There are many misconceptions about diving safaris (liveaboard diving trips), such as that they are only for very experienced divers or those who dive regularly. This is not true. Many of our customers who join liveaboard cruises have only completed a few dives, and some even take their Open Water Diver course during the cruise! However, the vast majority of guests are already certified, and some are even diving professionals. Open Water Divers, and even those who aren’t certified yet, have the perfect environment on board a liveaboard cruise to take part in a PADI or SSI diving course. In addition to it being ideal for diving reasons, the prices are sometimes less than half what is charged for the same course based on land and diving day trips.
Why are they so cheap? Is it not as good or comprehensive, or do they teach lots of students at the same time?
Absolutely not. In fact, with some of our liveaboard courses, not only is it considerably cheaper, you could get your own private instructor for the whole cruise or even longer, not just the four or five dives which are part of the course. Groups tend to be very small, and your instructor is always within a few metres of you, 24 hours a day.
Similan Explorer or Dolphin Queen, where AOW students have the instructor with them throughout, and also get the free use of a diving computer, too. In addition to these two great-value liveaboard boats, those taking the AOW on MV Andaman or MV Scuba Adventure actually get extra dives as part of their course before (and sometimes after) the liveaboard trip. Taking part in a PADI or SSI Advanced course while on a liveaboard diving safari really is both excellent value and the best environment for improving your scuba diving ability, skills and knowledge. This also applies for the other popular diving courses, such as Open Water Diver and Nitrox Enriched Air. It is worth pointing out, though, that those wanting to learn to dive on a liveaboard cruise need to arrive at least a full day before the ship sets sail. This is to complete the necessary theory and pool sessions which are the first part of the Open Water Diver course.The lower prices of diving courses aboard a liveaboard trip is mainly due to the fact that the dives have already been paid for as part of the cruise package. And you don’t normally get ‘extra dives’ but get to do the ‘cruise dives’ with your instructor, not just a Divemaster guide. For example, a typical 4D/4N liveaboard trip would include 14 dives – 11 in the day and 3 at night. These dives would be led by a Divemaster guide, who although is a PADI professional is not as highly qualified as an instructor. Anyone taking part in a course onboard a cruise is just paying for a change in the member of staff who takes them diving and the course materials & certification. A typical example of the savings in price is the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (AOW) course, which is by far the most popular course on liveaboard trips. When taken while joining Phuket, Phi Phi or even Similan day trips, this course would cost in the region of $350-400 and give you 5 dives with your instructor. However, it’s possible to take this course for as little as $200, and in some cases the instructor will stay with you for the duration of the cruise, including all 14 dives. A great example of this is aboard
Why is a liveaboard trip the ‘ideal environment’ for taking a course?
With great dive sites to visit up to four times per day and nearly everyone on board doing likewise, it’s the perfect situation to live and breathe scuba diving for a few days. There are more-experienced guests and diving professionals all around to offer free help and advice. On a diving day trip course, there will be those around who need to get home to feed the dog or go to the pub. There are so many more distractions, including the temptation for those taking the course to do an activity which won’t help them enjoy the course. Late-night parties are one of the biggest culprits. It’s so easy when on holiday in the tropics, especially Phuket & Phi Phi, to enjoy a drink in the evening and one thing can so easily lead to another when there’s no work the next day. Taking a course on a liveaboard is ideal because after four dives and plenty of sea breeze air, most guests are happy to go to bed at a sensible time, often after enjoying a few quiet drinks on one of the dive boat’s several decks. And these drinks can often be drunk while talking about.... diving!
So, for anyone who didn’t realise that it is cheaper and better to take a scuba diving course on a liveaboard diving trip, it’s time to think again. The whole course is not only more enjoyable than on land-based day trips, it will help you to enjoy the cruise even more. In addition, the saving in cost usually makes it a ‘no brainer’ for most of us. While the Advanced course is most popular, there are lots of others, including learning to dive and specialty courses such as Nitrox, photography and more.