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Launched in 2002 the Four Seasons Explorer is a 128-ft catamaran – a floating Four Seasons basically. Cruising the central and northern atolls, this is one of the best liveaboards in the world.
For keen divers or for those looking to see the more remote Maldivian Islands, the Four Seasons Explorer is an ideal alternative to an island-based hotel. A typical cruise programme will include island tours (it is genuinely interesting to see some of the remaining Maldivian culture), an evening barbeque on a deserted beach, lunch on a remote sand bar, basic marine biology talks, and video presentations of your underwater adventures, all punctuated by delicious food.
In fact, the food would be impressive were it served up in a land based restaurant - the fact that it is prepared on board makes it even more so. The cruises are very well organised leaving you adequate time to relax, enjoy a massage, swim, dive or do whatever you want.
You can choose a three, four or seven-night cruise on the Four Seasons Explorer, but if diving, and given the no-fly rule, the four-night cruise is a minimum as otherwise it means only two days diving. The four-night option means you fly out to join the boat in the middle of the cruise, which will deposit you back at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa five days later. Alternatively take seven nights and you will join and leave the boat at the hotel.
Just when you thought things on board could not get any better, it is time to go diving. Diving from the Four Seasons Explorer gives you the opportunity to dive a greater variety of reefs than were you staying on land. A dive deck opens to the stern, with an excellent range of dive gear available. Smaller boats speed you to the dive sites, which can be anything up to 20 minutes away from where the Explorer anchors.
Diving is normally in small groups, and for a small premium they will even arrange your own dedicated instructor. The dives range from novice to advanced and normally there is a morning and afternoon dive, punctuated with the occasional dawn or night dive. In total, over four days you will probably do nine dives, but if you want to do more, just ask.
Why we love it
Simply put, the Four Seasons Explorer is the best liveaboard in the Maldives for divers and non-divers alike.