Popular Maldives Liveaboards
Liveaboard Diving in Maldives
Liveaboard scuba diving in the Maldives offers divers some of the best and most pristine and colourful reefs on the planet. With many luxury dive boats to choose from, you can fulfil your bucket list diving in the Maldives.
Whether it’s to dive amongst coral gardens in clear waters, swim through channels, experience pinnacles that rise up from the deep and explore wrecks, The Maldives has it all.
The best way to experience diving in the Maldives is by liveaboard, which can go where the day boats can’t always reach, and arrive at dive sites before anyone else gets there first thing in the morning. You’ll sail by deserted white sand islands that just show through the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean that surrounds The Maldives.
Maldives liveaboards offer itineraries to experience dive sites that include North Male Atoll, Ari Atoll, Baa Atoll, Hanifaru Bay, Rasdhoo. And on some itineraries you can explore the remote atolls in the far north or south of The Maldives where you may not even see another liveaboard for the whole trip.
One of the most popular dives sites is Ari Atoll, where you’ll experience submerged pinnacles. It is these pinnacles that attract big marine life like manta rays, pelagic fish and if you’re lucky you many even spot hammerheads too at Rasdhoo Atoll to the northeast.
Ari Atoll is 40 km long and is made up of around 105 small islands. The most popular dive sites include Maaya Thila, which is overflowing with reef life, Donkalo Thila, which is one of many manta cleaning stations. Both of these dive sites are only accessible to liveaboards.
Ari Atoll is also one of the best dive sites in The Maldives for whale sharks and manta rays. But be aware you will need to be an experienced diver to be able to navigate the strong currents, which is what brings these giants of the ocean to Ari Atoll.
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. For example, if you want to see these Maldives liveaboards in “Liveaboard Departure Port” order, use this column to sort the list.
|Discover Liveaboard||Customer Review (Max 10)||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Nitrox|
|Review Link: MV Scubaspa Yang; Booking Link: MV Scubaspa Yang||9.6||87%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Emperor Explorer; Booking Link: MV Emperor Explorer||9.6||63%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Theia; Booking Link: MV Theia||9.5||85%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MY Princess Dhonkamana; Booking Link: MY Princess Dhonkamana||9.5||79%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Scubaspa Ying; Booking Link: MV Scubaspa Ying||9.4||87%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Sachika; Booking Link: MV Sachika||9.4||83%||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Emperor Serenity; Booking Link: MV Emperor Serenity||9.4||60%||YES||YES|
The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link. This is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating 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 review score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer review score, where each customer rates the hotel out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer review rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, 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. The same applies to liveaboards, as different liveaboard features are more important to each person. The higher the SDE Lux Rating, the more features the liveaboard has. This rating is broken down into more detail on the individual liveaboard review page.
Maldives Liveaboard Dive Sites
Ari Atoll Diving
Diving itineraries to Ari Atoll on Maldives liveaboards range from 7 to 12 nights. The best time to dive in Ari Atoll December to May, which is the calm season.
Water temperatures fluctuate between 26°-29°C (78.8°-84.2°F) around Ari Atoll. Visibility is generally good and ranges from 15-20 meters (49-66 feet). Ari Atoll liveaboards depart from Male, which can accessible via a short flight from Singapore, Dubai, and Colombo, as well as longer flights worldwide.
Dive itineraries around Ari Atoll include North and South Male Atolls, which include Rasdhoo Atoll and Baa Atoll and most Ari Atoll liveaboard itineraries include both dive sites.
Baa Atoll Diving
Most of The Maldives liveaboard dive cruises to Baa Atoll range from 7 to 10 nights. The dives sites around Baa Atoll can be visited year-round, but you may be cautious to dive there during the southwest monsoon from May to November if you get seasick on a liveaboard, as the seas can be choppy.
Baa Atoll water temperature range from 27°-30°C (80.6°-86°F). Many liveaboards which include diving itineraries to Baa Atoll depart from Male.
At Baa Atoll you can enjoy dive sites such as Maavaru Kandu, Dhonfanu Thila, Dhigali Haa and Hanifaru Bay.
It is at Hanifaru Bay dive site where you’ll enjoy manta rays and whale sharks congregating during the plankton-rich months from August through November. These dives can generally be enjoyed by beginner divers, as the currents there are moderate.
Nilandhe Atoll Diving
Nilandhe Atoll is on the western side of the Maldives and is part of the Southern Atolls. Nilandhe Atoll is a popular destination for liveaboard diving because of its reputation for large schools of fish, spotting reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, and the beautiful spotted eagle rays.
Nilandhe Atoll actually includes two atolls, where the southern atoll is teeming with marine life. The marine life experienced here includes grey reef sharks, schools of fusiliers, snappers, sweetlips, tuna, turtles, and mantas.
Best time to dive The Maldives
The best time to dive in the Maldives is year-round. But having said that, there are two seasons in The Maldives, and some people prefer to avoid monsoon season from April to October.
The monsoon season in The Maldives means it will rain more often. But if you want to enjoy manta rays and whale sharks, it is in the monsoon season when you are more likely to see them congregating from August through November.
I hope you enjoyed this article about Maldives liveaboard diving
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 Maldives liveaboard diving), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!