Maldives liveaboard tipping is entirely discretionary. Which means you don’t need to tip the crew at the end of the dive trip. But despite the low wages earned by the Maldivian staff, the level of service is generally excellent. It is therefore a nice gesture to help the crew on the boat to earn a little extra money.
When you’ve eaten in a restaurant, tipping is generally customary in many countries around the world. This is especially the case in the UK and North America.
But if you’re getting ready for your Maldives liveaboard trip, or if you’re budgeting before you book your trip on a Maldives liveaboard, you might be wondering about how much to tip a liveaboard crew.
So how much do you tip a Maldives liveaboard crew? For Maldives liveaboard tipping budget for 10% of the cost of the dive trip. This will cost between $150 to $300 for a week depending on the liveaboard. How much you tip a Maldives liveaboard crew is your choice and is not expected. But it is customary if you’ve had great service both on the boat and underwater.
Which crew on the Maldives liveaboard should you tip?
When you tip the crew on a Maldives liveaboard you should consider everyone on the boat. The success of your dive trip and how you enjoy it will be contributed to by each and every crew member.
You should therefore tip the liveaboard’s crew as follows:
- The captain: The liveaboard’s captain is responsible for getting you to each dive site safely and on time. Make sure to extend your gratitude with tip for his hard work. Especially when you bear in mind the captain is often steering the boat through the night to the next best dive site!
- Your dive guides and masters: The dive guides and dive master are all about your safety and enjoyment underwater. Make sure you show them your gratitude for a great diving experience.
- Dive tank handlers: The dive tanks need to be filled after each dive so you have a full tank every time you kit-up. So don’t forget these guys as they are key to having a great trip.
- Onboard chefs and catering staff: Eating and drinking on a liveaboard is a key part of the overall enjoyment. If the food is good this adds to the whole experience. SO make sure you include them in your tip.
- Other ancillary staff and the cleaners: For the liveaboard trip to run smoothly, it relies on the other staff on board. This includes cleaners to make sure you have fresh clean towels and bedding. Plus the engineer who makes sure the boat runs smoothly.
Many of the Maldives liveaboards offer a near 1:1 ratio of crew to guests. Some of the liveaboards offer dive trips for 20+ divers. This means there’s a large number of crew who have to share your tip.
If you want to single out a particular crew member for outstanding service you can. But make sure to do this privately. This way you won’t offend the other crew members. Plus you may embarrass the crew member if it’s done in front of his fellow crew.
This might be your first time on a liveaboard, if it is you might also like to read about what to expect on your first liveaboard.
Search for your favourite Maldives Liveaboard:
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.
|Liveaboard main photo||Discover Liveaboard||Customer Review Rating Out of 10||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Dive Courses||Dietary Requirements||Nitrox||Gear Rental|
|Review Link: MV Scubaspa Yang; Booking Link: MV Scubaspa Yang||9.6||85||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Emperor Explorer; Booking Link: MV Emperor Explorer||9.6||63||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Theia; Booking Link: MV Theia||9.5||85||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MY Princess Dhonkamana; Booking Link: MY Princess Dhonkamana||9.5||79||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Scubaspa Ying; Booking Link: MV Scubaspa Ying||9.4||87||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Sachika; Booking Link: MV Sachika||9.4||83||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Emperor Serenity; Booking Link: MV Emperor Serenity||9.4||60||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Soleil 2; Booking Link: MV Soleil 2||9.3||96||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Emperor Atoll; Booking Link: MV Emperor Atoll||9.3||77||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Azalea; Booking Link: 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 Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com 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 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.
How is it best to pay the tip to the crew on your Maldives liveaboard trip?
When you tip the crew on your Maldives liveaboard it’s best to pay this in cash. Cash makes it much easier for the crew to divvy up the money between all the crew members.
You will sometimes be able to pay by credit card. But the crew then have to wait before the charter company pays them. Plus they suffer the credit card charges.
You are best to budget for this in advance of your trip so you take the tipping cash with you.
Does the cost of a Maldives liveaboard include tips?
The cost of a liveaboard doesn’t include the cost of a tip, but it does include the “service” provided by the crew on board. However, this is why a tip is also called a gratuity, as it’s about showing your gratitude for good or great service.
When is it okay not to tip the crew on a Maldives liveaboard?
If you are generally used to tipping because you live in the UK, America or Canada, you should only consider not tipping your Maldivian crew if the service is not up to the standard you would expect or have been used to.
But don’t reduce your tip if you don’t see a particular creature you had hoped to see. For example, if you’re expecting to see Manta Rays or Whale Sharks, but don’t see one or the other or neither creature, this isn’t necessarily the crew’s fault.
What you see underwater is down to nature. The crew will always try their best to find the best dives spots. But spotting specific underwater creatures can never be guaranteed.
You may want to read this article about the best place to dive with whale sharks. You discover that the Maldives is one of the top spots! The article explains the best time of year and where to dive for your best chance to see these giants of the oceans in the Maldives.
Club your tip together with all the other guests on the liveaboard
It’s okay to tip the crew of the liveaboard on your own. But what I’ve done before is to club together with the rest of the guests. This relies on the fact that all guests are happy to tip the crew, as some people don’t tip and certain cultures don’t tip at all.
This is made easier if you’ve chartered the liveaboard as a group, which is what we used as a club. If you know all the other divers beforehand, this makes this easier. But you’ll find you make friends with most, if not every other diver on the boat by the end of the trip.
This way of tipping does rely on one of the guests instigating the collection of the total tip to give to the crew.
But keep in mind that not all countries tip. For example, if you are onboard with Europeans (excluding Brits, as the British tip) you may find they won’t be tipping the crew at the end of the trip.
But on the other hand, if you are on board with guests from North America, you can expect they are used to tipping more than 10%. But only if the service is worthy of the tip.
To conclude about Maldives liveaboard tipping
When you tip the crew of a Maldives liveaboard boat be mindful of how much you paid for the trip. So whether or not you were able to book yourself a deeply discounted charter, you probably didn’t receive a discounted service.
If you are interested, you may want to read this article about the 9 best budget liveaboards in the Maldives. But just because these are classed as the budget end of Maldives liveaboard diving, you still enjoy great luxury too. You’ll see that three out of the 9 have been rated 9+ out of 10!
The level of service in the Maldives is generally excellent, which is no different on a Maldives liveaboard. So it would be nice to reflect this in the tip you give the crew at the end of your trip.
Also, did you know there are tiger sharks in the Maldives! If you would like to dive with a chance to see these beautiful creatures, read this article about are there tiger sharks in the Maldives. The article includes the three best liveaboards to spot tiger sharks., so definitely worth a read.
I hope you enjoyed this article about Maldives liveaboard tipping
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about Maldives liveaboard tipping), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!