The Best Liveaboard Trips for Experienced Divers

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While one-size-fits-all liveaboard trips that mix beginner divers with those who have well-worn logbooks are great in most circumstances, sometimes, divers want a bit more of a challenge. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the dive sites that may be found offshore, deep and exposed to physical factors such as waves and strong currents.

Decades ago, exploring challenging dive sites used to be difficult as they are often found far offshore and require immense logistical preparation. Today, all you need to do is choose your diving destination, select your preferred liveaboard, and click that reservation button to book your desired schedule.

With training, proper certification, and experience, divers will be rewarded by interacting with and witnessing marine life that cannot be found in protected or sheltered areas.

The Best Liveaboard Trips for Experienced Divers: At a Glance

Liveaboard# of RoomsNitroxWifiLengthCostPADI TravelLiveaboard
Argo9YesNo39m$$$CheckCheck
Galapagos Aggressor III8YesNo32m$$$CheckCheck
Solmar V12YesNo35m$$CheckCheck
Sokaraja3NoYes25m$CheckCheck
Nai’a9YesYes37m$$CheckCheck
Thorfinn10YesYes58m$$CheckCheck
Avalon I8NoNo33m$$$CheckCheck
Solitude One10YesYes52m$$CheckCheck
Belize Aggressor III9YesNo35m$$CheckCheck
JP Marine14YesYes37m$CheckCheck

The Best Liveaboard Trips for Experienced Divers: In Depth

ARGO

Year of Commission: 1985 (renovated 2008)
Capacity: 18 guests 
Area of Operation: Costa Rica
Dive Destination: Cocos Island

The Argo is a 39 meter (128 feet) long luxury liveaboard that is preferred by experienced divers when exploring the underwater habitats of Costa Rica. It has 9 cabins that can accommodate up to 18 guests where your room choices includes the Double Twin Bed Cabin, Double Queen Bed Cabin and the Owner’s Cabin. While sailing out at sea, you can visit, enjoy and indulge in their onboard amenities like the main air-conditioned saloon that is fitted with a  television, a bar, a sun deck and a dining area that serves International cuisine.

The 11-day cruise of the Argo will take experienced divers to the top diving sites of Cocos Island like Bajo Alcyone, Manuelita and Silverado. All of these sites have a deep dive, drift diving profile and a guaranteed interaction with sharks. Here you can see a healthy population of hammerhead sharks, silvertip sharks, silky sharks, whitetip reef sharks, and tiger sharks. On top of the amazing shark diving experience, what really freaks out experienced divers is that they can go deep-sea diving courtesy from the onboard submersible which can carry up to 2 guests at a time and explore the abyssal depths of up to 300 meters (984 feet) deep without getting wet.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

GALAPAGOS AGGRESSOR III

Year of Commission: 1993 (renovated 2011)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Ecuador
Dive Destination: Galapagos Island

The Galapagos Aggressor III is a 32 meter (105 feet) long luxury liveaboard vessel that offers dive safari adventures in the Galapagos Island of Ecuador. It has 8 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where your room choices include the Deluxe Staterooms and the Master Staterooms. Its onboard amenities includes the spacious saloon, a sun deck that is fitted with a bar, grill, jacuzzi and a dining area that serves American cuisine.

The 8-day cruise of the Galapagos Aggressor III will take experienced divers to the top diving sites of Galapagos Island like Darwin’s Arch and Wolf Island. Due to the upwelling of its waters in Galapagos Island, experienced divers will usually go on a drift dive following moderate to strong water current. This fast flow of water brings in high nutrients, which in turn, attracts an array of marine life where you can see several species of sharks, jacks, whales, and dolphins.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

SOLMAR V

Year of Commission: 1980 (renovated 2006)
Capacity: 22 guests 
Area of Operation: Mexico
Dive Destination: Socorro and Guadalupe Island

The Solmar V is a 35 meter (115 feet) long liveaboard vessel that takes experienced divers to the challenging dive sites of Mexico. It has 12 cabins that can accommodate up to 22 guests where your room choices includes the Standard Stateroom, the Single Standard Staterooms and the Superior Twin Staterooms. It has onboard amenities like the luxurious saloon fitted with a large screen television, a shaded sun deck and a dining area that serves chef-quality dishes.

The 5 or 9-day cruise of the Solmar V will sail towards Socorro and Guadalupe Islands. Your dive profile in Socorro island involves diving in the open ocean and interacting with hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, and whale sharks. While you are free to roam the vastness of the open sea at Socorro, it is a totally different scenario when it comes to Guadalupe island as you will be secured in a suspended cage while observing in close proximity to one of the greatest apex predators in the marine environment – the great white sharks.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

SOKARAJA

Year of Commission: 2013 (renovated 2019)
Capacity: 10 guests 
Area of Operation: Indonesia
Dive Destination: Komodo Island

The Sokaraja is a 25 meter (82 feet) long traditional Phinisi boat that is preferred by experienced divers when exploring the underwater habitats of Indonesia. It has 3 cabins that can accommodate up to 10 guests where your room choices include the Dorm Cabin and the Double Cabin. It has onboard amenities that include a living room fitted with an HD screen and audio system, a spacious sun deck, a shaded chill-out area and an open-air dining room that serves freshly prepared dishes.

The 3 or 5-day cruise of the Sokaraja will take experienced divers to the top diving sites of Komodo Island. Generally, the bottom topography of its dive sites are coral outcroppings and pinnacles with steep drop-offs. Large pelagics are often seen in Komodo where you can frequently see and interact with manta rays, whale sharks and the ocean sunfish.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

NAI’A

Year of Commission: 1979 (renovated 2010)
Capacity: 16 guests 
Area of Operation: Fiji
Dive Destination: Bligh Water and Koro Sea

The Nai’a is a 37 meter (121 feet) long custom-built liveaboard vessel that offers dive safari adventures in Fiji. It has 9 cabins that can accommodate up to 16 guests where all their rooms are classified as staterooms that can be configured with a King Bed (ideal for couples), King Bed with Bunk Bed, Single Beds and Bunk Beds. Its onboard amenities include the main saloon that is decorated with golden grains of native Fijian hardwood, a library, a large sundeck and an indoor dining area that serves freshly prepared foods.

The 8 or 11-day cruise of the Nai’a will take experienced divers to the offshore dive site of Bligh Water. You will usually go deep diving and explore seamounts that houses a healthy population of hammerhead sharks, manta rays and pelagic fish like tunas and mackerels. Diving conditions in Fiji are great where you can experience warm water and great visibility. However, you have to plan your dive with reference to tidal fluctuation as water current is predominantly strong.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

THORFINN

Year of Commission: 1954 (renovated 2008)
Capacity: 20 guests 
Area of Operation: Micronesia
Dive Destination: Chuuk Island and Truk Lagoon

The Thorfinn is a 58 meter (190 feet) long liveaboard vessel that takes experienced divers to the challenging dive sites of Micronesia. It has 10 cabins that can accommodate up to 20 guests where your room choices include the Lower Deck Cabins, the Main Deck Double Cabins, and the Luxury Suite named Thor’s Lair. It has onboard amenities like the main saloon that is fitted with a 50-inch LED TV, a bar, a spa deck and a dining area that serves full-board meals prepared by their 2 in-house chefs.

The 8-day cruise of the Thorfinn will take you Chuuk Island and Truk Lagoon. Aside from reef diving, you will primarily go wreck diving and explore over 80 shipwrecks from the Second World War. Of all the wrecks, the most popular is the Fujikawa Maru where you can penetrate its cabins, galleys, and the cargo hold.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

AVALON I

Year of Commission: 1995 (renovated 2015)
Capacity: 18 guests 
Area of Operation: Cuba
Dive Destination: Jardines de la Reina Marine Park

The Avalon I is a 33 meter (108 feet) long luxury liveaboard vessel that is preferred by experienced divers when exploring the underwater habitats of Cuba. It has 8 cabins that can accommodate up to 18 guests where your room choices include the Bunk Bed Cabins, Twin Cabins, Triple Cabins, and the King Bed Cabins. Its onboard amenities include the main saloon that is equipped with a PC station, a bar, a sun deck fitted with a jacuzzi and a dining area that serves Continental, Italian and traditional Cuban dishes.

The 8-day cruise of the Avalon I will take experienced divers to Jardines de la Reina Marine Park which is considered the top diving spot of Cuba. All of the dive sites within this protected area are known for their healthy shark population where you can see and interact with blacktip and whitetip reef sharks.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

SOLITUDE ONE

Year of Commission: 1979 (renovated 2013)
Capacity: 17 guests 
Area of Operation: Philippines
Dive Destination: Cebu, Bohol and Palawan

The Solitude One is a 50 meter (170 feet) long liveaboard vessel that offers dive safari adventures in the Philippines. It has 10 cabins that can accommodate up to 17 guests where your room choices include the Bunk Bed Cabins and the Deluxe Cabins. It has onboard amenities like the air-conditioned saloon, a sun deck and a dining area that serves freshly cooked foods.

The 8 or 11-day cruise of the Solitude One will take experienced divers to the top diving sites of the Philippines like Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan. In Cebu, you will go deep diving early in the morning and explore an offshore mount called Monad Shoal that is known as a cleaning station for thresher sharks. Exploring Bohol usually requires you to do wall diving following a steep vertical ledge that is filled with corals, sponges, and sea fans while Palawan requires you to go wreck diving, especially in Coron, as its seafloor is the final resting place for several Japanese Naval boats sunk during the Second World War.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

BELIZE AGGRESSOR III

Year of Commission: 1987 (renovated 2011)
Capacity: 18 guests 
Area of Operation: Belize
Dive Destination: Lighthouse reef, Half Moon Cay, Blue Hole, and Turneffe Reef

The Belize Aggressor III is a 34 meter (111 feet) long luxury liveaboard vessel that takes experienced divers to the challenging dive sites of Belize. It has 9 cabins that can accommodate up to 18 guests where your room choices include the Deluxe Bunk Bed Stateroom, Deluxe Stateroom, and the Master Stateroom. Its onboard amenities include a spacious saloon fitted with a full entertainment system, a library, a sun deck with jacuzzi and a dining hall that serves Western and Local Food Specialities all prepared in buffet style. The 8-day cruise of the Belize Aggressor III will take experienced divers to world-class diving sites like Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Cay and Turneffe Reef. While most of the sites are newbie-friendly, experienced divers still get excited when diving in Belize as there is one particular spot that will truly challenge their skills – deep diving into a blue hole.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

JP MARINE

Year of Commission: 2007
Capacity: 28 guests 
Area of Operation: Egypt
Dive Destination: Brothers reef, Daedalus reef and Elphinstone reef

The JP Marine is a 37 meter (121 feet) long modern liveaboard vessel that is preferred by experienced divers when exploring the underwater habitats of Egypt. It has 14 cabins that can accommodate up to 28 guests where your room choices include the Lower Deck Twin Cabins and the Sundeck Twin Cabins. It has onboard amenities like the spacious air-conditioned saloon that is equipped with an audio/video entertainment system, 2 sundecks, a bar and a dining hall that serves sumptuous foods prepared by their in-house chef.

The 8-day cruise of the JP Marine will take experienced divers to the top diving sites of Egypt like Brothers reef, Daedalus Reef, and Elphinstone reef. These sites are known for their healthy shark population. And speaking of sharks, there is one species that has attracted experienced divers – the fast and swift oceanic whitetip shark. You can also go wreck diving as Egypt hosts several underwater attractions like the famous SS Thistlegorm and Salem Express. While shark and wreck diving is already exciting for experienced divers, wait until your vessel arrives at Sharm El Sheikh where you can go deep diving in the world-renowned Dahab Blue Hole.

Check prices and trip dates: PADI Travel | Liveaboard

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