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Liveaboard Cruises in the Maldives' Central Atolls

Dive Tour Options and Travel Information

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Although the Maldives are known the world over for the stunning beaches and azure waters that typify the tropical idyll, its life beneath the water's surface is becoming ever more respected by scuba divers in the know. Whale sharks, manta rays and even hammerhead sharks are regularly seen on a single liveaboard vacation in the Central Atolls!

Ari Atoll is widely accepted as being the leading atoll for scuba diving in the Maldives. There are sites scattered all around Ari Atoll and they provide the full range of underwater adventure, meaning there is something for everyone. It also means that the atoll is ideally suited for liveaboard tours. The innumerable underwater pinnacles that typify the diving here are hotbeds of marine life, and you can expect to see greater fish density in this location than other parts of the country. Show more


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Diving Cruise Options


Most central atoll cruises are for 7 nights although there are sometimes longer, but never shorter, ones. You will need at least a week for liveaboard diving in the Maldives.

There are other itineraries that visit the central atolls and venture slightly further south. These Maldives Southern & Central Atolls cruises can also include Rasdhoo, Meemu and Vaavu atolls. The Maldives Northern & Central Atolls cruises visit the central region plus Baa Atoll and its renowned Hanifaru Bay.

The trips may also be for as little as 7 nights, but are more usually 10 or 11 nights in duration.

Click to view product. Special discounted trips highlighted in yellow
MV Adora
From US$ 210 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

37m / 122 ft
Max 21
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls,...
  • All cabins with ensuite bathroom...
  • Cabin for single traveller
  • Comfortable sundeck with bar
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, to...
MV Carpe Novo Explorer
From US$ 233 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

43m / 142 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
MV Carpe Vita Explorer
From US$ 290 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

38m / 125 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Tours all regions of the Maldive...
  • 7 and 10 night trips
  • All cabins are ensuite with TV &...
  • 2 free beers or wine each day
  • Large comfortable sun deck with ...
  • Large boat
MV Ocean Divine
From US$ 379 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 14
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central and sou...
  • Maximum of 14 guests only
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Spa service with massage and ski...
  • Steel hulled boat
MV Orion
From US$ 201 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

39m / 129 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
  • Visits Maldives central atolls: ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Sun deck with whirlpool tub and ...
  • Diver tracking devices, CO analy...
  • Large boat
MV Sting Ray
From US$ 156 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

31m / 102 ft
Max 18
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls:...
  • All cabins have private en-suite...
  • Affordable option popular with b...
  • Includes Male sightseeing and is...
MY Manthiri
From US$ 435 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

26m / 86 ft
Max 12
Nitrox
  • Visits Maldives central atolls a...
  • All ensuite cabins with minibars...
  • Maximum of 12 guests, 11 crew
  • Dedicated restaurant with bar
  • Cameras: racks, rinse tank, tabl...
  • Photography professional on boar...
MY Sachika
From US$ 197 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • Cabins with private bathrooms, T...
  • Dedicated restaurant with bar
  • Jacuzzi on the sundeck
  • Massage room, underwater scooter...
Manta Cruise
From US$ 223 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 18
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises the Maldives central ato...
  • All cabins with private en-suite...
  • Trips from 6 to 13 nights
  • Minimum 50 dives and advanced ce...
  • Good offers for dive groups
Scubaspa Yang
From US$ 279 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

50m / 165 ft
Max 44
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Combines diving with spa treatme...
  • Sundeck with hot tub
  • Professional photography service
Scubaspa Ying
From US$ 279 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

50m / 165 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Combines diving with spa treatme...
  • Sundeck with hot tub
  • Professional photography service
MV Carpe Diem
From US$ 258 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

35m / 116 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls,...
  • Cabins with private bathrooms, T...
  • Dedicated dining room
  • Wave Runner available
  • Dhoni has 3 egress points, showe...
  • Large boat with steel hull
MV Emperor Atoll
From US$ 193 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

26m / 86 ft
Max 12
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Tours many Maldives regions; cen...
  • Maximum of 12 guests only
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Rebreather-friendly
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, ri...
MV Emperor Voyager
From US$ 184 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

30m / 99 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls a...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Rebreather-friendly
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, ri...
MV Leo
From US$ 217 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

35m / 116 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls: ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Sun deck with Jacuzzi
  • Nautilus Lifeline personal EPIRB...
  • Large boat
MV Virgo
From US$ 228 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

31m / 102 ft
Max 16
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls, ...
  • Cabins with ensuite bathrooms, T...
  • Nautilus Lifeline personal EPIRB...
  • Upper deck Jacuzzi
MY Dream Catcher II
From US$ 289 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

33m / 109 ft
Max 17
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • All suites have private bathroom...
  • 2 indoor saloons
  • Dedicate bar and lounge area
  • Sea canoes, water skiing, towabl...
MY Moonima
From US$ 171 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

30m / 99 ft
Max 16
Wi-Fi
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Internet access on the Wi-Fi rou...
  • 3 spacious sundecks
  • Dhoni has fresh water showers, c...
  • 12 and 15 litre tanks
  • Cruises central atolls: North Ma...
MY Sheena
From US$ 189 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

24m / 79 ft
Max 14
Nitrox
  • Tours the Maldives southern atol...
  • Maximum of only 14 divers, 10 cr...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Minimum 12 years, advanced certi...
MV Theia
From US$ 232 per day

Customer rating: Be first to rate!

32m / 106 ft
Max 16
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls, ...
  • Cabins with ensuite bathrooms
  • Spacious indoor and outdoor rela...
  • Sky Bar on sun deck



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The Climate, Diving Season and Best Time to Visit

The recommended months for confirmed liveaboard departures are from November to May but the Maldives scuba diving season runs all year round. If you wish to come outside of November to May it may be more difficult to find a departure date that suits you.

The northeast monsoon (winds from the northeast) runs from the end of December to May. At this time of year the skies are blue and the lack of wind means the seas are calm. The visibility on the eastern side of the atolls is good at 20-30+m, and 15-20m on the western sides. The eastern atolls generally have the best visibility during this time too, and December to March normally enjoys the best overall visibility. This is because the currents flow through the atoll channels from east to west. Reef sharks gather in large numbers at the channel entrances on the eastern side of the atolls; whereas mantas are drawn to the western sides because plankton flows out of the channels into open sea on west at this time. The current is strongest at this time of year too.

June to November is the southwest monsoon and the above process is reversed: currents from through the channels in an easterly direction; mantas to the east, reef sharks and better visibility to the west. It is at this time when the skies are cloudier, the winds are stronger and seas a little rougher, although the season does still get nice, sunny spells. Surface swells can reach 1-2m, particularly during the rainy season in June/July, when rain falls on average 3-4 hours per day, and during the monsoon transitions in late May and early December.

Water temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year at 26-29°C, except in the far south where the water temperature can drop to 24°C during the northeast monsoon. Having said all that, like most places in the world, the seasons in the Maldives have become less predictable in recent years.

Mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are found in the Maldives all year round; if anything, manta rays are found in even greater numbers in the southwest monsoon. As for the other big creatures, diver encounters are dependent on non-seasonal factors: whale sharks are more frequently sighted at high tide, and hammerhead sharks ascend to shallower water at sunrise.

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Ports of Departure and How to Get There

We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

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Places to Stay

If you plan on staying in the Maldives before or after your diving safari, you can find a wide range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to raise your queries, and when you're ready simply use your credit card to make your booking:

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

All bookings are supported up by their 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.

Note: if you have a few hours to kill in Male before or after your liveaboard charter, then you may wish to book a day room at a hotel in Male or on Hulhule Island (where the airport is located). You can shower, store your luggage, and be free to explore the area.

Useful References for The Maldives


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