Liveaboards are hands-down the best way to squeeze in as many dives as possible while on a dive vacation. If you happen to be traveling with a non-diver though, that might be a problem (for them). This list features liveaboards that not only deliver for divers but their non-diving buddies. Take the Four Seasons Explorer for example, with an on-board spa and daily water activities scheduled specifically for non-divers or the Rock Islands Aggressor that has options to add on helicopter and kayak tours. We're sure you'll find a boat below that meets the needs of both divers and non-divers.
Four Seasons Explorer
The Four Seasons Explorer in the Maldives is all the luxury of a Four Seasons resort wrapped up in a beautiful three-deck catamaran. Non-divers can spend days getting massages and spa treatments, lounging on a private island, windsurfing, and water skiing. Or, send your bubble watcher snorkeling with the ship’s onboard marine biologist to get him or her excited about the underwater world.
In the Bahamas, clear, shallow water provides the perfect playground not only for diving, but for all kinds of watersports. Aboard the Aqua Cat, non-divers can enjoy the ocean while stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, kayaking through mangroves, or tubing and water skiing off the back of the liveaboard’s jet boat, the Sea Dog.
Tour the British Virgin Islands aboard the Cuan Law. The largest sailing trimaran in the world, the boat itself is a big draw for non-divers. Amid the grand sailing experience, bubble watchers can sail on a Hobie Cat, wander through the famous Baths of Virgin Gorda and kick back at local beach bars.
Remote areas of Mexico like Socorro and Roca Partida are well-known for their marine megafauna populations. While diving often gets you closer to the action, snorkeling is another great way (and sometimes the only way) to have exciting encounters. Depending on the season and locale, non-divers can snorkel with humpback whales, giant mantas and whale sharks from the Nautilus Explorer.
Pro Dive Cairns
Worried about committing to a whole week onboard? Opt for a shorter trip, like Pro Dive offers in Cairns, Australia. Three-day, two-night trips are long enough for divers to explore the Great Barrier Reef but short enough that non-divers won’t go stir-crazy at sea — especially since Pro Dive includes multiple snorkel opportunities on each itinerary.
Rock Islands Aggressor
A great way to keep non-divers happy is to bookend your trip with additional land-based excursions. While diving on the Rock Islands Aggressor, add on kayak and snorkel or helicopter tours of the iconic islands through Aggressor Travel. They also offer historic and cultural tours of Palau’s World War II sites, natural waterfalls and capital city.
If your non-diver is more of an almost-diver, have him or her take an Open Water e-learning course and complete required checkout dives aboard Blackbeard’s. On this 65-foot sailboat liveaboard, time not spent diving is filled with deep-sea fishing, hanging in a swing suspended over the water and lounging under the sails.
On the twin ships Yin and Yang by Scubaspa Maldives, great diving is just an added bonus. These floating five-star resorts offer scuba, spa and combination packages, so divers can take advantage of all the luxury the boats have to offer, too. From sunrise yoga to evening cocktails, each day onboard is filled with wonder and relaxation for divers and bubble watchers alike.
Aboard the Arctic-based liveaboard MV Ortelius, diving is far from the name of the game. While divers will get plenty of time under the ice, itineraries are really designed to maximize time ashore and focus on other activities, like polar bear, arctic fox and reindeer spotting; humpback whale watching; and hiking and snowshoeing.
Sea Safari VIII with Oceanic Society
Sometimes, it’s better to meet in the middle. If you’d like to spend more vacation time together, consider boarding the 112-foot motored schooner Sea Safari VIII on one of Oceanic Society’s snorkel-based conservation travel programs. Spend four to six hours per day snorkeling the waters around Raja Ampat, plus enjoy stops on land for taking in beautiful views and learning about native flora and fauna.