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Dive Review of MV Orion in
Maldives/Northern Atolls

MV Orion: "Two Weeks on the MV Orion", Sep, 2015,

by Tom Baker, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 8 Helpful votes). Report 8437 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spent two weeks on back to back 7-day cruises on the Orion.

First, the diving was pretty spectacular. On one single dive, for example, we saw mating turtles, a behemoth Napoleon wrasse, free-swimming black cheek moray, 7 gray reef sharks, 9 mobula, six eagle rays, two gray reef sharks being cleaned by hanging vertically in the water column with their mouths agape, huge dog-tooth tuna hitting the fusilier schools, a cloud of giant trevally jacks, and a couple of white tip reef sharks. And the most dramatic drop-off I've ever seen, straight down into the blackness. The dive guides were quite excellent and their dhoni operation was very safe and competent. No long waits to be picked up in the currents, which were moderate to fairly strong most dives. Dive briefings were good. There are generally three dives per day, at 6:30am, 10:30am, and 2:30pm. There were a couple of night dives, including one that was absolutely amazing amongst dozens of huge nurse sharks, big rays, and black-tip reef sharks.

The boat is roomy, modern, and comfortable. Spacious cabins. Nice sun decks. But be warned: there is NO camera work area which makes it hard on photographers. The food was bland and repetitive, though plentiful. Sometimes lunch and dinner were indistinguishable on the same day!

The Maldivian crew blew hot and cold in terms of friendliness. During the first week, they seemed almost surly, not responding to greetings, not making eye contact with the guests. The second week, for whatever reason, they were very nice, lots of smiles. Made me wonder if something was wrong, during the first week.

We had a lot of rain, some of it torrential, early on. Week Two was much better, though often overcast.

Weather permitting, they do a BBQ mid-week on a small islet. Food was at its best then. Some other nice touches from the crew as well, but I won't spoil the surprise by describing them. Swimming, snorkeling and lazing about were all good during this picnic. Watching the sun set with a beer in hand was very pleasant.

One negative: ever since scuba was banned in Hanifaru Bay, where the huge manta aggregations are found, this boat no longer goes there. Luckily, we saw mantas every day, really almost every dive and sometimes for the whole dive, so it was not that big a loss. But anyone wanting to see the mantas "vortex feeding" should book a different vessel.

The crew did an excellent job of meeting us upon arrival in Male, and upon departure were helpful getting everyone back to their check in at the airport, or on to a resort or other dive boat.

This was our second trip to the Maldives in as many years; my wife now seems more interested in exploring places we haven't been. But the diving was so incredible that I will go back, maybe more than once for that matter.

The only real negatives were the food and the non-existent camera facilities. Overall, though the Orion is one of the better options in this fantastic dive destination.
Websites MV Orion   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving California, Red Sea, Raja Ampat, Galapagos, NY/NJ Wrecks, Cayman, Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island, Hawaii, French Polynesia, Belize, BVI, Roatan, Bonaire, etc.
Closest Airport Male Getting There via Singapore from LAX

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-80 Ft/ 9-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth of 100 ft and max time of 60 minutes. SMB's and reels required.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks 1 or 2
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There was no dedicated area for cameras, and no place to work on them conveniently. The camera rinse tank's water on the dhoni was not changed over the week, and despite the dive guides telling us not to put anything but cameras in that tank, a number of divers rinsed their masks and wetsuits in it, even though there were other rinse tanks available for gear rinse. So the camera rinse water got dirty.
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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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