It’s vacation time, and of course yours is a scuba vacation. Duh, you’re not taking time off work to lie on a beach, you’re taking time off to spend most of in underwater – that’s just what us scuba divers do. You’ve got the time off, and you may even have a destination in mind, but what do you go for a liveaboard or a resort? We take a look at the pros and cons of each to help you decide on your perfect scuba diving destination.
What is a liveaboard? Like the name suggests its where you live on board – on board of a boat to be more specific. Liveaboards vary but are mostly pretty impressive vessels, with anywhere from 2 – 20 rooms, a kitchen and dining area, lounge area, camera room/area, dive deck and sometimes even a jacuzzi! It will be your home for the duration of your vacation, so get comfy! Usually rooms are on a shared-basis and unless you are travelling with your buddy you may not know your roomie – just yet, after 7 days on the boat you’ll be the best of friends. Your new home will likely knock up some serious nautical miles, after all, what’s the point on living on a boat if you stay still? This means when you are not diving you could be on the move, so make sure you have some seasickness tablets. Let’s look through some pros and cons to see if liveaboards are for you.
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- Full service and everything included. Meaning your diving, sleeping and eating is all included in your price, you’ll likely not spend much more spending money other than alcohol and tips while you are on board. This is great for budgeting.
- More diving! Just what we like to hear! As you are only living downstairs from your playground you have the opportunity to jump in sometimes up to 5 times a day!
- Ease of equipment/dive experience. Liveaboard come with a fleet of staff, they are here for your every need, especially when it comes to diving. Most liveaboards will have staff on the deck to help you gear up and get you any bits of equipment you need, all the way to holding your tank until you jump in. Once you are in you’ll have a local guide/Divemaster with you to show you the best of each dive site. Coming up from the dive there will be another member of staff you can hand you equipment up to who will take it back to your space – and sometimes even change the tank for you for the next dive. There’s no walking to and from dive centres/ lugging and forgetting pieces of equipment. Everything is in one spot – just a few footsteps away from you at any time – and you could be on the deck sunbathing within a few minutes of coming up from a dive if you wanted to!
- Value for money. While the initial cost may sound big, once you break it down to the amount of diving you are doing, 3 meals a day + snacks, staff, added extras and of course is getting to see a lot more dive sites it usually works out cheaper than if you did that all yourself.
- Get seasick? There’s a lot of moving and swaying on a liveaboard and you can even feel it in your sleep. If you get bad sea sickness, consider if you want to be constantly on the water for a whole week.
- Boat is life. And that’s great, unless you would like to go off and explore what else the destination has to offer. Want to grab a glass of wine in the city? That won’t happen. Hit the local shops. Nope. This isn’t a cruise where you can get off at the next stop and explore. Once your onboard, you’ll be on for the whole time.
- Only want to do one dive a day? Then maybe a liveaboard won’t be good value for you. It’s price is deigned on multiple dives really. If you don’t mind about the money, then you can definitely still do one dive a day and read some good books on the deck for the rest of the day
- Don’t like strangers? Come as strangers, leave as friends! But if you really don’t like that and prefer to keep yourself to yourself a liveaboard may not be the place for you. Being on a boat with up to 25 people who you don’t know and don’t want to know may not be too fun for you.
Some liveaboard offers
Resorts/ Dive Centres
There are diving resorts and dive centres all over the world opening their arms up to happy divers every single day of the year. Clinging of tanks and cheersing of beers ring in every divers’ ears after a day of amazing diving. Some resorts are tiny huts brushing up by the shore and some have hundreds of rooms and multiple dive centres. There’s something for everyone and usually a really good vibe of divers coming in and out from all around the world.
- Flexibility. Come when you want, dive when you want, pay as you go. Not feeling a 6am dive? No worries, sleep in and you won’t be charged!
- Comfort. Private room with A/C? Sure thing. Double room with your buddy, they’ve got one of those too. Kids? Bring them too! Resorts are great for the whole family.
- Choice. There will most likely be a choice of dive sites you can visit each day, this is not down to a group, but to you. If you want to visit the same dive site every day of your holiday you can do that.
- Non-dive time. When you are not diving, you’ll also be able to choose what you want to do and where you want to go. You could hire a car and go for a hike or catch the local bus into the town and hit the shops. Eat at the resort or at a new restaurant each day.
- Value for money. As you get to decide how much you want to dive you can work out how much it will cost you. Dive centres will usually have deals and promotions on and you may even get to barter a little. Some resorts even have a stay and dive package which may save you quite a bit of money
- Many factors to consider in price. If you have to pay for diving, food and activities all separately so you’ll need to consider how much it will cost you.
- Dive sites. As resorts and dive centres rely on small boats to get you to and from each dive site you may not be able to go to further out ones that you’ve heard about, and may have to stick to ones nearer the shore
- You’ll be in charge or your own equipment. You may need to take it to and from the dive centre each day or leave it in a locker at your own risk. You many also not have a member of staff helping you put it on, carry it etc. However, if you need this assistance you can request it.
- If you are at a dive centre that doesn’t have accommodation you may need to find your own nearby. Depending on what destination you are in this could be a big cost.
As you can see there are both pros and cons on each vacation type, although we did struggle with cons, and they are only small things, as we think both a liveaboard and a resort/dive centre are amazing and by far the best kind of holiday out there!
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