Life’s a Beach
Girls just want to have fun — on and off the islands of the Andaman Sea.
By Heidi Sarna
My last girls’ cruise was nearly a decade ago around the gorgeous islands of French Polynesia — two of my besties from college and I in one cozy 130-square-foot cabin aboard Star Clippers’ 170-passenger Star Flyer.
Fast-forward to spring 2017 and I set up a similar trip with two other dear pals — Beth, Sheila, and I would sail aboard Star Clipper, identical twin to Star Flyer, this time round-trip out of Phuket, Thailand, for a beach-focused week full of snorkeling, diving, and watersports. But the star of this cruise was the scenery.
Scenes from the Ship
Beth and Sheila managed to extricate themselves from their busy careers and make the long-haul schlep from the East Coast of the United States all the way to Singapore, where I live, and then take a short flight north to Phuket. After one night in the pretty Amari Phuket hotel along Patong Beach, just minutes from the docks, we were aboard Star Clipper unpacking our bags in our snug cabin, managing to stow all of our stuff in the surprisingly ample storage space — well almost everything. One of us (who shall remain nameless) was a bit of an over-packer and her sleeping bag and special pillow didn’t fit into any of the drawers. Meanwhile, the anal-retentive member of our trio (whose name starts with H) was focused on figuring out how to keep our bath towels from mingling (wrap a pink hair band around one corner!). Before long, friend Number 3’s voice rose above the din: Let’s get a drink!
A precursor to our daily pre- or post-dinner routine, we got our libations from the Tropical Bar, the ship’s hub, and then went to the top deck to watch the sailors deftly maneuver coils of rope and winches to unfurl the sails that would help get us under way (along with engine power when needed) on our 533 nautical-mile voyage around the Andaman Sea, where everywhere we looked, gorgeous ancient rock formations popped out of the water like mushrooms.
As the sails inched up, the stirring and solemn theme song from the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise was broadcast to set the mood of days long ago when tall, fast ships ruled the waves. Nearly every….
Photo: Anna Berkut/Alamy Stock Photo