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Maldives MV Emperor Atoll Review (Superb Liveaboard Diving On a Budget)

Emperor Atoll Maldives review - Superb liveaboard diving on a budget trip
MV Emperor Atoll Maldives review – Superb liveaboard diving on a budget trip – Image courtesy of
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The MV Emperor Atoll is a superb budget scuba diving liveaboard in the Maldives

The MV Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard scores highly on all the reviews. This 26 metre (85 feet) liveaboard boat is suitable for up to 12 guests. This article is about the Emperor Atoll liveaboard, and throughout the article, I will drop in real reviews from guests who’ve dived in the Maldives from this liveaboard dive boat, which has been rate superb and Exceptional by most guests who reviewed her!

Maldives MV Emperor Atoll review: A review of the MV Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard reveals a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, 9.2 out of 10 and superb. Customer comments include: Fantastic trip and diving; Amazing liveaboard; EPIC – Swimming with a whaleshark; Ridiculous amounts of turtles; Ultra clear deep water; Excellent dives – saw many sharks.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

The best way to dive the Maldives is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on Maldives liveaboards using the following window:

Emperor Atoll Maldives diving and what you’ll see

Emperor Atoll Maldives diving and what you'll see

Maldives liveaboards (which includes the Emperor Atoll liveaboard) offer itineraries that visit top dive sites of North Male Atoll to see grey reef sharks and eagle rays, Ari Atoll to witness manta cleaning stations (including a night dive) and whale sharks, and Rasdhoo Atoll to see hammerhead sharks.

No minimum dives, but drift diving experience is recommended

There’s no minimum number of dives required on this liveaboard boat. However, you should be comfortable with drift dives, as currents can be strong on certain dives from the Indian Monsoon current.

To avoid disappointment and to be able to dive all dives on the trip, you are better to get more experience and progress further than just a beginner scuba diver. Otherwise inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging.

As a result you may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for your diving experience. You don’t want that after booking your trip of a life time!

More Reading: Liveaboard Diving For Beginners (10 Top Liveaboard Destinations)

Deep diver training is advisable – Emperor Atoll Maldives qualifications for divers

On some dives on the trip the depth will be deeper than 18 metres (60 feet). Therefore Advanced Open Water or Deep Diver training is advised.

Once again, you don’t want to book onto this superb scuba diving trip on the Emperor Atoll liveaboard, only to be told you can’t do some of the dives, because they’re too deep!

Here’s a short list of the animals to expect when you scuba dive the Maldives:
  • Sea turtles, including the green turtle, leatherbacks and hawksbill turtles.
  • Whale sharks.
  • Hammerhead sharks – particularly in the Rasdhoo Atoll.
  • Reef sharks, including grey reef, whitetips and blacktips.
  • Nurse sharks.
  • Spotted leopard sharks.
  • Manta rays.
  • Sting rays.
  • Eagle rays.
  • Plentiful coral fish and marine life.
  • Dolphins, including Bottlenose, Risso’s, Fraser’s and Spinner dolphins.
  • Whales, including Dwarf sperm whales, False Killer whale, Deraniyagalas whale, pilot whale and blue whales.
  • Moray eels.
  • Tiger sharks – particularly around Fuvahmulah Atoll.
  • Humphead parrotfish.
  • Humphead wrasse.
  • Trigger fish.

More Reading: Are there tiger sharks in Maldives? (Liveaboards with tiger shark tours) search Maldives-scroll

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from Singapore – 9.6 out of 10, Exceptional, 5 stars out of 5

Amazing liveaboard – fun, safe and professional

Small group (max 12 guests); feels more cozy. Amazing dive organisation and food every day. Loved my trip and wished it was longer.”

Recommended for: Diving, Food, Organisation

Eva W from, Singapore

M/V Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard features

M/V Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard features
M/V Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard features – image courtesy of

The first feature to mention about the Emperor Atoll liveaboard is the free on-board Nitrox. There is also on-board paid-for internet for those of you who must have an internet connection when you’re on holiday.

Here are more features of the Emperor Atoll Liveaboard

  • The Emperor Atoll liveaboard is designed for up to 12 guests.
  • This liveaboard dive boat has 6 either twin or double cabins. So it’s suitable for traveling friends who want to share a cabin or for diving couples.
  • All cabins are air conditioned.
  • All cabins have en-suite facilities.
  • The main deck offers a comfortable salon with a spacious seating area and a 38” LCD flat screen TV.
  • There is a large, partially shaded sun deck with comfortable sun loungers and a large swim platform.
  • The M/V Emperor Atoll is fully licensed to sell soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits.
  • The food is renowned for its excellent quality serving local and European dishes.
  • Dive sites are reached direct from the boat or by an accompanying dhoni.
  • Non-Diver (Snorkeler) Friendly.
  • Available for Charter.
Diving features include:

The following additional features help to make your diving better:

  • Shaded Diving Area.
  • Nitrox available.
  • DIN Adaptors.
  • Rinse Hoses.
  • Sidemount Diving.
  • Tenders for diving.
  • There is diving gear available for rent on this boat.

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from UK – 10 out of 10, Exceptional, 5 stars out of 5


Swimming with a whaleshark, the manta cleaning stations, night dives with nurse sharks, ridiculous amounts of turtles, rays, sharks and everything. 10 out of 10. Emperor guides (Thomas and Rauf) know the dive sites inside out, awesome trip!

Recommended for: Diving, guides, food

Sebastian D, United Kingdom

More Reading: Is legit? ( reviews)

When is the best time to dive the Maldives

It’s possible to dive the Maldives all year round. But like all dive destinations there are some times that are better than others.

The wet season in the Maldives runs from May to August each year. During this time the water visibility reduces due to land run-off, but the diving is still good. During this time you usually get heavy short outbursts of rain followed by sunshine.

The best visibility and for the dry weather is from December to March.

Whale shark season in the Maldives

If you’re a fan of whale sharks, but I guess all divers are, these are year-round residents of the Maldives.

The whale sharks tend to congregate more on the western side of the Indian Ocean archipelago between May to December. But then they move eastward until April.

Let’s take a look at another of the Emperor Atoll Maldives liveaboard reviews…

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from USA – 10 out of 10, Exceptional, 5 stars out of 5

Amazing Diving and Small Group made a GREAT experience!!

The 2 night dives were excellent! The dive guides were very attentive in their explanations and making sure everyone was set for each dive. The food was INCREDIBLE! The dive sites offered a great variety and the small passenger count made it great to get to know everyone.”

Recommended for: Crew/Dive Guides, Food, and the small group sizes

Kristina A, United States

Emperor Atoll in the Maldives – Sharktastic Youtube video

Take a look at this video taken from Youtube of the Emperor Atoll in the Maldives; described as Sharktastic! Not the best visibility on the dives in the video, but the sea life is fantastic, with sharks and mantas! But no whale sharks (but see video below).

Emperor Atoll in the Maldives – Sharktastic

Liveabord MV Emperor Atoll – The Maldives

This second video sees more amazing Maldives diving, but more importantly the majestic whale sharks!

Liveaboard MV Emperor Atoll – The Maldives
Liveaboard trip on the MV Emperor Atoll i nov-dec. Filmed with a GoPro Hero3, with flip filters from Backscatter and lights from I-torch (Venom 38). Encounters with Manta Rays, whale shark, turtles, nurse sharks, reef sharks and a lot more. Filmed and edited by Vidar Skålevik. Music by Karl Jenkins – Adiemus.

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from Australia – 9.6 out of 9.2, Superb, 4.5 stars out of 5

Great week of drift diving and big fish!

Fast paced drift diving and ultra clear deep water. Sharks and Mantas up close. Plenty of deep diving!”

Recommended for: Drift diving, channel diving, excellent vis.

James D, Australia

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from Singapore – 9.6 out of 10, Exceptional, 5 stars out of 5

Excellent dive sites for big stuffs

Excellent dives – saw many sharks (white tip, silver tip, grey reef, nursing), close contact with manta rays and eagle rays, octopus dancing and mating, swam among the fishes and you smell like a fish after some dives. Good boat – small but practical, good air con control, enough space for luggages Friendly crews and guides – professional, supporting all dives, good food provided Cons – can increase dives from 17 to 20 easily, soft drinks not included.”

Recommended for: Excellent dives; Friendly crews and guides; Good food and boat.

Ngung Chia S, Singapore

Top dive sites of the Maldives from the Emperor Atoll Liveaboard

Top dive sites of the Maldives from the Emperor Atoll Liveaboard

Scuba divers around Ari Atoll visit for its submerged volcano-shaped pinnacles. It’s these huge pinnacles combined with the currents in the area that attract enormous numbers of big marine life.

Diving around the Ari Atoll dove site (which includes Rasdhoo Atoll to the northeast) can bring you face to face with manta rays, pelagic fish, and even hammerhead sharks.

Other dive sites around Ari Atoll include:

  • Maaya Thila, which is simply overflowing with reef life.
  • Donkalo Thila, which is one of the multiple manta cleaning stations and is only accessible to liveaboards.
  • Ari Atoll offers the most dependable Maldives dive sites for whale sharks and manta rays.
  • Only experienced divers are suitable for the dives around Ari Atoll due to the strong currents. Which of course is what brings the giants!

Let’s finish off with one last Emperor Atoll Maldives review from Anita in Australia…

Emperor Atoll Maldives review from Australia – 9.2 out of 10, Superb, 4.5 stars out of 5

Fantastic trip and diving – Pelagic Magic

The manta night dive/snorkel was magical as the mantas attracted by the lights at the end of the boat were barrel rolling. We were lucky enough to snorkel with a juvenile male whale shark and saw 3 more species of sharks, white tip, black tip and grey reef and dived a shark cleaning station. Morays galore on the first dive. The crew and food was fantastic. So are the ensuite cabins. Such a good atmosphere on a small boat with a max of 12 people. The crew goes out of their way to make your stay comfortable. Sunset Beach BBQ was well organised and the food was excellent. The only downside was that there are only 2 dive guides for 12 divers and there was very little interaction between guides and divers. I can highly recommend this liveaboard and itinerary.”

Recommended for: Diving, food and boat.

Anita F, Australia

Emperor Atoll Maldives booking a trip online

On the Emperor Atoll Maldives booking a trip is easy. You can do this by visiting and select your dates to visit this beautiful place in the Indian Ocean. Online booking is easy on the website…how exciting!

Table of Maldives liveaboards

This list of Maldives liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.

Sort by:
Total Records Found: 53, showing 10 per page
Discover LiveaboardCustomer RatingSDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingDive CoursesDietary RequirementsNitroxGear Rental
Review: MV Scubaspa Yang; Book: MV Scubaspa Yang 9.6 87% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Emperor Explorer; Book: MV Emperor Explorer 9.6 63% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Theia; Book: MV Theia 9.5 85% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MY Princess Dhonkamana; Book: MY Princess Dhonkamana 9.5 79% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Scubaspa Ying; Book: MV Scubaspa Ying 9.4 87% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Sachika; Book: MV Sachika 9.4 83% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Emperor Serenity; Book: MV Emperor Serenity 9.4 60% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Soleil 2; Book: MV Soleil 2 9.3 96% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Emperor Atoll; Book: MV Emperor Atoll 9.3 77% YES YES YES YES YES
Review: MV Azalea; Book: MV Azalea 9.3 77% NO YES YES YES YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.

Think about it like using when searching for the best hotel. also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.

I hope you enjoyed this article about Emperor Atoll Maldives review

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Emperor Atoll Maldives review), please comment below with your questions.

Maldives MV Emperor Atoll Review (Superb Liveaboard Diving On a Budget)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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