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Dive Review of Aggressor Fleet in

Aggressor Fleet: "Maldives Disappointment", Feb, 2015,

by Mike Szathmary, OH, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8150 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Most of the reviews I have read about the Maldives Aggressor, and Aggressor fleet in general, have trended positive. I was traveling with my daughter and our experience on this trip does not echo that.

The travel: As with other destinations half-way across the world, the travel time to the Maldives is quite long, 30-36 hours with some really long layovers. We flew Emirates from JFK on one of the new Airbus 380s, and it is quite a nice ride. We booked the travel through the Aggressor travel desk and the first red flag was raised here. They totally botched the billing and trying to get it worked out was harder than it should have been. Dealing with them was not as customer friendly as it should have been.

The country: The Maldives is somewhat of a paradox. Couple the stunning beauty of some of the outlying areas with the attitude and politics. They do not allow anyone to bring any type of liquor into the country due to religious reasons but it flows freely in all the resorts and restaurants. There was a sign on one of the restaurants indicating that Maldivian citizens are not allowed to drink liquor and anyone caught buying them a drink is subject to arrest. When you get away from the tourist areas, as we did, you see a quite different Maldives than what you see in the brochures. In general, I did not feel as comfortable here as I did in Indonesia.

The boat: The boat is quite nice as liveaboards go and I have no complaints at all about that. Diving was done off of the dhoni and our dive gear lived there for the week. Ample camera tables on both the dhoni and the mother ship. The food was very good and plenty of it; again, no complaints there.

The crew: The crew was excellent except for two exceptions. Iíll get to them later. The crew did everything they could to make sure your stay was enjoyable. The crew on the mother ship was as good as you would find at any fine hotel and all requests were handled quickly and cheerfully. The dive crew on the dhoni were extremely helpful and efficient, although their management of divers on the surface was inefficient and frustrating (see below). We had an almost full boat and they had no problem getting us into the water in a timely manner. Now, the two exceptions. The trip leader and the assumed lead divemaster were aloof and did not seem at all sincere. In a word, corporate. The trip leader put the hard sell on us to take nitrox for the week by misrepresenting the type of dives we would be doing for the week. The divemaster in particular had a rock star attitude. The dives in several cases did not match the briefing as to conditions. They did a horrible job of keeping the group together and divers would be surfacing hundreds of yards from one another. On one dive we surfaced what we estimated was a mile from the boat. Luckily it was in a high traffic area and another boat asked us who we were with. When we replied they told us they would go tell our boat where we were. It took eighteen minutes for them to get to us. We had to deploy our safety sausage on several dives because the dhoni was so far away from where we surfaced, and we had quite a few long waits for them to pick us up. If they arenít going attempt to keep the group together, they should be prepared to quickly pick up the divers where they surface. Having a RIB to zip around and pick up waiting divers that are scattered with the currents because of the poorly led dives would have at least helped the situation. Another note about the dhoni: it either is not terribly maneuverable or the dhoni crew just enjoyed watching us do long surface swims to reach them after a dive. On one dive, we surfaced at a shallow (<2 m deep) part of the reef, and the dhoni crew instructed us to swim to the adjacent deep area. So we did. We swam WELL into the adjacent deep (>15 m) area, but the dhoni was still about 300 yards away and made no effort to pick us up. So we faced a long, unnecessary surface swim on the last dive of the day. Even though we are fit divers, that surface swim wiped us out and pissed us off.

The diving: Disappointing. If your idea of a great dive is hooking on to a reef in ripping currents to see a few sharks in lousy visibility, this destination is for you. A good percentage of the dives were just like that. Granted, there were some bright spots; a couple of reef dives and the manta dive was great. But the corals in general were dead or on life support, which was disappointing.

Conclusion: If you are going to spend thousands of dollars and travel thirty hours to get to a faraway destination, you can do much better than going to the Maldives. You do have the opportunity to see some big animals here but many of the dives look just like the one before it; just not much diversity. My experience with Aggressor Fleet came down to the negative side, so I will look at other liveaboard options before considering them for my liveaboard trips.
Websites Aggressor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Caribbean, North America
Closest Airport Male Getting There Marathon flights

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-100 Ft/ 6-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minute dive time; 45 minutes for night dives.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Plenty of room on both the dhoni and the mother ship for cameras. Gopro was by far the most widely used set up.
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Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Robert S Kuhn in IL, US at Mar 17, 2015 10:37 EST  
Thanks for your report and honesty. We crossed off the Maldives for similar reasons in other reports, timing seems important for quality diving.
By peter bernstein in FL, US at Mar 17, 2015 11:59 EST  
I totally agree with this report- it would take us up tp 4 hours to do a complete dive as the dohni would have to put put out to the dive sight-the dm then would get in the water to see if it was the dive sight, the we'd put put aroundto pick up the DM then back to the dive sight and drop off 24 divers-on pick up the reverse happened-very frustrating-the local crew was new-as is the custom-they work a couple of trips then quit until their money runs out the get rehired by some other dive boat-still a fan of the Aggressor fleet but not the operagion in the Maldives
By carl berenson in WA, US at Sep 27, 2015 13:01 EST  
thanks for the feedback. it matches my suspicion of the destination as not being diverse enough, expensive, hard to get to, and now i see, terrible dive service, dangerous, and poor attitudes. we are sticking to the tried and true in indonesia. so far, so good. thanks for your report.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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