The question is: Live-aboard versus land based resorts. Which is better?
The answer is: It depends!
First, decide on your desired location. Often, this dictates your choice in accommodations. Heading to the Caymans, Comuzel, or Belize? Resort based diving gets you in the water frequently while offering easy access to the considerable shore side attractions. If you want to dive in Indonesia, the Maldives, or Galapagos, the choice is made for you: Liveaboards are the only way to go.
Land based resorts do their best to be competitive, often offering up to three dives per day. In areas where you have a choice between a live-aboard and land based resorts, normally the resort is much less expensive. We see this in the Cayman Islands, where most resorts offer at least 3 dives per day, and sometimes at a very reduced rate compared the price of a live-aboard. Belize presents a similar situation, which is good to know when you’re planning a trip on a budget.
But not all live-aboards are created equal! The hands on and personal inspections that Ultimate Dive does revealed to us long ago that our customers have a better time when we book them with independent live-aboard operators. This way we side-step the corporate feel (and bunk beds!) of the franchise operators. We all have a limited amount of vacation time: independent live-aboards have proven that they provide the best experience possible for our divers.
The Galapagos for example, we are working with a company now to launch 2 new live-aboards next year, starting around August 2011, the dates are yet to be finalized, but the price will be of great value, compared to the options there currently, so watch for this announcement in the near future. No bunk beds on these boats, and larger cabins than boats currently diving those waters. Galapagos, this is another story, the absolute best diving in Galapagos are at the famed islands of Wolf and Darwin, over a hundred miles from any resorts of any kind. Live-aboard for the serious diver is a no brainer here, live-aboard all the way.
Without a doubt, one of the best live-aboard experiences to be had can be found on the Ark Royal in the Maldives. The Ark Royal’s sister ship, the Ark Princess, launches in March 2011. These ships provide a top quality live-aboard experience, with large, clean cabins and a crew that understands what divers value and enjoy. Amazingly, you can have a great experience on these boats for the same price as the many lower-quality providers in the region. Why not enjoy the best?
Indonesia has something to offer to every type of diver. This is the time of year to enjoy this island nation, which is almost as wide as the entire USA. The waters here are rich and full of color and life. It’s a paradise for photographers and videographers. We’ve been sending lots of divers to the Adventurer II, the best of class in the region – and they’ve all been coming back thrilled with the experience. Resort options abound, with lots of really neat sites that could easily satisfy a diver’s needs for a 7 to 10 day trip. Ultimate Dive Travel regularly inspects both the live-aboard options and land based resorts in the region to ensure that every traveler has the dive vacation of a lifetime.