5 Best Beginner Liveaboard Diving Destinations 2024

By Julius
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Harmony III yacht anchoring at beach

Liveaboard diving is just about the coolest thing you can do as a scuba diver.

Non-stop diving, remote and untouched dive sites, and being with other divers are just three reasons why it’s so cool!

It’s important to remember though that liveaboard diving is not something for complete beginners or suitable for a first-time diving experience.

Many dive boat operators require between 30-50 minimum dives before they let you join on a tour and at many places, even more experience is recommended.

On this list, you will find our recommendations for the best beginner liveaboard diving destinations in 2024.

These are carefully selected dive spots and tour operators which are suitable for first-timers and not super-experienced divers.

However, please always check back with the operator about minimum requirements before booking a cruise!

Best Beginner Liveaboard Diving Destinations

These are the best beginner liveaboard diving destinations in 2024 for any budget:

As you see, the list is a little shorter than usual, however, these are really tours that are suitable for first-time liveaboard divers, as well as fairly new divers.

Make sure to check out all our current liveaboard deals to see if you find a nice discount on an upcoming cruise!

Red Sea, Egypt – North Routes

Yacht on water
The Red Sea is one of the best diving locations in the world.

There seems to be no list of the best diving destinations for what or whomever without the Red Sea being mentioned.

And…it’s completely justified. There are only very few other places in the world where you can get such great diving at such an affordable price. Almost all of the dive sites here are amazing and you can see anything from little critters to larger pelagics, wrecks, and anything in between.

While the best dive sites in the Red Sea are found on other tours like Brothers – Daedalus – Elphinstone, or Deep South, the North tours are perfect for inexperienced divers.

You might not see a whale shark, oceanic white-tip, or manta ray here, however, the North is famous for its many wrecks, dolphins, and colorful reefs. And yes, you can also see reef sharks!

The Red Sea Aggressor II offers a cool Northern Red Sea tour with 21 dives that includes some of the best wrecks in the world like the S.S. Thislegorm!

In comparison to the South tours that usually require 50+ dives, you can find many dive boat operators that will let you join with as little as 30 dives, like on the All Star Luxury!

And since the North tours are usually between 20-25 dives long…you’ll be at 50 dives in no time.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Red Sea, Egypt

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveMay – November
What to seeSharks, dolphins, dolphins, turtles. Many shipwrecks.
Water Temperature18-28°C (65-82°F)
Best forVariety of dive spots, lots to see, very affordable
DifficultyEasy. Mostly shallow, easy diving, reefs & easy to dive wrecks
Recommended duration7 nights
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Red Sea, Egypt.

Similan Islands, Thailand

Master Diver swimming through reef
The Similan Islands are great for beginner divers with mostly easy dive spots.

The Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea in Thailand is a great diving destination for beginners and the liveaboard cruises here are perfect for new divers.

As a matter of fact, my first liveaboard diving cruise was on the Manta Queen 1 in Thailand so I can attest to its beginner-friendliness.

Liveaboard dive trips in Thailand are on the shorter side between 3-5 nights while still getting in between 18-25 dives! Yes, some tours include 5 dives a day. 🤩

Richelieu Rock is often named one of the 10 best dive spots in the world and was first discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. As it is too far off the coast for normal dive boats, this spectacular dive site can only be reached by liveaboard.

What makes Thailand an optimal beginner liveaboard diving destination are the super low prices and the chance of seeing whale sharks, manta rays, and loads of fish.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Similan Islands, Thailand

Diving SeasonNovember – April
Best time to diveDecember – March
What to seeManta rays, whale sharks, Mola Molas, an abundance of macro life
Water Temperature28-30°C (82-87°F)
Best forThere’s so.much.fish.
DifficultyMostly easy diving. Some negative descents
Recommended duration3-7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Similan Islands, Thailand.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Scuba diver filming turtle on reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia needs no introduction as it is arguably the most famous reef in the entire world. Even if you are just snorkeling instead of scuba diving, it’s a must-see!

It has become a topic of hot discussion in recent years, as coral bleaching endangers the area, however, the outer reef is still a great dive spot.

Diving here is mostly easy and liveaboard diving tours are very beginner-friendly.

Since the reef begins right under the water surface, there is no need to go super deep which is another reason the Great Barrier Reef is nice for beginner liveaboard divers.

Unlike many other destinations on this list, almost all liveaboard tours here are snorkeling-friendly, too, like the Spirit of Freedom!

Diving facts for liveaboard diving at Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveJune – December
What to seeEverything. 1,400km of dive sites, humpback whales, minke whales, manta rays, sharks, whale sharks, and cuttlefish, besides coral reefs, wrecks, and anything a diver could want.
Water Temperature30°C (86°F) in the summer (Dec-Feb) ~24°C (75°F) in the winter
Best forBeautiful underwater world
DifficultyAny level of diving available
Recommended duration3-7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving at Great Barrier Reef.

Scuba diving trip packing list

Visayas & Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines

All Star Infiniti liveaboard
The Tubbataha natural park can only be dived on liveaboards like the Infiniti.

The Philippines are a great liveaboard diving destination and optimal for scuba divers, snorkelers, and backpackers.

There are two hotspots for liveaboard diving in the Philippines: The Visayas & the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

The latter is actually part of my list of the 10 best liveaboard diving spots in the world, but the Visayas area is even better for a first-time liveaboard.

Both areas are well protected and offer beautiful intact reefs, lots of fish, and even whale sharks and manta rays.

If you don’t want to have to choose between the two, why not book a cruise that includes both areas, like the All Star Infiniti, the only dive boat in the Philippines with a RINA certification.

A good alternative is also the Seadoors which offers slightly different tours.

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Philippines

Diving SeasonMarch – June
Best time to diveThe Natural Park is only open from March – June
What to seeCountless dive sites, whale sharks, manta rays, even whales in the winter
Water Temperature27-28°C (81-84°F) in the winter, 28-30°C (83-86°F) in the summer
Best forBeautiful underwater world
DifficultyAny level of diving available
Recommended duration7 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Philippines.


Scuba diver jumping off of boat
The Tubbataha natural park can only be dived on liveaboards like the Infiniti.

The Bahamas are the third-largest offshore barrier reef and a popular diving destination, especially among US divers.

They are easy to get to with direct flights from the US, Canada, the UK and the EU.

Diving conditions here are easy and optimal for beginners with clear, warm water and only light currents.

This also makes it a great spot for freedivers, although snorkeling in general is not possible around larger sharks.

Speaking of sharks, the Bahamas are one of the few spots on earth where you can be ~100% sure to encounter tiger sharks!

Most dives are shallow with maximum depths of 18-20m (65ft), however, you can also find some deeper walls and cliffs to dive.

If you have always wanted to dive with sharks, but are a little afraid to, check out my book “Scuba Diving without Fear” to learn how to overcome your fears and enjoy shark diving!

Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Bahamas

Diving SeasonYear-round
Best time to diveMay – July has the highest shark encounter rate for Blacknose sharks
What to seeSharks…so many sharks! Tiger sharks, hammerheads, reef shark, blacknose sharks…
Water Temperature22-30°C (72-88°F)
Best forShark diving!!!
DifficultyEasy to intermediate, but be aware…there are sharks. 😉
Recommended duration6 – 10 nights.
Diving facts for liveaboard diving in the Bahamas.

What is the minimum number of dives required for liveaboard diving?

There is no fixed minimum number of dives before you can join a liveaboard diving cruise and instead dive boat operators set their own requirements. Some cruises can be done with less than 30 dives, however, more difficult tours may require 50 or even 100 minimum dives.

As liveaboard diving is often advanced with dive spots at open sea or with strong currents, the more experience you have scuba diving, the better.

Freshly certified Open Water Divers, as well as inexperienced divers with less than 20-30 dives, should first do more shore-based diving or day trips, before going on a full liveaboard diving safari.

In my eyes, the absolute minimum number of dives should be around 30, however, there are good reasons why 50 is required by most dive boat operators.

Liveaboard diving is far more advanced than shore diving at an easy house reef and requires solid diving skills.

Therefore, get your Advanced Open Water Diver certificate first, and go on at least one shore diving trip with a few more guided dives before even considering a liveaboard dive trip. You’ll thank me later.

Of course, there is nothing holding you back from booking a tour sooner, but experience shows that the more dives you have the better.

Scuba divers around underwater rock

How to choose a liveaboard diving cruise for beginners

Look for a destination with easy diving conditions with little to no currents, shallow dive sites, and warm, clear water. It can help to book with a tour operator that offers personal support and has dive guides onboard who can safely lead beginners on their dives. Check the tour schedule in advance and find out what others say about the included dive spots.

Choosing a liveaboard diving tour for beginners can be tricky, especially when you haven’t been to the place before.

A suitable cruise also depends on what constitutes a “beginner” in your case.

Inexperienced divers

Are you an inexperienced diver in general with only few dives? Consider diving more from shore or zodiac before joining a full-blown cruise.

Alternatively, go liveaboard diving at a destination you have been to before, maybe even the one you did your course at. This way, you know the diving conditions, how much weight you need, and how to have good buoyancy at that place.

Some tour operators have dive schools attached which is always a good sign that they know the needs of inexperienced divers.

No prior boat experience

On the other hand, if you have done 50+ dives, but never gone boat diving, you can choose more advanced liveaboard diving tours.

In this case, I suggest finding something that has easy entries and exits, but you probably won’t be bothered if there are more currents or deeper dive sites.


This concludes our list of the best beginner liveaboard diving destinations 2024.

As you see, it is a little shorter than other best-off lists we have made, however, we will update it once we have found (and TESTED!) other suitable dive spots.

Make sure to download our scuba diving trip packing list before going on a liveaboard cruise and check for current liveaboard deals!

Oh, and if boat or shark diving scares you, check out my book “Scuba Diving without Fear” to learn how to overcome your fears and enjoy diving even more!

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃



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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

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