SINGAPORE - Looking for a different kind of staycation? On a "sailcation", you get to relax with the fresh sea breeze and enjoy a constant change of scenery.
Home-grown tour agency EU Holidays offers packages to the Southern Islands, which are operated by sailing company Discover Sailing Asia.
So many staycays, so little time. What makes this special?
Unlike a regular hotel, there is no need to specify that you want a room with a sea view.
For those who want something more private, this is just the ticket as the Oceanis 45 has three cabins and, due to the pandemic, capacity is now capped at five guests.
The 45ft (13.94m) yacht does not seem particularly big but in addition to the air-conditioned cabins, there is room for a kitchen and dining area below deck.
I am impressed when I learn that Discover Sailing Asia's original plan was to sail from Phuket to Okinawa in this vessel. Grounded in Singapore en route because of Covid-19, the company decided to try something new.
EU Holidays started offering sailcation packages in October and, due to strong demand, it decided to charter three yachts from November.
Rain and lightning chase us as we depart from One°15 Marina Sentosa Cove at around 3pm on a Thursday afternoon. Thankfully, the weather clears up.
Is there a spa?
I lie back and let the ebb and flow of the water lull me into a pleasant reverie. I am on a small stretch of beach on Lazarus Island and there is no one else around.
Nothing like a natural spa on a secluded beach for a taste of the exclusive life.
There is even a giant water bed of sorts. At night, in the cosy cabin, the sea gently rocks me to sleep.
What else is there to do?
I do a spot of kayaking in a light and inflatable craft. Paddle boarding is also an option.
Or you can take a dinghy, which trails along behind the yacht, to Kusu Island for a bit of exploring. Just do whatever floats your boat.
After we drop anchor off Lazarus Island in the early evening, I wander over to the crescent-shaped Lazarus Beach, calm and quiet after the day-trippers have gone.
Why sleep in when you can get an early start to the day?
Sunset and sunrise are some of the best reasons to do a sailcation.
If the weather holds, you can have Lazarus Beach streaked in hues of gold pretty much to yourself before the first public ferry arrives.
Verdict: Bliss or miss?
If you are looking to get away from it all, or if the sea makes you happy, then hop right on board.
It would be an even sweeter deal if the bento dinner could be improved upon. As it is, the only thing of note is the bubbly prosecco wine.
If you are splurging anyway, you might want to consider topping up for a four-course meal by a private chef (an additional $388 per person); or the Singapore Airlines Business Class four-course meal with overnight cruise package ($798 per person, two to go).
2D1N Southern Islands sailcation
Where: Set sail from, and return to, One°15 Marina Sentosa Cove (11 Cove Drive, 01-01, Sentosa Cove)
Rates: The two-day, one-night Southern Islands cruise which I experienced is priced from $288 (inclusive of GST) a person (based on five guests) from January. The December slots are booked out. Sailcations of shorter and longer durations are available.
Hot tip: Ask to have a turn behind the steering wheel and feel like the captain of the vessel. Also, even if you do not get seasick on the boat, you might feel as though as you are bobbing on water after returning to shore at around 10am the following day. Give yourself about a day to recover.
• This staycation was hosted by EU Holidays and Discover Sailing Asia and is part of a weekly series. For more staycation reviews, go to str.sg/SuiteLife.