The Luxury Liveaboards for Avid Divers

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Explore some of the world’s most bountiful oceans on board these luxury yachts made for multi-day dive-oriented journeys.

Aqua Blu, Indonesia

Travelling through Indonesia’s most remote islands often means stepping aboard one of the traditional sailing yachts, many of which are exclusively available for charter. The new yacht by river cruise specialist Aqua Expeditions offers a different style of boating and the option to book a single cabin as well as chartering the whole boat. Aqua Expeditions launched its first coastal ship, Aqua Blu, in November for cruising through the marine-life rich waters of the Coral Triangle. The renowned yacht designer Cor D. Rover refurbished this yacht to celebrate its heritage as the former British Naval Explorer HMS Beagle. Minimalist in style, the yacht is now home to 15 sea-facing suites, a sundeck, indoor lounge and bar, library and spa, decorated with objects such as vintage maps collected from around the archipelago. You’ll be able to travel between Bali and the Komodo Islands April through September, through Raja Ampat from December to February and to Ambon and the Spice Islands in October and November. Equipment for scuba diving, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, among other water sports, is on board and cruises include exploration on land. 

Four Seasons Explorer, Maldives

The Maldives abounds with island resorts offering a barefoot hideaway to use as a base for ocean exploration. The Four Seasons Explorer offers a different kind of ocean and island experience. Three-, four- or seven-night cruises take you through the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll, from the Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa to Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. The three-deck catamaran takes a maximum of 22 guests with upper deck Explore Suites and large State Rooms to choose between. Cruises on this yacht are all-inclusive so you can fully enjoy the water sports and underwater exploration. Dive through underwater canyons, caves and coves of coral and stingrays and seek out the ocean’s shipwrecks, manta rays and whale sharks. Get back into the water for a dive in the moonlight and make the most of the beach barbecues and sunset cocktails along with the culinary experiences on board.

Floating Resort by Scubaspa, Maldives

The first yacht by Scubaspa was launched in 2013 to combine a luxury liveaboard experience with the added wellness element. This inaugural yacht, Scubaspa Ying, was then joined by the second yacht Scubaspa Yang the following year. Now, these two floating resorts take people on multi-day dive trips around the islands. Dive to your heart’s content each day before returning to the yacht for yoga sessions, a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi and treatments using organic ingredients in the on board spa. You’ll have sunset cocktails, dine under the stars and end the day with an open-air movie screening. The yachts are also equipped with an array of other water sports equipment, such as kayaks and paddleboards, enabling you to explore above the water as well as seeing what’s below the surface. The four chefs who joineach cruise ensure guests eat well, with international gastronomy ranging from tapas to sushi.

Over the Rainbow by Thanda Island, Tanzania

The Thanda Portfolio behind exclusive-use Thanda Island off Tanzania and South African private game reserve, Thanda Safari, is also the umbrella for Thanda Classic Cruise and the classic 1930s yacht, Over the Rainbow of London. By chartering the entire yacht, you’re able to sail this strip of the Indian Ocean between the islands of East Africa’s coast, maybe pairing this luxury liveaboard experience with a stay on Thanda Island. Begin your journey on either Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia islands, the Quirimbas archipelago and Madagascar, then hop between beaches, dive down to colourful reef, venture inland to ruins and culturally rich towns and, if you’re lucky, spot whales, dolphins and dugongs. Just four luxury cabins, accommodating up to eight guests, join the lounging and dining areas where menus highlight fresh seafood, tropical fruit and spices from Zanzibar.

Origin & Theory Galapagos

The luxury expedition yachts Origin and Theory by Ecoventura are two of the very few boats to have been included in the Relais & Chateaux collection for combining exploration of the islands with good food and plush accommodation. They’re also among the most sustainable yachts in the region, making them one of the best ways to see the Galapagos responsibly. Each yacht accommodates up to 20 guests in ten spacious staterooms that all come with sea views. You’ll head out each day on guided nature walks taking in the islands’ flora and fauna, venturing to mangroves and caves by Zodiac. You’ll paddle board to coves, snorkel and dive with marine species such as manta rays and hammerhead sharks and catch sight of dolphins and whales. You’ll have time back on board to soak in the Jacuzzi and gain insight into the region’s wildlife in the lounge each evening before dining at the marble-top tables and sharing stories of the day over a cocktail.

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