Renting a yacht

Cruising on a yacht on Lake Michigan is cheaper than you think.

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

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Photograph: Nick Murway

Yacht cruise on the lake with SunSea Yacht Charters

Yachting You see those amazing yachts docked in Chicago’s harbors, with painfully punny names like Yachts of Fun, and you wonder: Will I ever have the funds to sing the Lonely Island song “I’m on a Boat” while literally being on one of those boats? If you rent a yacht, which isn’t as expensive as you’d think, your dreams of high-seas high living can come true. While T-Pain might not be so impressed with the SunSea (pictured), a 60-foot yacht that can accommodate up to 49 people (the boat has seen better days), you’ll still feel as if you’re part of the moneyed set as you loll in the sun on the fly bridge, stretch out on the couches on the bow or retire to the large living room, complete with six-stool bar. (The boat also has three bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and four state rooms.) Leaving from the ship’s slip in Burnham Harbor, we took a test-run hourlong evening cruise and headed north, passing Buckingham Fountain and the Loop skyscrapers and turning around at the lighthouse near Navy Pier, slowing at various points to take in the stunning view of the sun slipping behind the buildings.

So, how much does this all cost? Let’s start with alcohol: No outside booze is allowed, so if you want to drink you must pay for a package, the cheapest of which is $14 per person for up to three hours and includes unlimited beer, wine and soda. If you get booze, you’re required to get catering (or pay a $200 opt-out fee), and the cheapest option is a cheese basket for $4.50 per person. Pricing this out for a three-hour cruise with ten people, including the per-hour fee of $275, the cheapest booze and food packages and other fees, you’re looking at $116 per person before tax and 15 percent gratuity. For 20 people with the same food and drink packages, it’s a more reasonable $75 per person. So, the more friends you bring, the cheaper it is…and the louder you can collectively scream “I’m on a boat, bitch!” SunSea Yacht Charters (708-482-4709).

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