The M/Y Dolphin is a specialist in diving cruises to the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines' remote Sulu Sea liveaboard mecca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can see plenty of big fish, as well as a wide range of sharks and rays. The company has been operating this route since 2008, so has plenty of experience in finding all the best spots to dive.
The yacht was built in Japan in 1986, and converted in to a diving liveaboard in 2009. It is 31 metres long, with a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. Its weight and keel make for a very stable vessel and a smooth expedition. It has twin 500 Yanmar engines, 3 generators and compressors, with plenty of redundant equipment in case of emergency.
Dolphin has 9 guest cabins for its 18 guests. Unusually. all accommodations are on the main and upper decks, meaning they are quite distant from the noise of the engine room and compressors. All cabins have private bathrooms and slide windows with sea views, and all equipped with individual climate control.
The Main deck also houses the large restaurant with splendid views, and which also serves as the briefing room. Here guests will enjoy their meals which are served buffet style. Once or twice per week, guests are invited to a celebratory barbeque grill on the upper deck. There is a TV area with a selection of movies. The upper deck is the sun deck and main social area. Here you will find sunbeds, deck chairs, and 2 bamboo sofa sets, as well as the wheelhouse, grill and guest cabins.
The diving facilities are located in the centre of the main deck. There is storage room, stainless steel rinse tanks, a service table for equipment changes, and 2 large oxygen tanks. There are 2 showers on both sides of the dive platform, and a WC in the kit up area. The Dolphin has 2 motorised tenders which it uses for its scuba operations. A full charter will be divided in to 3 groups of 6 divers with a DM each, Each group will enter the water at intervals of 20-30 minutes, to avoid crowding at the sites. Cruises include up to 4 dives per day, with 2 night dives planned per week.
Dive experience: Advanced open water divers with a minimum of 30 logged dives recommended, because all dives are deeper than 18m.
Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinking water, soft drinks, hot drinks, local airport/hotel transfers to and from the boat, dives (as detailed in the trips above), 3 experienced English-speaking divemasters, tanks, weights and weightbelts, all taxes.
Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Scuba equipment rental (incl. dive computer and torch: US$ 26 per day), dive insurance, Marine park fees (per person per trip):: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park US$ 100. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash only).
Optional extras: Alcoholic drinks, nitrox fills for enriched air certified divers US$ 10 per day, 15 litre tank rental US$ 10 per day. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival -cash or bank transfer.
How to get there: The Dolphin liveaboard departs from Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island (the first and last trip of the season will also use Berbarabe Port which is 20 minutes from Batangas City by car). You can buy return flights to/from Puerto Princesa Airport (code PPS) from both Cebu and Manila. If you are transiting in Manila, keep in mind that you will need to transfer from the international terminal to the domestic terminal by taxi. You should allow at least 2 hours for this transfer.
Return boat - local airport/hotel transfers are provided, Boarding time is 3-5 pm (2:30 pm on transit trips), disembarkation is 7-9 am (9-10 am on transit trips). The last dive of the tour will be at 3 pm on the second last day of the trip. Please wait at least 18 hours before flying after diving. For more information see our Philippines travel information section.
Non-diver rate: 20% off the published price.
Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travellers may choose to share a cabin or add 80% to the published price for their own cabin.
Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 8 guests and 1 additional person can join the cruise free of charge (total 9+ guests).
Whole boat charter rate (per night): Pay for 16 guests and 2 additional persons can join the cruise free of charge.
There are 9 guest cabins for 18 guests (although it is registered for 25 passengers), all above the waterline. On the main deck there are 4 cabins with a lower queen bed and an upper single bed, plus 2 cabins with convertible twin double beds. On the upper deck there are 2 larger VIP cabins with king-size beds, and another cabin with a lower queen bed and an upper single bed.
All the cabins have:
Individually controlled air conditioning
Picture slide windows
Large private bathroom with toilet, hand basin, hot water shower and towels
Storage for luggage
Wardrobe, mirror and shelves
Fridge (VIP cabins only)
Fire alarm, life jackets and fire extinguishers
220V electricity supply with round & flat 2-pin sockets - available 24-hrs per day