Did you know that liveaboards can be the most affordable way to enjoy a scuba diving vacation? Not only do liveaboards typically offer more diving at a wider variety of sites, they also wrap almost everything up into a single price, meaning scuba diving safaris can deliver exceptional value for money. And, many throw in a few freebies too, from alcoholic beverages to nitrox, excursions and presentations. 

So to help you keep your costs down during your next dive trip, we’ve selected and reviewed the world’s best budget-friendly liveaboards. Read on to find the best boat for you.

World’s best budget-friendly liveaboards reviewed

We all know diving can be expensive, so to help you keep costs low, here’s our favourite affordable dive liveaboards from around the world.

Navis 1 – Philippines

Navis 1 Palawan Liveaboard
Navis 1 Palawan Liveaboard

Navis 1 is a well-renovated contemporary catamaran combining luxury and functionality in one of the Philippines’ most impressive liveaboard diving destinations. Managed by a new, independent operator, this vessel is currently the only large liveaboard based solely in Palawan. Complete with both private and shared accommodation, Navis 1 welcomes discerning and budget-savvy travellers alike and guarantees exceptional value for money. Plus, the vessel’s capabilities are sure to satisfy even the most seasoned divers, incorporating facilities such as a dedicated camera room for underwater photographers.

Discovery II – Egypt

Discovery II Egypt Liveaboard
Discovery II Egypt Liveaboard

Recently refitted with passionate divers in mind, Discovery II is not only affordable, it is also highly capable – providing unforgettable Red Sea liveaboard voyages. Measuring 37-metres in length and spread over four decks, this stylish liveaboard easily accommodates up to 22 guests in a selection of double and twin-berth cabins. Social areas include the air-conditioned salon and dining area, an open-air lounge bar, and a semi-shaded sundeck. When it comes to diving, this vessel’s well-equipped dive deck and two five-metre tenders ensure maximum convenience, while advanced underwater explorers can make the most of optional nitrox fills, camera stations, and possible support for tec and rebreather diving.

All Star Morning Star – Bahamas

All Star Morning Star Bahamas Liveaboard
All Star Morning Star Bahamas Liveaboard

All Star Morning Star is a highly social liveaboard offering iconic dive cruises in the Bahamas. Part of the renowned Blackbeard’s Cruises fleet, within the All Star Liveaboards family, this vessel combines lively entertainment with high operating standards, delivering unique dive safaris at remarkably reasonable prices. Ideal for energetic, fun-loving guests, All Star Morning Star sells itself as ‘camping above the water’, and that’s exactly what it delivers – complete with bunk-style accommodation, care-free activities, and casual communal gatherings beneath the stars.

Snefro Love – Egypt

Snefro Love Red Sea Liveaboard
Snefro Love Red Sea Liveaboard

The King Snefro Fleet is one of the Red Sea's most reputed liveaboard operators, promising exemplary standards of service and fantastic guest facilities. While the entire fleet offers value for money, the 37-metre Snefro Love is one of its most affordable options. This recently refurbished motor yacht has been given a substantial uplift throughout, featuring a sophisticated style and brand new facilities. Snefro Love’s week-long itineraries focus on Egypt’s northern Red Sea, including Tiran, Ras Mohammed, and more. To help guests make the most of these sites, Snefro Love provides quality rental equipment, free nitrox, and WiFi for uploading the day's best images. Manifolds and sidemount equipment can also be organised, as can penetration dives on certain wrecks.

Smiling Seahorse – Thailand

Smiling Seahorse Thailand Liveaboard
Smiling Seahorse Thailand Liveaboard

One of the most modern liveaboards in the Andaman Sea, the purpose-built Smiling Seahorse is laden with dive-orientated details – from fin-friendly ladders and nitrox fills to support for sidemount and rebreather divers. Guests will also have access to a dedicated camera room with individual work stations, and blackwater night diving can even be experienced on certain itineraries. At 25-metres long, Smiling Seahorse caters to just 16 guests, guaranteeing plenty of room for relaxation. In a laid-back style typical of Thailand, this boat’s communal areas consist of large, open-plan spaces furnished with homely cushioned seating and hammocks, setting the scene for a fun and social trip.

Sunshine – Indonesia

Sunshine Indonesia Liveaboard
Sunshine Indonesia Liveaboard

Crafted from hardwood by the master boat-builders of Sulawesi, KLM Sunshine is a classic phinisi liveaboard with a cosy atmosphere. But, in contrast to its homely feel, this vessel offers some of Indonesia’s most adventurous itineraries. Lasting up to two-weeks, KLM Sunshine’s voyages cruise the remote waters of Halmahera and Sulawesi, as well as places few divers have ever heard of such as Dongala, Toli Toli, and Kwandang. And, with just eight guests on board, these unique, far-flung trips feel seriously special. Despite the isolated destinations, this liveaboard’s operations have been designed with safe and comfortable diving in mind, including providing nitrox fill as standard. 

Amelie – Egypt

Amelie Red Sea Liveaboard
Amelie Red Sea Liveaboard

Amelie is a popular budget-friendly Red Sea liveaboard operated under the Amelie Safari fleet. Renovated as recently as 2022, this vessel is both clean and inviting, featuring a sleek, minimalist design furnished with the odd splash of quirky colourful charm. Amelie’s family-style atmosphere make it a firm favourite for sociable travellers, while its diverse itineraries which range from three to seven-nights make it suitable for all experience levels. From beginners to pros, Amelie’s dedicated crew will ensure each and every guest has a trip to remember, welcoming snorkelers and non-divers aboard as well as offering advanced facilities including nitrox fills and sidemount support.

Nusantara Mikumba - Indonesia

Nusantara Mikumba Indonesia Liveaboard
Nusantara Mikumba Indonesia Liveaboard

Nusantara Mikumba is a beautiful back-packer style liveaboard setting new standards for budget-friendly dive safaris in Komodo National Park. Featuring a shared eight-person dorm and four additional on-deck sleeping spaces, this vessel feels like a boutique hostel above the waves. Exploring Komodo year-round, Nusantara Mikumba’s itineraries last between three and five-days and incorporate the region’s most iconic attractions, both above and below the water. And, to help guests maximise their time during such concise trips, this vessel typically offers up to four dives a day at multiple different sites.

Ratu Laut – Indonesia

Ratu Laut Indonesia Liveaboard
Ratu Laut Indonesia Liveaboard

Combining simplicity and style, Ratu Laut is a classic phinisi liveaboard exploring the biodiverse waters of Raja Ampat. For budget-savvy divers, this vessel’s shared quad cabin is amongst the cheapest in the region, with additional twin options for those who like a little more privacy. And, not only is Ratu Laut one of the most affordable of Raja Ampat’s top liveaboards, it also channels its profits into local conservation and community projects run by Barefoot Conservation, making it one of the most sustainable options, too. Throughout each voyage, guests can expect up to four dives a day on some of Raja Ampat’s best sites, along with talks and presentations from accompanying marine biologists. 

Nautilus Two – Maldives

Nautilus Two Maldives Liveaboard
Nautilus Two Maldives Liveaboard

Nautilus Two is an elegant yet surprisingly affordable liveaboard with a wonderfully unique aesthetic. Made in traditional Maldivian style using high-quality wood, this charming vessel features spacious social areas and sophisticated decor, making it feel far more exclusive than its price tag portrays. And, despite its gentle appearance, Nautilus Two actually specialises in intrepid and adventurous experiences packed with diving, snorkelling, and watersports galore – including kayaking, paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and snorkelling. Itineraries last between one to two weeks, either exploring the legendary sites of the central atolls or voyaging south to explore remote and pelagic-packed diving areas. 


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