Hi actually you can find their website on www.divamarine.com
I went on their liveaboard and had such a bliss!!
The staff were wonderful, the quality of service and food was like no other.
I got treated like a king, and it made me feel like a million dollars!
All cabins had en-suite, DVD player so when I was tired I can just stay in my room and have a quiet night.
Or have dinner on the roof deck...
The diving was incredible. They are very flexible with our requests.
You can also get loads of info using the search box.
This is not supposed to be a sales forum for plugging new ventures!
Welcome to the Khao Lak Forum. Great way to make your first post!!! TripAdvisor guidelines prevent Self Advertising and Promotion. This is neither unless you know something I don't!
If you care to read the original post it carries a link to a previous topic about this tour on the Similan Islands Forum which, if you are familiar with Khao Lak at all, you will know is one of the most popular tour destinations. This was intended to bring it to the attention of visitors as an alternative to the "run of the mill" tours that are on offer. If you care also to go through previous topics and posts not only on this forum, Phuket Forum for instance, you will find that there are many links to things to do in and around the destinations that are new or novel or interesting and that may appeal to visitors.
I have been extraordinarily remiss in not filing this review (most of which was written only about 3-4 weeks after this trip was taken 11 months ago), but, hey, all I can say is, my job keeps me busy. And, to be fair, I did inquire with TripAdvisor months ago about creating a listing on the site for this stellar “property” – and was puzzled and disappointed when they matter-of-factly declined my request without explanation. One would think they’d be interested in making it easier for their users to find special travel experiences such as this one, but such thinking apparently is wrong. In any event, today I actually got a little time off from work, so here, finally, is this well-earned review of the “liveaboard” Sailing Yacht S/Y Diva Andaman, operating out of the port in the Bay of Chalong.
My wife and I (based in South Carolina) and another couple, long-time friends of ours based in California, spent 5 days aboard the Diva Andaman in early January 2012 sailing about the southern Andaman Sea, and had a fabulous time. We're fortunate to be able to enjoy, and thus we usually seek, luxury accommodations, and we’re mostly landlubbers (though we do enjoy the typical megaship cruise), so pursuing this sort of thing was a bit adventurous for us, but the information available on-line made it seem too beautiful an experience not to build it into a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Thailand we were planning.
Actually, the adventure started with just trying to book the cruise. We had a number of problems with the Thai-based credit card processor who apparently was not used to processing large charges against foreign-based cards, but the Diva’s co-owner and manager, Yannick Mazy, was very responsive and applied pressure from his end to help quickly resolve the problems. Yannick subsequently continued to prove, over and over again, his commitment to his customers as we sought his advice regarding other aspects of our vacation which intersected with the cruise. His understanding and tolerance of our “stranger in a strange land” concerns was consistently reassuring.
Right on schedule, his limo service picked us up at our Phuket hotel (the Cape Panwa Hotel, another venue we can highly recommend, excellent accommodations and service, including kindly allowing us to leave our rental car there for the duration of the sailing), but our expectations that this was going to be a “different” cruising experience began when we were met at the port by a couple of the crew, who took our luggage and led us not to the dock but rather to the beach, where we took off our shoes and waded through a bit of surf into a rubber dinghy which then motored us out to the Diva, anchored well out in the shallow bay. (Its draught, as we learned, is too deep to be accommodated at any of the bay’s docks.)
First impressions were magnificent: from approach in the dinghy to the moment of boarding (at which point you’re offered cold towels and drinks), this thoroughly wooden but very clean and well maintained ship is everything you can see in the pictures, and more. And the staff, to a man (and woman), are exceedingly gracious and accommodating. Whether it’s part of Thai culture or a result of training or both, the quality of service from all the staff was nothing short of continuously exceptional for the entire duration of the experience. Kudos!
The cabins, of course, were far from a Royal Caribbean penthouse suite, but they were quite adequate. All below deck, they were reasonably well air-conditioned, equipped with a queen bed with a serviceable mattress (honestly, you’ll be so tired at the end of each day you could probably sleep on the wooden floor), a small bedside desk, a TV for DVD playback (not that one would expect to make much use of it on a cruise like this), lighting and power at the desk, and a small closet with a safe. A sliding wooden door separated the bedroom from a small marine bathroom whose design was a novelty to us landlubbers: two semi-separated compartments, one containing both a sink and a shower head over the sink, the other with a low-flow marine toilet. Again, not the Royal Caribbean penthouse suite, but manageable for 5 days.
The boat was fully booked for our trip, and the dinghy had to make another two or three trips to the beach to ferry all the passengers. Around 5pm the crew pursued their usual firecracker ritual auguring for a good cruise, and then we weighed anchor and motored south and east out of the bay (and about half an hour later enjoyed seeing our hotel in the distance from a vantage point we had never expected!). Everybody enjoyed the sunset, lounging about on the main deck or the upper deck. After we weighed anchor off Koh Lai, the crew inquired of each of us where we wanted to take dinner (upper or main deck, or at the large dining table adjoining the covered kitchen area on the main deck). Our foursome took most of our meals on the moonlit upper deck, and between the incomparable views and the consistently outstanding food (some of which was caught fresh off the side of the boat each day!), we just could not have had a better gastronomic experience at breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Again, kudos! (To be fair, one of our party did develop some gastrointestinal difficulties about midway into the cruise, but it was never clear what the source was, as she was the only one.)
After breakfast the next morning, we motored by dinghy to the Koh and spent the first half of the day there. While lunching back on the Diva, we motored to Koh Phi. Honestly – and I know this is going to make me sound the bumbling tourist I am – at this point, seven months past the trip, I can’t remember the particular details of one day or the next. What I recall is day after day of sailing through pristine waters, exploring lush kohs, and enjoying stunning sunrises and sunsets, incomparable meals, and engaging conversation. (Note when I say “sailing” we actually motored most of the way. Yannick did raise the sails at one point on the 3rd or 4th day, and it was a magnificent sight, but the stiff winds soon required reeling them back in.) Our friends, more athletic than us, did quite a bit of kayaking as well. And then there were the passengers who went with the crew’s dive master on day and night scuba dives, and though we enjoyed the remarkable pictures and stories they brought back each time, our foursome agreed that was just not something we wanted to try for the very first time halfway around the planet from home.
All in all, the southern Andaman Sea cruise aboard the S/Y (Sailing Yacht, apparently) Diva Andaman was everything we had imagined it to be. Both luxurious and yet tinged at the same time with just a slight touch of a “rough edge” (primarily with regard to the bathrooms), it was something quite different from anything we had ever done before, and it was paradise as long as it lasted – though by day 4 the ladies were beginning to yearn for solid ground, as was I, too, by the last evening. (There is, after all, a bit of a tonnage difference between a 150-foot boat and a typical megacruiseship.) As the Diva motored back to Chalong Bay on our last morning, sunrise and breakfast on the upper deck were perhaps appreciated even a bit more than on the prior mornings. While the boat was settling at anchor, miscellaneous accounts were settled, e-mail addresses were exchanged to make sure photo exchanges could follow, and finally we were “dinghied” back to shore right on time and limoed back to the Cape Panwa Hotel (where that property’s excellent service showed again, despite our having checked out days earlier, in their offering to let us shower and freshen up in their spa before beginning the 10-hour drive back to Bangkok, where we had our second chance this trip to enjoy Lebua at State Tower, yet another place we can *highly* recommend for accommodations, service (especially the concierge!), and *all* of the restaurants).
Regrettably, because this review is being filed in TripAdvisor's forums rather than as a "regular" review, I cannot attach photos to better illustrate just how terrific this trip was. If there were a case of a picture being worth a thousand words...
If you have the good fortune to be able to visit Phuket and want to do something fundamentally different than park yourself at a beach hotel for the duration of your stay – if you want an alternative way to experience the beauty of southern Thailand that offers the best travel-magazine-quality scenery and service and food, and all at a reasonable price, to boot – then you must book a cruise on the S/Y Diva Andaman (regardless of whether you’re a diver). Enjoy!
Thanks very much for the great review. I'm sure TA Members will find it very interesting in the future since TA probably classes it as a cruise and cruise reviews are not allowed under their guidelines. You are supposed to put them on their sister company Cruise Critic. Uploading pics to an album in Picasa or Flickr then posting a link would be a great way of enhancing your comments.
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