Visiting the Komodo Islands in Flores, Indonesia is among the best liveaboard vacations for diving. The dive spots are known for great biodiversity in large marine species like pelagic fish, manta rays, and hammerhead sharks but the scenery is just as breathtaking.
Many scuba diving liveaboards sailing the Komodo Islands are Phinisi ships, a traditional Indonesian sailboat. These beautiful wooden ships add to the overall experience of a Komodo diving liveaboard, giving you the feeling that you are in a completely different world.
Though not the most budget destination, you do get a whole lot of bang for your buck. Even the most affordable options are very comfortable and well-designed for diving, snorkeling, and relaxation.
10 Best Komodo Liveaboard Trips
There are also many snorkeling friendly locations so this is a vacation that you can plan with both divers and non-divers. There are wonderful sites with crystal clear waters that are more shallow – plus, the bigger aquatic creatures also like swimming near the surface so they are easier to spot.
In short, you cannot go wrong with a Komodo island liveaboard vacation to the Komodo Islands. There are so many things to see and do in Flores, both below and above the surface, and a package is available for most budgets.
1. Best Mid-Range: Moana Liveaboard
The royal blue sails of the Moana Liveaboard are unmissable as it glides through Flores. Onboard this traditional phinisi Indonesia liveaboard dive boat, you find a sense of nostalgia with a simple but comfortable design focused on capturing the spirit of life at sea.
Custom-built for divers, you will find a good camera station and separate rinse for underwater cameras. There is also an onboard naturalist guide that can tell you all about the wildlife on land and beneath the surface.
One thing that sets the Moana apart from other liveaboards is its careful attention to food sourcing. All the fresh fruit and vegetables come from local organic farmers on Labuan Bajo and the fish comes straight from the market, as well.
- Locally sourced fresh and organic produce
- Tenders for diving
- Knowledgeable dive guides
- No Wi-Fi connection
- No nitrox
2. Best Traditional Phinisi: Bulan Purnama
For a more exclusive experience, get on board the Bulan Purnama, custom-built to host small groups of adventurers. This phinisi only has 3 cabins; 2 double bed cabins and 1 large family-style cabin that fits up to 4 people.
Since there is only space for up to 8 guests, this Indonesia liveaboard is a great choice for a private charter for a vacation in the Komodo Islands. The Bulan Purnama is not a diving liveaboard but it does offer facilities for snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding and guided land excursions.
Onboard you will find large spaces for socializing, both indoors and outdoors. There is a comfortable lounge indoors and two outdoor decks to soak up the sun.
- Family cabin available
- Available as charter
- No diving facilities or scuba diving gear rental
- No Wi-Fi
3. Most Unique Design: Adelaar Liveaboard
Stepping onboard the Adelaar, a Dutch schooner ship, is like stepping into a stately hotel. The design is exquisite with a lot of teak wood, marble, and warm neutral tones.
This luxury Komodo island liveaboard only has 4 cabins including 3 twin/double bedrooms and 1 master suite. Each room has its own en-suite bathroom and flat-screen television so you are provided with every comfort.
There is also an onboard bar ready to serve an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that you can sip in the plush saloon. For the adventurers, there is an onboard naturalist guide and upon request, a dive guide or snorkeling guide will join you on the trip, as well.
- Luxurious design and cabins
- Vegan and vegetarian meals available
- Free Wi-Fi
- Dive tenders available
- Equipment rental is somewhat pricey
- Dive site itinerary depends on the experience level of the whole group
4. Best Budget: Tarata
Though there are few low budget options, the Tarata is a good option for when your budget is on the lower end for a Komodo diving liveaboard, especially if you manage to get one of their early bird deals. This 8 day/7 night package gets you to all the famous dive spots and includes full board with simple but comfortable double bed or bunk bed cabins.
For divers, there are individual gear set up spaces, a camera station, and charging facilities to get you ready for famous dive spots like Manta Alley and Current City. But this is not just an opportunity to dive komodo, it is also suitable for the non-divers as there is the chance to see the Komodo dragons during a land excursion or jump into the water for snorkeling.
Like most Indonesia liveaboard dive boats sailing through the Komodo Islands, the Tarata embarks from the biggest island in Flores, Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo is a small town with only a few thousand residents but serves as the main starting point for tourists visiting Flores as most of the facilities can be found here.
- Varied itinerary
- Diving tenders available
- No Wi-Fi
- Small cabins
- Onboard drinks not included in price
5. Most Splurge-Worthy: Coralia Phinisi
For the most luxurious experience liveaboard Indonesia Komodo, you would do well to make a booking for the Coralia Phinisi. This brand new ship is 48m long with spacious deluxe cabins and a beautiful blend of modern comforts with traditional design.
The indoor lounge area is airy and has windows wrapping all around giving you a panorama view of the gorgeous Flores scenery. There are both indoor and alfresco dining areas where you can enjoy specially prepared Indonesian and Western dishes from the buffet.
The Coralia has all the diving facilities that you may need including free nitrox, individual gear lockers, a camera room, and separate tenders to get you closer to the best scuba diving locations making for a real liveaboard diving Indonesia trip. In between dives you can relax by getting a massage onboard or going for a hike on one of the many islands to explore the wildlife on land.
- Large cabins with spacious en-suite bathrooms
- Free nitrox
- Kayaks and stand up paddleboards also included in the package
- Onboard camera room
- Limited itineraries in Flores
- Larger group compared to other Komodo liveaboards
6. Best for Shorter Trips: Yoshi Liveaboard
Yoshi Liveaboard will take you to the highlights of the Komodo Islands on a short itinerary between 2 – 4 nights. You get to hike on Rinca Island, dive at 3 Sisters and visit pristine beaches with colorful coral.
This liveaboard is great for couples on a budget that want to meet like-minded water and nature enthusiasts. The cabins are cozy with windows giving you a direct view of the incredible surroundings while the public spaces are colorful and casual, a great spot for relaxing and socializing.
You can request rental gear and a private dive guide for a Komodo dive, which both come at very affordable prices. For non-divers, there is a chance to go wakeboarding and snorkeling.
- Affordable dive gear rental
- Onboard naturalist guide
- Vegan and vegetarian options available
- Dive tenders available
- Cabins are basic
- No twin bed options
7. Best for Charter: Antares Liveaboard
Since there are so many amazing sights to see in Flores, getting a charter is one of the best options for when you don’t want to miss anything on your bucket list. A private boat tour of the area gives you more flexibility in the schedule and ensures smaller dive groups.
The Antares Liveaboard is a great choice for a charter with only 3 cabins, each one amenable to either a queen bed or twin. The cabins are on the smaller side but they do each has wrap-around windows so you always have the perfect view without having to leave your bed.
More experienced divers will really enjoy a charter because this gives them more time to explore the world-famous dive sites such as The Cauldron, Batu Bolong, and Castle Rock. The crew provides nitrox and you can also take a nitrox diving course during your stay.
- Nitrox diving course available
- Flexible itineraries
- Windows in every cabin
- Dive gear besides tanks not available for rent
- Charter only
8. Most Options Available: Tanaka
As mentioned, there is a long list of things to see in Flores so it might take you a while to decide on your preferred itinerary. A good starting point is the Tanaka which offers a greater variety of itineraries – in other words, more choice in specific area and number of days.
Tanaka is a versatile ship that is suitable for many different groups from families to single travelers and both divers and non-divers. There is a family cabin with a private balcony fitting a group of 4 plus double and triple cabins with en-suite bathrooms.
The Tanaka sails around the Komodo Islands from March to October where it stops at the famous Komodo National Park and crystal clear dive sites. Dive courses are available and you can also request a private dive guide to show you all the pelagic fish that the area is so famous for.
- Crew can arrange local flights for you
- Airport and hotel transfers included in the package
- Snorkel gear and snorkel guide included in the package
- Affordable dive gear rental
- Limited season in Flores
- Tank refill times are longer because there is only 1 compressor on board
9. Most Modern: Mermaid II Liveaboard
Though many of the liveaboards in Indonesia are traditional-style ships, there are also a few modern yachts available, if that is your preference. The Mermaid II is an example of a modern yacht that still manages to incorporate the warm wood and neutral tones that characterize colonial-inspired interiors.
The lounge areas on the Mermaid II Liveaboard are very homey, a great place to relax in between dives. Each cabin is a bunk bed but there are cabins available where the bottom bunk is a double bed, making it a budget-friendly triple family room.
Enjoy the great warm water diving conditions as you visit famous Manta Alley under the expert guidance of the onboard dive guides. The crew goes above and beyond to make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.
- Very friendly and knowledgeable crew
- Family cabins available
- Itineraries embarking from Bali available
- Large dive deck
- Small cabins, all with bunk beds
- Additional chamber fees
10. Most Luxury: Tiare Cruise
If elegance is what you seek then the Tiare Cruise is right up your alley with gorgeous spacious cabins and cleverly designed en-suite bathrooms. The communal areas are also very chic with large lounge beds on the upper deck and an aesthetically pleasing air-conditioned indoor dining room.
No comfort is spared for the divers as there is an individual setup and storage space for each diver and the ship even boasts hot water showers on the dive deck. Underwater photographers will be pleased with the dedicated camera room with plenty of charging opportunities.
The onboard chef prepares delicious set menus for the guests and vegetarian options are always available. Also always an added bonus, there is free Wi-Fi onboard so you can stay connected with your loved ones at home and share all the Instagram worthy pictures.
- Great design
- Great facilities for divers
- Elegant set menus instead of buffet dining
- Limited season in Komodo
- Extra costs for each nitrox tank fill