A great report!
On of the tricks to cruising in the more touristy parts is to be there when the crowds are not.
This is the famous Phi Phi Le where they filmed that Leonardo De Caprio film... the girls all go squishy over it and him
During the day you would see more than 100, probably 200 of those Long Tail boats you see in the background.
But if you arrive LATE, after 4pm, use a free mooring, and depart EARLY before 10am you will have the beach, virtually, to yourself!!!!!! When I say 'virtually' theres a camp ground and attending staff there, but in terms of normal Thailand its empty.
The photo below shows some of the islands a little further north from Phi Phi Le including the Bond island from Dr No... but its changed a lot since 1963 and is unrecognisable.