• Goldenlipgloss - by Nohemí A.M.

Review: A high-end diving experience in The Maldives with ScubaSpa

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Imagine waking up every day at astonishing different reefs in The Maldives. Energising your mornings with a yoga session and exploring the underwater world, diving with tropical fish, manta rays and whale sharks. Imagine being indulged with fine-dining experiences and getting pampered in a fabulous spa. Enjoying a magical sunset on a desert island after sailing through the most beautiful blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Now imagine doing all this onboard a multi award-wining luxury yacht with the most attentive, friendly and professional crew. Can your holidays really get any better?

Scubaspa ‘Ying’ and her twin sister ‘Yang” are two five-star floating resorts based in the Maldives. The floating resort concept combines top scuba diving, snorkelling, fine dining and sublime spa treatments on a 50m super yacht cruising the Indian Ocean. It’s a great holiday option for couples or a group of friends, even if there is a mix of experienced divers, beginner divers and non-divers, with flexible packages to suit everyone. It is also perfect if you want to enjoy the diving possibilities that liveaboards offer, but also have the option of other activities in case you choose to take a break from diving.

There are two itineraries, 3 nights or 7 nights and there are three packages available: Scuba holiday which includes up to 17 dives; Spa holiday, including up to 8 spa treatments or Scuba & Spa holiday, with up to 6 dives and up to 4 spa treatments. Guests can add additional spa treatments and dives to their packages at an additional fee at any time during their stay. Additionally you can also sign up for any of the scuba diving courses, whether to get certified or to improve your skills as a diver (AOW, EAN, etc).

As we love scuba diving, both my boyfriend, Steve and I chose the Scuba holiday and the 7 night itinerary. We additionally requested Nitrox for all our dives (at a very fair rate) and rented some of the equipment. All the gear we got was Scubapro and it was almost brand new.

There is spacious accommodation, with nine suites and ten cabins all en-suite with air conditioning. Cabins either have a panoramic sea view or port lights. We had the opportunity to enjoy a Sea Star cabin and also the Manta suite. The Manta suite was extra spacious and waking up in the morning with the view of the ocean made our experience much more special, definitely a plus to consider. Nonetheless both accommodation options were beautiful, clean, with modern décor and very comfortable beds. The cabin was cleaned daily with fresh drinking water available in the room and a kimono to use for your relaxing time after visiting the spa.

The Scubaspa dive centre is a separate 19 metre ‘dhoni’ boat which accompanies the main ship and due to its smaller size it can reach the reefs and diving locations easily. There is also a dinghy boat to take guests to nearby paradise islands for sunbathing or reef snorkelling while the divers do their thing.

For those looking for an extra touch of luxury while out of the water, the spa covers 300m of the boat with five treatment rooms offering a wide range of treatments: Swedish, Balinese, Thai or Hawaiian massage, just to name a few.

Life onboard Scuba Yang

On our arrival onboard Yang, we were welcomed by the cruise manager, Simon. While enjoying a welcome drink he briefed us about the general boat safety and some practical information. After the briefing we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and meeting some of the other guests who were from all corners of the globe, including Australia, Canada, Poland, Vietnam, Korea, France, USA and China. In the evening we had a first meet-up with all the 27 guests to present the itinerary, activities and assigned diving groups (according to the level of each diver) and we got to meet all the wonderful members of the crew: the spa therapists, the scuba diving team, the chefs and waiters, the housekeeping team, the technical department and our captain and bridge members. A big family working together to ensure guests have the most amazing holidays and a luxury "crew-per-guest" ratio.

Every evening the crew updated the board with the schedule and options for the next day, which usually included three dives per day (including one night dive during the itinerary and a day dedicated to whale shark search) and yoga/snorkeling/beach time for the non-divers.

Before each dive the Dive Master properly briefed us, explaining where the dive boat would drop us, potential currents, maximum dive depth, safety stops, possible marine life encounters, etc. Another thing that they take very seriously is to respect nature and wildlife during the encounters. Basic guidelines that any diver or snorkeler should have such as: no fish feeding, no touching or chasing, no leaving traces-print and keeping proper distance from coral bottoms or cleaning stations.

Each explanation was properly supported with slides and maps of the dive sites. All the dive team was highly skilled and trained, and we felt safe at all times (even with strong currents and surrounded by sharks touching your legs during the night dive!).

Once in the dhoni, the crew would always check on us, making sure we had everything we needed on the technical side but also providing dry towels, snacks and asking about our diving experience once back from each immersion.

Scubaspa and the Maldives offer many memorable encounters with the underwater world, including manta rays, eagle rays, white/black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, grey reef sharks, turtles, Giant Trevallies, Jackfish, Napoleon wrasses and all sorts of tropical fish (from Maldivian clown fish, triggerfish and fusiliers, to frog fish or scorpionfish). We were not lucky enough to encounter a whale shark during our itinerary, but we did encounter dolphins on one of our dives, which was also very special! Check out my diving video for a glimpse of what you will experience.

The dive sites covered all sorts of diving: ship wrecks, channels, pinnacles, drift diving, walls...and since each group had its own dive master (one dive master every 4-6 certified divers), the dives were customised according to the diving level of each group, not limiting or over-exposing anyone. Some of the dive sites during our itinerary included: Fish Head, Manta Point (Rangali Madivaru), Kuramathi Kandu (Rasdhoo), Fesdhoo Wreck and Alimatha (night dive).

Returning to the main ship after each dive would be as delightful, always welcomed by the crew, ready to hand us the key to the cabin, a soft drink or to delight us with a delicious meal.

Breakfast, lunch and dinners are included in your Scubaspa stay. The buffet-style meals were of fresh quality and delicious with different themes every night, like the Italian or Mexican night. Together with the most attentive waiters and the most beautiful table set-up. Simon, the cruise manager also helped Steve to organise a private romantic dinner on the upper deck, which was a very special and unforgettable surprise.

Every afternoon snacks were served in the fully stocked bar and it was a great time to mingle and socialise with other guests or simply to relax and enjoy a drink with the breeze of the ocean.

To complement our diving package with an additional treat, we booked a Balinese massage for the two of us in the spectacular double massage room. Again it was all about the details and an amazing massage technique that makes you feel like you are floating in the clouds. After the massage we got to enjoy a warm ginger infusion in the spa relaxation deck while enjoying the sunset.  

Some other highlights were the night time beach BBQ lit up by candles on a deserted island, showcasing a full moon and sparkling blue plankton, as well as the night dive in Alimatha, surrounded by dozens of nurse sharks and eagle rays elegantly swimming closer and closer to us, up to the point of touching us. One of the most incredible encounters ever.

With exceptional service and attention to detail, with so much to see underwater, with such a beautiful yacht design...Scubaspa opens up another world of ocean floating holidays. One of our best holidays ever.

I would also like to say a quick thank you to Simon, Buddy, Maraj, Nazrul and the entire diving team and crew for an amazing experience - Steve and I hope to see you again on our next Scubaspa adventure!


How to get there:

Nohemí flew from Barcelona to Malé Velana International Airport (via Doha) with Qatar Airways.

ScubaSpa offers a free speed boat transfer from/to Male airport.

How to Book:

Visit scubaspa.com and fill up the booking form. They will get in contact with you with more details and to answer any questions.

Leave any question or doubts in comments or message me on Instagram

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