MV Oktavia : Snorkelers, Families & Kids
Does it really work? You bet.
We have had many kids of all ages on board. The youngest one was little Klara, only nine-months old. She cruised with us for three days. The Thai crew was totally crazy about her. They carried her around and played with her all the time, giving her parent lots of time for diving, snorkeling, swimming, and relaxation.
Dedicated Snorkeling Program
On most liveaboard boats, divers come first and non-divers are often ignored. On Oktavia it's different. Because of her family program, she has a separate non-diver or snorkeling program which means while the divers are diving, the snorkelers are taken by their own guide in their own dinghy to great snorkeling sites or to the beach for snorkeling or swimming depending on the location. Most other boats do snorkeling between dives, but since on these itineraries we often move the liveaboard between dives, snorkelers often feel left out of onboard activities. Oktavia has a great snorkeling program so for families with non-diving spouses or kids, this is a perfect boat for you.
Safety & Comfort
Naturally, on board a boat, kids–depending on their ages–need extra supervision as well as specific consideration. On board MV Oktavia there are life jackets for children in kid's sizes. We recommend that kids use these also while swimming and snorkeling, as the life jackets help them stay afloat and have a bright orange color making them highly visible even from a distance.
Thailand's climate is warm and sunny! Kids, being a bit more sensitive to the sun, must use more sunscreen. Apply the lotion several times a day, as swimming wears it off. Making kids wear T-shirts, hats and sunglasses is recommended. Being in a tropical climate also means that you need to drink more water. On board MV Oktavia everyone including the kids receives their own refillable water bottle.
As all parents are painfully aware, kids can sometimes be a bit fussy about the food. But this is usually less of a problem on the boat. At each meal we serve three or four different dishes, and kids can always find something they like. If not, we'll fix something up! And, don't forget, playing and swimming all day make most kids very hungry; as they say in Swedish, "hunger is the best spice". In between meals, toast, fresh fruits, and snacks are always available.
What about seasickness? Normally, kids don't get affected too much. And the best way to avoid seasickness is to treat it before it happens by staying hydrated and making sure you don't wait too long in-between meals. We also have pills on board, should nothing else work.
The thing people don't usually understand about our weather conditions here is that in Thailand during the diving season, we rarely if ever have a ground swell in the ocean. The only time we really have waves if it's windy and it rarely gets very windy. At night we anchor in calm bays and underway, seasickness is rarely an issue.
Activities & Entertainment
There are plenty of things to do for kids during a liveaboard cruise with MV Oktavia. The obvious activities are swimming, snorkeling (yes, we have snorkeling equipment in kids' sizes), and island excursions to play on the beach, walk nature trails, or do a treasure hunt. On board we have various games and board games as well as a computer packed with music and movies. If you really want to be on the safe side, bring the kids' favorite toys–even electric ones. We provide 220 volts electricity 24 hours each day.
The slightly older kids are often a bit more "independent" and need a little more "space". Luckily, MV Oktavia is a big boat with lots of room and places for girls or boys talk! There is always adult supervision on board as well as our boat crew, dive staff and non-diving staff are separate.
On MV Oktavia there are different options with regards to how to accommodate family members. One option is a triple berth cabin (double bed with a single bed above) for the three-person family wishing to stay in the same cabin. A family comprised of two parents and two kids may want a separate double bed cabin for the parents and a next-door bunk bed cabin for the kids. The master cabins are big enough and futons can be used for kids sleeping.
Infants below three years of age are welcome to come along for free. If booking a shorter two or three-day trips, our speed boat company does charge per child as well as adults, but on five days there is no extra charge for transfers.