How a week’s rental in Croatia changed my life
Last year, I hit the road with seven of my best friends for a summer adventure in Europe, and I felt like being more adventurous than usual. It was our first time together after the pandemic and being together on vacation again was really special. For me, there was only one thing that would make this time even more perfect: a boat.
Spending a few days on a boat was the only thing I really wanted to do, and you have to admit, some of my friends weren’t totally on my wavelength. But as soon as we landed on the Croatian coast and saw the bright blue ocean…we all started dreaming about boat life.
The only concern was the expense. Even the one in the group who held her own captain’s license thought it would be too expensive to charter a boat for a week in the Mediterranean (or anywhere for that matter). In a bid to prove them wrong, I took it upon myself to find a solution and naturally started digging around on Google.
What I found was SamBoat, a boat rental platform that really reminded me of Airbnb. The search function was familiar and easy to use, and what surprised me was that there were so many different boats available. My search results brought up everything from jet skis, powerboats, pontoons and sailboats to catamarans and even luxury yachts. There were plenty of filters to help navigate the search results, but given the size of our group, boat knowledge and sailing ability, I had no idea what type of boat would be the best option. for us, so I clicked on ‘help’ section of the SamBoat website.
I decided to call the SamBoat team directly, and by the time I had to drink a coffee, I already had Nicolas, a customer service representative, on the phone offering me recommendations and advice. After telling my friends what Nicolas had told me, we settled on a sailboat. We imagined our captain friend at the helm, shouting orders, and coming up close to the small Croatian islands, where we could swim and spend a lot of time on deck. We found a Bavaria 42 cruiser that ticked all the boxes and was big enough for the seven of us.
Before finding SamBoat, we had already decided on our budget and planned that it would allow us to spend a few days at sea. The search function gave me quotes for different periods, and we couldn’t believe it… we we could have a whole week aboard a Bavaria 42 cruiser for €245 each! We had just paid the same for less time at a fancy hotel in town.
Even though the SamBoat team was very helpful and guided me through the process, I was afraid it was a scam. It was too good to be true ! So you can imagine my relief when we arrived at the marina and the boat was exactly where the booking said it would be, with the owner waiting for us with keys and instructions. The owner was very friendly and the boat looked so nice and comfortable – we were so keen to get out on the water.
One memory I will never forget is our excitement when we first left port. It was the end of the day, the light was dim and the sky was blue and pink. We were living the dream! The next morning was also something special: we woke up on board in the middle of the sea with the harbor in the distance – that feeling of freedom was all we needed from the trip.
We spent the morning jumping in the water, making coffee in the kitchen while deciding which island to head to. For lunch we would go down to a small harbor and find a local restaurant, and sometimes our dinners were just picnics of delicious local food we picked up from a market, enjoyed on deck while watching the sun. go to bed. I remember one afternoon a dirty little guy came by us selling food, and we discovered a music festival nearby, so we quickly bought what we needed and headed off to celebration.
Since these vacations and my charter experience, my way of traveling has changed. Because SamBoat is so affordable, it has made boating a viable option for me – something I never thought would happen. Recently I went to Florida and found SamBoat to be huge there as well, as it is one of the few boat rental platforms that has a presence in both Europe and the United States. Within minutes I had booked my family on a day boat to Miami for an adventure for around $150 for 10 people – with a skipper, drinks and water toys included.
What I like the most about SamBoat is that you can choose the exact period you want the boat for, and if you don’t have your captain’s license there are so many boats that come with their own captains. In Miami it was perfect, because the captain knew the area, could give us advice, tell us the history of the area and show us good restaurants and places to swim.
When I said SamBoat changed my life, it really did! The service was impeccable, and although it looks like a digital platform, there are really friendly humans behind it. I always look forward to the next opportunity to rent a boat, travel and explore the world in a different way. And next year I plan to charter a yacht for a day in Corsica to show my partner the beautiful islands – hopefully with my own captain’s license!
To find out more about SamBoat and how the platform works for rental companies and boat owners, Click here.
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