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The Ultimate Guide to Booking a Maldives Liveaboard Vacation

In this guide, I’m going to review and recommend some of the best Maldives liveaboard, as well as offer tips and advice to help you book the perfect scuba diving vacation in the Maldives.

The Maldives is one of the most popular destinations for dive liveaboards thanks to the world-class dive sites, incredible marine biodiversity, and stunning scenery. The amazing range of dive locations also means that multiple dives are possible per day.

Of course, the Maldives is also famous as a luxury destination and the living cost in the Maldives can be high. But there are plenty of Maldives liveaboards to suit your budget and travel style as well as giving you the chance to experience the truly extraordinary landscapes above and below the water surface.

Here are my picks of the best liveaboards in the Maldives.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

The Best Liveaboards in the Maldives

The best Maldive liveaboard – Emperor Serenity

Number of nights: 7 Nights
Price from: $2268

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The Emperor Serenity is one of the best liveaboards Maldives has to offer, visiting the “best of the Maldives” dive sites, including a fully equipped dive deck with free nitrox and four diving professionals as well as 13 crew on this 7-night Maldives liveaboard.

With 13 cabins able to accommodate 26 guests, the liveaboard is a more individual experience with modern amenities, buffet-style dining, and a large sun deck. All meals and drinks are included in the price except alcoholic beverages that come with an additional charge – although wine with dinner is included.

For your dives, you’ll follow the famous ‘Best of the Maldives’ route which includes stops at Rasdhoo Atoll, North and South Ari, and North and South Male Atolls where you’ll have the chance to dive with sharks and manta rays, as well as turtles and morays.

Land excursions, snorkel gear, and scuba diving courses are also available, so you can live in the Maldives onboard the Emperor Serenity, learn to dive, or just enjoy the snorkeling if you’d prefer to stay at the surface!

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water, Tea & Coffee
  • Wine with Dinner
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Land Excursions
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Snorkeling Guide
  • Cabin Towels
  • Deck Towels

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Maldives ToursClick here to check out the top Maldives tours
Best Maldives Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Maldives
Best Maldives Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Maldives

Scubaspa Ying – Maldives Liveaboard

Number of nights: 4-7 Nights
Price from: $1620

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The second pick of the best Maldives liveaboards is the Scubaspa Ying: an award-winning yacht and liveaboard in the Maldives that has so many amenities and activities, it’s more like an all-inclusive Maldives holiday on a boat!

With activity options for divers, non-divers, and beginner divers, this is a highly rated liveaboard with yoga classes, a full spa and mini gym, an outdoor cinema, a fine dining restaurant, a jacuzzi, and two bars – meaning there’s plenty to do on this year-round Maldives liveaboard.

They offer special deals for Maldives August bookings on the liveaboard and with a variety of accommodation options over three decks, you can live in the Maldives with all the amenities you need onboard!

Visit some of the most famous reefs in the world and also get the chance to go night diving at Alimatha Reef.

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water
  • Welcome Cocktails
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Diving Package
  • Kayaks
  • Land Excursions
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Beach Towels
  • Complimentary Toiletries
  • Yoga

Year-round Maldives dive safaris – the Emperor Explorer

Number of nights: 7 Nights
Price from: $2,615

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The Emperor Explorer offers year-round liveaboards, Maldives itineraries of up to 11 days, and 13 cabins for a smaller liveaboard experience in the Maldives.

With free nitrox and world-class dive sites, all dives take place from the accompanying dhoni. This 42m contemporary liveaboard includes all meals, dive packages, airport transfers, and wine with dinner too. Rental gear, diving courses, and wifi are all an additional cost.

The Emperor Explorer follows the Best of the Maldives diving itinerary for part of the year, but also visits the Hanifaru and North itinerary where those onboard have a chance to get up close and snorkel with giant mantas – a great option for experienced divers who want to experience different diving locations in the Maldives.

What’s included:

  • Fuel Surcharge
  • National Park Fees
  • Port Fees
  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water, Tea & Coffee
  • Wine with Dinner
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Diving Package
  • Complimentary Toiletries

Best liveaboards in the Maldives for non-divers and divers

Scubaspa Yang

Number of nights: 4-7 Nights
Price from: $1,703

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The sister boat of Scubaspa Ying is the Scubaspa Yang which offers a full spa, Thai massages, outdoor cinema, snorkeling, land excursions, try-dive experiences, kayaking, onboard gym, BBQ and dining to suit your dietary needs – perfect for divers and non-divers alike.

All dives take place from the 20m dive dhoni which carries all the dive equipment, nitrox and as a 5-star PADI resort, the yacht has multilingual staff to support beginner to experienced divers.

If you visit the Maldives from November to March you can join an itinerary of up to 8 days with Scubaspa Ying. If you visit the Maldives in August – October you can find shorter, more budget-friendly options with 5-day excursions visiting popular sites on the Best of Maldives dive itinerary.

For more experienced divers, the Scubaspa Yang travels to the Deep South in the Maldives in February and March for more remote diving.

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water
  • Welcome Cocktails
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Diving Package
  • Kayaks
  • Land Excursions
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Complimentary Toiletries
  • Yoga

Quick Tip: If you’re interested in doing liveaboard diving in the Maldives, you can book your trip here.

Best Liveaboard in the Maldives on a budget

The Carpe Vita

Number of nights: 7-10 Nights
Price from: $1,606

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The Carpe Vita has year-round 7 or 10-day itineraries at a lower price point with the diving package, nitrox, airport transfers, snorkel excursions, and all meals included.

There are 10 cabins on board, with two of them being luxury suites with California King Beds and ocean views.

Fine dining, an onboard chef, buffet-style dining, and open-air dining make meal times a fun experience onboard.

10-day itineraries mean divers have the best chance to see some of the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives, from big fish such as sharks, mantas, and whale sharks to incredible reefs, shrimps, nudibranchs, and ghost pipefish. 

Stand-up paddleboards, water skiing, scuba diving courses, all drinks, rental gear, wifi, and hotel transfers are all available at an additional cost.

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water, Tea & Coffee
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Snacks
  • Diving Package
  • Nitrox
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Snorkeling Guide
  • Cabin Towels, Deck Towels

Quick Tip: If you’re wondering what to pack for your Maldives liveaboard diving trip, check my shopping essentials on Amazon here.

Budget Friendly Maldives liveaboard for non-divers and divers

The Princess Sara

Number of nights: 7 Nights
Price from: $1,502

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

The Princess Sara is a fun-filled, budget-friendly liveaboard in the Maldives that offers a near 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio for a more intimate liveaboard experience.

The yacht has 10 cabins with ensuites, a large lounge and bar area, beach excursions, and beach BBQ at sunset, plus all meals, snorkeling, wakeboarding, night dives, a naturalist guide, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding are all included. Jet skis are available for an additional fee.

Even for non-divers, this liveaboard has an incredible amount of water activities, land excursions, and a packed itinerary so you’ll always have something to do.

For divers, the Princess Sara visits the famous Male and Ari Atolls where you can see colorful reefs, fish, manta rays, eagle rays, whale sharks, and moray eels.

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water, Tea & Coffee
  • Welcome Cocktails
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Snacks
  • Diving Package
  • Night Dives
  • Fishing
  • Naturalist Guide
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Snorkeling Guide
  • Stand Up Paddleboard
  • Wakeboarding
  • Complimentary Toiletries

The Emperor Leo – Maldives Liveaboard

Number of nights: 7 Nights
Price from: $2,137

A Comprehensive Guide to Living on a Liveaboard in the Maldives

With 12 cabins for up to 24 guests, the Emperor Leo was refitted in 2019 with modern amenities and follows the famous Best of the Maldives dive route.

With onboard entertainment, an on-deck hot tub, bars, sun deck, beach BBQ, land excursions, and snorkel gear are all included. You also have three meals per day in your liveaboard package.

Nitrox is free for all divers and dives take place from the spacious dhoni accompanying the vessel. The Emperor Leo follows the popular Best of Maldives dive route which includes North Male, South Male, and Ari Atoll, where divers can enjoy channels, drifts, and pinnacles, and dive with whale sharks, mantas and colorful fish in the diverse reefs.

What’s included:

  • Airport Transfer
  • Drinking Water, Tea & Coffee
  • Beach BBQ
  • Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals)
  • Diving Package
  • Nitrox
  • Land Excursions
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Cabin Towels & Deck Towels

The Maldives Travel Guide Planning

⛴️ Where can I book Liveaboard Diving trips?

You can book your liveaboard diving trips in here. They have a lot of dates available and a lot of countries you can choose from.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m traveling?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

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Conclusion: Liveaboard Maldives – the top picks

There are plenty of options for a liveaboard in the Maldives depending on your budget, dive experience level, travel style and amenity requirements.

Living onboard in the Maldives is definitely easiest for divers and non-divers on the all-inclusive style yachts which offer an array of incredible water activities, land excursions and onboard activities.

Being in the Maldives also gives you the chance to see some of the most incredible marine wildlife and landscapes in the world, whether you’re on the water or in it.

But the best part about booking one of these liveaboards in the Maldives is that it gives you the chance to experience one of the famous all inclusive Maldives holidays from the unique perspective of living onboard!

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