Ultimate Maldives: A Snorkelling and Diving Adventure

  • Platinum
11 days
Small Ship Cruises
Suitable for:
Age 17+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Small Ship Cruises, Platinum, Guided Group
Marine Wildlife
Max group size:
Min age:

A beyond-exotic adventure of turquoise waters, champagne beach picnics, and the ocean's most incredible secrets.

Unbelievable beaches, unrivaled luxury, and a stunning underwater world – it doesn’t get more once-in-a-lifetime than the Maldives. Create a lifetime of memories as you cruise through the lesser-visited southern Maldives aboard your luxurious floating hotel, Emperor Serenity. Search for whale sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and dolphins as you head out on daily underwater scuba and snorkeling excursions. Relax on deserted beaches, feast on mouth-watering cuisine, visit the ruins of an 8th-century Buddhist monastery and attend mesmerizing drum and dance performances.

Specially chosen for this voyage, our team of expert leaders serves to bring a comprehensive educational component to your adventure through lectures, guided excursions, and daily recaps. Marine Biologist and ocean adventurer Brad Climpson is the ultimate guide for your Maldives exploration. Your divemaster, Mike Murphy, has traveled the world diving everywhere from the icy waters of Antarctica to the emerald seas of the South Pacific, so you can rest assured you’re in safe waters.


  • Cruise through the central islands of the Maldives to witness colorful reefs teeming with healthy populations of tropical fish.
  • Search for a variety of large pelagic species, including white-tipped reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, turtles, and dolphins, as well as swirling schools of barracuda and tuna.
  • Enjoy two dive or snorkel excursions daily, visit with locals, and step ashore on tiny islands for beachcombing and sundowner drinks.
  • Explore the fascinating underwater topography—a dramatic landscape of thilas, pinnacles enveloped in brilliant corals and sea fans, and kandus, deep channels between reefs and atolls.

Key information

  • 2 nights hotel, 8 nights aboard the Emperor Serenity
  • 11 days land only
  • 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
  • 26 guests
  • Small-Ship Cruise
  • Countries visited: Maldives

What's included

  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, island visits, snorkeling, and diving
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations and transportation
  • Expert Expedition Leader and divemaster
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

What's not included

  • Airfare from your home city/Malé and Malé/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Fees for gear rental (contact the office for details)
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


  • Day 1

    Arrive in Malé

    Arrive in Malé and transfer by boat to Bandos Island Resort in time for lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax after your travels. This evening attend a welcome reception and dinner at the resort.

    Accommodation: Bandos Island Resort

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 2

    Malé / Embark Emperor Serenity

    The morning is yours to lounge by the pool and enjoy the hotel’s amenities. Embark the Emperor Serenity in time for lunch and set sail toward North Malé Atoll. The shallow, protected waters here are an ideal location for an orientation snorkel or dive. Return to the ship for dinner.

    Accommodation: Emperor Serenity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Kaashidhoo Atoll

    Test your skills on a morning snorkel or dive near this idyllic island. This afternoon, step ashore to visit the ruins of an 8th-century Buddhist monastery. Set sail for Rasdhoo Atoll in the late afternoon.

    Accommodation: Emperor Serenity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Rasdhoo Atoll

    Schooling fish and jacks at Rasdhoo attract numerous white-tip reef sharks. Madivaru is named for the abundance of manta rays seen here (Madi means manta ray in the Maldivian language Dhivehi) and depths range from 25 feet to almost 100 feet, making the dive particularly interesting and varied. Manta rays are attracted to Madivaru because of the strong currents that form a whirlpool effect in the deeper parts of the site, where the manta rays can hover over the currents. You will also find several cleaning stations located around Madivaru.

    Snorkelers should have great views of the cleaning stations near to shore, which are frequented by numerous fish along with the mantas and several species of shark.

    In the afternoon, step ashore on a tiny uninhabited island to relax on the soft, white-sand beaches, or for a bit of beachcombing. After dinner, attend a thrilling Bodu Beru drum and dance performance.

    Accommodation: Emperor Serenity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 5-6

    Ari Atoll

    Spend three full days exploring along Ari Atoll, one of the largest natural atolls of the Maldives. North Ari Atoll is famous for sharks, manta rays, and other pelagic fish, including the elusive whale shark. South Ari Atoll differs from many other areas in the Maldives and features many thilas (submerged pinnacles) both inside and outside the atoll lagoons, which act as sites of marine aggregation, making for wonderful snorkeling and diving both in and around the pinnacles and in the kandus (channels). Depending on weather and tide conditions, here are a few of the sites we hope to visit.

    Maamigili Beyru - Nearly seven miles of reef stretches along the south of Ari Atoll, where whale sharks often congregate to feed and where juvenile whale sharks can be found year round. While sightings are not guaranteed, we will make every effort to locate these massive, yet elusive creatures.

    Rangali Madivaru - One of the best manta cleaning stations in the Maldives during the north east monsoon (December - April), this long stretch of reef starts at 26 feet and goes down to a sandy bottom at 78 to 98 feet. This area is teeming with cleaner wrasse, moray eels, leaf scorpionfish, and lionfish. Mantas frequent the area after feeding and this is a great site for both snorkelers and divers to get photos of mantas at shallow depths, with good light.

    Rahdhiga Thila - This beautiful pinnacle impresses the second you descend to 100 feet where you will find numerous gray reef sharks. The pinnacle overhangs are covered with beautiful blue, yellow, and orange soft coral, while table-top can be found near the surface.

    Broken Rock - Named for a large broken rock at the center of this dive site, Broken Rock is home to a beautiful array of soft and hard coral formations that attract a wide variety of reef life. There is an interesting swim-through for divers where the rock is broken. Common sightings here include the pufferfish, triggerfish, moray eels, and Napoleon wrasse.

    Kudarah Thila - Declared a Protected Marine Area by the Maldivian government, Kudarah Thila is a popular dive site that enjoys many incoming currents. Coral reef formations here are bright and colorful, including a variety of soft and hard corals. Consisting of four pinnacles, which can be all visited in one dive, a swim-through at the south-east corner of the dive site makes this a particularly popular dive, as does the rich variety of marine life, which typically includes trumpetfish, snapper, gobies, dartfish, Oriental sweetlips, and groupers. A little further away from the reef, divers are likely to see gray reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, and sea turtles.

    Snorkelers will enjoy multiple excursions from the dhoni or from sandy beaches to discover placid lagoons, fringing reefs, and giris—submerged coral and rock patches. Keep an eye out for black- and white-tipped reef sharks, schooling fish, several species of sea turtles, manta rays, and numerous species of corals.

    Accommodation: Emperor Serenity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Vaataru Atoll

    With only one channel, one island, and a few sandbanks, Vaataru Atoll provides a sense of utter remoteness. Relish the luxury of isolation as you explore Rakheedhoo Corner, a deep channel with caves and stunning overhangs that are swarming with white- and black-tipped reef sharks, barracudas, and, with luck, hammerhead sharks. Another great site lies ahead this afternoon at Vaataru Kandu, noted for its soft corals, crinoidae (feather coral), and plentiful fish and rays. There is also a sand bank and small deserted island for some relaxing beach time.

    Accommodation: Vaataru Atoll

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 8-9

    Vaavu Atoll

    The smallest and one of the least commercialized atolls in the Maldives, Vaavu Atoll offers superb sites for both snorkelers and divers alike. The warms waters are teeming with fish and larger marine life, which you will discover on a number of excursions over the next two days. Fotteyo Kandu is considered, by some, to be one of the best sites in the Maldives due to currents that bring a large diversity of fish life looking for food. This narrow channel entrance is covered in colorful soft corals and leads to a pinnacle in the middle of the channel. Search the blue for eagle rays, gray reef sharks, white-tip reef sharks, tuna, barracuda, and the occasional hammerhead. Bodu Miyaru Kandu, or ‘Big Shark Channel,’ is another top site and features small caves, numerous overhangs, and a slope covered in hard coral and soft coral.

    Accommodation: Emperor Serenity

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    South Malé Atoll / Disembark / Malé

    Enjoy one final snorkel excursion this morning. Disembark in Malé and check in to Hulhule Island Hotel with the afternoon at leisure to relax. Or, join a half-day tour of Malé, the Maldives’ buzzing island capital—a mélange of high-rise buildings, lively markets, and busy streets. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.

    Accommodation: Hulhule Island Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Tour Ends

    Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



British nationals can get a tourist visa for up to 30 days on arrival in Maldives, provided you hold a valid onward or return ticket and enough funds to cover your stay. Staying for longer than 30 days without the proper authority is an offence.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Typhoid, Hepatitis B. Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Zegrahm Expeditions. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Zegrahm Expeditions, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you would expect. Zegrahm Expeditions operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

Our Maldives expedition focuses on the underwater wonders of the region and is only recommended for intermediate and advanced divers and snorkelers. You will need to be able to climb into and out of the dive boat while wearing your dive equipment. There will be many opportunities for drift dives which offer exhilarating and challenging ways to experience the underwater realm; currents may be strong. Air and water temperatures are often the same, both averaging in the low 80s°F. While dive and snorkel gear will be available for rent on board, we recommend bringing your own gear for best comfort and fit.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


The Emperor Serenity

The Emperor Serenity was built in 2016 and offers 4 decks of guest facilities. All staterooms have two lower beds—one double and one twin—as well as individual air-conditioning controls. Public spaces include a spa, sun deck, restaurant & bar.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]