Which is the Best Type of Liveaboard for You?

  As liveaboard diving continues to grow in popularity, a huge variety of vessels and onboard facilities have become available to choose from, with something for all budgets. You might choose a liveaboard based on its appearance and destination only, but there are more advantages to the different vessel types than meets the eye. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from liveaboards today during a Safari.


What Are Phinisis?

Part of Indonesia’s ancient shipbuilding tradition and hand-hewn from exotic and rare woods, boats don’t get much more stunning than phinisis. They were originally used to carry spices and textiles through the ancient spice route and modern phinisi boats have been repurposed for cruising and diving. UNESCO recognizes the heritage importance of phinisi boats and has listed South Sulawesi’s hand-crafted sailing boats as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage.’  

Why Choose Phinisis?

  • Hull shape ensures smooth and easy sailing; allowing you to relax in comfort and avoid motion sickness
  • Good sailing capabilities and powerful engines; ensuring you can make the most of your dive time

What Can You Expect from A Phinisi Liveaboard Safari?

Go phinisi liveaboard diving and you can expect rich wood interiors, traditional designs and cosy rooms. Phinisis sail some of the best areas of Indonesia and are a good choice for romantic liveaboard safaris and for relaxing under the sails as you cruise from island to island. There are a variety to choose from, including the Tanaka phinisi. The Tanaka cruises the outer islands of Indonesia (3 to 10-night safaris) and caters for families, couples and groups.

Steel Hulls

What are Steel Hull Boats?

In this case, the name says it all. Steel hull boats are, unsurprisingly, made from steel. These strong and stable boats visit a variety of top dive destinations around the world and are a popular choice with well-known liveaboard fleets.

Why Choose Steel Hull Boats?

  • Modern boats
  • Strong and built to excellent safety standards
  • Variety of safety features, such as compartmentalized hulls so any unexpected leaks at sea can be easily dealt with
  • Very stable in choppy waters, ensuring a comfortable ride even on high seas
  • Perfect for reaching remote dive destinations

What Can You Expect from A Steel Hull Liveaboard Safari?

Being modern, you can expect steel hull boats to have some of the best facilities, spacious rooms and everything a diver could need onboard. They can be high end safaris as they are expensive to build, but there are both luxury and budget options available. These sturdy boats reach can remote dive sites easily, allowing divers to experience big pelagics such as when scuba diving Socorro, Mexico - without compromising on comfort at sea. The Nautilus fleet and Solmar V are great examples of the diverse facilities available, including onboard open-air cinemas and luxury staterooms. For the ultimate in luxury steel hull liveaboards, be sure to check out the Scubaspa fleet. These elegant vessels combine Maldives scuba diving with luxury spa treatments, fine dining and island hopping. Steel hull boats also can be found cruising Egypt, French Polynesia, Micronesia and more.

Sailing Yachts

What Are Sailing Yachts?

Sailing yachts are easy to identify with their sleek designs and billowing sails. Whilst they might not be the first image that comes to mind when you picture liveaboard diving, there are some great reasons to try diving from a sailing yacht.

Why Choose Sailing Yachts?

  • Perfect for combining scuba diving, sailing and utter relaxation
  • Spacious and with classy interiors
  • Plenty of luxurious and modern facilities to choose from
  • Ideal for families and groups with non-divers, as they often combine diving with water sports and island hopping
  • Chance to slow down, unwind and enjoy a slower pace of life at sea

What Can You Expect from A Sailing Yacht Liveaboard Safari?

Expect a relaxed vacation, sailing and diving around paradise islands and exploring white-sand beaches. Destinations visited by sailing yacht liveaboards include Indonesia, Micronesia, the Maldives and Thailand. The Seychelles is a popular destination for sailing liveaboards and there are plenty of dive sites to choose from whilst exploring some of the 100 islands on offer. There are a variety of sailing liveaboards available for divers and non-divers, including the S/Y Sea Bird and S/Y Sea Star.


What Are Catamarans?

Catamarans have two parallel hulls and can be used as both motor and sailing yachts. They have unique design features that make them ideal for divers who suffer from motion sickness and want to ensure they are comfortable on anchor. What Are the Advantages of Catamarans?
  • Shallow draft, allowing them to cruise and anchor in shallow places that few other boats can reach
  • Can visit quieter dive sites, avoid swells and ensure guests have a good night’s sleep on anchor
  • Fantastic stability and prevent sea sickness more than monohulled boats can
  • Quiet and can cruise the seas at speed, allowing divers to reach a variety of dive sites whilst also enjoying the experience of being aboard a sailing boat

What Can You Expect from A Catamaran Liveaboard Safari?

Expect an intimate dive safari, as catamarans often cater for smaller groups. Being part of a small dive group can allow you more flexibility with the dive itinerary and ensures a more personalized service. You can also expect to enjoy easily-accessible 360-degree views of the ocean from the boat and enjoy fun facilities, such as onboard trampolines. There are catamaran liveaboards cruising a variety of stunning destinations, including the Aqua Tiki II at French Polynesia, the Oceanes Dream at Madagascar and the Shore Thing in Western Australia. Other top catamaran destinations include the Bahamas, the Philippines and Myanmar (Burma).

Expedition Ships

What Are Expedition Ships?

Expedition ships are typically larger ships, often used for both diving and cruising safaris. They are built to withstand all sea conditions and visit some of the harshest destinations on earth.

What Are the Advantages of Expedition Ships?

  • Experiencing adventurous dive destinations
  • The chance to visit and explore some of the most pristine and untouched environments on earth
  • Cope easily with icy seas, challenging swells and long crossings, all without compromising on guest comfort and entertainment
  • Ideal for ice diving, wildlife watching, and nature photography

What Can You Expect from An Expedition Ship Liveaboard Safari?

Expect these ships to accommodate numerous passengers and have plenty of social areas, extensive walking space on deck, and a huge variety of onboard facilities. Expedition ships often have a rich history of scientific research to discover. These ships combine diving, cruising, wildlife watching and activities such as hiking, kayaking remote shorelines, and getting up close to wildlife. Expedition ships are ideal for Arctic and Antarctica liveaboard diving. The Ortelius and Plancius liveaboards offer diving and non-diving cruises to both destinations.   This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com