Just imagine a holiday where you can bypass the crowded resorts and set sail for remote islands where the beaches are empty, the underwater world is teeming with life, and you can fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping against the hull of your floating home away from home. Liveaboard adventures offer unique voyages to stunning hotspots where every day is an adventure. And if you’re going to be at sea for a week or more (see ya later Singapore!), you may as well do it in style with these luxurious liveaboards that set sail for the most beguiling hidden corners in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Alila is best known for their ultra-sleek, ultra-unique hotels in scenic settings throughout Southeast Asia, but one of their most sought-after travel experiences is on the Alila Purnama, a 46-metre long teak wood schooner that offers amazing trips to some of the most exotic destinations in the Indonesian archipelago. The five gorgeous guest cabins are outfitted with plush beds, ensuite bathrooms, air-con and Wi-Fi, and the three spacious decks house a library, lounge, bar, and dining room. In addition, the Alila Purnama has its own PADI dive centre, spa therapist, resident chef, and tour guides to make sure your trip at sea is utterly unforgettable.
Alila Purnama, Indonesia, +62 361 236 384
If exploring reefs, wrecks and all manner of marine life while cruising the Red Sea on a luxury liveaboard is your idea of a dream holiday, then the Emperor Elite is the vessel for you. Each of the 7-day trips includes dives to world famous sites off the coast of Egypt like Elphinstone Reef, the Brother Islands, the St. John’s reefs, and Deadalus Reef, and dedicated diver's can get in over 21 dives per trip. In addition, the custom-designed boat boasts 11 cabins with all the mod cons, three sundecks, a dive deck with a platform, and air-conditioned salons and dining areas.
Emperor Divers, Egypt, +20 12 2234 0995
On a liveaboard trip with Ocean Divine you can spend your days surfing, fishing, diving, snorkelling and free-diving off the atolls of the Maldives, explore deserted beaches and jungles, or relax with a glass of champers in hand on the mahogany sundeck while soaking up the rays. This 110-foot seafaring vessel has everything you need for the perfect holiday at sea including seven cabins with queen-sized beds, well-appointed ensuite bathrooms, plasma TVs and DVD players. Sumptuous gourmet meals are on offer as well as fine wines and spirits at the 24-hour bar, and the friendly crew will attend to your every need, whether it be filming you out on the swells or pampering you with a soothing massage.
Ocean Divine, Maldives, +960 778 7602
The Seychelles archipelago is known for its awe-inspiring tropical islands with white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, coral reefs, and incredible nature reserves, and there is no better way to explore these hidden gems than with Silhouette Cruises on one of their lovingly restored historic sailboats or custom-built yachts. The boats feature sundecks for sunbathing, air-conditioned cabins and salons, wood furnishings and sleek contours, and the six or seven-day tours include island-hopping, snorkelling, diving, hiking and delicious Creole BBQs.
Silhouette Cruises, Seychelles, +248 432 4026
Follow in the footsteps (or trade winds) of Darwin with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard the exclusive Evolution or Grace from Quasar Expeditions. Onboard the cabins look like hotel rooms, the meals are gourmet feasts, and the sundecks offer 360-degree views of the open sea. You can opt for the Friends and Group Charters with wine-tasting nights and special lectures, the Family Charters with naturalist activities and special menus for kids, or a customised itinerary with optional expert guides in the fields of bird-watching, culinary arts, or geology.
Quasar Expeditions, Ecuador, +593-2 382 5680
Fiji & Tonga
Designed by master yacht builders in Holland, Nai’a is an underwater explorer’s dream, as this luxurious 120-footer plies the waters around Fiji in search of the best dive sites in the South Pacific. Onboard you’ll find nine bright and airy staterooms with ensuite bathrooms and plenty of space for storage, plus a gorgeous dive deck, a spacious air-conditioned salon where complimentary wine is served with every dinner, and a dedicated camera and video room. The 7-night and 10-night voyages include daily dives to colourful coral gardens and whale watching expeditions in Tonga.
Nai’a, Fiji, +679 345 0382
Costa Rica & Cocos Island
Nearly every liveaboard yacht offers scuba diving adventures, but a luxury yacht that offers deep sea excursions in a private submarine? Now that’s a whole other ball game. The Argo offers expeditions like no other, as this luxury cruiser not only makes voyages to the stunning remote Cocos Island (named one of the top ten dive sites in the world by PADI) but it also has its own submarine called DeepSee that can plunge 450 meters into the depths. And with a spherical glass ceiling, you can catch 360-degree views of all those manta rays, sharks, and whales swimming above.
The Argo, Costa Rica, +506 203 2120
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar
If you’re going to explore ancient spice trade routes, you may as well do in style on an authentic phinisi schooner. Silolona was handcrafted by the famous Konjo boat builders of Sulawesi, who have been passing down their craft for centuries. The expansive teak wood decks and wine red sails pay homage to the past, while the elegant air-conditioned suites and lounges offer all the modern amenities you could ask for. Silolona follows the monsoon seasons and sojourns in exotic destinations in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia’s lesser visited islands.
Silolona, Indonesia, +62 0361 286 682
S/Y Palau Siren
Designed with divers and underwater photographers in mind, the S/Y Palau Siren boasts a huge dive deck with individual stations and free Nitrox refills, plus dedicated areas for camera and video equipment. Onboard you’ll also find comfortable cabins with personal entertainment systems, a lounge with plush sofas and a cocktail bar, and a sun deck with cushioned lounge chairs. The dedicated crew of 12 will make sure that you want for nothing, and the experienced dive guides will take you spectacular dive sites around the limestone islands of Palau.
S/Y Palau Siren, Palau, +66 076 367 444
MV Great Escape
With an on-board helicopter, saltwater spa on the foredeck, and seven executive staterooms with flat-screen TVs and personal fridges, the MV Great Escape is the most luxurious way to explore Australia’s Kimberley Coast. Excursions by air and water take you to stunning waterfalls, secret fishing spots, and ancient indigenous rock art sites. At the end of the day you can relax on the 26-metre custom built catamaran and enjoy gourmet meals and glasses of bubbly on the deck under the stars.
MV Great Escape, Broome, WA, Australia, +61 8 9193 5983