The idyllic way to tour the Maldives archipelago is by cruise ship or charter boat. Charter boats, also called safari cruises, are becoming ever more popular. Safari cruising is an excellent way to visit multiple islands, untouched dive sites, and unique attractions, all far from crowded tourist resorts. The advantages offered by safari cruising benefit the snorkeler, diver, surfer, photographer, and many others. It is the ideal way to see populated islands in their natural state, and wildlife hotspots that will leave you breathless.
Generally, vacations in the Maldives last anywhere from seven to ten days. Longer trips are not uncommon, but a shorter trip means having to pick and choose which sites to see; there's no way to get a full picture in less than a week. Many tourists choose to stay at a single resort, but why limit yourself? By taking your vacation on a liveaboard charter boat, you can wake up to a new view every day. Aboard the MV Orion, you can tan, swim, or relax as we bring paradise to your door.
During the typical excursion, the Orion lies at anchor during the night and cruises for a few hours each day. However, this is more than enough to visit a wide range of islands and spectacular dive spots.
Passengers on the Orion are generally an international mix of old and young, experienced and inexperience. A casual, friendly atmosphere quickly develops, helped along by the casual dress code; we ask nothing more than shorts by day and relaxed outfits at night.
Meals aboard the Orion are generally buffet style, although catered dishes can be made upon request. Our on-board Indonesian and Sri Lankan chef make breakfast cooked to order, and create the soups and main courses offered at the lunch and dinner buffets.
If you're looking for comfort, great food, companionship, and an experience to remember, cruising the Maldives is the perfect vacation.
Diving on the MV Orion
The Maldives are full of exotic sea creatures. From manta rays, to colorful fish, to a wide variety of sharks, the Maldives have sea life worth seeing.
Types of dives and what you will find
Manta cleaning station
At these dive sites, one can find manta rays of all sizes coming to be cleaned by wrasse. The manta rays swim gracefully above an area of coral while the wrasse nibble parasites and debris from their bodies. On a good day, it is possible to see more than twenty manta rays dancing this delicate cleaning ballet.
Best time and conditions
- January - April: Western side of Ari Atoll when the current flows from the East out of the atoll.
- June - November: To the east of Male (North and South), Baa Atoll and Lhaviyani Atoll when the current flows from the West out of the atoll.
- May & December: During this time the Manta rays are moving from one side of the atoll to the other. Dives may encounter rays on both sides of Ari and North Male Atoll.
Named after the Dhivehi words for pinnacle, these submerged spires can rise to within 1m of the surface. The tallest of these (within 4m of the surface) are called Giri, while deeper towers are called Thila. These formations are a great areas to spot pelagics such as tuna, reef sharks, trevallye, trigger fish, eagles rays and fusiliers as they hunt for reef-fish.
Best time and conditions
- Throughout the year in Ari Atoll, North and South Male
- June - November: Baa Atoll
The Maldives contain 26 atolls, and all but one of these have entrance channels. These channels allow seawater and fish to circulate in the atolls. You are sure to encounter fish leaving or entering the atoll in these channels. The most common species are tuna, reef sharks, and eagle rays. Rarer finds include sailfish, Dorado, Tiger and Silky sharks, and Hammerheads. These channels have fast and sometimes unpredictable currents, which can be great fun if care is taken to follow the dive guides.
Best time and conditions
- December - May: South Male Atoll, , Meemu Atoll, Laamu Atoll, Vaavu Atoll, Thaa Atoll, and Huvadhoo Atoll
Learning to scuba dive
The Maldives offer a great environment for first time divers. The clear water, amazing sights, and variety of sea life ensure that your first dives will be fun and easy. Orion's experienced instructors can have you diving in as little as two days. MV Orion offers PADI, TDI, and SDI certifications, and can also certify in supplemental courses such as Adventure Diving, Enrished Air Diving (Nitrox), Advanced Open Water Diving, and so on up to Master Scuba Diver. The Open Water Referral option allows you to finish training you have already started in the clear, warm water of Maldives. The Orion's instructors also offer Diving Depending on the Moon Phase, which is only available at certain times (see MV Orion schedule for more information).
If you want to avoid the hassle of transporting scuba gear internationally, you can rent your equipment aboard the Orion. We carry absolutely everything you need to fully enjoy your sucba experience. Should you wish to take advantage of our renting options, book and give equipment sizes within 30 days of the departure date of your charter.
The Orion houses twelve resort-style guest suites. Each suite contains an exquisitely tiled bathroom and either a double or two twin beds. Every room has en suite toilet and shower facilities. Internet access is available through onboard WiFi provided by Mobile Operator. The password will be given upon payment of $20 per week per person.
The MV Orion is 135 ft in length, has two decks, and is powered by a 600HP Volvo engine. The main deck contains the reception area and library, as well as the kitchen, two public restrooms, the bar, and the dining area. The lower deck contains the suites.
MV Orion schedule
The ideal time to schedule your visit will depend on what you're looking for in the perfect dive trip. Divers wishing to avoid strong currents should not schedule during the full or new moon. Divers who wish to see large schools of pelagics and are alright with strong currents should aim for January and February duing the full or new moon. For Manta rays, the days before and after the new moon are ideal.