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 Liveaboard

Any experienced scuba diver would recommend joining a liveaboard when you want to get in as much underwater time as possible. It is all-inclusive scuba diving vacation that takes you to all the top diving spots, including the more difficult to reach locations.

Those that are serious about diving around the world know that a liveaboard is the most effective way to tick off all the dream destinations on our bucket lists. Plus, there are many more advantages to booking a scuba diving liveaboard compared to staying near a dive resort.

Need more convincing? Here are 5 excellent reasons why you should go scuba 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 scuba diving will want to spend more time underwater. It is a magical experience, one that we cannot get enough of. The greatest advantage of going on a scuba diving liveaboard trip is that you cut out all the time wasted on logistics.

No long car rides to the dive spots or dive resorts and much closer access to the best dive spots. When booking dives through a resort or dive center, there is a limit to how many dives you can book per day because of the necessary travel time to the scuba diving spot.

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 dive, too. If you want to log in as many hours as possible and prefer to skip the time spent on logistics, there is no better option than booking a liveaboard trip. It is more dive time with less hassle and a greater chance to visit the most remote scuba diving spots.

2. Access to the Most Remote Dive Spots

Liveabord Diving Has Access to the Most Remote Dive Spots

The most breathtaking scuba diving locations tend to be in more remote areas such as the Galapagos Islands and Raja Ampat in Indonesia. The much lower number of tourists and divers means that the marine wildlife is better preserved and so a more magical experience.

On one hand, these dive spots being so remote is a great advantage to the biodiversity and for scuba divers that wish to see untouched and uncrowded waters. On the other hand, they are much more difficult to reach from the mainland.

If you have any of the world’s top remote diving destinations on your bucket list then booking a dive liveaboard is your best bet. Some of these locations are several days boat ride away so it is quite the endeavour from the mainland.

A liveaboard get you much closer to the dive spots and they often also have dive tenders for the more shallow or difficult to reach spots. In the best marine protected areas a liveaboard is often the only access.

3. More Affordable

Liveaboards are More Affordable

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

In certain countries and regions known as a scuba diving destination, such as the Maldives and Indonesian Komodo Islands, liveaboards are actually more affordable than booking a mainland hotel and dive tours separately.

This is especially true in regions where accommodation is more expensive and getting to the dive spot is more difficult. So, before writing off a liveaboard trip as too expensive, do the calculations and figure out if that is truly the case.

4. Very Social Experience

Liveabord Diving Offers a Very Social Experience

Liveaboard trips are a great way to make new friends. Being on such close quarters you can’t help but to spark a conversation with your fellow scuba divers. There is an automatic sense of community as you are all there as scuba divers. The excitement is palpable and creates a great bonding experience.

How much shared space there is depends on the size of the ship and the luxury level of the liveaboard. There are liveaboards that only offer dorm rooms, more luxurious options with only private quarters and many liveaboards that offer both room types.

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 lounging. Many ships also have a sundeck for gorgeous sunsets and soaking up some sun in between dives.

This is not to say that dive centers are not social places. Dive centers are also a great place to meet new people but spending time within a smaller space on a liveaboard forces its passengers to engage more 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 have 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, in fact, 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 luggage. Scuba diving with a liveaboard has many advantages that you can’t miss.