Known as nature’s sunken garden, is anyone really surprised that the Maldives is a magnet for avid divers and sea creature enthusiasts? We’re not.
What’s more, this tropical nation is home to some of the world’s best white beaches. It boasts world-class diving and snorkeling as well as crystal clear waters that are so warm you don’t even need a wetsuit!
The epitome of perfection, the Maldives has actually undergone some major seismic changes in the past 10 years, resulting in previous uninhabited islands being opened to tourism and locals given the permission to build their own guesthouses.
Never before have these 26 ring-shaped atolls with their stretching beaches, magnificent blue lagoons and extensive reefs been so accessible.
Today, liveaboard diving is one of the best ways to explore the over 1,000 surrounding coral reefs in all their glory. To help you choose among the many options on offer, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of Maldives liveaboards reviews and popular scuba dive sites so that you can pick the best experience for you.
- 1 Our Top Maldives Liveaboard Picks
- 2 Best Budget Maldives Liveaboards
- 3 Best Mid-Range Liveaboards in the Maldives
- 4 Best Luxury Maldives Liveaboards
- 5 Maldives Liveaboard Diving Highlights
- 6 Maldives Diving: What You Need to Know
- 7 Best Diving Itineraries in the Maldives
- 8 Best Dive Sites in the Maldives
- 9 How to Get to the Maldives
Our Top Maldives Liveaboard Picks
Best Budget Maldives Liveaboards
Rooms: 19 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €171/day
The sister vessel of Scubaspa Ying, Scubaspa Yang boasts the ultimate relaxation experience for avid divers and people who just want to relax in comfort and style in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
This magnificent 50m ship takes divers to some of the best dive sites in the Maldives where they can get up close and personal to schools of fish, rays, and sharks, together with the four divemasters on board.
Although there are 19 air-conditioned cabins, it’s the amenities on the rest of the boat that will get you really excited.
When you’re not diving (if you can make yourself leave the boat in the first place), you can relax on the sun deck, soak in the jacuzzi, or treat yourself to the ultimate spa experience with the six professional spa therapists onboard that offer eight spa treatments.
With cruises running up to eight days long, this floating luxury dive resort is one of your best options when choosing a Maldives liveaboard.
What’s Included: Airport Transfers/Pickups, Accommodation, Weights, Belts, All Meals, Free Nitrox
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Scubaspa Yang
Rooms: 11 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €189/day
Considered one of the top liveaboards for diving in the whole of the Maldives, it’s safe to say that Blue Force One should be at the top of your list when choosing a Maldives liveaboard.
Built with every need in mind, this custom-built beauty is 42m of comfort, offering 10 air-conditioned rooms each with en-suite bathrooms, including a Junior Suite, Master Cabin, and a Master Suite.
When it comes to diving, Blue Force One has you covered with a dedicated diving deck complete with an 18m diving Dhoni. This liveaboard is available year-round for trips up to eight days, including some special trips that take you “off the beaten track” to less explored sites to swim with manta rays, hammerheads, and whale sharks.
When not diving, this vessel also ticks all of your boxes with two jacuzzis, three sun decks, an upper deck bar, a living room with huge armchairs and a 65-inch TVw. There’s also water sport activities such as kayaking, surfing and stand-up paddleboarding — oh and a disco room!
What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Free Nitrox, Possible Fuel Surcharge
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for Blue Force One
Rooms: 10 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €156/day
One of the more affordable liveaboards in the Maldives but by no means of less quality, the MV Emperor Voyager is a modern vessel that brings you all the comforts of home.
Taking you to some of the best dive sites in the Maldives, the 30m Voyager is complete with experienced dive guides who are just itching to show you the world under the water and get you those unforgettable sightings of manta rays, nurse sharks, and whale sharks.
You can make the most of your time between your dives chilling in a hammock on the sun deck, relaxing on the main deck on a giant sofa with a beer in hand, exploring the waters further with your free snorkeling kit, or enjoying a quality meal in the beautiful outdoor dining area.
With 10 air-conditioned rooms all with a fan and en-suite bathroom, you’ll be nothing short of content on this Maldives liveaboard.
What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Free Nitrox
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Emperor Voyager
Best Mid-Range Liveaboards in the Maldives
Rooms: 10 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €201/day
Another option that won’t break your bank is the Maldives liveaboard, Carpe Vita. All-year round, the 38m Carpe Vita offers seven to ten-night cruises taking you to the most popular dive sites in the Maldives such as Kudarah Thila, Manta Point, Maaya Thila, Fish Head, and Machafushi wreck — just to name a few.
The ten-night cruises take you further north to explore, with summer manta ray identification trips on offer too.
This modern yacht boasts air-conditioned cabins, fine dining, three stunning decks, and open air dining and bars. But you’ll most likely be spending most of your time outdoors, breathing in the fresh sea air and admiring the views.
What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels Provided, Free Wine with Dinner
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for Carpe Vita
Rooms: 11 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €244/day
Step aboard the Maldives Aggressor II, a 41m liveaboard yacht offering dive safaris all year long. Trips last from seven to ten nights and take divers to the best of the Maldives.
This boat is equipped with 11 gorgeous and spacious cabins that are sure to make you feel right at home while out at sea. Each cabin has its own private bathroom, closet, air-conditioning, TV and window.
When you’re not diving or in your cabin, take advantage of the large sundeck with shaded areas and lounge chairs, a full bar service with complimentary beer and wine, and a music system that’s sure to keep the energy up.
The diving facilities on the Maldives Aggressor II are top of the line, with a large swim platform, personal lockers for every guest, air stations, rinse tanks, and a large camera table with separate freshwater rinses.
Along the way, you’ll be taken care of by 16 world class crew members who’ll provide you with a memorable journey. Don’t miss out! You’re going to love the Maldives Aggressor II.
What’s Included: VAT, Accomodation, Airport Transfer, Alcoholic Beverages, All Meals, Towels, Complimentary Toiletries
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Maldives Aggressor II
Rooms: 19 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €233/day
If you’re looking for a luxury trip with a mid-range budget, look no further. The Scubaspa Ying is true to its name and offers a dive and spa vacation all in one trip.
This boat is the sister to the Scubaspa Yang, and offers a step up in terms of facilities and treatments offered. The Scubaspa has 29 staff members to tend to your every need, including a full team of spa-therapists. With room for 26 divers, there will always be someone to take care of you.
This boat is essentially a spa on water that’s accompanied by a smaller dive boat that acts as a floating diving center. Attentive dive masters not only lead you underwater, but make sure your equipment is well taken care of while aboard the main vessel.
There’s something for everyone on the Scubaspa Ying. Not only is there diving, but there are daily yoga classes, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and land excursions to keep you occupied.
It’s not only the perfect boat for a diver, but for anyone looking for a luxurious Maldives getaway.
What’s Included: Airport Transfer, Accommodation, Welcome Cocktails, Beach BBQ, All Meals, Diving Package, Kayaks, Land Excursions, Snorkel Gear, Stand-up Paddleboard, Towels, Complimentary Toiletries, WiFi
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Scubaspa Ying
Best Luxury Maldives Liveaboards
Rooms: 9 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €319/day
Getting towards the top end of the budget is Azalea, a luxurious 38m yacht.
The boat has nine modern and air-conditioned cabins consisting of six superior rooms, two ocean-view junior suites and one ocean-view master suite. Each cabin has air-conditioning, en-suite bathroom and storage space, with the suites also offering a queen or king-sized bed to ensure your ultimate comfort.
Catering to 16 guests, there is plenty of room on board to relax, enjoy some al-fresco dining, and soak in the jacuzzi with stunning Maldivian views.
As well as superior amenities, Azalea also offers a superior diving experience with seven to eight-day trips taking place all year round. Alongside a dedicated and experienced dive team, you can dive with ease and peace of mind and drink in the unbelievable sightings of manta rays, octopus, nurse sharks, and whale sharks.
If you’re looking for one of the best overall diving experiences, Azalea needs to be a Maldives liveaboard that you consider.
What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels Provided
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for Azalea
Rooms: 7 cabins / AC
Price Range: from €294/day
The Ocean Divine is a luxury liveaboard worthy of its steep price tag.
This 33m yacht takes a group of up to 12 divers on cruises all around the atolls in the Maldives. With a crew of 10, you’ll travel with nearly a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, ensuring that your every need is taken care of.
There are six deluxe staterooms aboard, each one lavish and inviting with its own bathroom (complete with toiletries and bathrobes), portholes and air conditioning.
Spread across three decks, common areas are exceptional and spacious, giving guests the chance to lounge around or socialize with other passengers. If that’s not enough for you, enjoy an indulgent spa treatment to unwind from a day full of diving.
If you’re looking to travel in style, the Ocean Divine is sure to exceed your expectations.
What’s Included: Accommodation, Airport Transfer, Beach BBQ, All Meals, Diving Package, Land Excursions, Snorkel Gear, Stand-up Paddleboards, Towels, Complimentary Toiletries
Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for Ocean Divine
Maldives Liveaboard Diving Highlights
Diving in the Maldives is pretty incredible, not only because you can swim with majestic whale sharks and thousands of schools of fish, but because of the crystal clear waters which are warm too.
Never will you have such a comfortable (and mind-blowing) diving experience than here!
So why a Maldives liveaboard? Well, it is the best way — and actually one of the only ways — to visit as many of the reefs and islands that you can in the country without being anchored to a specific resort.
Not only that, but liveaboards also allow you to fully explore the panoramic underwater world as safely and securely as possible while providing you with luxury amenities that will ensure your ultimate comfort at all times.
Let’s just say that liveaboards give you an insight into the charm of the Maldives that you just won’t get anywhere else.
Check out this video for a glimpse into the marine life you may run into while diving in the Maldives.
Maldives Diving: What You Need to Know
Best Time to Go Diving in the Maldives
Although it’s possible to dive in the Maldives all year round, the monsoon season (May to August) brings rain, winds and waves that probably won’t give you the best liveaboard experience.
Although diving is still good, visibility is poor, but this is also the time where you can get some great deals so it’s down to your preference.
The best time for scuba diving in the Maldives is said to be between January and April when the weather is dry, the current is calm, and visibility is at its best.
Maldives Diving Safety
Due to its unique geography, the Maldives is subject to a moderate to strong current which may prevail in most of the dive sites. This makes for incredible reefs full of vibrant marine life, but it does mean that these dives are not really ideal for absolute beginner divers.
If you’re not a very confident diver, make sure to tell your divemaster so that they can stay close to you. You can also opt for a Maldives liveaboard that caters to beginner divers so that you can make the most of your experience.
Regardless if you’re a beginner or advanced diver, good practice is to ensure that you always have a neon dive flag or collapsible pole stowed in your BC pocket in case of the current sweeps you astray. Reef hooks and gloves are also advisable due to the strong currents.
For peace of mind during your diving adventures, we recommend having dive insurance in case of any medical emergencies.
Planning a Maldives diving trip?
Read our guide which has everything you need to know!
Best Diving Itineraries in the Maldives
Short Maldives Liveaboard Trips
Most liveaboard trips in the Maldives last a full seven nights, with a few select trips only lasting four nights. On a seven-night trip, you can expect to have five full days of diving, totaling around 20 dives by the end of the trip.
A typical itinerary takes you on a trip starting in the north, circling around different atolls and ending up back in the north again. Often times, you’ll leave from North Malé and visit dive sites in Baa, Raa, Rasdhoo, Ari, and finish in North Malé.
However, some seven-night trips start in the north and instead of circling around, they end in the south.
No matter which route you choose, you’re sure to see the best of the Maldives in the most luxurious way possible.
Extended Maldives Liveaboard Trips
There are some ships that run 10-night trips that allow you to see even more of these incredible waters and pristine beaches.
A 10-night trip lets you explore the best of the Maldives both underwater and on land. You’ll visit dive sites throughout the north and south, and even take land excursions as well.
On longer trips, you’ll likely have the option to disembark for a day to explore Malé city, meet locals, and immerse yourself in a new culture.
If you’re interested in exploring more than what’s in the water, I’d recommend taking a longer trip to get the best of both worlds.
Browse all Maldives liveaboard trips here!
Best Dive Sites in the Maldives
Made up of 75 islands, Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, meaning that the site promotes sustainable development and protection of the site and creatures living within it.
Baa Atoll is an incredible diving experience, where you can find five different species of turtles. While you may not see all five species at once, you’re likely to run into a hawksbill turtle as well as manta rays.
In Hanifaru Bay (a part of Baa Atoll), it It has been reported that groups of up to 150 manta rays come to feed between June and November. What a sight to behold!
Banana Reef is not only famous in the Maldives, but is a well-known dive site throughout the world.
In this healthy ecosystem, you’re bound to find a little bit of everything. Dive through gorgeous colored corals, swim with turtles and Napoleon wrasse, and even spot a shark or two!
Banana Reef is an easy dive site that can be enjoyed by beginners. This site even draws snorkelers who can find an abundance of marine life, even in the shallow areas.
Located in the South Ari Atoll, Maaya Thila is one of the best-known sites in the Maldives. The site surrounds a pinnacle that starts at six meters and stretches to 30 meters deep.
While diving at Maaya Thila, you’ll run into whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, stingrays and other marine life unique to this part of the world.
Maaya Thila is a popular place for night dives as in the evenings the sharks and larger fish have a feeding frenzy, making for an action-packed underwater experience.
If you’re interested in diving with whale sharks, Sun Island is the site for you.
This site is located on the southern side of the island where the Indian Ocean meets the shore. There’s a large plateau to hang out on while whale sharks swim past.
But if you want a truly unforgettable experience, visit Sun Island right before a full moon. This is when whale sharks are in abundance and you have the best chance of spotting them.
A great dive site for experienced divers, Broken Rock offers a canyon dive filled with soft corals and a large amount of reef species.
While diving here, you’ll see morays, butterflyfish, wrasse and angelfish, but you may experience strong currents through the canyon so be sure to find a spot to hang on to and enjoy the views.
If you’re interested in diving Broken Rock, you should be proficient in buoyancy and be prepared for strong currents.
How to Get to the Maldives
Getting to the Maldives can be a hassle depending on where you’re coming from.
It’s best to fly from the Middle East or Europe where there are plenty of direct flights. Otherwise, you’re looking at a pretty pricey airfare with lots of stopovers.
International flights fly into Malé or Gan. Typically you’ll fly into Velana International Airport (MLE) on the island of Hulhule’ and be met by members of your liveaboard crew. The crew will then escort you to the port of departure, cutting out any confusion of having to get there yourself.
We hope this article has helped you compare these Maldives liveaboards and find a suitable one for you. For those looking for last-minute deals, liveaboard.com offers great discounted prices which are worth checking out.
As the Maldives continues to steal the hearts of many travelers who set foot in its slice of paradise, the choice of liveaboard is crucial, so choose well so that you can have the best experience possible!
Additional content contributed by Jane Elmets