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Although the Maldives are known the world over for the stunning beaches and azure waters that typify the tropical idyll, its life beneath the water's surface is becoming ever more respected by scuba divers in the know. Whale sharks, manta rays and even hammerhead sharks are regularly seen on a single liveaboard vacation in the Central Atolls!

Ari Atoll is widely accepted as being the leading atoll for scuba diving in the Maldives. There are sites scattered all around Ari Atoll and they provide the full range of underwater adventure, meaning there is something for everyone. It also means that the atoll is ideally suited for liveaboard tours. The innumerable underwater pinnacles that typify the diving here are hotbeds of marine life, and you can expect to see greater fish density in this location than other parts of the country. Show more


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Liveaboard Diving Safari Options in Central Maldives


Most central atoll cruises are for 7 nights although there are sometimes longer, but never shorter, ones. You will need at least a week for liveaboard diving in the Maldives.

There are other itineraries that visit the central atolls and venture slightly further south. These Maldives Southern & Central Atolls cruises can also include Rasdhoo, Meemu and Vaavu atolls. The Maldives Northern & Central Atolls cruises visit the central region plus Baa Atoll and its renowned Hanifaru Bay.

The trips may also be for as little as 7 nights, but are more usually 10 or 11 nights in duration.

Click to view product. Special discounted trips highlighted in yellow
MV Adora MV Adora
From USD 228 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

37m / 122 ft
Max 21
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls,...
  • All cabins with ensuite bathroom...
  • Cabin for single traveller
  • Dive The World Gold Range produc...
MV Amba MV Amba
From USD 81 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Operates rare tours in far north...
  • Dive The World Gold Range produc...
  • All cabins have en-suite bathroo...
  • Stand-up paddleboard, 12 & 15l t...
  • Dhoni has camera table, rinse ta...
MV Carpe Diem MV Carpe Diem
From USD 159 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

35m / 116 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls,...
  • Cabins with private bathrooms, T...
  • Dedicated dining room
  • Wave Runner available
  • Large boat with steel hull
MV Carpe Novo MV Carpe Novo
From USD 248 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

43m / 142 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central, northe...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Dedicated single occupancy cabin...
  • Large liveaboard
  • Camera room, table and charging ...
MV Carpe Vita MV Carpe Vita
From USD 164 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

38m / 125 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Tours all regions of the Maldive...
  • 7 and 10 night trips
  • All cabins are ensuite with TV &...
  • Large comfortable sun deck with ...
  • Large boat
MV Ocean Divine MV Ocean Divine
From USD 387 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 12
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central and sou...
  • Maximum of 12 guests only
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Spa service with massage and ski...
  • Steel hulled boat
MY Manthiri MY Manthiri
From USD 403 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

26m / 86 ft
Max 12
Nitrox
  • Visits Maldives central atolls a...
  • All ensuite cabins with minibars...
  • More than 20 years in the diving...
  • Dedicated restaurant with bar
  • Cameras: racks, rinse tank, tabl...
  • Photography professional on boar...
MY Sachika MY Sachika
From USD 150 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

33m / 109 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • Cabins with private bathrooms, T...
  • Dedicated restaurant with bar
  • Jacuzzi on the sundeck
  • Underwater scooters
Scubaspa Yang Scubaspa Yang
From USD 240 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

50m / 165 ft
Max 40
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Combines diving with spa treatme...
  • Sundeck with hot tub
Scubaspa Ying Scubaspa Ying
From USD 240 per day

Customer rating: Excellent!

50m / 165 ft
Max 40
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central atolls ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Combines diving with spa treatme...
  • Sundeck with hot tub
MV Emperor Atoll MV Emperor Atoll
From USD 165 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

26m / 86 ft
Max 12
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Tours many Maldives regions; cen...
  • Maximum of 12 guests only
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Rebreather-friendly
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, ri...
MV Emperor Leo MV Emperor Leo
From USD 220 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

35m / 116 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls: ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Sun deck with Jacuzzi
  • Nautilus Lifeline personal EPIRB...
  • Large boat
MV Emperor Virgo MV Emperor Virgo
From USD 217 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

31m / 102 ft
Max 16
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls, ...
  • Cabins with ensuite bathrooms, T...
MV Emperor Voyager MV Emperor Voyager
From USD 204 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

30m / 99 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls a...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Rebreather-friendly
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, ri...
MY Sheena MY Sheena
From USD 233 per day

Customer rating: Very good!

24m / 79 ft
Max 14
Nitrox
  • Tours the Maldives southern atol...
  • Maximum of only 14 divers, 10 cr...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Minimum 12 years, advanced certi...
MV Emperor Explorer MV Emperor Explorer
From USD 268 per day

Customer rating: Good

42m / 139 ft
Max 26
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central and nort...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Upper deck spa with massage
  • 4 dives per day and 4 dive guide...
  • Large boat
MV Emperor Serenity MV Emperor Serenity
From USD 296 per day

Customer rating: Good

40m / 132 ft
Max 26
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls: ...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Upper deck spa
  • 4 dive guides
  • Large boat
MV Theia MV Theia
From USD 239 per day

Customer rating: Good

32m / 106 ft
Max 16
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central atolls, ...
  • Cabins with ensuite bathrooms
  • Spacious indoor and outdoor rela...
  • Sky Bar on sun deck
MY Honors Legacy MY Honors Legacy
From USD 136 per day

Customer rating: Good

33.5m / 111 ft
Max 18
Wi-Fi
  • Visits Maldives central, norther...
  • Cabins with ensuite bathrooms an...
  • On board spa treatments
  • Jacuzzi on the sundeck
Nautilus One Nautilus One
From USD 170 per day

Customer rating: Good

30m / 99 ft
Max 16
Nitrox
  • 7 to10 night dive cruises to Mal...
  • Multiple relaxation spaces
  • Cabins with private en-suite bat...
  • Sleek all-wooden boat
Nautilus Two Nautilus Two
From USD 162 per day

Customer rating: Good

43m / 142 ft
Max 24
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • 7 to 10 night dive safaris to Ma...
  • Multiple relaxation spaces
  • Spacious cabins with private bat...
  • Very large sleek all-wooden boat
Ocean Sapphire Ocean Sapphire
From USD 150 per day

Customer rating: Good

35m / 116 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central and sou...
  • All cabins with private bathroom...
  • Jacuzzi on sundeck
  • Open-air bar for sunset cocktail...
  • Large boat
MV Eco Blue MV Eco Blue
From USD 225 per day

Customer rating: Be first to rate!

32m / 106 ft
Max 20
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • Cruises Maldives central, north ...
  • Dive The World Gold Range produc...
  • Runs some family-friendly cruise...
  • Charging station, special photog...
  • Bar with beer on tap
  • Lavazza coffee bar
MY Blue Voyager MY Blue Voyager
From USD 203 per day

Customer rating: Be first to rate!

37m / 122 ft
Max 26
Nitrox
Wi-Fi
  • 7-12 night cruises to Maldives n...
  • All cabins are ensuite with TV &...
  • Large comfortable sun deck with ...
  • Dedicated air-conditioned dining...
  • Rebreather friendly
  • Large steel-hulled boat
Maldives Aggressor II Maldives Aggressor II
From USD 210 per day

Customer rating: Be first to rate!

41m / 135 ft
Max 22
Nitrox
  • 7, 10 night dive cruises to Mald...
  • All cabins are ensuite with TV &...
  • Complimentary beer and wine
  • Large comfortable sun deck with ...
  • Dhoni has fresh water shower, ri...
  • Large steel-hulled boat



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The Climate, Diving Season and Best Time to Visit

The recommended months for confirmed liveaboard departures are from November to May but the Maldives scuba diving season runs all year round. If you wish to come outside of November to May it may be more difficult to find a departure date that suits you.

The northeast monsoon (winds from the northeast) runs from the end of December to May. At this time of year the skies are blue and the lack of wind means the seas are calm. The visibility on the eastern side of the atolls is good at 20-30+m, and 15-20m on the western sides. The eastern atolls generally have the best visibility during this time too, and December to March normally enjoys the best overall visibility. This is because the currents flow through the atoll channels from east to west. Reef sharks gather in large numbers at the channel entrances on the eastern side of the atolls; whereas mantas are drawn to the western sides because plankton flows out of the channels into open sea on west at this time. The current is strongest at this time of year too.

June to November is the southwest monsoon and the above process is reversed: currents from through the channels in an easterly direction; mantas to the east, reef sharks and better visibility to the west. It is at this time when the skies are cloudier, the winds are stronger and seas a little rougher, although the season does still get nice, sunny spells. Surface swells can reach 1-2m, particularly during the rainy season in June/July, when rain falls on average 3-4 hours per day, and during the monsoon transitions in late May and early December.

Water temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year at 26-29°C, except in the far south where the water temperature can drop to 24°C during the northeast monsoon. Having said all that, like most places in the world, the seasons in the Maldives have become less predictable in recent years.

Mantas, whale sharks, turtles, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are found in the Maldives all year round; if anything, manta rays are found in even greater numbers in the southwest monsoon. As for the other big creatures, diver encounters are dependent on non-seasonal factors: whale sharks are more frequently sighted at high tide, and hammerhead sharks ascend to shallower water at sunrise.

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Liveaboard Ports of Departure for Central Maldives and How to Get There

We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

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Places to Stay

If you plan on staying in the Maldives before or after your liveaboard diving safari, you can find a wide range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to raise your queries, and when you're ready simply use your credit card to make your booking:

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

All bookings are supported up by their 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.

Note: if you have a few hours to kill in Male before or after your liveaboard charter, then you may wish to book a day room at a hotel in Male or on Hulhule Island (where the airport is located). You can shower, store your luggage, and be free to explore the area.

Useful References for Maldives Liveaboards


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