Liveaboard Boats Frequently Asked Questions
I'm not really sure where to find things on your website, you have a lot of information. Where do I start?
Start at the header using our search engine. This engine works like many other website you've visited. Just put dates for beginning and ending and hit "Go." Results will appear in list. If they do not, there are no trips scheduled so expand your search. You can Skype us, call us, email us, or chat with us and we're happy to guide you through it. The footer of each page of this website has our contact details.
I'm traveling solo. Do I need to bring a buddy?
In a word, no. We're happy to accept individual bookings and depending on how the boat's crew operates, you'll be put in a group of people with the same experience and/ or assigned a buddy on board. This is normal and fine and if you and your buddy aren't compatible, it's easy to put you in another group. Most dives these days are guided dive so you see more good stuff.
We have children who are over 10 and certified divers. Are they OK to dive on a liveaboard boat?
Yes, no problem. If they are between 10 and 12 years of age, they can go to a maximum of 12m. If they are between 12-15 they can go to maximum of 21m. That is a standard set by PADI and the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). Normally the supervising adult is required to dive with their children unless special arrangements are made in advance. Divemasters can usually be hired to look after them. Some boats do have minimum age restrictions not the same as these listed. Please ask us about child friendly Indonesian liveaboards.
What if my friend or spouse is a non-diver? Will they enjoy the trip?
If he/ she is comfortable on boats, then yes. There is lots of good snorkeling to be had, and the above water scenery is very pretty. Most days there will be opportunities to go ashore on the islands. Most boats offer only a small discount for non-divers, however. This is because the boats sell a bed; the diving doesn't cost that much to do, it’s boat operations which are expensive. But rest assured, most non divers will be happy with a cruise to any part of the archipelago as just the scenery alone is worth the trip.
I am a woman traveling alone. Is a liveaboard appropriate for me?
Unfortunately, single women are still discriminated against in the liveaboard industry. Women, of course, are welcome and there are a lot of women divers in the world. The problem is that accommodation is usually sold on a twin-share basis. There are very few boats with single cabins. Single supplement prices are quite high, usually around 80-90% of the retail price, effectively doubling the price. All vessels do their best to supply you with a female roommate but very few actually guarantee you'll not have a male roommate. Some will, not all. Most boats are fine putting people of different genders in the same cabin as long as it's OK with both people. For single women, we usually suggest they book way in advance and try and find a friend to bring along. We get a lot of single women traveling inquiries. A LOT. so we're able to help you with a few simple questions answered.
There are so many destinations around your area. How do we get started finding the right trip?
Tell us a little bit about your experience level, and what type of diving you enjoy. Also let us know what type of boat comfort level you prefer. You can do a schedules search on virtually every page. This page is a good place to start, just enter your proposed dates in the search bar at the top. Also, we have full dive site descriptions by Indonesia diving experts Denise and Larry Tackett. Reading this will help you to understand the complexities of diving in Indonesia. It's a big place, and there are a lot of choices!
I am a very experience diver, what do you think is the best trip to do?
This is a little difficult to answer in a few lines. The best thing to do is to email us and tell us a little bit about your experience level, and what type of diving you enjoy, and where you have been diving before. After we get to know a little bit about you we can usually suggest the best type of diving for you. If you are a photographer as well, then only certain boats cater to you well, so it's best to ask about that. Once we get a conversation going with you we can usually come up with something that will meet your expectations. Both of us are avid divers and we appreciate that it's often hard to find a trip which suits a very experienced person. We certainly have trips you'll love. Generally, more experienced divers know that the best way to see the best stuff is to get in the water in as many places and as often as possible, so longer itineraries are more popular.
We have specific dates that we can dive. How do I search for specific dates on your website?
Simply use the search bar at the top of every page on our website. You should get results. If not, broaden the search with new dates or more destinations. From the results page, it's easy to add several different trips into a shopping cart or basket, fill out a simple form and send that to us. It's best to give us a few choices because depending on how far in advance you're looking, some trips may be fully booked.
I'm interested in diving on a liveaboard, but not sure if I have been diving enough. What are the minimum criteria?
All liveaboard boats in Indonesia offer dive guide services as part of the package. This is included in the price and usually the ratio is four or six-to-one guide. Some people prefer diving with a guide simply because with a guide you'll see more underwater but if you're feeling as if you don't have enough experience, then the guide is also there for your safety. As long as you are entry-level certified, the crew will take care of you. Some of the dive sites—depending on tide conditions—may not be suitable if you have very little experience or have not dived in a few years, but please ask and with a few pointed questions from our side, we can usually figure out if the trip is OK for you or not. Most liveaboards offer up to four dives per day, so even if you sit a few dives out, you will still have a good trip and get to see amazing stuff. No one ever said you must do every dive; if you don’t feel up to it, sit a dive out. All the boat crews do their best to make you feel comfortable, offer suggestions, and give you extra help if you need it.
I'm a non-diver so far. Is it possible to get certified on a liveaboard boat in Indonesia?
Theoretically its possible, but it’s better if you get certified before the trip; this takes two to three days. Most of the beginners course is theory and pool anyway, so there is really no advantage to do the course from a liveaboard boat unless that boat was dedicated to that activity. If the boat had a swimming pool that would help immensely. The Open Water course only takes three or four-days, and this can be shortened if you study before you leave home. Most boats do offer PADI or SSI advanced or specialty training. Nitrox is a very good course to take on a liveaboard trip, and is immensely practical. If you're looking to do a diving course, all of the resorts offer this and Indonesia certainly has enough dive resorts to make anyone happy. Sulawesi or Bali are perfect places to get certified. Leave the liveaboard for the next holiday.
What services do you offer? Are you an operator?
When you're talking to us you're talking to the voice of experience. John has been a PADI Instructor since 1983 and Bent since 1988 (and a course director since 1994). John has authored, co-authored or contributed to four books on diving in Thailand and has dived and explored all over the world. We have been in the diving business for 30 years each and have been in the travel business since the early 1990s. We look after you very well and know how to establish contacts with operators. You save time by working with us, as we offer the same prices and do all the work and research for you.
We are thinking of chartering a boat rather than doing a join-in liveaboard. Do you do that, and do I get a better deal?
Yes, if you are a group of people this is an excellent idea, as you will then only dive with friends and can choose your own itinerary (based on our guidance and experience with itineraries). We do these types of charters all of the time. Prices can be better than individual prices but vary from boat to boat. Some boats offer free spots, others offer group discounts. Let us know the size of your group, how many days you want to go diving, if you are couples or individuals, and how comfortable you want to be and we'll send you some suggestions.
Why are the boats priced so differently?
Prices vary because of trip length, equipment on the boat, crew experience, size, and of course comfort level. It’s the old adage, you get what you pay for. Prices are based on what it costs to run, and are set by the individual owner. When fuel prices are higher, boat operations go up a lot. Most liveaboard operators are individual owners and not big corporations, and certainly are not wealthy, so the prices are usually based on what costs are.
Is it necessary to book liveaboards a long time in advance?
Generally, yes, if you are picky at all. It depends on the boat and the time of year and how much advertising that boat does. If she is marketed heavily, sometimes you need to book a year or more in advance. Peak season for Indonesia is all year around, the summer months at Komodo and the winter months at Raja Ampat. Most of the boats get booked up far in advance. Sometimes there are trips, generally shorter ones, which can be booked a few weeks (or even a few days) in advance. However, for the longer trips on better boats, it pays to book early.
Do you require pre-payment?
Yes, we do. We require 30% as a deposit with the balance due 45-60 days before. The reason for this is that we do not overbook liveaboard trips. If the boat takes 12 persons we only book 12 persons, never 15. Hotels and airlines can get away with overbooking as if they are overbooked, they'll put you someplace else or on another flight. However, it’s almost impossible to find another liveaboard with a similar schedule for a similar price leaving at the same time. For that reason, we have to be sure you will get here, and the only way we can guarantee that is by pre-payment. There are travel insurance policies which you can buy to protect you if you must cancel for health or work-related reasons.
Do you take payment by credit card?
Yes, we sure do. We accept Visa and MasterCard through our company's merchant account. We do it through a secure online system via our website. When you book, we send you all of the necessary information for you to conduct a safe and secure transaction online. We never charge you for credit card purchases unless we inform you ahead of time. We do not keep your credit card number on file; it’s all done through our bank's merchant account system. We also have PayPal accounts we can use if you need to use another credit card besides the two major ones.
I have more questions, how may I contact you?
Please visit this page for many different ways to contact us or use Skype (@siamdivers). It's easy, free and works great. We prefer working in e-mail as then we have everything written down and there is no confusion about what has been said. To book we must send you documents by e-mail anyway.