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MV Celebes Explorer 9

MV Celebes Explorer 9
From USD 255 per day
116 ft
Max 16
At a glance...
  • The only liveaboard in Sipadan
  • The only option to dive at Sipadan every day
  • Cruises of 3, 4 and 7 nights
  • All cabins with private bathrooms
  • Main deck cabins have seaview windows

Customer reviews
Very good!431

Click on an image to enlarge

Built and launched in October 2019, MV Celebes Explorer 9 is the only Sipadan liveaboard diving option and clearly the best way to dive Sipadan dive sites every day. You can join different lengths of cruises every Tuesday and Friday. It is also a great option for full charter for groups of 10 to 16 people.

This 35m motor yacht is uniquely placed to allow 16 lucky guests to maximise their time underwater at the dive sites around the legendary Sipadan island. When not diving, you can hang out in the main deck's air-conditioned saloon reading a book from the library or playing cards. This doubles as the dining area where buffet-style meals are served. There is also a separate audio-visual room with TV and music system, where you can listen to music and watch films or underwater clips. There is also a 3rd indoor relaxation room on the upper deck where you can lounge on the sofa and have a drink.

Open air chill-out spaces include the sun deck, and the shaded and furnished open-air zone at the stern of the main deck. Here you can stretch out on sun loungers and soak up the sun or enjoy a cool refreshing drink as the sun sets over the Celebes Sea.

All 8 spacious and comfortable cabins have air-conditioning, plenty of storage and ensuite bathrooms. 2 double bed cabins are on the middle deck (with large seaview windows and with doors that open to the outside deck), 6 twin bed cabins are on the lower deck (with portholes and with doors that open to a central corridor).

Divers suit up and step down to the dive tender where the can put on their BCD, mask and fins before diving the delights of Sipadan. Note that diving is at Sipadan every day. There are 2 dives at Sipadan, plus an additional dive at Mabul every diving day. So if you want to experience more time underwater at Sipadan than any other option can provide, it is time to act now and take your place on the MV Celebes Explorer 9.

 English spoken by divemasters  Nihonjin wa diving guide de hanasa reru  Divemasters cakap Bahasa Malay  Hokkien spoken by divemasters

Scheduled departures, prices, destinations, durations...

 English spoken by divemasters  Nihonjin wa diving guide de hanasa reru  Divemasters cakap Bahasa Malay  Hokkien spoken by divemasters

More Trip Details...

Dive experience: All divers must have at least an Advanced Open Water certification and can dive with good self-control of buoyancy. Visitors must bring their passport and diving license with them, or a printed copy of it, for presentation at the Sipadan Island marine park office. The Sipadan authorities do not accept digital copies of diving licenses and divers that are unable to verify their qualification status will not be permitted to dive.

Note: all trips are confirmed departures with a minimum of 2 guests (with each guest booking the Single Occupancy package).

Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinking water, hot drinks, marine park fees and permits, Semporna jetty fees, scuba diving equipment, dives (as detailed in the trips above), experienced English-speaking divemaster(s) (3-4 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts. Goods & Services Tax (GST 6%) is included in our prices (unlike some other agency websites that you might visit), all taxes.

Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Tawau airport or hotel to Semporna transfers (except for whole boat charters) . Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash only, MYR, USD, EUR).
Dive computer, torch and surface maker buoy (SMB): These are not available for rent. Guests should bring their own. If you dive without a computer your depth will be limited to that of the dive guide.

Optional extras: Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, extra dives at Sipadan/Mabul on Day 1 (US$ 339, minimum of 2 guests, paid in advance), dive insurance, SMB,. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.

How to get there: You will board the MV Celebes Explorer 9 in the afternoon every Tuesday (3 and 7 night cruises) and Friday (4 night cruises). You need to be in Semporna at the operator's office (opposite Starbucks) by around 15:00 hrs in readiness to depart around 15:30 hrs. You will be transferred by speedboat to the liveaboard to overnight onboard in Mabul, so you must make the 15:00 hrs check-in.
Note: land transfers are not provided. Guests are responsible for their own arrival at Semporna jetty. The road journey from Tawau Airport takes around 75 minutes. There are taxis and buses available at the airport (expect to pay approx. MYR 100-150).
Tawau arrival flights:
From Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia Airlines: MH2121 (07:40-08:30), MH2137 (12:30-13:20), Air Asia: AK 6272 (07:30-08:25), AK 6260 (09:10-10:05), Malindo Air: OD1700 (10:55-11:45)
From Kuala Lumpur: Air Asia: AK5746 (07:25-10:15) , Malaysia Airlines: MH 2660 (07:30 - 10:20).
From Sandakan: Malaysia Airlines MH 3093 (09:20-10:00)
Tawau departure flights:
To Kota Kinabalu: Malindo Air: OD 1701 (12:25-13:25), OD 1703 (18:30-19:30), Air Asia: AK6261 (10:30-11:25), AK 6263 (15:05-16:00), Malaysia Airlines: MH2122 (09:15-10:05), MH2134 (18:15-19:05)
To Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines: MH 2661 (10:45-13:25), MH2665 14:15-17:00), Air Asia: AK5747 (10:40-13:35), AK5749 (15:40-18:30)
At the end of the cruise, the liveaboard will be back in Semporna in the evening of 2nd last day of the trip to overnight there. On the disembarkation day, you can check out anytime before 8:30 hrs. 8:30 hrs is the latest check out time. If the liveaboard is staying in Mabul, you will be transferred by speedboat at 06:00 hrs back to Semporna, arrive 06:45 hrs. Alternatively, you will awaken on board in Semporna and disembark after breakfast at around 08:30 hrs.
The last dive of the trip will be before 14:00 hrs on the penultimate day. This operator has a stricter than usual policy on no flying after diving and they recommend flights after 14:00 hrs to ensure a full 24 hrs from the end of the last dive. The operator may refuse diving that is within 24 hrs of your scheduled flight time.

Add-on: If you arrive by 7:45 am on the start date, you can opt for an extra day of diving at Sipadan: You will make 2 dives at Sipadan and 1 dive at Mabul, then be transferred direct to the boat afterwards to join the cruise.

Non-diver rate: There is no non-diver discount.

Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travellers may choose to share a cabin or pay a supplement of approximately 45% of the published price depending on length of cruise.

Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 9 guests and 1 extra person may join the cruise free of charge (10+ guests).

Whole boat charter rate (per night): Discount varies slightly depending on length of cruise. Please ask us for details. Full charters also include a pick up at Tawau Airport and return transfers to the port in Semporna on scheduled embarkation and disembarkation days.

Add-on package: If this is your only planned visit to Borneo Malaysia then we strongly recommend that you consider a 2 night add-on stay at the Sepilok Nature Resort, Sandakan in Sabah, to allow you to witness the not-to-be-missed jungle adventures with Orangutans.

 English spoken by divemasters  Nihonjin wa diving guide de hanasa reru  Divemasters cakap Bahasa Malay  Hokkien spoken by divemasters

Cabins, Berths, Showers, Bathrooms...
There are 8 Standard cabins on board. 6 twin bed cabins are on the lower deck and 2 double bed (2 single beds pushed together) cabins on the main deck, all with ensuite bathrooms.

All the cabins have:
  • Air-conditioning
  • Private en-suite bathrooms with hot water shower
  • Towels, hairdryer and soap
  • Cabinet, shelves & mirror
  • Reading lights
  • Bedding
  • 24-hour, 240V electricity supply with universal sockets
  • Life jackets
No. of bathrooms / showers - 10 / 10 - hot water

 English spoken by divemasters  Nihonjin wa diving guide de hanasa reru  Divemasters cakap Bahasa Malay  Hokkien spoken by divemasters

Customer reviews:

Customer rating - Very good
"Comfortable liveboard with not much people. Professional dives and divemasters offering additional 1 dive in Mabul everyday after Sipadan. Nice service during the whole trip.
Food and kitchen was the only disappointment. Food served often cold and very repetitive, in order to get fish on the menu we had to buy it ourselves from local fisherman's.
" - , Belgium, 30 August 2022 ...

Customer rating - Excellent
Everything was amazing, Our full charter of CE9 was the highlight of our holiday and the boat surpassed expectations.They went over and beyond and changed the services based on our request (an extra night away from the port so we could do a snorkeling stop in Mabul on our last morning). Staff were amazing, boat was amazing, dives were great." - , Cambodia, 18 February 2020 ...

Customer rating - Excellent
The older boat has its fair share of bad reviews on the internet and maybe rightfully so. But the Celebes Explorer 9 is positively luxurious. Huge lounge/dining area, sunning deck and the common rooms are almost worthy of a 5-star resort. It probably helped that we were 4 guests on a boat meant for 14 and so really had lots of space. The housekeeping crew are warm attentive and helpful. The chef cooked up a variety of simple but delicious dishes during the 4 nights I spent here. Cookies, bananas, milk, tea and coffee are almost on tap. Fresh fruits are served with every meal and during the surface intervals. Diving in Sipadan is truly world class. The currents are gentle here allowing for relaxed dives, The marine life is diverse and bountiful. Healthy corals (for now) and beautiful vistas made for good diving. The visibility was not always crystal clear, but we always had 10-15m visibility. Sharks and turtles are a given on almost every dive. Barracudas, schools of jack, humphead parrotfish, batfish etc are abundant and make this a wonderful place to dive at." - , India, 03 March 2020 ...


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