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Dive Review of M/V Maldives Princess in

M/V Maldives Princess, Sep, 2013,

by David Bader, NC, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 7174 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments After two days of travel and 30 hours in the air, I was hoping for much better diving than we had. I was expecting corals and fishlife similar to Raja Amphat but that certainly was not the case in the Maldives. First surprise was the the M/V Maldives Princess is not a dive boat but a luxury yacht. Diving was done from a separate rented 65 ft. dive boat.

The Maldives Princess was very nice and spacious given we had only 18 divers so singles got their own staterooms. I had twin beds in my room with a large private bathroom with shower. A/C was more than adequate but their was limited storage space due to the curvature of the hull inside the cabinets. Each room also had a lockbox for personal items and a mini-fridge. I had plenty of hot water but I heard some complaints from the people in the two top side staterooms that they had little to no water pressure if those of us in the lower 8 staterooms were taking showers. Food was very good but consisted primarily of rice, pasta, beef, chicken, and lamb. They changed the dishes with use of spices and curry which made several servings very spicy. As the Maldives is a Muslim country, no pork products were served. Fresh fruits and pastries were served with each meal. Only coffee, tea, and water were included with the meals. Soft drinks were $3, beer $5, wine $11, and alcohol was $5 a shot.

The dive operation left much to be desired. There seemed to be a lot of miscommunication between the dive masters and the dive boat crew. It got to be a joke that 5 minute boat ride would take a minimum of 30 minutes before we got into the water. One day, the dive guide told us it would be a 40 minute boat ride to the dive site. We questioned why a liveaboard would be 40 minutes from a dive site. It kind of defeats the purpose of a liveaboard. After the first day, we were told that dinner would not be served till after the night dive. This meant we ate at 9 PM. We requested that the staff reschedule for four day dives with no night dive. This simple request caused much concern and the only way they could accommodate us was to rise at 5 AM for the first dive. We didn't think that was necessary but didn't argue the matter. It also became apparent that the elaborate dive briefings never seemed to match the dive site we ended up on so we requested that dive briefings be held after they checked the dive site and conditions. In one case, they briefed one site and an alternate if the currents were too strong. We ended up at a third site that was never briefed. The dive masters tried hard to find us large pelagics but there were none to be found. We wasted numerous dives in deep water looking for whale sharks, hammerheads, and mantas. We saw no whale sharks or hammerheads and had two encounters with mantas. We again asked to stop wasting time looking for something that isn't there and take us too shallower reefs for corals and macro stuff. Their idea of coral was what I would classify as rubble fields. Due to the strong currents, the reefs below 30 feet are nothing but dead coral. What hard corals there were (no saw very little soft corals), were in the shallows at the top of the reefs. There was an abundance of blue trigger fish, eels, and sweetlips with an occasional turtle thrown in. There were few lobsters or crabs but several sightings of pipe fish.

As I stated earlier, there seemed to be miscommunication between the dive masters and dive crew. Once a site was located, the dive boat would circle tow or three times to get in position for the drop. However each time we would be in the blue with no reef in sight. We might be 100 to 150 ft. from the reef. On one wreck dive, the dive boat captain couldn't find the wreck and we had another wasted dive looking for it. During the surface interval, the dive master went in with snorkel gear and located the wreck and made the captain mark the spot on his GPS. I believe the captain was new and did not know how to maneuver a dive boat for either dropping divers or picking them up.

While I had a good time with good friends, I would not return to the Maldives. There are too many better locations at cheaper prices.
Websites M/V Maldives Princess   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving East Coast US, Caribbean, Pacific locations.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 20-100 Ft/ 6-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were guided but I use that term loosely. We generally lost the guides within the first ten minutes of the dive. Dive time was generally 45 minutes including safety stop and depth was limited to 30 meters.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was no camera table on the Maldives Princess or the dive boat. Dive boat had a large cooler size camera bucket which they changed the water every day. It was not large enough to handle the number of point & shoot cameras and the one large camera setup. The large camera had to sit on towels outside the bucket. My strobe cable was broken on one of the days diving due to rough handling by the crew. It was easily fixable but not till I got back to the main boat. Because of strong currents, photographers had to giant stride with their cameras. There was no way to hand them down to divers.
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Subscriber's Comments

By carl berenson in WA, US at Oct 04, 2013 20:37 EST  
how much was due to the dive crew and how much was due to the Maldives? Wondering if we should skip Maldives diving (the new boat carpe diem gets good reviews for Maldives) but after diving Komodo and next our next trip is to Raja maybe we skip the Maldives though everyone raves about it. I guess I will see how much I like Raja and just keep diving there. Seems to be the best...thanks for sharing.
By report author: David Bader in NC, US at Oct 04, 2013 21:33 EST  
I believe we hit the Maldives at the wrong time. Viz was limited around Male Atoll to about 20-30 ft. We dove Male, Felidhe, and Ari Atolls. The divemasters tried hard but the big pelagics could not be found. I've heard there's better diving both to the north and south of where we dove. I personally think the diving at Raja was far superior to the Maldives.
By carl berenson in WA, US at Oct 05, 2013 10:05 EST  
My dive atlas by jack Jackson says Maldives ari atoll has some of the best diving in the Maldives but the season is December to April for mantas. Same with gelid hobo atoll. Where did you dive in raja and what season? We are thinking of mid- oct next year.
By report author: David Bader in NC, US at Oct 06, 2013 21:32 EST  
I was in Raja three years ago in January on the liveaboard, Archipelago Adventurer II. This boat hit a reef and sunk a couple of years ago. Too bad, it was a great trip. Viz was in the 70-80 ft range with bottom temps in the 82-84 degree range. We dove Kri Island, Fam Island, Weyang, Aljui Bay, Gam Island, and Dampier Straight. Lots of hard/soft corals and plenty of fishlife for photography.
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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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