Take a deep breath. Imagine yourself gently floating on stunning turquoise water with tens of tiny, pearl-like islands within view. Each one boasting pristine, white-sand beaches, and lapping waves inviting you in with every break. As you relax in the crystal-clear, bath-like water, several passing manta rays catch your eye. Then, just as you begin your low-speed pursuit, a whale shark joins the action.
Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. This is the Maldives. And it can get even better…
The Scubaspa liveaboards offer divers (and non-divers) the chance to enjoy resort-style luxury while vacationing on Maldivian water. Scubaspa’s purpose-built yachts, the Scubaspa Ying and the Scubaspa Yang, deliver first-class accommodation, gourmet cuisine and an Asian-style spa experience to create one of the most luxurious liveaboard holidays in the world.
So if you’re ready for a truly unforgettable dive vacation, read on to find out how to really make the most of your time in (and on) the water.
Diving in the Maldives
In case it wasn’t already obvious, the Maldives is one of the best dive destinations in the world.
Not only are manta rays and whale sharks regularly sighted throughout the year, whitetip, blacktip, gray, nurse and leopard sharks are also common logbook additions, too. If you’re into rays, the Maldives is a great place to see both eagle rays and stingrays. To round out the impressive array of marine life, turtles, dolphins, tunas and jacks are also commonly seen during any liveaboard diving trip in this Indian ocean island nation.
Thanks to the Maldives’ numerous healthy reef systems, which are often covered in both soft and hard coral, encountering large schools of reef fish is a surprisingly frequent occurrence. Furthermore, a lot of the best dive sites in the Maldives feature giant gorgonians or caves covered by Alcyonaria.
Diving Season in the Maldives
You can dive in the Maldives year round. A lot of the best liveaboards in the Maldives adjust their itineraries to target top underwater encounters, navigating towards where to see manta rays or where to see whale sharks in the Maldives. That said, there are also some seasonal periods of better weather. And as you’re living on a boat, this can be preferable.
- Best Time: February to April is the absolute prime time to visit the Maldives. During these months, you’ll find the dry season/northeast monsoon. The sea is usually flat and sunny conditions are nearly guaranteed. There will also be hardly any wind. To give you a better idea of the conditions, you’ll probably be able to see the bottom of the reefs from the boat when you are passing over them.
- Good Time: July to October is the Maldives’ wet season/southwest monsoon. The sea is often a bit rougher and you may get some rainy or cloudy days. However, this is not guaranteed. You may still be lucky enough to have a fantastic week without a cloud in the sky. The weather is simply less “stable” during these months.
- Risky Time: November to January and May to June is when the monsoons change. More recently, the timing of these changes has become less predictable. On average, the changeover lasts about one month, and during this time, it’s mainly windy and rainy. If you’re worried about bad weather, it’s better to avoid the Maldives during these months. But, if you’re on a budget or don’t really care about rain, this is when you’ll find the best deals.
Regarding the water temperature in the Maldives, it averages 82 to 86°F (28 to 30°C) throughout the year, so it’s always comfortable.
Liveaboard vs Resort Vacations
At PADI, we love liveaboard vacations. From dive sites to topside vistas, we can’t think of a better way to see everything a destination has to offer. The Maldives is no exception.
While Ari Atoll is arguably home to the most beautiful dive sites in the Maldives, as well as being one of the best Maldives atolls for whale sharks, a lot of the other atolls also feature world-class dives. Therefore, even if you’re staying in one of the best resorts in the Maldives, you will likely be restricted to the sites that are within an hour’s journey by boat, meaning you may miss out on some of the other amazing dive sites around the Maldives.
By choosing a liveaboard dive vacation, you’ll dive three or four atolls, allowing you to see a variety of the best underwater environments in the Maldives. And, as previously mentioned, the cruise directors adjust itineraries to the seasons using their vast knowledge of the area to ensure you get the most out of your liveaboard vacation.
A Liveaboard that Feels Like a 5-Star Resort
By now, you may be convinced that liveaboards are the best way to dive in the Maldives. However, if you’re not, we understand. It’s perfectly fair to still be attracted by a luxurious hotel where fancy cocktails and relaxing spa treatments are never far away. But this is where things get really interesting…
We did say the Scubaspa liveaboards deliver resort-style luxury — and we were telling the truth. These liveaboards, named Scubaspa Ying and Scubaspa Yang, are the biggest and most comfortable diving boats ever seen in the Maldives. They will deliver the dive vacation of your dreams as you sail around the Maldives’ picturesque atolls.
The magic of a Scubaspa liveaboard lies in its dual purpose as both a dive boat and a wellness retreat. Each vessel features a spa occupying an entire deck (300 square meters/3000 square feet), meaning these boats will take great care of you both above and below the water.
Diving in the Maldives Onboard the Scubaspa Liveaboards
You can choose from multiple packages for your Scubaspa dive vacation. Available options include 7-night or 4-night stays made up of only dives, only spa treatments or a combination of the two.
The Scubaspa liveaboards are also ideal for groups or couples with a non-diver. Non-divers can relax in the onboard wellness center or numerous communal areas while everyone else is underwater.
Each Scubaspa vessel also has its own dhoni (the tender you’ll dive from). Here, all of your equipment will be stored and the dive tanks will be filled. This means you’ll only have to set up your gear on the first day. After that, you’ll have your own space. Plus, your time onboard the boat will never be disturbed by the sound of the compressor or the sleep-ending clanking of tanks.
If you find you aren’t getting enough time in the water, snorkeling is almost always possible. The crew can suggest the best spots for you depending on the itinerary.
In addition, not everything onboard a Scubaspa dive vacation is about being on the water, as you’ll get to enjoy several awesome land excursions, too. This includes a deserted island BBQ and exploration of a fisherman’s island.
Cabins and Booking
For your stay onboard the Scubaspa vessels, you get to choose from four types of cabin:
- Manta Suites: Located on the main deck, these are the nicest cabins on board. Rooms are spacious and elegant, featuring huge windows so that you can enjoy the magical landscapes of the Maldives.
- Dolphin Suites: Also located on the main deck, these cabins are somewhere close to on-par with the Manta Suites, albeit a little smaller. They feature large windows and elegant furniture.
- Cowrie Suite: Located in the bow of the lower deck, this is a uniquely-shaped cabin. It stands out due to its rather spacious layout. It also boasts the largest shower on board.
- Sea Star Cabins: Situated on the lower deck, these cabins are the best option for budget-conscious travelers.
The Scubaspa Ying and the Scubaspa Yang are surprisingly similar to each other. Both vessels offer Nitrox and a comfortable dhoni (tender) for reaching the dive sites. No matter which one you choose, it is sure to leave you with sun and fun-filled memories of the Maldives.
Ready to book the liveaboard dive vacation of your dreams? We’re confident both the Scubaspa Liveaboards will deliver. Alternatively, you can check out the entire selection of outstanding liveaboards in the Maldives below.