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underwaterdan
08-08-2007, 12:26
I am wondering what experience everyone has had on liveaboards. I want to plan one and I am trying to balance cost with quality. I love high quality, but can I get it at a low cost :-). Anyone with reviews or suggestions is welcome to chime in!

mike_s
08-08-2007, 12:29
You get what you pay for on a liveaboard.

Try the Nekton or the Agressor lines.

thesmoothdome
08-08-2007, 12:44
Truth is that you do get what you pay for on a liveaboard. Blackbeards offers lower prices and you get to sleep in a common area with 20 other people. Nothing wrong with that. It's the diving you're after anyway. I can't comment on the food personally, but from what a buddy told me it's pretty simple fare.

Then you have the luxury dive boats. Private staterooms, beverage service to the rooms, breakfast cooked to order, 4 course dinners, warm towels and back rubs when you exit the water, etc.

You can't forget about the Peter Hughes Dancer fleet. Damn, do they put on a show! Not only is the crew great, the food is excellent, and the attention to detail is awesome. My wife was feeling a bit green and the chef's assistant asked where she was. I told her and without being asked, she went down to her cabin with some soup (which wasn't on the menu) to help her get on her feet. Little things like that go a long way with me.

underwaterdan
08-08-2007, 12:48
Luxury is up my alley :-) Private staterooms are a must and I can't pass on the 4 course dinners and warm towels!

BSea
08-08-2007, 13:08
I haven't been on a luxury cruise yet, but I have done a mid priced & a bargain priced Live aboard. To be honest, I liked them both equally well. The food was better on the mid priced trip, but I was there for the diving, and I slept mostly between meals & diving.

Probably the biggest difference is the number of divers. More cost = less divers = more personal details & better food.

The low cost was to the Flower Gardens on the Fling or Spree (I get them confused). It was crowded & the food was plain but tasty. It was a good trip maily because everyone was from my LDS, so it was like a big party.

The mid priced was on the Avalon out of the Bahamas. The boat is the same size as a blackbeards boat, but that was where the similarities ended. There were staterooms for 2 (not very big, but it is a sailboat), and the food was much better than the flower gardens trip. I night we had seared tuna. That was great. The meals weren't cooked to order, but they were good.

I think I'd like a luxury trip, but it isn't required as far as I'm concerned.

diversteve
08-08-2007, 13:11
I wouldn't call Nekton luxury. But it is a really good deal for the money.

Luxury?
Try the executive suites on Nautilus Explorer (http://www.nautilusexplorer.com/main/). Or the Four Seasons Explorer. (http://www.fourseasons.com/maldiveskh/four_seasons_explorer/) (different companies) Although I've read the FS Explorer doesn't do a lot of dives/day...Or Solmar V (http://www.solmarv.com)

One other thing I'd ask about is how many people are booked on any trip you're considering. We did the Nekton with 31(full boat) last summer, it meant a short wait to gear up, a short wait for food etc. And we had to do the drift dive in groups. A friend did it last winter, they had 13 on their boat. I've heard that anybody that wants it gets their own room in that case.

Nekton also has two Belize trips(winter) that are $200 cheaper. I'm guessing those are the slow weeks...

tywenglar
08-08-2007, 13:30
The low cost was to the Flower Gardens on the Fling or Spree (I get them confused). It was crowded & the food was plain but tasty. It was a good trip maily because everyone was from my LDS, so it was like a big party.


The Spree was completely redone this past winter. It now only carries 24 divers rather than the 32 on the Fling. It is still not a "luxury" cruise but it is also only a two night trip. You get 7 incredible dives in for $550 which is a pretty good value in my book. As an FYI the Fling is $450 but with 32 divers.

I've been out twice to the gardens and had great trips both times. It is probably the best diving value I have found that can be done in a weekend.

If you want to check it out... http://www.gulf-diving.com/

Black-Gorrilla
08-08-2007, 13:44
wow... i was looking at the Nautilus... that thing is nice.
if it's as described on their website, then it is incredible... i would definitively look into it if i knew my schedule for the future... but WOW either way.

Damselfish
08-08-2007, 13:50
I agree you pretty much get what you pay for on a liveaboard. So you have to decide the minimum accomodations & maximum price acceptable to you and go from there. For instance, many people enjoy Blackbeards but there is no way I would do one, not my thing. (I haven't done Nekton yet, but do get the sense it's a pretty good bang for the buck, possibly a good compromise if you don't want to spend a ton but don't want to rough it.)

One way to save a bit on the more expensive liveaboards is to watch out for deals they have at their slower times of year, or because of last minute cancellations. Get yourself on the email lists for the various companies to get notifications of these. Of course, you may not be able to plan real far ahead or count on it happening at all.

thesmoothdome
08-08-2007, 14:38
I just posted a more detailed, poorly written trip review of my time on the Sun Dancer II last month.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1463

Maybe that will help you make your decision.

ertechsg
08-08-2007, 15:45
I just posted a more detailed, poorly written trip review of my time on the Sun Dancer II last month.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1463

Maybe that will help you make your decision.
What's the total cost flight and all about 6000

thesmoothdome
08-08-2007, 16:12
I just posted a more detailed, poorly written trip review of my time on the Sun Dancer II last month.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1463

Maybe that will help you make your decision.
What's the total cost flight and all about 6000

To Belize it was about 1K each person and the boat was $1900.00 each, so before tip and extras it was about 6k. Throw in tip, nitrox class and some shirts, it was in the neighborhood of 7k I guess.

pjm1128
08-08-2007, 16:38
A big step up from the Blackbeards experience (which I've done 4 times) is their 65' catamaran, the Cat Ppalu. I just got back from this trip a week and a half ago. It's about $1200 plus flight to Nassau, leaves on Sat afternoon and docks back in Nassau on Thurs afternoon. I got in a total of 20 dives this trip. The boat carries a crew of four (captain, engineer, divemaster, and cook) and pretty much 12 passengers, as opposed to 22 or so on Blackbeards. There are six cabins (two with twins, four with double beds), two heads, and two showers. There's lots of food available, and the quality of the meals is good, tho I think a lot depends on the chef/cook and their style of cooking. The salon has dining table area where all passengers can eat meals together, unlike Blackbeards where only a small number can sit at the table at any one time and most eat up on deck after climbing the ladder with your plate in hand. I think the whole boat is usually chartered by dive clubs and such, but they probably have some spaces available on short notice cancellations. They were very interested in meeting our goal to DIVE, DIVE, DIVE! We could have done some beach time, hiking, or kayaking (they carry 4 doubles), but we opted to spend all our time diving, so that's what we did. I'm already booked for our trip next June. :smiley20:

Pat in MI

Cichlid
08-08-2007, 21:45
For liveaboards, do you guys usually get a hotel for the night before and the last day before flying out?

thesmoothdome
08-08-2007, 21:50
For liveaboards, do you guys usually get a hotel for the night before and the last day before flying out?

After my last horrifying flight experience, I'm always going to get a room the night before boarding. As for the last day, you'll usually have 24 hours from the time you end your last dive until your flight the next day, so that's not necessary most of the time. For PNG, since we're traveling so far, we're going to spend at least 2 days laying up at a PNG hotel and just decompressing emotionally from the trip.

georoc01
08-08-2007, 22:19
Just for some contrast, my LDS is running a New Years trip on the Nekton Pilot in Belize. The cost is $2700 including air.

underwaterdan
08-09-2007, 07:30
Wow smoothdome, that review was exactly what I needed! Thanks! I think I like the idea of someone taking care of all my gear and not having to worry about rinsing it off and breaking it all back down. However I am usually like to set everything up on my own, I mean it is my life, but when others do it I just watch like a hawk - which is usually followed by me stepping in and doing it :-)

Phestr
08-09-2007, 07:39
Thanx for the info, guys. I was about to start this thread, good thing I looked first.

thesmoothdome
08-09-2007, 07:44
Wow smoothdome, that review was exactly what I needed! Thanks! I think I like the idea of someone taking care of all my gear and not having to worry about rinsing it off and breaking it all back down. However I am usually like to set everything up on my own, I mean it is my life, but when others do it I just watch like a hawk - which is usually followed by me stepping in and doing it :-)

You set your gear up once for the week. Tanks are just refilled while attatched to your BC. All that was asked from us is that when we come up, we detatch the yoke from the tank so the DMs knew we needed a fill. Of course it's always a good idea to check your gear though. You'll also need to turn your tank on, but no less than 3 people check to make sure it's on before you hit the water.

Zenagirl
08-09-2007, 07:59
If you're looking for "luxury" don't book a Nekton trip. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Nekton fan and they are my first choice for liveaboards, but they don't do the extras like hot chocolate at the end of a night dive, plush robes in your cabin, gourmet meals, gear handling, gratis booze, etc.

Nekton will provide you with an excellent boat and platform to dive from with your own ensuite cabin that's rather large by liveaboard standards, you'll have good to excellent meals (not gourmet), your cabin will be clean, and the crew will go out of their way for you.

Stick to the Aggressors, Peter Hughes, Solmar V, the Cuan Law, etc. if you want all the luxurious extras, including a bigger price tag.

underwaterdan
08-09-2007, 12:29
I never heard of the Cuan Law, looks like a nice dive op. might also be cheaper to fly there, save a few bucks that way.

Live2Dive Skate2Live
08-10-2007, 00:18
I've done 2 liveaboards, Taka Dive in Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Lammer Law (which is very similar to the Caun Law) in the Galápagos Islands. Both had a great crew which made all of the difference in the world. Taka was pretty reasonably priced, with good accommodations. The Lammer Law was pretty expensive, but only "Luxury Class" liveaboards go to Darwin and Wolf, which are the hotspots for Galápagos diving. I recommend both of them.

No matter what liveaboard you consider you're doing the right thing asking advice. I find that with most trips, it's almost always what you make of it. Have fun!

Fox
08-10-2007, 07:44
I'd love to book on with the Spirit of Niugini in PNG but it looks like their upcoming trips are all about muck diving. :smiley13: More of a wreck and reef man myself.

You've got to admit it's an amazing looking vessel.

http://www.spiritofniugini.com/index.html

I tried to book a Truuk liveaboard at late notice but had no luck. (Not surprisingly.)

chinacat46
08-11-2007, 09:15
Don't knock muck diving until you have tried it. It blew me away when I dove in Lembeh Strait. I had always considered myself a reef man until I muck dived. Muck diving is misnamed it should be called critter diving. You will see the strangest most interesting critters you can imagine not to mention some incredible nudibranchs as well. Usually you do some reefs as well but the black sand is where you find the cool stuff.

quarrydiver
08-11-2007, 11:46
Blackbeard's is for the kind of person who likes to ride a motorcycle without a windshield because it makes them feel more alive. Blackbeard's is an experience in itself not just another hotel at sea.

jmb
08-24-2007, 09:20
I've done one trip each with Blackbeards, Nekton and Aggressor. Had a great time on all of them but they are very different. Blackbeards was lots of fun, plenty of good food, but basically "camping at sea" is how it's described - a great value if you don't mind a more casual, do-it-yourself atmosphere. Both Nekton and Aggressor provide much more service - the Aggressor crew was much more professional, dinner was served rather than buffet style and the boat itself was a bit nicer and had hot water showers on the dive deck. The Nekton cabins however had much more room with twin beds and a separate shower compared to Aggressor's bunk beds and a shower over the toilet. All three were very good trips, Nekton and Aggressor offered more dives and more service but for a much higher cost as well.

georoc01
08-24-2007, 18:52
Has anyone done a Liveaboard with Explorer Ventures? I am booked on the Nimrod Explorer out of Cairns, AU in December.

CompuDude
08-24-2007, 19:45
The low cost was to the Flower Gardens on the Fling or Spree (I get them confused). It was crowded & the food was plain but tasty. It was a good trip maily because everyone was from my LDS, so it was like a big party.


The Spree was completely redone this past winter. It now only carries 24 divers rather than the 32 on the Fling. It is still not a "luxury" cruise but it is also only a two night trip. You get 7 incredible dives in for $550 which is a pretty good value in my book. As an FYI the Fling is $450 but with 32 divers.

I've been out twice to the gardens and had great trips both times. It is probably the best diving value I have found that can be done in a weekend.

If you want to check it out... http://www.gulf-diving.com/
This is all very interesting to me. I've only done local (SoCal) liveaboards... short 2-3 day trips. But SEVEN dives for $550? We get NINE dives for ~$300 on one of our 2-day trips. 4 dives per day plus a night dive. I hope you get a lot for that extra money.

I'm looking forward to going out on a liveaboard. I need a no-frills one (obviously need plenty of food and a place to sleep, but that's it) that gives me at least 4-5 dives per day and a night dive (each day, except the last of course). Super cheap, accessible from the states. Are these two good ones to look at? I'd be flying from LAX... I have miles so I could probably get airfare super cheap or free if it's domestic, but international would definitely add to the cost.

jeepbrew
08-26-2007, 23:40
If you are interested in the Bahamas, the Juliet was a great experience for me. Private staterooms, excellent food, great crew, etc...

http://www.sailjuliet.com/

bversteegh
08-27-2007, 00:35
I have been on both "bargain" and higher end liveaboards (and once you try a liveaboard, you'll never want to go back to resort diving) - the thing I look for are smaller groups and good dive guides. I want 4 or 5 dives a day, and freedom to dive my computer and air - nothing is more frustrating than diving with air hogs and having a divemaster that brings everyone up when 1 person is low on air. I personnally don't need to be pampered - but I do like separate cabins so the snoring is at least muted by walls (and I am one of the snorers :smiley29:).

If you are diving areas unfamiliar to you - good dive guides will easily increase the number of interesting creatures you will see 5x. I dove the Caribbean for years and while it sure beats Texas Lakes - but once I went to Indonesia, it is hard to settle for anything less, the variety of fish/critters is incredible (you'll see more variety on 1 dive than a week on Bonaire or Coz) - and incredibly healthy reefs with magnificent soft coral.

I rationalize diving the Indo-Pacific like this: Between work and complex negotiations with a non-diving spousal unit, I am only going to get 1 or 2 trips a year anyway - and it takes a full day to get to good Caribbean diving from Dallas by the time you connect through Miami or Puerto Rico (other than charters to Cozumel). You can get to Indonesia or the Phillipines in a day and a half if you plan properly - and the diving/resorts are cheaper once you get there (I travel for work, so have plenty of frequent flyer miles). I have gone on 2 week trips to Indo (10 days diving - week on liveaboard, 3 days at resort) for less than $1500 US on a low end LA, and around $3k for 11 day nice LA) - with 40 plus magnificent dives. I will have to admit the jet lag coming back is a bear, however.

Find a nice charter with 14 - 16 divers max (less than 10 is even better) - make sure they don't spend all there time steaming between remote islands (except whatever they can cover at night, depending on speed of the boat) - and "just do it". You'll never look back - best diving you will ever do:smiley20:

Below is a link to some pictures from my last trip to Indonesia - in Raja Ampat.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=1150

divechaplain-sara
08-27-2007, 03:58
The low cost was to the Flower Gardens on the Fling or Spree (I get them confused). It was crowded & the food was plain but tasty. It was a good trip maily because everyone was from my LDS, so it was like a big party.


The Spree was completely redone this past winter. It now only carries 24 divers rather than the 32 on the Fling. It is still not a "luxury" cruise but it is also only a two night trip. You get 7 incredible dives in for $550 which is a pretty good value in my book. As an FYI the Fling is $450 but with 32 divers.

I've been out twice to the gardens and had great trips both times. It is probably the best diving value I have found that can be done in a weekend.

If you want to check it out... http://www.gulf-diving.com/
This is all very interesting to me. I've only done local (SoCal) liveaboards... short 2-3 day trips. But SEVEN dives for $550? We get NINE dives for ~$300 on one of our 2-day trips. 4 dives per day plus a night dive. I hope you get a lot for that extra money.

I'm looking forward to going out on a liveaboard. I need a no-frills one (obviously need plenty of food and a place to sleep, but that's it) that gives me at least 4-5 dives per day and a night dive (each day, except the last of course). Super cheap, accessible from the states. Are these two good ones to look at? I'd be flying from LAX... I have miles so I could probably get airfare super cheap or free if it's domestic, but international would definitely add to the cost.


Compudude--how far out of port does your local live aboard take you? The Flower Gardens are 100 miles off the coast and a lot of time and fuel (=money) are spent just getting to the dive site. The Spree took us out for two days (45 hours) and I would guess about 18 of those hours were spent getting to and from the Flower Gardens NMS and moving to the different reefs within the sanctaury. We headed out one evening, got in 5 dives the next day starting at 7 am and ending up around 10 pm and then two more dives the next morning before heading back to port.

I felt that I got my money's worth.

BSea
08-27-2007, 08:55
The low cost was to the Flower Gardens on the Fling or Spree (I get them confused). It was crowded & the food was plain but tasty. It was a good trip maily because everyone was from my LDS, so it was like a big party.


The Spree was completely redone this past winter. It now only carries 24 divers rather than the 32 on the Fling. It is still not a "luxury" cruise but it is also only a two night trip. You get 7 incredible dives in for $550 which is a pretty good value in my book. As an FYI the Fling is $450 but with 32 divers.

I've been out twice to the gardens and had great trips both times. It is probably the best diving value I have found that can be done in a weekend.

If you want to check it out... http://www.gulf-diving.com/
This is all very interesting to me. I've only done local (SoCal) liveaboards... short 2-3 day trips. But SEVEN dives for $550? We get NINE dives for ~$300 on one of our 2-day trips. 4 dives per day plus a night dive. I hope you get a lot for that extra money.

I'm looking forward to going out on a liveaboard. I need a no-frills one (obviously need plenty of food and a place to sleep, but that's it) that gives me at least 4-5 dives per day and a night dive (each day, except the last of course). Super cheap, accessible from the states. Are these two good ones to look at? I'd be flying from LAX... I have miles so I could probably get airfare super cheap or free if it's domestic, but international would definitely add to the cost.
Ok, I guess I went out on the Fling with 32 divers. But we went for 3 days with 11 dives (5-4-2). 2 of the dives were night dives, and the cost was $450 ish.

It looks like your local SoCal live aboards are a little better deal. But the diving in the Flower Gardens can be incredible with large sharks, large rays, and the reported whale sharks (which I've never seen). Plus, it's warm water :)

CompuDude
08-27-2007, 12:29
Compudude--how far out of port does your local live aboard take you? The Flower Gardens are 100 miles off the coast and a lot of time and fuel (=money) are spent just getting to the dive site. The Spree took us out for two days (45 hours) and I would guess about 18 of those hours were spent getting to and from the Flower Gardens NMS and moving to the different reefs within the sanctaury. We headed out one evening, got in 5 dives the next day starting at 7 am and ending up around 10 pm and then two more dives the next morning before heading back to port.

I felt that I got my money's worth.

Ah, that makes a little more sense. I don't know exactly how far out the far islands we go to are, but we usually leave around midnight and arrive at the farthest destination by 7 am. There are several islands between port and the farthest, so we sort of work our way back along the closer islands during the the course of the trip... a few dives at the farthest, move to a closer one at lunch, move again overnight, etc.

divechaplain-sara
08-27-2007, 15:34
I do think the FGNMS trip is a great trip and worth the cost. Of course I would rather get the extra dives that you get for your price, compudude. The Fling is less expensive than the Spree; however, you've got a smaller group on the Spree and nitrox is inculded in the basic price. On the Fling, you pay extra to use nitrox--7 dives in 2 days to depths of 65-85 feet begs for the use of nitrox. I averaged dives of 40 minutes, the ones using air tables had average dive length of 20 minutes. Price also varies by whether it is a weekend or weekday trip and whether it is a 2 or 3 day trip.

CaribbeanDiver
08-28-2007, 15:40
take a look at www.Explorerventures.com (http://www.Explorerventures.com) private cabins, hot towels, showers, for slightly more than Blackbeard cruises. they suggest 25 dives and if you get that many, I would be thrilled. I did Blackbeard twice and did 17 dives each time.

Zenagirl
08-28-2007, 17:02
I'm so pathetically hooked on liveaboards that after spending 2 weeks on Bonaire next summer, I'm already considering another 2 week back-to-back liveaboard trip for the summer of 2009. Good grief!! <LOL>

mike_s
08-28-2007, 17:15
I'm so pathetically hooked on liveaboards that after spending 2 weeks on Bonaire next summer, I'm already considering another 2 week back-to-back liveaboard trip for the summer of 2009. Good grief!! <LOL>


I don't know if I could do a 2 week back to back one. (that and do every dive).

I did a liveaboard last month and did 27 dives over 6 days. The next day I was so worn out that I did nothing but slept half the day.

chinacat46
08-28-2007, 18:30
I've done back to back liveaboards in Palau and Truk and had no problems. Did 27 dives in Palau and 26 in Truk. The only one I skipped in Truk was a shark feed and I don't do shark feeds. It's just wrong you don't go to national parks and feed bears do you?

This fall I'll do 3 liveaboards back to back but one is only a 3 day trip but then again one is a 10 day trip and one is a 7 day trip. I actually will have two days off though in between the first a 3 dayer and the second a 7 dayer. I get off the 7 dayer and fly from Cairns to PNG and get on the 10 dayer the same day though so that will turly be back to back.

thesmoothdome
08-28-2007, 18:44
I could live my life on liveaboards :). Unfortunately, the bank account won't allow it.

Black-Gorrilla
08-28-2007, 18:47
I've done back to back liveaboards in Palau and Truk and had no problems. Did 27 dives in Palau and 26 in Truk. The only one I skipped in Truk was a shark feed and I don't do shark feeds. It's just wrong you don't go to national parks and feed bears do you?

This fall I'll do 3 liveaboards back to back but one is only a 3 day trip but then again one is a 10 day trip and one is a 7 day trip. I actually will have two days off though in between the first a 3 dayer and the second a 7 dayer. I get off the 7 dayer and fly from Cairns to PNG and get on the 10 dayer the same day though so that will turly be back to back.


is it safe to have that much fun at once?
do you wanna take me with you?

chinacat46
08-28-2007, 18:50
I've done back to back liveaboards in Palau and Truk and had no problems. Did 27 dives in Palau and 26 in Truk. The only one I skipped in Truk was a shark feed and I don't do shark feeds. It's just wrong you don't go to national parks and feed bears do you?

This fall I'll do 3 liveaboards back to back but one is only a 3 day trip but then again one is a 10 day trip and one is a 7 day trip. I actually will have two days off though in between the first a 3 dayer and the second a 7 dayer. I get off the 7 dayer and fly from Cairns to PNG and get on the 10 dayer the same day though so that will turly be back to back.


is it safe to have that much fun at once?
do you wanna take me with you?

Course it is! I forget to mention since this thread is about liveaboards that after the 10 day liveaboard. I fly to a different part of PNG(Tawali at Milne Bay) and do 10 days at a dive resort.

Black-Gorrilla
08-28-2007, 18:57
i almost really hate you right now, just out of jealousy

underwaterdan
08-28-2007, 19:06
You are going to be permanently water logged! Wish I was you!

CompuDude
08-28-2007, 19:42
I've done back to back liveaboards in Palau and Truk and had no problems. Did 27 dives in Palau and 26 in Truk. The only one I skipped in Truk was a shark feed and I don't do shark feeds. It's just wrong you don't go to national parks and feed bears do you?

This fall I'll do 3 liveaboards back to back but one is only a 3 day trip but then again one is a 10 day trip and one is a 7 day trip. I actually will have two days off though in between the first a 3 dayer and the second a 7 dayer. I get off the 7 dayer and fly from Cairns to PNG and get on the 10 dayer the same day though so that will turly be back to back.

Please adopt me?

chinacat46
08-28-2007, 20:27
Well I'll give you some more reasons to hate me after I get back the monday before thanksgiving I'm home for only 5 days. Then I leave for Indonesia. Will be doing 10 days at Wakatobi followed by a week at Lembeh Resort in Lembeh Strait my favorite place on the planet to dive so far. It will be my second time at both places.

Black-Gorrilla
08-28-2007, 20:57
what drugs do you sell to afford all of this? i heard acid and coke is on the up again... should i invest?

(this is of course a joke!)

chinacat46
08-28-2007, 21:04
Quit my job back in March and am taking an extended leave to satisfy my diving itch. Also have been doing some instructing as well. I will be taking some Malrone in PNG and maybe an ambien or two on the plane rides.

allison finch
08-29-2007, 21:22
When you start thinking about it, liveaboards are CHEAPER than land based resorts in many ways.

How much would you pay for;

*each nights lodging?

*Three meals a day

*at least three good snacks a day

*up to five dives a day

*sometimes includes alcoholic drinks

*gear set up and full tanks....NO LUGGING!!

*Drop off the back of the boat

*usually good camera facilities

*no long walks anywhere

When you start adding things up, the boats get cheaper and cheaper. I almost always do liveaboards. When I go places where I have to use land based resorts, I really remember why I love boats!!

Aussie
08-30-2007, 05:23
Has anyone done a Liveaboard with Explorer Ventures? I am booked on the Nimrod Explorer out of Cairns, AU in December.

I did the Nimrod a couple of years ago. Its a nice big cat and very stable. I did a winter trip (June/July) and the best thing was the Minke whales that come up to the boat. They just love boats and they will come up and circle the moored boat for hours. The boat has a mermaid line out the back and you can snorkel with your camera.

I have my sister and family living in Cairns so I try and visit one or twice a year. I always do a Liveaboard each time and I always use Spirit of Freedom www.spiritoffreedom.com.au (http://www.spiritoffreedom.com.au)

She is such a beautiful boat and the price is very reasonable for the quality and service that you get. They have 3 options for trips. Cod Hole 3 day trip, Coral Sea 4 day trip, or combine the both for a 7 day trip. The boat comes back to Cairns every 7days. So if you book the 3 day Cod Hole trip, you leave Cairns and finish at Lizard Island and fly back to cairns via low altitude plane. The 4 day trip customers fly in with the plane from Cairns and in 4 days time they are back in Cairns. The low level plane is great cause they fly right along the GBR and it cuts down the travel time to get to the good spots. The customers that fly in to Lizard Island are diving that afternoon on one of the best sites on the GBR.

The Coral Sea trip is the best as you go to Osprey Reef which is a sea mount in the middle of the Coral Sea. The reef has awesome wall dives with drop off's going down to 2miles below. Vis is always the best with up to 50m vis common. Certain times of the year you have Hammerheads schooling up. If your looking for big stuff and wild diving sites this is the place for you. Cause of the distance to get there, there is only two sometime 3 boats that go there each week. You wont see another boat or person or plane while your there.

I am going to do the 7 day trip next year.

Cheers Aussie

chinacat46
08-30-2007, 06:57
I'm doing the Spirit of Freedom Oct 8-15. It will be my second time out to the Coral Sea but first time at Osprey Reef. I did Holmes Reef last time and all I can say is there no place lke Holmes(pun intended)

Aussie
08-30-2007, 07:32
Who did you do Holmes reef with?

chinacat46
08-30-2007, 07:36
Rum Runner back in 2002.

Aussie
08-30-2007, 07:43
Rum Runner back in 2002.

Good old Rumrunner :smiley2:

caroswin
09-02-2007, 03:15
Chinacat you will absolutely love the Spirit of Freedom. I'm actually going on the trip before yours on the 1st to the 8th October, I'll be getting off when you get on! I used to work on the boat but I'm happy to be going back as a passenger because it's the best liveaboard I've been on. The food is amazing, the diving is safe and fun but not run like a military operation, and the staff are wonderful of course!!!!

BuzzF117
09-30-2007, 14:06
What about non divers on a live aboard I am looking into getting my kids certified for their 16th b/day but I don't think my son will be able to due to ear issues and my wife refuses to so that would leave my daughter and I to dive but my son would love to tear up a couple of fishing rods on a trip and my wife would love to spend all day reading and relaxing.

FyVe
09-30-2007, 19:51
i dunno if the liveaboard is so much a relaxing trip is it? how about just a cruise?

BuzzF117
09-30-2007, 20:21
I may have to ditch the wife and just take the kids if all else fails the son would tear things up fishing if he was with the right crew while the daughter and I dove heck I would even do some fishing with him....

FyVe
09-30-2007, 20:28
i dunno how old he is but if he has one of those fishing poles with the internal spools... he'll own it all out there! lol i used to have a kermit the frog pole... it was like 3ft total of pole lol and like 15 lb test line... my brother and dad went out there and bought like super good stuff... they couldn't catch anything. of course this was in aventura florida... not in the ocean. but fun nontheless.

whatever you decide just have some fun :)

Black-Gorrilla
09-30-2007, 20:32
i dunno how old he is but if he has one of those fishing poles with the internal spools... he'll own it all out there! lol i used to have a kermit the frog pole... it was like 3ft total of pole lol and like 15 lb test line... my brother and dad went out there and bought like super good stuff... they couldn't catch anything. of course this was in aventura florida... not in the ocean. but fun nontheless.

whatever you decide just have some fun :)

off of aventura is the ocean (o chin) just to let you know, and no one really ever caught jack there, but there where huge frogs!!

FyVe
09-30-2007, 20:41
i caught stuff :( lol he's jealous ^ thats my brother he caught some boots.

ccarter
09-30-2007, 20:43
Just go to Bonaire and go shore diving for a week! :chickendance:

Daved
09-30-2007, 20:46
Nimrod was a great time--amazing diving and staff. Not high end--but very comfortable. If you have the time and money to get to Aus--do it.
If not--Bonaire is like a huge liveaboard!

CompuDude
10-01-2007, 14:10
i dunno if the liveaboard is so much a relaxing trip is it? how about just a cruise?

A cruise is not a dive liveaboard, it's a cruise with some optional diving activities. A diving Liveaboard is 100% focused on diving. The food usually isn't as good as a cruise (but what is?), and not surprisingly, doing 5+ dives per day is not as relaxing as playing shuffleboard, watching shows, and lounging by the pool.

So what are you looking for? A cruise that lets you get in a couple of dives, or a DIVE TRIP that's all about the diving?

ccarter
10-01-2007, 14:14
i dunno if the liveaboard is so much a relaxing trip is it? how about just a cruise?

A cruise is not a dive liveaboard, it's a cruise with some optional diving activities. A diving Liveaboard is 100% focused on diving. The food usually isn't as good as a cruise (but what is?), and not surprisingly, doing 5+ dives per day is not as relaxing as playing shuffleboard, watching shows, and lounging by the pool.

So what are you looking for? A cruise that lets you get in a couple of dives, or a DIVE TRIP that's all about the diving?
Yeah.. I went with a shop on a trip once (not a liveaboard) but they were pretty serious about squeezing every single ounce of time out of the day for diving. I tend to use diving as my rest & relaxation hobby.. taking it easy.. don't see the need to do more than 3 -4 dives a day.. although on some days I did.

There is definitely a huge difference between a vacation on a cruise ship and a dive trip on a liveaboard.. or anywhere. Dive trip = pretty tiring.

BuzzF117
10-01-2007, 15:57
i dunno how old he is but if he has one of those fishing poles with the internal spools... he'll own it all out there! lol i used to have a kermit the frog pole... it was like 3ft total of pole lol and like 15 lb test line... my brother and dad went out there and bought like super good stuff... they couldn't catch anything. of course this was in aventura florida... not in the ocean. but fun nontheless.

whatever you decide just have some fun :)

At the age of 12 He has been know to tear up the Red Fish on the intercoastal and even a bonnet head now and then we prefer Capt Ben Alderman out of Mt Pleasant SC as our guide.

bostondivegirl
10-05-2007, 14:53
Has anyone been on the agressor to Utila? How is that? I am thinking about it for march or April. I am dying to see whale sharks. It's a bit pricey and I think it will add up with airfare and such but I think it's a better solution to Honduras than just going to Utila alone. atleast on the livaboard yu get to go to Roatan as well. Any thoughts?

divnlifr
10-06-2007, 20:14
My husband and I like value as well. We've only been on one Peter Hughs trip and a Flower Garden trip. The Peter Hughs trip was a buy one get one half price trip so the value was definitely there. The trip was fabulous and now we are very interested in doing another liveaboard. The Flower Garden trip was fairly inexpensive, but with lots of inexperienced divers and sharing of sleeping quarters, I feel I could go to Mexico for almost the same cost and not be so cramped and harassed. The diving wasn't great, so I might like to try it again just to see if we caught it at a bad time. It is such a long drive down there from Dallas to be dissappointed again, so right now I guess it won't be a priority since there are too many other dive destinations we'd like to try. We do see some pretty good deals from time to time in Rodale's, so try that out as well.

No Misses
10-06-2007, 20:39
I did not read all of the posts. So, if I am repeating something that has already been said, I apologise. The first time that I looked at a livaboard I was floored by the cost. But then you have to think about all of the costs that you would have on any other dive vacation ie: hotel room, meals, rental car, dive boat, fills. Most livaboards are all inclusive. You will not have any additional costs. In the long run it can be a great value. JM2C

BobArnold8265
10-06-2007, 20:56
If you've never been on a liveaboard and just want t try one, then the Spree in the Texas Flower Gardens is a good place to start. No it's not a luxury cruise but it's only for a weekend, is relatively cheap and a god way to see if you'll like livaboards without spending a lot of money or burning a lot of vacation time.

divingmedic
10-07-2007, 14:41
Also now the Spree or the Fling, I forget which is now running trips in Florida during the winter and spring months when you can not dive in the gulf.

datamunk
10-07-2007, 14:50
i did a trip on the M/V Playmate. really enjoyed it! the chef was awesome so we always had a ton of snacks, and amazing amazing food. rooms were small but, everything was fine. im not there to relax on a boat, i was there to do lots of diving and it was normally 6 dives a day.. have their own nitrox system on board as well.

http://diveplaymate.com/

crew can be intense but, you can dive when you want etc

bostondivegirl
10-21-2007, 19:42
How's the aggressor? I just booked a trip to utila with them and am wondering about the operation. any insight?
thanks

Mycroft
11-24-2007, 21:52
I have done Nekton twice. Foor is good, but don't expect wine or such. They were criticized for not having enough room on the dive deck. If you do things in a reasonable manner, I don't see it.

jtkkym
11-25-2007, 12:08
How's the aggressor? I just booked a trip to utila with them and am wondering about the operation. any insight?
thanks

I did Cayman Aggressor last September. It was great!. Basically, I did "Eat, Sleep, Dive". The crew, food, dive was great:smiley20:

msprzeor
11-29-2007, 04:11
How's the aggressor? I just booked a trip to utila with them and am wondering about the operation. any insight?
thanks


When are you going? You'll have a great time, the crew are all really great folks and the owner, Troy will make sure you're well taken care of! Unless things have changed, you'll have dinner at Laguna Beach Resort on Friday night- it's the BBQ night, where they cook up fresh lobster tail and shrimp (among other things) on the beach! The operation is top notch!


As for another liveaboard- Juliet Sailing and Scuba Diving (http://www.sailjuliet.com) We did this a few months back and had a blast! You'll have to join up with a group if you want to go in the near future though, as she's booked up at least a year out!!!