water in the Blue Grotto shines bright blue – it’s best in the morning

Plus, there’s something very special about dropping anchor and bathing in the ocean almost anywhere you want.

We even stopped at a small bay that seemed very difficult to access from land, but gave us stunning views and crystal clear water.

And, of course, waking up every day and opening the curtains and seeing either a new destination to explore or the shimmering deep blue sea beyond the window is unmatched.

Mitja and Alenka commented: “We continue to talk and think daily about what else we could do to make the lives of customers on board our yachts more inspiring and something they will never forget.

“We are very proud to be part of this huge market shift taking place in Croatia and knowing that we are the only agency in the world to offer such a diverse range of crewed yachts in this market.”

Hot tub on yacht
What’s better than being in a hot tub while you watch the sights

The cost of a Goolets yacht will depend on the size of the boat, your group, how long you want to sail and a number of other factors such as the weather of the season but a week on the boat Freedom is listed as cost. between €80,000 and €100,000 (£68,000 and £85,000).

So it really is a dream trip to take – many would say once in a lifetime. Goolets’ motto is “Life is good” – and it’s definitely way above the deck…

To verify to learn more about over 100 luxury yachts available for charter.

Is a yacht vacation your dream trip? Tell us in the comments section below…

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