MV Smiling Seahorse Overview
MV Smiling Seahorse is a brand-new boat for November 2018. It is purpose designed & built for comfortable & enjoyable scuba diving liveaboard cruises at the best dive sites of Thailand or into Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. MV Smiling Seahorse is replacing the hugely popular MV Thai Sea that has served the team so well in the past years. The new boat is larger, but takes the same number of guests. Therefore there’s more space for everyone. In addition, all the cabins on the new boat are air conditioned, and most have private bathrooms. And finally, the steel hull is better than a wooden hull in cruising through any waves.
At 25 metres in length and with a width of 6.5 metres, MV Smiling Seahorse is easily big enough for up to 16 lucky guests to relax on. Also, the purpose-built design means that everything is in the right place for scuba diving liveaboard cruises. This is not a converted fishing boat, like some others. Starting at the top deck, MV Smiling Seahorse has a large sundeck that is partially covered and partially shaded. This makes it perfect for enjoying the view without getting sunburnt, or for topping up your tan. It’s also the best place to star gaze at night or enjoy the romantic atmosphere.
On the boat’s upper deck there are three guest cabins and the main dining & socialising area. The three guest cabins are ‘Superior Cabins’ which have air conditioning, and doors which open out onto deck, meaning that you are welcomed by a wonderful view in the morning and do not have to walk along a narrow corridor like on other boats. These cabins can be set up as a double bed or two single beds, meaning that they’re ideal for couples, for friends or two solo guests. At the rear of this upper deck is where delicious meals are enjoyed and dive briefings held. There are several tables with ample seating, and there’s a bar area and large flat-screen TV. This is an outdoor area, but it can be covered with tarpaulin walls if the weather gets bad.
The main deck of MV Smiling Seahorse has four Deluxe Cabins & two Master Cabins. All of these have air-conditioning and private en suite bathrooms. The Master Cabins are larger and located at the front of the boat. They have large double beds. The Deluxe Cabins have double/single beds like the Superior Cabins. All of them have doors which open out onto the deck, which gives more privacy, convenience and a better view. Behind the cabins is the kitchen, where the team make plenty of delicious food to make sure that everyone enjoys the cruises with a full stomach. The food served on MV Smiling Seahorse is a blend of local Asian food and Western meals, such as their very popular barbecue nights. If you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or have any other special dietary needs, the team will ensure that you don’t miss out on great food, but please let us know in advance. Next to the kitchen is the photography room. This is becoming more important on scuba diving liveaboards, and this was an important design feature. Here, diving photographers can charge, clean or service cameras and other photo or video equipment. Also on the main deck are two communal bathrooms used by Superior Cabin guests, and a large and well-designed dive deck. There is plenty of space for all the tanks & equipment. The compressor and other ancillary machinery are new and located to ensure the best performance and least inconvenience.
The lower deck of MV Smiling Seahorse is where the crew sleep, and where the new large engines do their work. Due to the distances covered into Myanmar, the new boat has larger engines than MV Thai Sea, meaning that even more adventurous diving cruises can be enjoyed than before.
There are several trip itineraries to choose from on MV Smiling Seahorse, but you need to book early because they sell out quickly. All trips leave from and return to Ranong, in southern Thailand near the Myanmar border. There are usually around seven trips per season that stay in Thailand. These are 4 Day 3 Night and have 11 dives. Then the rest of the season is spent exploring Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. The 6 Day 5 Night trips offer 17 dives all in Myanmar. Then the best trips are 8 days & 7 nights, and some go as far north as Tower Rock. It’s almost guaranteed that on most days of the trips in Mergui you will be on the only scuba diving liveaboard for miles!