The Maldives are certainly a fantastic destination for experienced divers, but there’s no reason that less proficient adventurers should sit them out. After all, if you’re going to learn to dive, why not do it in the most amazing undersea environment on the whole planet?
Some liveaboard operations gear themselves exclusively toward hardcore customers, while others provide a more inclusive environment. The MV Maldives Princess is a great example of the latter, making it the perfect place to begin a lifetime of diving adventures.
The MV Maldives Princess is a new boat, just completed in 2009. Her sleek hull comes in at 115’; teak decks and custom furnishings impart a luxury feel you’ll love to bask in between dives. Every one of the MV Maldives Princess’s nine cabins boasts a mini bar, Wi-Fi access, private bathrooms, and an entertainment system. You’ll take meals either on deck or in the spacious and truly beautiful dining room, enjoying fantastic cuisine from East and West, as well as more traditional Maldavian creations. Water, tea, and coffee are included, though there is a full and well-stocked bar available too.
Liveaboard trips on the MV Maldives Princess typically run nine days and guests will enjoy about four dhoni-based dives every day. Those of you looking for a longer adventure can put consecutive trips together, resulting in a true dive safari experience and delaying the trip back to your regular life for a good long time.
The MV Maldives Princess takes guests on a number of preplanned dives around the Maldives, geared to divers of every experience level. Newbies will love the so-called Macro Spot, for example—a shallow (3 to 12 meters) adventure where inexperienced divers can still view some amazing wildlife, namely octopi and lobsters. The amazing coral gardens of the Maga Thila provide beginners with the opportunity to take in larger deep-sea fish like white tip sharks, sailfish, and even dolphins.
More experienced divers shouldn’t feel left out of the fun, though—the MV Maldives Princess visits plenty of spots for advanced exploration, too. The Colosseum, for example, is a drift dive during which you’ll explore steep reefs that lead down into gorgeous coral formations, while large pelagics go about their business around you. The Giravaru Caves dive features massive schools of midnight snappers and incredible blue sea views from the shaded depths of the caves and overhangs here. It’s a photographer’s dream, and a great place to escape to while the beginners have a cocktail and enjoy the on-deck Jacuzzi.
Many of these dives involve exploring thilas—underwater islands that range in size from very small to large enough that you can’t take in even one side of the thing on just one dive. They make great environments for undersea wildlife, from tiny reef fish to majestic manta rays. And though the currents (or kandus, in Maldavian dive parlance) can be pretty strong in some of these areas, they are often all access, suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. After all, beauty is beauty, no matter how many dives you’ve got under your belt!
For the price of admission, the MV Maldives Princess provides first-class topside amenities, too. On the last day of your trip, for example, you’ll enjoy a full day in Male, the Maldives’ capital city and a cool place to reaclimate yourself before the inevitable (and unfortunate) return to your own civilization. There’s also a full compliment of fishing gear available for use in between dives, as well as that large Jacuzzi right up on the front deck. And let’s not forget the on-board steam bath and masseuse, who will be more than happy to help loosen you up between all those dives you’ve got going on.
A liveaboard vacation for everyone, pro and novice alike? Absolutely—look no further than the MV Maldives Princess. Whether it’s your first dive trip to the Maldives or your 100th, she’ll make it worth your time.