A dive liveaboard could be designed by industry experts, crewed by Cousteau himself, and feature every facility imaginable, but it’s the seal of approval from day-to-day divers that really counts. So who better to select the world’s best liveaboards than the divers actually booking trips?
We’ve put together a selection of our top-rated and most popular liveaboards, those that have been tried, tested, and given a big thumbs up by dive travellers just like you.
So, read on to discover the world’s best dive liveaboards - according to ZuBlu’s guests.
It’s no surprise that the traditional phinisi takes centre stage in Indonesia, with our top three most popular Indonesian liveaboards all following this iconic design. Carpe Diem is a celebrated dive liveaboard, offering intimate experiences with a total of just 10 guests on board. Jakare steps up the luxury a little with stunning interior design and a boutique beach house vibe. For discerning divers, Jelajahi Laut comes featuring built-in wooden games tables and a beautiful master suite offering extensive ocean views and its own private terrace.
Red Sea liveaboards
With so many contemporary dive yachts cruising the Red Sea, it can be difficult to differentiate them at times. But based on our guests' ratings, we have selected three clear favourites. Discovery I is a crisp and clean wooden-hulled motor yacht equipped with facilities for rec, tec, and photography. Marked at a similar price, Blue Horizon is a sleek and stylish vessel with luxurious interiors, an on-deck hot tub, and support tech and rebreather divers. If you’re interested in heading south, the Red Sea Aggressor IV is the perfect choice, with the fleet’s signature blend of style and service proving tempting.
The Maldives has plenty of industry-leading liveaboards to choose from, but a few stand head and shoulders above the rest. Scubaspa Yang and Scubaspa Ying are twin vessels offering the same sumptuous spa breaks at sea. Guests can enjoy massages, meditation, yoga, and gym workouts between dives which are conducted from an accompanying floating dive centre. Impressing discerning travellers with its casual luxury, Carpe Novo comes well-equipped for experienced divers, thanks to a dedicated camera room and complementary nitrox. Consistently ranked as one of the best liveaboards in the Maldives, it’s no real surprise that Blue Force One also made this list. This exceptional vessel features spacious cabins, first-class dive facilities, and hot tubs – both on-deck and in the master suites.
In the Philippines, our guests are divided between the phinisi’s classic charm and the modern comforts of a motor yacht. But, both of our most-popular liveaboards in the Philippines share a similar high standard of luxury. Atlantis Azores is a recently refurbished motor yacht offering five-star facilities throughout, including a hot tub, nitrox and rebreather facilities, and complimentary local alcohol. The Philippine Siren, by contrast, is a striking phinisi schooner boasting breathtaking interior design alongside professional camera facilities, free nitrox fills, and rebreather support.
Our two top-rated liveaboards in Thailand could hardly be more different. Smiling Seahorse is a spacious and stable motor yacht built specifically for liveaboard diving, offering support for sidemount and rebreathers, as well as great opportunities for photographers, including blackwater night diving. If you prefer something a little different, The Junk is an old merchant schooner that has been transformed into an unmistakable dive liveaboard. So stunning and distinctive is this vessel’s appearance, it has appeared in multiple Hollywood films, including the James Bond franchise.
With two vessels operating weekly schedules, the Aggressor fleet is the best option in Belize. Understandably, both boats are highly popular among our guests, thanks to the fleet’s reliable standards of service. The Belize Aggressor III is a 34-metre motor yacht complete with a convenient camera lab for underwater photographers. At 42-metres long, the Belize Aggressor IV is slightly larger and can accommodate two more guests, bringing the total to 20. Both of these superb boats offer up to five dives a day, making them perfect for dedicated divers.
Due to its popularity and isolation, dive trips in the Galapagos Archipelago are never cheap. But, as our three most popular boats in the Galapagos prove, they don’t have to break the bank, either. Aqua features comfortable interiors flooded with natural light and easy to share cabins that are perfect for solo travellers. Galaxy Diver is the most affordable of the three, though you wouldn’t think so by looking at it, thanks to a meticulous renovation in 2022. Calipso is a slight step up in terms of price, but it features a few indulgent amenities that the other vessels lack, including an on-deck hot tub.
Costa Rica liveaboards
When it comes to diving the remote island of Cocos, there can really only be one winner. Purpose-built for long-range expeditions lasting up to a month, Sea Hunter is a highly capable and robust liveaboard packed with facilities for both recreational and technical divers, as well as photography and videography.
Our top-rated liveaboards in Mexico cover almost every preference, from comfort to conservation, and more. Nautilus Explorer is a bright, beautiful modern vessel offering luxurious details – such as its signature “dive butler” service – at a reasonable price. Quino el Guardian offers trips with marine biologists and a dive deck designed for research, allowing guests to take part in citizen science during their trips. Rocio Del Mar is another smooth-sailing adventure diving vessel with a homely feel and convivial atmosphere.
In the Bahamas, our guests rightly favour the reliable service and action-packed itineraries of the All Star Liveaboard fleet. With a crew that has been voted the best in the world by Scuba Diving Magazine readers, All Star Aqua Cat is a luxurious catamaran offering tempting facilities such as nitrox and support for sidemount and rebreathers. In contrast, All Star Sea Explorer describes its trips as like “camping on the water”, complete with dorm-style sleeping arrangements, fun activities, and star-lit social gatherings.
Cayman Islands liveaboards
With just one safari boat exploring this iconic dive destination, visitors have little choice when it comes to liveaboards in the Cayman Islands. But thankfully, visitors can expect the Aggressor fleet’s usual five-star service from the Cayman Aggressor IV, including complementary wine with dinner, an on-deck hot tub, and optional nitrox upgrades.
Ready to book your liveaboard adventure?
Contact the travel team today