The firm, based in the Maldive Islands, an archipelago republic since 1965 and located south southwest of India in the Indian Ocean, got started in 2008. Deep Blue Holidays’ YASAWA PRINCESS was added in 2012 offering weekly cruises throughout the year for divers, snorkelers and those who enjoy beaches and swimming. Considered one of the top diving locations in the world, the Maldives draw aficionados from around the globe. Deep Blue Holidays is also engaged in resort, city hotel, and guest house stays. While most visitors choose resorts located on 90 different islands, others who like the idea of a small ship taking them to different islands and atolls may find this option hard to resist. Tourism, which that did not come in earnest until 1972, is now the chief source of revenue.
Note: There was considerable government unrest in recent years, and after a quiet period, another political crisis of sorts has been simmering over the past month or two. The governments of the U.S. and Britain are advising travelers to use extreme caution while visiting Malé, the capital, especially where crowds are gathered and be aware of your surroundings. Some countries have suggested staying away altogether for now. Click here for latest US State Dept. warnings, and go to “Read Travel Advisories” and plug in the country.
Anyone looking for one of the world’s best locations to engage in serious or casual diving, snorkeling, fishing or swimming, while staying aboard a small-ship cruise in a tropical paradise, should have a gander here.
Ship, Year Delivered & Passengers
YASAWA PRINCESS (built 1984, refurbished 2007; 56 passengers).
Four decks, no elevator.
Young and athletic, older and fit, and some lounge lizards but not many. English-speaking from Britain, Australia, NZ, North America, and those comfortable with English as a second language.
$$ to $$$
7 and 14 days (different itinerary for second week) year-round from the city of Malé, the capital, mail port, and international airport. The city Malé occupies the entire islet of Malé.
Malé is a city of about 100,00 inhabitants, or about 25% of the archipelago country’s population. Most flights to Malé arrive from Dubai, Doha, Colombo, and Singapore. The archipelago’s land mass makes up only 115 square miles (298 sq. kms.) and the islands are surrounded by a lagoon and encircled by a reef structure. While the archipelago is made up of mountaintops rising from the sea bottom, the height above sea level is minimal. With rising seas due to climate change, the Maldives are one of the world’s most endangered countries.
All drinks except premium levels, plus daily excursions on cruises that feature both diving and leisure activities. Shore excursions on specialized diving cruises, on the other hand, operate on some but not all days for those not diving and depend on the locale. A dive master and instructor are included in fares, while diving gear supplied by the line is extra. Tips are extra and are to be placed in a single envelope at the end of the trip for the whole crew to share.
The Maldives are considered one of the finest locales in the world for scuba dividing. The archipelago enjoys largely blue skies and year-round tropical temperatures. Some 90 islands are inhabited and others are used for agriculture, plus there are scores of atolls and lagoons, and coral reefs harboring vast varieties of fish.
When to Go?
Year-round, with the dry season January to March and wet May to November. Peak season is November to April when whale sharks and manta rays are present. Temperatures are comfortably warm year-round, especially when near water, which apart from arriving and departing Malé, is most of the time. The average highs hardly vary from 86-88F and lows 77-80F.
28 cabins are spread over three decks with twins and queen-size beds. Those on the lowest deck have portholes and on the two other decks, with windows and doors that open to the side deck.
Forward lounge has a bar, and open and covered outdoor lounge spaces.
Open seating indoors and outdoors with buffet service at all meals. Night barbecues on selected dates.
Activities & Entertainment
For divers, three dives a day on specialized diving trips; once daily on cruises not exclusively diving-focused, along with snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, and fishing (fly and spinning). Non-divers are welcome on intensive diving cruises, but fewer excursions will be provided. For extra charges, a boat is available for 16 persons for two full days with two tank dives and for big game fishing with daytime and evening outings. Also, visits are made to resorts and local villages for Maldive Island culture.
Bring a dry bag for protecting cameras, cell phones, tablets, watches, etc. from salt water damage.
Along the Same Lines
While QuirkyCruise introduces the Maldives as a small-ship cruise destination with just one good example at present, many other operators serve the archipelago. Go to visitmaldives.com, click on “Where To Stay,” then “Liveaboards” to access a large selection.
Silhouette Cruises operates in the Seychelles, another archipelago located in the Indian Ocean closer to East Africa.
Deep Blue Holidays, Fila Bldg (07-10), Koli Umar Manik Goalhi, Male 20026, Maldives; phone: 00 960 330 2556, deepblueholidays.com.
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