When it comes to summering in the Mediterranean, it’s hard to beat a superyacht charter. Offering a memorable experience, luxurious service and exclusivity that goes beyond even the best five-star hotels, charters come with a hefty price tag that often dips into six or even seven figures per week. The good news is that for those who can’t – or who don’t wish to – spend a small fortune on a holiday at sea, a company based in Slovenia is promising a ‘superyacht experience’ for tens rather than hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Goolets operates a growing fleet of sizeable yachts, including its new flagship, the recently refurbished Ohana. The 49-metre, 14-cabin motoryacht asks only between €80,000 and €100,000 ($88,000 to $110,000) per week plus expenses, depending on the season – if split between the yacht’s capacity, 30 guests, this becomes affordable for many holidaymakers.
Goolets specialises in trips focused on fun and relaxation, forgoing some of the formalities that usually come with a superyacht charter. A deckhand won’t flinch at the sight of a guest wearing shoes on deck, for instance, and crew keep themselves to themselves unless called upon.
The company’s USP is its local experience and knowledge of its charter destinations, and in particular, Croatia. Sailing the Croatian coast is the best way to enjoy the country, which is filled with historic towns, beautiful landscapes and untouched islands and coves, and yet it remains a relative newcomer to the luxury yachting scene. Despite its similarities to its Riviera neighbours, Croatia was often shunned for France or Italy, or the Greek and Spanish islands, but that’s changing.
Many of the 11 crew members onboard Ohana are Croatian so they’re equipped with all the local knowledge, from the best secluded bays to drop anchor at to the beach parties to tender to and the suppliers to stock up at. Interesting, most captains are also the yacht’s owner. Josip Šerka, captain onboard Ohana, comes from a family of boatbuilders – his father built ships and he’s one of three brothers, each of whom owns and charters a yacht.
A new look
Ohana was originally built with 18 bedrooms for singular cabin bookings, but as exclusivity became more important after the pandemic, Captain Šerka made the decision to privatise the yacht, reducing the number of cabins and elevating the experience on offer. The yacht was also renovated with a new layout, contemporary interior styling and a fresh colour palette.
From the exterior, Ohana looks more or less like a typical superyacht. Her sleek hull has been freshly painted in an ocean blue that’s eye-catching and elegant on the water. Her wide beam allows for large decks, including a full-deck upper deck lounge where the entire aft has been turned into a giant sun pad with a hot tub in the middle. There’s also an al fresco gym, a shaded lounge with a choice of seating areas and a barbecue.
Other outdoor spaces include deck an al fresco dining area and lounge on the second deck, and a beach club on the stern of the third – guests can step down to a platform that touches the waves. Here, guests can enjoy Ohana’s impressive collection of water toys, which is on par with what you’d get on a superyacht quadruple the cost – there’s a jet ski, sea bob, electric surfboard, paddle board, an inflatable water slide and a tender to take guests to shore.
Ohana’s refurbishment saw the interior refreshed with a contemporary palette of wood finishings, modern greys and pops of gold and blue. At the heart of the fresh layout is a large open-air lounge, dining room and bar, where most indoor meals are taken. There’s also an open-air dining area and lounge where crew can serve buffet-style lunches in the day and cocktails at night.
Inside, there’s another bar, with curved, turquoise sofas, plus break-out areas for families including a children’s play room and a cinema room tucked away on the lower deck. Goolets can provide nanny services.
Ohana can accommodate a larger number of guests than your average superyacht of the same size. Usually, a yacht in the 50-metre sector will sleep around 12 guests in six cabins, while Ohana sleeps up to 30 across 14 cabins. The master cabin occupies a large full-beam space on the upper deck and comes with a large double bed, wardrobes and a standalone bathtub. On this level you can also find two VIPs – one twin and one double – which lead into the indoor bar area. The remaining cabins are below and are quite compact but with large communal spaces, there’s little reason to spend much time in the bedrooms.
If you’re interested in what goes on inside the engine room, the renovation also saw the installation of new technology and propellors which enhances the yacht’s efficiency so it can now operate on 50% less fuel than before. That’s a big plus for sustainability.
A typical trip onboard Ohana in Croatia will take guests to key spots including the historic cities of Hvar and Split, and the picturesque island of Vis, as well as secluded bays along the Croatian coast. Guests are invited to make their own itinerary – Captain Šerka reveals one group chose to spend two days on Via and four in Hvar to enjoy the city’s many restaurants and bars, while other choose to move to a different place every day. “We are here to make all their wishes come true,” he says.
Guests can also choose whether to bring their own staff, including chef and nannies, or let Goolets recommend and hire local people. If using provided catering, it’s recommended to voice preferences in advance and request a personalised menu.
In fact, flexibility is one of the perks to chartering Ohana. The experience may not be as formal as other superyachts – those seeking silver service may find other yachts more suitable – but for families or groups that desire a fun-filled holiday at sea, or for those new to chartering, this is great option at a reasonable price.
Bookings are now open for Ohana’s 2024 charter season at goolets.net