The 11-cabin Four Seasons Explorer – the Maldives’ most luxurious live aboard – has a trio of cruises where exploring is the name of the game.
The three all-inclusive routes link the two Resort islands of Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru via seven different days and nights of diving nirvana across four atolls.
Each day brings something different, from coves, caves, thilas and aquarium-like waters to sharks, a swim-through shipwreck, big fish encounters and island visits.
- The Three Nights – Aquariums and Caves cruise (northwards, Monday: Kuda Huraa to Landaa Giraavaru) via the coral ceilings of Fares Caves, stingray and nudibranch haven of Eboodhoo Cove, and colourful Muthaafushi canyons.
- The Four Nights – Southern Sharks and Shipwreck cruise (southwards, Thursday: Landaa Giraavaru to Kuda Huraa) via the camera-happy sharks of Rasdhoo Madivaru and Maaya Thila, whale shark haven of Maamigili Beyru, and Machafushi Wreck.
- The Seven Nights – See It All circuit cruise completes the loop, combining the above two cruises and including some of the Maldives finest caves, thilas, whale shark hotspots, swim-through tunnels, and cultural islands.
A sense of exploration is key, so each cruise maintains an element of fluidity, tailored to the guests on board, the adventures they seek, and the gifts of the ocean.
“Sometimes even the best plans are worth sacrificing when something better comes along,” explains Cruise Director Abdul Latheef. “Like the time we came across hundreds of pilot whales mid-cruise and spent the rest of the day diving and snorkelling with them. There’s no way we would have cruised past to stick to a schedule.”
Which Cruise to Choose?
It depends on where one wants to start and finish, and what one most wants to see. The 3- and 4-night trips are great for adding a sense of exploration to a Maldives vacation. The See-It-All Circuit is a vacation in itself: ideal for anyone wanting to feel they have truly dived the Maldives. All incorporate a minimum of three dives a day.
“Whatever divers are seeking, we’ll go out of our way to help them find it,” says Abdul, “from a close up photo of a mantis shrimp to the chance to swim with whale sharks or watch an octopus changing colour.”
A Floating 5-Star PADI Dive Centre
While no two dives – let alone cruises – are the same, the world-class facilities and services remain steadfast: divers are grouped by skill level for the most appropriate experience; kit includes the latest Scubapro dive gear, Cressi snorkelling gear and Olympus cameras; a team of multi-lingual instructors offers the full spectrum of PADI courses; and the boat’s intimate approach gives guests the flexibility and freedom to direct their own diving encounters, including sunrise, night and wreck excursions.
Not Just for Divers
Worried how to fill the time if one is not a diver? Worry not. Castaway with sandbank BBQs, beach games and spa sessions. Kayak, wakeboard, waterski and windsurf. Go fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. Enjoy gourmet dinners, star-gazing, cooking classes and yoga. Snorkel with the marine biologist. Take Maldivian afternoon tea with a remote local community. Sunbathe on a private island. Chill in the air-conditioned Lounge. Or simply follow the wind.
Substance and Style
Refurbished in 2017, Four Seasons Explorer is a 39 metre / 128 foot vision of sleek finishes and plush furnishings. The 10 Staterooms have large windows, remarkably well-equipped bathrooms, bespoke artworks and a seating area; the Explorer Suite has a wall of windows, lots of space and a sunbathing deck. The Dining Room opens onto an intimate bar and comfy Living Room. A blue, grey and white palette contrasts with dark wood accents to showcase contemporary nautical living at its luxurious best.