If you are looking to scuba dive Raja Ampat, Indonesia and if you want to dive, dive, dive, you can’t go too far wrong by booking yourself on a Raja Ampat diving liveaboard.
Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat: Liveaboard diving in the Raja Ampat offers some of the best scuba diving in the world. Diving and snorkelling from a Raja Ampat liveaboard dive boat is the best way to experience the pristine and colourful reefs and wildlife including magnificent whale sharks, blacktip and whitetip sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and turtles.
The best way to dive Raja Ampat, Indonesia is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on Raja Ampat liveaboards using the following window:
Table of Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat
This list of Raja Ampat liveaboards are 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 (Max 10)||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Dive Courses||Dietary Requirements||Nitrox||Gear Rental|
|Review Link: MV Seaisee; Booking Link: MV Seaisee||10||90%||YES||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: Jakaré; Booking Link: Jakaré||10||81%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: Leyla; Booking Link: Leyla||10||73%||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Review Link: Wisesa; Booking Link: Wisesa||10||71%||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Review Link: Seven Seas; Booking Link: Seven Seas||10||71%||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Blue Manta; Booking Link: MV Blue Manta||9.9||69%||NO||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: Tiare Cruise; Booking Link: Tiare Cruise||9.7||87%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: Mutiara Laut; Booking Link: Mutiara Laut||9.7||85%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: Carpe Diem; Booking Link: Carpe Diem||9.7||69%||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Review Link: MV Gaia Love; Booking Link: MV Gaia Love||9.6||87%||NO||YES||YES||YES||YES|
The column headed “SDE Lux Rating %” is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating which I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. To discover how the rating is calculated for your chosen Raja Ampat liveaboard, click the liveaboard name link in the “Discover Liveaboard” column above (also this is explained in more detail below).
To help you to choose the right diving liveaboard for you, the “Scuba Diving Earth Liveaboard Luxury Rating” (SDE Lux Rating) means you can compare each liveaboard with other liveaboards on a like-for-like basis. This makes choosing the right liveaboard much easier.
The maximum rating for any liveaboard is 100%, and this rating is split between the 6 features listed below:
- Diver benefits: A higher ‘diver benefits‘ score means there are more features specifically for scuba divers. These include onboard nitrox, dive courses, gear rental etc.
- Liveaboard design features: The higher the ‘liveaboard design features‘ score, the more the dive boat has been designed with scuba divers in mind. This includes whether the dive boat was custom built for divers, if it has charging stations, outside showers etc.
- Cabin luxury: A high score in ‘cabin luxury‘ means the cabins on the liveaboard offer better features. These might include ensuite cabins, air-conditioning, daily housekeeping, seaviews, TVs etc.
- Onboard comfort: A high score in ‘onboard comfort‘ means there are more onboard features to make your dive trip feel more luxurious. These include what towels are provided on the liveaboard (always important for travelling light), complimentary toiletries, crew ratios etc.
- Food luxury: If you are a foodie then ‘food luxury‘ will be important to you, as a high score on this rating will mean there’s more on offer. These might include the type of food served onboard, the dietary requirements catered for, vegan food, vegetarian food, buffet style, fine dining etc.
- Drink luxury: If you like a drink in the evenings you may look for a higher score in ‘drink luxury‘ score, but this score also includes drinking water and soft drinks too.
The “SDE Luxury Rating Total” is calculated by adding the totals from each of the above features and benefits. The higher the SDE Luxury Rating, the more features and benefits the liveaboard has, which leads on nicely to how to use the SDE Luxury Rating.
How to use the SDE Luxury Rating score
When choosing the Raja Ampat Sea liveaboard for you, your decision is helped by customer scores, which is how the liveaboards in the above table are chosen and sorted in descending order.
If you are stuck choosing between two or three of these Raja Ampat liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10 and that have itineraries you like, use the SDE Luxury Rating score to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel to stay at. 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 9 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 secondary to the score out of 10.
In the case of liveaboards, the SDE Lux Rating system can also be used as a secondary tool in the same way to help you determine which liveaboard offers the best features to suit you.
Each of the Raja Ampat liveaboards linked-to from the above table will be individually scored. Which means that if cabin luxury is important to you, focus on this score to help you choose your liveaboard. But if diver benefits are your top priority, use this score first, and so on.
Other Raja Ampat liveaboard considerations
In addition to the luxury rating explained above, there are other factors you may want to consider too. These are, as follows:
- Advanced diver benefits: A higher ‘advanced diver benefits‘ score means the liveaboard caters better for advanced divers. These include rebreather support, sidemount diving, and tech diver support.
- Underwater photographer benefits: A high score for ‘underwater photographer benefits‘ means the liveaboard caters well for underwater photography enthusiasts. These might include a camera room, a camera station and separate rinse for underwater cameras.
- Non-diving activities: If ‘non-diving activities‘ are important to you, a high score in this rating will be important. Non-diving activities include fishing, jacuzzi/hot tubs, kayaks, massage, naturalist activities, stand up paddle boards, jet skis etc.
- Onboard entertainment: There will be down-time between dives and in the evenings too, which means you may want to check the ‘onboard entertainment‘ score for each liveaboard too. These include audio and entertainment and a library.
- Travel benefits: If you’re looking for transfers from the airport or hotel, or for a budget friendly liveaboard the ‘travel benefits‘ score is the one to check.
When you review your chosen Raja Ampat liveaboard, scroll to the bottom of the review for these five additional features the dive boat may or may not have.
Here’s a taste of what to expect when you dive Raja Ampat
Some of the amazing creatures you may be lucky enough to spot when you scuba dive in the Raja Ampat, including, whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, barracuda, hammerhead sharks, spotted eagle rays, marble rays, moray eels, garden eels, large schools of reef fish, trevallies and whale sharks to name a few.
But in the above video, did you notice how clear the visibility of the water is in the Raja Ampat?
If it’s sea turtles you love to dive with, you may like to read this article as it explains the best places in the world to dive with turtles.
Raja Ampat Dive sites
Misool Island Raja Ampat
Misool Island Raja Ampat is a dive site full of sea life, including the majestic manta rays, an abundance of reef fish and schooling horse-eyed jacks, bumphead parrotfish, wobbegong sharks, epaulette shark. Misool Island is surround by a gentle slope before the sea falls away to a steep wall. There are plenty of colourful corals, gorgonian sea fans, coral bommies, barrel sponges and overhangs to explore.
You may be lucky to see seahorses, nudibranchs and flatworms on a dive together with cuttlefish and even an octopus or two. For those who love scuba diving with sharks, you may spot blacktip and grey reef sharks swimming out in the blue along with barracudas.
The following video is scuba diving Misool Island from MV Empress Liveaboard:
Another video scuba diving Misool Island, this time from the White Manta liveaboard, diving with manta rays.
Mansuar Raja Ampat
Mansuar is a great place to dive and one of the most popular dive sites is the jetty dive. Diving Mansuar jetty dive you can spot blacktip reef sharks, bumphead parrot fish, wobbegong sharks, barracudas, cuttlefish, , turtles, nudibranchs and mantis shrimps. Out into the deep you may see mobula rays and other reef sharks swimming out in the blue. Under the jetty itself you can see Napoleon wrasse, giant trevallies, sweetlips and snappers.
Cenderawasih Bay Raja Ampat
Cenderawasih Bay is the site site where you often find whale sharks. Whale sharks are seen at Cenderawasih Bay year round, which means there’s every chance you could see them all year round. The local fishermen have a special relationship with these gentle giants and the oceans, and they traditionally give fish to the whale shark to bring luck.
In the following video you’ll see the Began Fishing Raft where they catch bait fish, which is what these fishermen feed to the whale sharks. These Began Fishermen are located in west Papua, Indonesia in a place known as “Kwatisore“, which is a small and remote village where the residents have built this relationship with the whale sharks over a long time.
Dampier Strait Raja Ampat
Dampier Strait Raja Ampat is home to turtles, bumphead parrotfish, hundreds or different varieties of schooling coral fish, wobbegong sharks, schools of barracuda, blacktip reef sharks and if you’re lucky you may even see manta rays swim by.
Enjoy vibrant corals and overhangs, together with swim-throughs, as seen in the following video filmed from the Manta Mae liveaboard.
Another video of scuba diving Dampier Strait where they were luck enough to spot whales too:
How to scuba dive Raja Ampat Indonesia
A liveaboard trip often works out cheaper than an island resort. Dive packages at Raja Ampat resorts can be expensive, whereas the cost of the diving is included in the price of the liveaboard trip.
Please also take a read of this article about the pros vs the cons of liveaboard diving vs resort diving. You’ll get to read the pros and cons of both, so you can decide.
Whilst the food and drink is relatively cheap in Indonesia, the great thing about a liveaboard trip is the food and some drinks are included in the cost of your liveaboard trip.
In addition to saving you money, a liveaboard trip is a far better way to dive Raja Ampat. You’ll cover more distance and dive up to 3-4 times per day, including night dives.
The best liveaboard company with the lowest rates I’ve found so far is this website for: liveaboards in Raja Ampat. You’ll need to book flights the nearest international airport in Indonesia to pick up your liveaboard trip. Most liveaboards going to Raja Ampat depart from Sorong, and the nearest airport is Domine Eduard Osok Airport (airport code: SOQ).
Pro tip: Book your Raja Ampat trip well in advance as liveaboards are popular and fill up quickly.
If you’re not familiar with liveaboard diving and need a few pro tips, you may like to read this article about what to expect on your first liveaboard trip. What you’ll realise when you read this article is how much more diving you get to do on a Liveaboard, which is perfect for beginner divers (who get their experience levels up) to advanced divers (who simply love scuba diving).
I hope you enjoyed this page about Raja Ampat liveaboards diving reviews
If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about Raja Ampat liveaboards diving reviews), please comment below with your questions.
Please share your experiences, plus dive sites, resorts and liveaboards you recommend. Share the time of year of your trip together with what you saw, the visibility, currents and dive operator, as this will help others who read this page.
There will also be many more pages and 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!