Liveaboard Dive Charter Trips
Frequently Asked Questions
If you've already decided on your next liveaboard diving safari destination, then choose one of the following dive spots to review our frequently asked questions:
For answers to your more general questions on liveaboard diving charters, read on...
Where is the best place to go on a diving cruise?
This is an impossible question to answer since we all like different things. A liveaboard around the sparkling waters of the Red Sea, where English is widely spoken and there are many flights from Europe, might be perfect for some divers. Whereas others might consider the remote and simple islands of Raja Ampat to be their dream cruise destination.
What we can say is that we do not simply include any destination where diving from a boat is possible. We list only those places where we can recommend the diving, and only quality operators who can give you the dive safari you are dreaming of.
Where is good for diving with sharks?
There are many destinations where sharks are a feature of the diving. However it might be better to think about what type of sharks you are interested in.
Whale sharks and zebra sharks are common in Thailand. Grey reef sharks are plentiful in Australia and the Maldives. White tip and black tip reef sharks are found throughout Indonesia and Burma. Hammerhead sharks are found in big schools at Cocos and the Galapagos islands, whereas wobbegongs are numerous in Papua New Guinea. The oceanic white tip is frequently found in the southern Red Sea. Sharks like the Caribbean reef shark and the Galapagos shark are self-explanatory.
So have a look through our dive site descriptions or creature features to find which types of sharks interest you most and we will put you in the water with one (or many!).
Where is good for diving with mantas?
Mantas are found in tropical waters throughout the world and there are many many spots where manta rays are likely to be spotted at some stage during your diving vacation.
Some of the better known destinations for these spectacular, graceful creatures include the Maldives, Cayman Islands, Belize, Galapagos, Hin Daeng and Koh Bon in Thailand,
Raja Ampat and Komodo in Indonesia.
What is the difference between a steel hull and wooden hull boat?
It's a fact that is little spoken about in the industry, but the honest truth is that boats do sink, including diving boats. During the years that Dive The World has been in operation, we know of at least 2 dive boats, on average, that have sank every year. Now, we certainly don't mean to put you off joining a diving charter, we just want to point out that safety should play an important role when you're selecting a liveaboard safari.
Statistically speaking, boats constructed from steel have far better safety records than those constructed from wood. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that steel hull boats often have hulls that are compartmentalised, so that if the boat springs a leak, then that chamber of the hull can be sealed before water can fill the whole hull and sink the boat. They also tend to be more modern and have been built to higher and more rigorous safety standards. However, steel is more expensive than wood and steel hull boats also tend to be more high end options.
For detailed information on the safety features of the boats, please review the 'Specs and Safety' tab of each boat in our 'Liveaboards' section.
Might there be an accident at sea?
In our descriptions of the boats we recommend, you can read what safety and communications features each has. This varies from boat to boat but we always try to give you the fullest detail available, and select those boats that adopt a comprehensive, no-nonsense approach to the safety of their guests and their staff. You can also check the extent of medical resources the boats carry and their emergency evacuation procedures.
Is the food fresh?
On all but the longest, most remote diving safaris, the boats will set sail with the galleys full of fresh fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs. Concerns about fresh food are usually completely unnecessary since guests enjoy delicious tropical meals throughout their trip, and may well leave the boat a few pounds heavier!
On the few routes where a long trip takes the guests to remote, 'frontier' destinations, it may be necessary for the crew to make the occasional replenishment of the kitchen cupboards, which means stocking up on the best and freshest food available. This might not always meet western supermarket standards, but normally those who seek out such trips have a taste for adventure and are not going to be too upset if their apples are not as shiny and crunchy as they would expect back home.
I have special dietary requirements - what should I do?
Tell us in advance. We will pass on your dietary requirements to the dive charter operator and ask them to ensure that they can cater to your needs. One of Dive The World's directors is a vegan and difficult to please so we have plenty of experience in this regard. Some boats are better than others at catering for varying dietary needs, but if you don't tell us then we cannot influence your choice or the situation. So if you are a veggie, a vegan, Muslim, kosher, lactose intolerant, nut allergic or whatever, please point it out and we can help you to avoid problems.
Is alcohol included in the price?
Not often. Most boats recognise that divers do not tend to be the biggest drinkers (national stereotypes aside). Having said that almost all the boats we know have a reasonable selection of beers, wines and some spirits. Check the details relating to each boat on the 'Facilities and Food' and 'Trips and Prices' tabs to see what the price includes and excludes. Some liveaboards do offer free alcohol, others recommend bringing a bottle of your choice if you have a particular spirit you cannot go without for a week.
What is common to all is that there is no drinking before any diving, so as soon as you crack open a tinnie you become a snorkeller for the rest of that day.
What about seasickness?
Seasickness can affect some people badly, and others not at all. While some can laugh and joke about less than flat-calm conditions, others may be leaning green-faced over the deck, feeding the fish with their semi-digested lunch. Many boats carry anti-motion sickness medication, but if you think you may be a sufferer take medical advice beforehand and, if advised and you deem it necessary, then feel free to bring your own medication.
I am travelling alone - will I have to share a cabin?
Most liveaboard cabins accommodate 2 people sharing. If you are a lone traveller it may be possible to book 1 bed and then find yourself alone in the cabin without having to pay any additional single supplement. However this depends on the number of guests that join the cruise. Many boats also attempt to pair single travellers together according to gender to minimise the risk of unwanted amorousness!
If you definitely want the cabin to yourself then a single supplement is highly likely, and you will need to check with us as to what that price may be. If you have particular needs regarding sharing or not sharing a cabin just let us know.
There are also a limited number of liveaboard diving safari boats that do have single cabins. Once again, just let us know your requirements and we'll be glad to help find something that suits you.
Will the cabins have en-suite bathrooms?
This depends on the particular boat you have in mind. Generally speaking only the lower budget options do not have en-suite bathrooms, where you may have to wait for your shower. Check the detail on our website relating to the cabins to be sure (the 'Cabins, Berths, Showers, Bathrooms...' section on the 'Liveaboard Diving' tab of each boat).
Many of the boats we recommend have en-suite bathrooms, and these are improving in standard all the time to the point where some have incredible bathrooms with piping hot, unlimited water, supplying power showers - just what you need after a great day's diving!
Will I see more dive sites than if I stay at a resort?
This is one of the main reasons why, for many divers, a liveaboard is the only way to go. Like a floating hotel you can move from one spot to the next, and take in a great range of dive sites that would simply not be possible with a land based option.
Also the liveaboard dive safaris can reach sites that are otherwise innaccessible, or get to distant sites before any daytrip boats show up. So not only will you see more dive sites from liveaboard, but you are also likely to get to the better dive sites.
Do we dive from the dive platform or from dive tenders?
Again this is something that varies from boat to boat and from destination to destination. Please check the details on the website for any boat you are particularly interested in.
In some parts of the world, e.g. Indonesia, very few boats dive from the platforms since the operators have an unwritten agreement regarding the distance their liveaboard boats keep from the dive sites. Here tenders take you to the spot. However, elsewhere diving from the dive deck is the norm.
What facilities will there be for my camera equipment?
Nowadays more and more boats are catering to the need of photographers. As divers grow older and their interests spread from just diving, to wanting to capture priceless moments underwater, more liveaboards provide facilities such as separate rinse tanks, charging stations, camera tables, laptops and slide processors. See each boat's 'Facilities' for details.
How much is the non-diver rate?
Most boats offer a discount for the non-diver. In many cases this represents 10% off the diver rate but it does vary so please let us know. Some also allow discounts for children and senior citizens, so it is always worth checking with us whether we can make your dream trip that little bit more affordable.
Is there phone reception/ email on board?
Obviously this question depends on the destination and the coverage provided for the itinerary in question. (e.g. Maldives, Similan Islands - yes, Burma, Raja Ampat - no). While to many the idea of being on a boat in the middle of nowhere and out of contact with the pressures of the modern world is a little slice of heaven, others do need to be in contact, whether for business or personal reasons.
We gather all the information we can on communications, including mobile coverage and some boats will also have satellite phones for calls, faxes and emails. Clearly, the more high-end operators tend to have the best communications, but it does vary widely so check our website information carefully.
What currency should I take on board?
The US dollar remains the most widely accepted currency in the world and is seldom refused when paying on liveaboards worldwide. However it is wise to carry with you sufficient funds both in US dollars and in the local currency.
Note that some payments such as for park fees, additional nitrox usage, alcohol and tips are most likely to have to be paid on board, so please ensure you have sufficient cash to cover your expenses.
How much should we tip?
Tipping is always subjective. It is often said that 10% of the cruise price is considered the standard tip on a liveaboard, but our advice is to tip whatever you feel comfortable with (and don't lose sleep over it!). Often there are quite a large number of crew who have been working hard to ensure you have the best time possible, and these are often local staff who may not be earning high salaries, so your tips are always welcome.
Can we put our valuables in a safety deposit box?
All boats will provide somewhere secure for your belongings. Whilst there is an element of security to being in an environment with a limited number of potential thieves, the honesty of the other guests and (possibly) staff members cannot be guaranteed, so it is always wise to secure passports, credit cards, cash and travel documents. You will often not need any of these until the end of the trip.
Where are the other guests from?
As with diving generally, this is a lucky dip. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee a 17 year old male customer that the boat is full of Brazilian supermodels on an underwater photo shoot (unless he takes out a whole boat charter himself). The guests on board are likely to be of a range of nationalities, ages and interests, but with a common bond that they all love diving and are looking forward to a smooth, enjoyable and memorable holiday (with a boat full of Brazilian supermodels).
As part of our boat appraisal process, we do consider the nationalities of the operator's customers. We know that you don't want to be stuck on a boat with a crowd of people that don't speak your language. We only select from those cruises that provide a dive guide service in English, and that have a mixed or English language customer base.
Can you arrange accommodation for me?
We've teamed up with an affiliated hotel reservation agency, Agoda.com. They offer a wide range of accommodations worldwide. Browse their website choices, ask any questions you have using their live chat facility, then simply use your credit card to make your reservation:
From top-of-the range international beach resort chains to one-star hotels and guesthouses, there's something to suit everyone's tastes and pockets. And you can be sure that whatever option you select, it will be backed up with their 'Low Price Guarantee', so you will always get top-dollar value for money.