Safety and Fun: Why a Liveaboard Is Ideal for a New Normal Diving Holiday.
It’s safe to say, 2020 has been a year of ups and downs. The COVID-19 pandemic grounded flights, locked down major cities, and cancelled holidays all over the world, while simultaneously allowing the planet's oceans to thrive, free from human disturbance. In fact, in recent months, dive centres and resorts from around the globe have begun reporting an exciting trend – diving is better right now than it has been for decades!
But as countries begin opening their borders to tourists again, how can divers continue exploring the ocean under the ‘new normal’ way of life? Well, luckily for us, diving is well-suited to these changes… and we’re certainly no strangers to masks. As travel starts to open up, liveaboard holidays are emerging as one of the best options amongst divers in the know. These overnight safaris at sea can last just a few days or weeks on end, and you can find them in all of the planet's most popular and dynamic diving destinations. Here are just a few reasons why a liveaboard might be the best choice for the next ‘new normal’ adventure.
Easier Social Isolation
Maintaining a safe distance from others is the single most important factor for preventing the spread of COVID-19 – and it can be easier on a liveaboard than in a resort! First of all, there are far fewer guests travelling together in most cases. This means less chance of accidental transmission during group activities and in common areas like restaurants. It is also likely the same group will be diving together throughout their stay, with no new divers coming and going each day. And finally, guests will likely be spending most of their time outdoors, with sun and shade decks, all-day activities in the water, and al fresco dining areas.
When combined with well-known methods of prevention like washing your hands or using hand sanitiser gel frequently, wearing a mask, and avoiding direct contact with others, this adds up to a much safer diving holiday.
Optional Private Charter
Most liveaboards offer private chartered trips, allowing a group of guests to rent the entire boat. Depending on the vessel, this could be an intimate expedition with just a handful of friends, or, an all-out adventure with 20 or more guests on board a spacious and modern ship. No matter which scenario is best, a private charter allows for far more control when it comes to COVID-19.
But, safety isn't the only big benefit when it comes to a private voyage. Chartered itineraries allows guests to customise nearly every detail of their trip – from where to dive and how long to spend there, to the exciting wildlife and conditions they'll encounter. The group will also have control over additional activities, meals served, and more!
Multiple Diving Destinations
Since the start of the pandemic, the logistics of traveling have become increasingly difficult. In fact, one of the most frustrating parts of trying to go on holiday right now is the challenge of getting to and from the destination. And, in most cases, the ‘new normal’ will mean travel complications and restricted movement.
This is one way in which diving from a liveaboard is totally different! Forget staying in a hotel or resort and only exploring the nearby area. Liveaboards can travel great distances during each voyage, allowing guests to dive a wide variety of destinations – without risk of catching or spreading the virus. This unparalleled freedom of movement gives divers the opportunity to embark on unbelievable, multi-stop trips with ease.
Safe Adventures for Everyone
Watersports like snorkelling, freediving, ocean kayaking, and standup paddleboarding are among the most common offerings when it comes to additional sports offered onboard – and in many cases they're complimentary. Many boats also offer hiking or trekking, wildlife watching, and visits to uninhabited islands or sandbars. Wellness themed experiences are gaining in popularity as well, with yoga, meditation, and spa services at sea. Thrill-seekers can also find adrenaline-inducing sports on offer, with surfing and wind sports among the most popular options
For those new to the sport of scuba diving, a liveaboard isn’t totally off limits. Many of the most popular diving destinations boast bathtub-like conditions, ideal for beginners and nervous newbies, and more and more boats are offering scuba certifications onboard.
Adding extra sports to the itinerary or getting certified at sea are excellent options in a post-pandemic world. There is no need to book any additional travel or deal with extra COVID screenings. And, there is no fear about sharing sports equipment with a whole resort’s worth of guests – making the entire experience safer and more enjoyable!
Extended Itineraries and Quick Trips
Liveaboard diving trips come in all shapes and sizes, with voyages lasting anywhere between one or two nights to 20 or more days at sea! So, there's an itinerary suited to nearly every budget and personal travel style – from weekend warriors to dedicated divers hoping to explore the most remote regions on planet earth.
But with current difficulties in travel, it makes sense to spend a bit more time on the water, and more and more guests are opting for extended stays at sea. And, with a wide variety of trips lasting between 14 and 21 days, there are plenty of options for a longer trip.
But, if guests can't leave town for weeks on end, don't worry! Some destinations offer one and two night voyages, ideal for part-time scuba junkies, parents, and budget travellers. These quick trips are the ideal way to dip your toe into the world of dive safaris.
Travellers might be thinking that a liveaboard trip or private charter is out of your price range, but the reality is quite different. Depending on the destination, there is likely a wide variety of vessels – from luxurious yachts that feel like a floating five-star hotel to backpacker-friendly boats with bunk beds and a sociable atmosphere.
No matter which type, it’ll likely be great value for money right now. Most boats include three meals a day, plus unlimited coffee, tea, water, and snacks while onboard. Exciting activities other than diving are often offered free of cost, and there is round-the-clock customer service from friendly and enthusiastic staff. Best of all, there is more diving than any resort could offer, with three to four tanks per day as an industry standard.
Across the globe, liveaboards have been reporting some exceptional encounters in recent months. Once in a lifetime mola mola sightings at Elphinstone in the Red Sea, schooling hammerhead sharks around Indonesia’s remote Banda Islands, and mantas galore in the Maldives. Plus, liveaboard diving is proving to be a safe and enjoyable way to experience dive travel during these unprecedented times – with plenty of room for social distancing and easy to uphold safety standards. We can think of far worse ways to holiday as part of the new normal!
ZuBlu was founded in 2017 by Adam Broadbent and Matthew Oldfield – professional underwater photographers with decades of experience throughout some of the most incredible underwater destinations and best eco-conscious dive resorts in Asia and the Pacific.
With over 500 eco-friendly resorts, liveaboards and dive centres to choose from, ZuBlu is Asia’s leading dive travel platform, bringing you the very best sustainable ocean adventures in Asia and beyond.
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