Thailand’s Super Charter: Ocean Emerald
With Thailand reopening to tourism, Phuket is back on the wish list of holiday-goers and there are few more memorable ways of cruising the area’s coastal delights than on Ocean Emerald, one of Asia’s most iconic resident superyachts.
Words: Chrissie McClatchie. Photos: Camper & Nicholsons.
Designed by Lord Norman Foster, the 41.3m Ocean Emerald had a refit in 2009
A country where natural beauty collides with a rich fabric of cultural influences and a bounty of fresh flavours, Thailand is a traveller’s dream. Here, in the heart of Asia, gentle crystalline waters lap against a shock of pure white sand, framed by lush forests of green that hint at the verdant interiors that await.
It’s a country that promises clear blue skies and the good life, whether that means stripped-back yoga on the beach or five-star fanfare.
As a superyacht destination, Thailand’s appeal has been on the rise for the last decade or more, especially with the investments in infrastructure both the public and private sector have made. It’s hardly a surprise. Along with the natural attractions, easy flight connections from around the globe plus a selection of first-class marinas and other facilities and services are driving this growth.
The sundeck includes a Jacuzzi, sunpads and bar
As we start to dip our toes back into travel, Thailand is emerging as one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region to reopen to visitors. And with the advantages of private yacht holidays in this current climate needing little explanation, the realisation that this slice of tropical paradise is now within reach is welcome news for all.
CAMPER & NICHOLSONS
With her distinctive grey exterior and sweeping, curved superstructure, the 41.3m yacht was designed by Lord Norman Foster and launched by Rodriquez Yachts in 2009, and she’s been revitalised following a 2019 refit. As always, she turns heads wherever she goes.
Ocean Emerald’s superstructure is iconic
With a tremendous amount of interior space compared to many yachts of her size, she can sleep 10 guests comfortably in five luxurious staterooms. Her accommodation is wonderfully versatile.
Most notably, two of the lower-deck double cabins can transform into a second full-beam master suite with his and her bathrooms. Such a configuration is a fantastic value-add for two families wishing to charter together.
Her two spacious saloons both enjoy a powerful connection with the surrounding scenery and plenty of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows. Her interior spaces offer a choice of formal dining options, a bar, games station and an extensive movie library.
The main-deck saloon benefited from the 2019 refit
As dusk falls after sunset aperitifs on the sundeck, the upper saloon can be transformed into ‘party central’ complete with a state-of-the-art lighting system – it’s the perfect venue to dance the night away.
Other attractions include a fully-stocked toy garage, sundeck Jacuzzi surrounded by sunpads, on-deck barbecue, and ample lounging and dining spaces all protected by sunshades. The alfresco life can be enjoyed any time of the day on her characteristic cascading decks.
A seven-day sample itinerary on Ocean Emerald will see you arriving at Phuket Yacht Haven or Ao Po Grand Marina to a warm welcome from the captain and crew, then a cool drink and tour of the yacht as you settle in for departure.
The upper-deck saloon can be adapted for special occasions
Day two will feature memorable cruising through Phang Nga, with its storied landscape of limestone cliffs (karsts), rocks and small beaches.
At anchor off Koh Hong, it’s time to test your kayaking skills as you explore the labyrinth of lagoons while spotting the area’s unique animal life such as fiddler crabs, mudskippers and crab-eating macaques.
In the afternoon, set sail for the Phi Phi Islands, one of the settings that has made this stretch of paradise a star of the silver screen. Away from the crowds, there are plenty of quieter bays to drop anchor for a spot of snorkelling or to find land-based attractions such as caves or sublime viewpoints.
The upper deck also offers alfresco dining
The following day’s destination is Koh Lanta National Park and its wealth of islands, home to dramatic limestone cliffs, winding mangrove rivers and secluded beaches. Together, the sparsely populated Koh Ngai and neighbouring Koh Muk and Koh Kradan form a golden triangle made for island hopping.
On day five, sail to Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai, two remote islands regarded among the most beautiful in southern Thailand – you’ll feel like you’ve escaped from the rest of the world. Both islands have sublime beaches and are a delight to explore by tender or kayak, while the surrounding reef is an explosion of vibrant colours.
Accommodation is headed by a luxurious master suite
Koh Ha, which means ‘Five Islands’ in Thai, is your treat on day six and divers can come face to face with a rich array of marine life in a central lagoon framed by a large sandy bay. Your last night in Thailand will be memorable, whether it’s an intimate beach barbecue arranged by the crew or a louder celebration onboard the yacht before you set sail for Phuket the following morning.
Camper & Nicholsons highlights some of its top superyachts for charter in Asia, as published in Yacht Style’s annual feature in Issue 60.