The Best Liveaboard Dive Trips & Scuba Diving Cruises

Looking for some inspiration for your next scuba trip? We take a look at some of the best ranked liveaboard dive trips and scuba cruises available around in the world.

1. Raja Ampat Liveabord Trips, Indonesia

Year on year, Raja Ampat often recieves the name “diver’s paradise”, and there’s no wonder as to why. The Indonesian archipelago is home to an array of amazing marine wildlife, beautiful crystal clear waters, and smaller groups of scuba divers.

Due to it’s location, transportation costs tend to take up the bulk of your trip. Which is why it is renowned for its exclusivity, due to budget reasons and also logistical reasons. Which is why the best way to dive the crystal clear waters of Raja Ampat is by liveaboard accomodation.

With a wide variety of liveaboard trips to choose from, anything between a simpler boat with dormitory style rooms to a much more luxurous option with as many amenities as you could want. We have narrowed it down to the 10 best Raja Ampat liveaboard dive trips. 

Dive Cape Kri, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

2. Similan Liveabord Trips, Thailand

Looking for a liveaboard option on a budget? Out of all the liveaboard trips available around the world, a Similan Island liveaboard is quite possible one of the most best valued, and affordable options.

The vast majority of the liveaboards that pass by the beautiful Similan islands stop at the best scuba diving locations in the Andaman sea within the space of a week. There are also so many budget-friendly options for people on a tight budget or backpackers!

If you’re traveling with non-divers or beginngers there are also options for you! There are also choices of longer cruises which take you to the Surin Islands, home to some great dive spots for both beginners and snorkelers.

In comparison to the Surin Islands, the diving locations around the Similan Islands are more recommended for the more advance divers as there are stronger currents and also deeper dive locations.

Similan Liveabord Trips, Thailand

3. Komodo Island Liveabord Trips, Indonesia

Planning on visiting the Komodo Islands in Flores, Indonesia? Liveabord is by far the best way to experience this breathtaking location. The Komodo Islands are know not only for the dragons who reside there, but also the amount of amazing dive locations it offers.

With a great biodiversity of large marine species, including hammerheads, and beautiful surroundings in all directions, a Komodo liveabord trip is a must-do dive location for any scuba diver.

The majority of liveaboards sailing around the Komodo Islands are Phinisi ships, which will add to your overall experience and give you an out of this world feeling.

Although the Komodo Islands isn’t the most budget destination, you’ll get a whole lot of bang for your buck. Even the most affordable options are super comfortable and well-designed for scuba diving, snorkeling, and the most important thing – relaxation.

Komodo Island Liveabord Trips, Indonesia

4. Maldives Liveabord Trips, Indian Ocean

If you are on the look out for one of the best liveabord trips available, you just can’t miss out on the incredibly beautiful scuba diving locations found in the Maldives.

The Maldives aren’t just for honeymooners, this group of tropical islands are most famous for secluded white sand beaches and, of course, the amazing marine biodiversity, making it a perfect spot for us scuba divers!

The Maldives atolls offer clear warm waters, colorful coral reefs and a variety of marine animals. And guess what the main attraction for scuba divers is? Whale Sharks.

From pristine white beaches to whale sharks, there really is no doubt that a Maldives liveaboard trip would be perfect for any scuba diver or snorkeler to experience an unforgettable scuba diving vacation.

Maldive Liveabord Trips, Indian Ocean

5. Galapagos Island Liveabord Trips, Ecuador

The Galapagos is the perfect travel destination for more advanced scuba divers due to the strong currents and deeper dive spots located around the islands. These islands offer so many types of dive sites and diving conditions which only adds the sense of adventure, which is why this dive location is often found on many divers bucket lists.

With 17 islands waiting for you to to explore, we recommend booking one of these best Galapagos Island liveaboard trips. Its the smartest and all round best way to explore the biodiversity of this outstanding and tropical region.

With such clear blue waters, you don’t even need to be a scuba diver to swim with some of the marine wildlife because even snorkeling gets you up close. The liveaboards cruising around the Galapagos Islands offer plenty of luxury cruises, perfect for non-divers.

There are also itineraries that let you explore all of the beauty of nature both underwater and on land. So if you are looking for somewhere where you can go looking for sea lions, dive with hammerheads, eagle rays and other creatures unique to this area, what are you waiting for?

Galapagos Island Liveabord Trips, Ecuador

6. Croatia Snorkeling Liveabord Trips, Europe

If you’re looking for Liveabord trips in Europe, then Croatia is the perfect place for you.  This increasingly popular European summer vacation destination is located on the Adriatic Sea.

Croatia is famous for its crystal clear waters, beautiful traditional towns, and of course, its breathtaking views. Although you won’t be able to find some of the best scuba diving liveabord trips here, its the best location for combining both snorkeling with sightseeing. 

The liveabords available in Croatia are actually more like cruises, which gives you that touch of luxury, all for an affordable price. So if you are looking to explore some of Europes charm and love to snorkel, the best Croatia liveaboard snorkeling trips will be a perfect fit.

Croatia Snorkeling Liveabord Trips, Europe

5 Reasons to Dive with a Liveaboards

Any experienced scuba diver would recommend joining a scuba dive liveaboard safari when you want to get in as much underwater time as possible. It is an all-inclusive diving vacation where you live on board boat while it takes you to all the top diving sites, including the more difficult to reach locations.

Those that are serious about diving around the world know that scuba diving liveaboards are the most effective way to tick off all the dream dive sites on our bucket lists, so whether you want to dive the Red Sea or Raja Ampat there is something for you.

Plus, there are many more advantages to booking a liveaboard compared to staying near a dive resort. Need more convincing? Here are 5 excellent reasons why you should go diving with a liveaboard on your next vacation.

1. Less Time Spent on Logistics, More Time Actually Diving

Liveaboards Offer More Dive Time

Anyone who has ever gone diving will want to spend as much time underwater in the sea. It is a magical and exciting experience that divers cannot get enough of. The greatest advantage of a diving liveaboard safari is that you cut out all the time wasted on travel as you are not just close to the sea you are living your vacation on the comfortable dive boat.

No long car rides to the dive sites or dive resorts as you have close access to all the liveaboard destinations. When booking dives through a resort or dive center there is a limit to how many dives you can book per day due to the travel time taken to reach the diving sites.

Most dive centers offer 2 – 3 dives per day while on a liveaboard the average number of dives is 3 -4 with the option of a night diving, too. If you want to log in as many hours as possible and prefer to skip the time spent on travel, there is no better option than booking a liveaboard yacht or boat. It is more dive time with less hassle and a greater chance to travel to the most remote diving sites.

2. Access to the Most Remote Dive Spots

Liveabord Diving Has Access to the Most Remote Dive Spots

The most breathtaking diving destinations tend to be in more remote areas such as the Galapagos Islands and Raja Ampat in Indonesia that only boats can get to. The much lower number of tourists and divers means that sea marine wildlife and reef are better preserved and make an even more magical experience.

On one hand, these dive sites being so remote is a great advantage to the biodiversity and great for divers who wish to see untouched and uncrowded sea waters, on the other hand, they are a lot more difficult to reach from the mainland so vacationing on one of the liveaboard boats saves you from having to book a boat ride each day.

If you have any of the top remote diving destinations of the world on your bucket list then booking one of the best live aboard boats is your best bet. Some of these destinations are not close and can take several days to reach by boat so it is quite the endeavor and adventure from the mainland.

The liveaboards get you close to the dive sites and they often also have dive tenders for the more shallow or difficult to reach dive sites around the world. In the best marine protected areas, a liveaboard is often the only access.

3. More Affordable

Liveaboards are More Affordable

Most dive liveaboards are all-inclusive meaning that it includes the price of the room, meals, drinks, dive equipment, a dive guide, and access to the entertainment facilities. Depending on the liveaboard diving company it might also include airport transfers, guided excursions on land, or even diving courses.

The total price per day on a liveaboard might seem like a big number at first but once you realize what that price includes it seems less daunting. It is worth it to do some quick estimations on what the costs would be when booking through a mainland dive center, and obviously, depending on whether you want a simple boat where you share accommodation or the best liveaboard boat available.

In certain countries and regions that are well known as a diving destination, such as the Maldives and the Indonesia Komodo Islands, you will find that liveaboards are more affordable than booking a mainland hotel and dive tours separately.

This is especially true in regions where the divers’ accommodation is expensive and getting to the dive site is more difficult. So, before writing off liveaboards as being too expensive, do the calculations and figure out if that is truly the case. They specifically offer a service that is not only comfortable but the boats are designed just with diving in mind, giving cam

4. Very Social Experience

Liveabord Diving Offers a Very Social Experience

Scuba liveaboard trips are a great way to make new diver friends while in the comfortable surroundings of a liveaboard yacht. Being in such close quarters you can’t help but spark a conversation with your fellow divers. There is an automatic sense of community as you are all there as divers. The excitement is palpable and creates a great bonding experience for most divers involved.

How much shared space there depends on the size of the ship and the luxury level of the dive liveaboards. Some liveaboards only offer dorm rooms, more luxurious options with only private quarters, and many liveaboards that offer both room types and give everyone the best choice for their best liveaboard diving vacation.

In most cases, the dining areas are communal and there is usually another entertainment space with a large TV to watch dive videos, share photos, and general enjoyment and relaxation. Many dive liveaboard boats also have a sundeck to watch the gorgeous sunsets or just soaking up some sun in between dives with your dive buddy.

This is not to say that dive centers are not social places as they are also a great place to meet new people, but spending time within a smaller space on the boats, with like-minded passengers to engage with is easier than on a mainland resort.

5. No Lugging Dive Gear Around

Liveaboards Don't Require You To Carry Scuba Gear

The final perk of booking a liveaboard is that it is simply much more convenient. There is no need to carry around all the heavy dive gear from point A to point B when you are on a liveaboard. Most liveaboards are a very helpful and dedicated staff that will help you clean and prepare all the scuba diving gear.

Since most people choose to rent their dive equipment from the liveaboard company instead of bringing their own, the on-board staff takes extra care of the dive gear. Renting the dive gear also means that you can pack lighter it is often recommended to only pack the essentials for a liveaboard.

With a little clever packing, you could save even more money by booking a budget flight with only hand scuba luggage.

Frequently Asked Questions about Liveaboard Diving

Scuba diving with a liveaboard has many advantages that you can’t miss. We hope you have enjoyed dreaming about your next dive vacation whilst reading through these liveaboard trips and diving cruises. Here we will answer a couple of questions that we get asked the most. Happy diving.

What is the best liveaboard sailboat?

What is the best liveaboard sailboat? Now that is a good question because there are many spread throughout the world covering some of the best diving to be had. Above we have handpicked some of the best liveaboards for various locations and individually reviewed them to help you out in finding one that would suit your needs.

What is liveaboard dive boats?

Liveaboard dive boats are boats that have been specially designed and fitted out for diving vacations in all the best dive sites of the world. They cater to all budgets, from luxury yachts to traditional wooden sailboats of Indonesia, they have designated diving crew, camera workspaces, areas for equipment wash down, etc.

Where can I dive in Raja Ampat?

Although there are dive centers on the mainland by far the best way you can dive in Raja Ampat is to book one of the Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trips as a lot of the dive sites are quite remote.

To reach some of them can take a couple of days by boat, days that you could be diving, so vacationing on the boat means less time traveling more time diving.