Diving in the Maldives is influenced by the seasons. The quality of individual dive sites and marine parks is determined by the ebb and flow of seasonal currents, which in turn affects both the underwater visibility and the marine life. Liveaboards follow these seasonal variations, taking divers to the best sites for the time of the year.
Regaldive operate a range of liveaboards throughout the Maldives. These include classic itineraries following established routes out of Male to new itineraries in remote atolls where the dive sites have only recently been established Maldivian Liveaboards are supported by a ‘dive dhoni’ where all dives are conducted from. The dhoni which carries all cylinders, equipment and compressors.
Classic Liveaboards out of Male
Over the past thirty years an incredible range of world class dive sites have been charted in the atolls surrounding the capital, Male. MV Emperor Voyager, MV Emperor Atoll, MY Mariana, MV Ari Queen, MV Sharifa and MV Carpe Diem and MV Carpe Vita visit many of the Maldives best known dive sites following a flexible itinerary that take account of local diving conditions. The boats will generally operate in both North and South Male atoll, Felidhe and Ari atoll and some operate a limited number of special trips further afield.
Liveaboard Itineraries Beyond Male
The last two years has seen access to some remote atolls in the Maldives improve dramatically. Regaldive feature liveaboards that cover these exciting new atolls, ranging from Haa-Alifu in the far north, to Huvadhoo in the far south. These atolls represent the new ‘frontiers’ of diving in the Maldives and lie well beyond traditional tourist maps.
Far North Haa Alifu Atoll
Haa Alifu is the most northerly atoll in the Maldives. There is a sizeable local population in the atoll but virtually no tourism development. MY Amba is the first liveaboard to the atoll offering a mix of dives on charted dive sites alongside truly original exploratory diving. Access to the atoll is via Male and involves an internal sea plane flight to Hanimadhoo airport. Main Manta season in this area is September and October for the best sightings, but nearly every week there are Mantas on some of the dive sites.
Far South Meemu Atoll
Meemu, Thaa and Laamu atolls are 3 of the 5 most southerly atolls and MY Sheena, under the expert management of Werner Lau, offers an exhilarating itinerary from the island of Medhufushi. Challenging drift dives make up the majority of the 3 daily dives available on MY Sheena; as many of these islands are yet to be fully dived and explored, many of the dives will be semi-exploratory, suiting divers looking to document some untouched sites in search for the unknown.
Liveaboard and Island Combinations Tailormade
Twin-centre holidays are easily arranged. Regaldive offer flights departing every day of the week on a range of schedule airlines allowing you the flexibility to determine the duration of your holiday. Charter flights are also available, but their weekly schedule may not match the liveaboards departure days.
Diving in the Maldives can be challenging, and as such it is recommended that divers have a minimum qualification of PADI Advanced or equivalent, with 40+ logged dives, although experienced Open Water divers are not precluded. M/Y Sheena requires a minimum of 60 logged dives, but exceptions may be made on request in certain cirsumstances.
Diving is encouraged to be undertaken in individual self-sufficient buddy teams and small groups, though you may of course choose to follow the guide for ease of navigation.
Whether you are looking to visit the renowned and established sites close to Male or want to discover remote atolls in newly-chartered waters, Regaldive operate a number of liveaboard itineraries so you can choose your ideal Maldivian diving experience.
Please note that liveaboard itineraries can change without notice. The itinerary will depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites. All dive sites visited are subject to weather conditions and are at the discretion of your dive guides and vessel captain.
Liveaboards out of Male
MV Emperor Voyager, MV Emperor Atoll, MY Mariana, MV Ari Queen, MV Sharifa, MV Carpe Vita and MV Carpe Diem will visit many of the Maldives’ best known dive sites whilst following a flexible itinerary that takes account of local diving conditions.
Liveaboards out of Haa-Alifu - North
Haa Alifu is the most northerly atoll in the Maldives, with a sizeable local population and virtually no tourism development. Regaldive’s itineraries follow a combination of established dive sites alongside truly virgin sites that have rarely been dived until now. This is adventurous, pioneering diving, characterised by waters that are heavily populated with rays, game fish and abundant corals.
Regaldive’s Haa Alifu itineraries are conducted from MY Amba, the first liveaboard to operate in these waters. This area will appeal to divers looking to travel well beyond the tourist map and experience some truly original diving. Access to Haa Alifu is via Male and involves an internal flight to Hanimadhoo airport, which is organised as part of the your travel package.
Liveaboards out of Meemu - South
Meemu is one of the 5 most southerly atolls in the Maldives, with very little tourism development. Regaldive’s itineraries follow a combination of established dive sites alongside exploratory dive sites that have rarely or never been dived until now. This is challenging and pioneering diving, characterised by waters that are abundant in the marine life one expects from the Maldives.
Regaldive’s Meemu, Thaa and Laamu atol itineraries are conducted from MY Sheena, the first liveaboard to operate in these waters. This area will appeal to divers looking to travel well beyond the tourist map and experience some truly original diving. Access to Medhufushi ialsnad is via Male and involves an internal flight by seapane from Male.
Emirates via Dubai from Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. Other regional departures may be available; supplement may apply. Regaldive's prices are currently based on Emirates. Supplements may or may not apply for other airlines dependant on seat availability.
Sri Lankan via Colombo from Heathrow, Qatar Airways via Doha from Heathrow and Manchester, Oman Air via Muscat from Heathrow, British Airways from Gatwick.
Charter Flights: Flights are direct, once a week for 7 and 14 night durations, usually flying overnight on outbound. Charter flight days may not match all the liveaboard departure days, with the exception of Carpe Diem.
Internal Transfers to Your Island Resort from Male
Your resort/boat is reached either by sea plane, speedboat transfer or internal flight from Male airport. Transfers are organised as part of your holiday package, unless requested otherwise.
Seaplane and Boat Transfers
Most islands close to Male offer speedboat transfers.
Island resorts located in Ari atolls, Raa atoll, Baa atoll, Lhaviyani atoll, Felidhe atoll, Meemu atoll, North and South Nilande atolls and Haa Dhaaul atoll are served by seaplane services.
Islands and liveaboards located on Haa Alifu atoll are reached by internal scheduled flight.
Some more distant islands offer a boat transfer as well, although as the transfer crosses between atolls they can often be long and uncomfortable and affected by the currents, so we opt to use the most comfortable option for each island.
If you are transferring by seaplane you should be aware of the following:
- Seaplanes do not operate a fixed departure schedule, but are planned daily according to the islands and guests that must be picked up and dropped off. The planning is carried out locally 24 hours in advance.
- Seaplanes often pick up and drop off guests from a number of islands on a single transfer run.
- Seaplanes only operate during daylight hours, generally 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
- You may have to wait for a short duration after arriving in Male. On departing, the islands will transfer you back to Male as late a local logistics on that day will allow.
- On departing your island resort your return seaplane transfer time will be confirmed the day before departure by your resort.
- If you have a late international flight departing home, it is highly advisable you ask Regaldive to reserve a day use package for you at the Hulhule hotel.
- Seaplanes are not pressurised flights.
- Seaplanes typically operate a strict weight policy of 20kg for hold luggage.
- Excess luggage is currently $2/kilo to the island and $4/kilo on the return.
Inter Atoll Flights - Haa Alifu
Transfers to Haa-Alifu in the North involve an internal pressurised flight from Male. This is arranged and costed as part of your travel package to the north of the Maldives, unless otherwise requested.
Hulhule Airport Hotel - Day use & overnights
International and internal flight schedules occasionally make fairly long connection times in Male Airport inevitable. The Hulehule Airport hotel offers inexpensive day packages to non-residents for use of their beach, pool, showers, left luggage and other facilities. Pre-booked packages are available with Regaldive, for day use with and without a room, and overnight stays (refer to separate webpage on Hulehule Airport hotel).
Passengers travelling to the Maldives must have six months valid on their passport from the date of return to the UK.
A free 30 day permit is given to British travellers on arrival in Male. Other nationalities should consult their consular website.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or local GP. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk. There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to the Maldives, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.
"Been on this liveaboard twice and highly recommend it, Joerg knows the dive sites and puts you in with the current not against it so this prolongs bottom times. Rattana his partner also is a superb dive guide and supervises the awesome Thai food on board . Both of them and the crew make this liveaboard a brilliant dive holiday "
Mary Campbell - N.ireland | 03 August 2014
Blue Horizon II
Best week diving I've ever had
"We've just returned from a fantastic week on Blue Horizon II. The crew, the dive guides and the other guests were amazing. The diving was really good. I never thought I would be enthusiastic to get out of bed at 5.30 every morning. "
Karole Dwyer - Carmarthen | 27 February 2014
MV Carpe Diem
Happy New Year to you and all at Regaldive. Some feedback for you...
We got back from the Maldives just before Christmas and had a whale of a time (literally) on board Carpe Diem. Great boat, dive guides and hospitality.
The diving in the Maldives was really good but challenging with some strong currents and rough seas. So we learned how to get in and out of a pitching
and yawing boat and to use a hook to prevent being swept away whilst waiting for sharks and mantas at cleaning stations. The highlights were snorkelling with Whale Sharks and watching a huge manta being groomed
The Whale Shark just came swimming past the boat at a depth of about 5 meters. No time to get diving gear on so we jumped in just with fins, mask and snorkel. It was a juvenile about 6m in length. There were actually two sharks both about the same size and we managed to snorkel with them for about 20 mins and get down beside them about 5 or 6 times.
We also had a great couple of Manta Ray experiences, the best of which was a huge specimen about 4m across which we saw coming towards us from the blue. We were at about 20m deep and it came so slowly and gracefully right over the top of us like the starship Enterprise and I went
all shivery, it just needed the 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' music! Great crowd on board the boat too. A really memorable diving experience and holiday.
Thanks for your excellent organisation of the trip.
Bob S - UK | 18 February 2013
Our trip went very well and the diving was the best I ever experienced and I have been around for a good while.
The boat (the Amba) is lovely and the owners run and manage it - a German and an Italian, so all runs like clockwork, the food is great and no bad tummies at all. I can strongly recommend with a few points to be noted.
1. They are the only boat way up north at the very top of the Maldives. So you are diving on pristine coral.....down side you are very far from help if you have a problem so only for very experienced divers.
2. A MUST… there are very strong currents, so strong that you must use a hook to fix yourself to the rock in strong currents. You stay there in the one place watching out into the blue for Sharks and Rays going past feeding in the current.
3. Like the Red Sea and elsewhere they do not look at tide tables..... so you may well dive on the third hour of the tide on Springs (we did and it was very unpleasant without a hook).
So it was a really good boat and a good trip - so good that I hope to return some day.
Michael and I had a fantastic time in the Maldives. Thank you for all of your help in making it possible. Thank you as well for the bottle of wine that was waiting for us in our cabin.
The crew of the Amba were all great and it was so nice to have dive sites all to ourselves. We did get to see mantas and a lot of different sharks. There was just so much to see, it was beautiful. We'd both love to go back!
Many thanks again,
Maldives - Amba trip
Thought it was about time we got in touch to say what a wonderful two weeks we had doing the Northern Itinerary in the Maldives on MV Amba.
Everything went ahead as planned, without too much delay at Mali airport. The boat is huge and very comfortable, designed with stability in mind. Franco and Nicole as dive guides and hosts were fantastic and very accommodating.
The diving was excellent. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this trip to others but they need to be aware that the divers were mostly German, Austrian and Swiss, not British, and language was a barrier at times. But with good will among the guests, this can be surmounted.
We had a great time and the food was wonderful.
John Ramsay and Judith Richards
"Thank you all so much for your help and advice, and for making my husband 50th birthday so very special.
Absolutely first class service from the office and from the rep at Male, best we’ve ever had.
"We had a delightful weeks diving on MV Amba. The owners Nicole and Franco were charming as were all the crew. The diving was excellent, well guided and well organised.
This was our fourth liveaboard in the Maldives and I would highly recommend this boat.
The Williams Family - UK | 12 January 2015
"I had a week on Amba and a week on Sheena in early January 2015 and can recommend both, though I thought Amba had the edge on food, boat, diving, and service. I started going to the Maldives in the mid-nineties and have visited 17 times, but in the last decade the experience has been less good than the first. The diving in the far north reminded me of my memories of the Maldives at their very best: abundant life, including lots of big stuff; superb corals; sometimes strong currents but that's what you need for the best life; awesome visibility with incoming current. The owners pair for guiding (he takes the group, she spots and signals from shallower depth) and this works extremely well. As far as I recall we never saw another dive boat on the whole trip. Life on board? I'm a middle-aged geezer and I like my comforts; Amba has those and I recommend it without reservation."
Rab - Maldives | 20 February 2015
"I have just returned from a fantastic 2 weeks on the Sheena. The staff were so friendly and professional. From turning our wetsuits the right way around before every dive to sourcing some fresh coconuts from one of the islands they did everything with a smile. Of course the diving was excellent and the Divemaster did his best to accomodate everyone's different requests."
Helen - London | 28 March 2013
"I had a week on Sheena after a week on Amba and very much enjoyed the trip. The boat is quite a bit smaller than Amba, but it is well set out and the food, cooked in a tiny galley, quite excellent both in variety, quality, and quantity. Diving is great too: Werner Lau run good operations and the boat criss-crossed the southern atolls in search of the best experiences. The dive guide on our trip in mid-January, Holger, is also the boat manager and has a very good way with the guests. You really need to be experienced in currents and open-ocean diving to get the best out of this safari, but if you do you will certainly be rewarded."
Rab - Maldives | 20 February 2015
M/V Emperor Voyager
The best ever diving holiday!
"Richard and I have just returned from a week aboard the Emperor Voyager in the Maldives. We had a terrific time and I thought you’d appreciate some feedback. Richard and I have jointly and severally taken a large number of liveaboard diving trips and this one was by a considerable margin, the best ever.
The flights were perfect. We flew with Qatar Airlines via Doha with just over an hour transfer time. The airline is justly proud of its quality of service and the courtesy of the crew. As a diver, I really appreciated the 30kg weight allowance and the safety net of an extra 10kgs if needed. All flights departed and arrived on time and without a hitch.
The transfers to and from the airport were perfect. The boat crew undertook all the heavy lifting for us.
The Emperor Voyager is a beautiful boat, well fitted out, clean and spacious. We were made to feel at home immediately. One unfortunate note was that initially and contrary to our booking, Richard and I were offered a cabin with a double bed, but this was quickly resolved.
The dive Dhoni that accompanies the Voyager would put many commercial dive day boats to shame. It is a very modern, fast and well equipped vessel and especially comfortable for large groups of divers.
The quality of meals was exceptional and the crew simply could not do enough to make our stay as comfortable and effortless as possible; even to the extent of cleaning and drying all our gear at the end of the week. We enjoyed a memorable barbecue dinner that they set up for us on a desert island as well as excursions to a “local” island and to Male.
But of course the most important aspect was the diving. We received excellent pre-dive briefings, and all equipment provided was of the best quality. The crew took care of all fills etc. In over 15 years of diving all over the world, I saw more sharks in one dive than I had ever seen in total. We had a Manta Ray display at cleaning stations over three dives, two days of whale shark sightings and no end of other memorable encounters throughout the week. My impression is that the dive team had carefully planned every day in the light of their extensive local knowledge and weather reports, to ensure that we stood the best possible chance of some unbelievable dives. I’ve attached a couple of my photos just to show you how amazing the whole experience was.
To say that we are satisfied customers would be a gross understatement. We will be booking to return again very soon.
Please kindly forward our grateful thanks to everyone involved!"
R Pengelly - UK | 02 February 2015
Maldives Liveaboard Vessels
M/V Emperor Voyager sails from Male and is a modern, spacious liveaboard built to a high standard, accommodating a maximum of 20 guests per trip.
M/V Emperor Atoll is a 26m liveaboard sailing from Male which caters for 12 guests in 6 air-conditioned, twin-berth / double ensuite cabins. Its compact size makes this boat ideal for charter by diving centres and small groups.
MV Sharifa was originally launched in 2005 and has been completely refurbished in 2013 to offer the latest modern comforts and technical specifications.
Under the award winning management of Werner Lau, the Sheena affords divers the opportunity to visit more rarely dived southern atolls of the Maldives from a comfortable liveaboard.
This beautiful and spacious 35m liveaboard accommodates up to 20 guests.
M/V Carpe Vita is a luxury 38m motor safari yacht and the sister vessel of the M/V Carpe Diem. She has a total of 10 cabins divided over three decks and can cater for a maximum of 20 divers.
MY Amba is the first and currently only liveaboard to operate in Haa-Alifu, the most northerly of the Maldivian atolls.
Ari Queen was launched in early 2009 and receives great feedback. This attractive, spacious boat comfortably accommodates up to 20 divers in 10 air-conditioned, en-suite cabins with hot water showers
Launched in December 2005 and having undergone extensive refit in Summer 2008, MY Mariana is a very comfortable and spacious liveaboard, attractively designed in traditional Maldivian style.