Maldives is a favorite holiday destination that draws tourists from all over the world to its spectacular landscapes and the stunning blue waters of the vast Indian Ocean which surround the islands. Besides coming to and staying on the islands and exploring the many atolls, they can opt for a truly unique experience of coming to Maldives and experiencing the beauty and stunning visuals of Maldives, all this, while floating on the waters just off the Maldivian islands on the cruise ship ‘Atoll Explorer’.
Introduction to the Atoll Explorer:
The Atoll Explorer is the first live-aboard cruise ship to have been started and managed by Universal Resorts in the Maldives in 1996 and the management has continued to provide the finest efficient service to its guests in an informal but stylish atmosphere.
It is one among some of the finest live-aboard cruise ships that operate around these islands giving tourists an enchanting and comfortable expedition through these magnificent atolls without having to set up base at just one island.
The boat itself:
The Atoll Explorer, a new and interesting concept when introduced to tourists in the Maldives, became an instant success and the management has ensured that this success story has continued down the years. The highlight of the Atoll Explorer is the presence of PADI, a specialized diving school which gives the guests an unbelievable diving experience.
The vessel itself is a comfortable haven with charming living areas, a sturdy interior mechanism to propel the ship and experienced and capable staff to take care of both, the vessel itself and the guests.
Accommodation on board:
The Atoll Explorer is built to hold 40 guests and comes equipped with 20 cabins which are categorized into three types: Cabins A, B and C. While Cabins A and B are located on the upper deck and come with a double bed and a balcony, Cabin C cubicles contain dual single beds and a large window which gives an extensive view of the ocean. Telephone facility, a wardrobe, air conditioning units, private bathroom and washroom and personal articles like beach slippers, beach bags and a wide array of aromatherapy items are also included in each cabin keeping in mind the preference and comfort of the guest.
Leisure Areas on board:
The two sun decks on the Atoll Explorer are ideal places to spend sunny mornings and drink in the beauty of the ocean and sometimes even get to see dolphins frolicking in the water. The Jacuzzi on the sun deck is a great place to soak in the water and relax as whirls and water jets massage and rejuvenate the body and senses.
Evenings can be spent on the deck watching a glorious sun set on the horizon and the dark sky starting to come alive with twinkling stars or enjoy a slide show of the underwater world while catching up on the events of the day with new friends and fellow travelers.
Restaurant and Bar:
Recent re-decoration and renovation of the restaurant in the upper area of the boat has opened up the closed space of the restaurant to allow its guests uninterrupted views of the ocean while enjoying a few drinks before moving on to a sumptuous buffet of special Asian dishes, varied cuisine and sea food specialties. The revamped stereo system ensures good music and guests can also make use of the Nespresso machine which has been set up in the restaurant.
The dinner on the last night of the tour is hosted by the ship’s captain and has a live band in attendance to liven up the evening and bring the entire tour to a fitting climax.
The bar which is very modern and stylish and yet has a relaxed feel is well stocked with choice wines and alcohol and the cocktails created here embody the essence of Maldives. From Mojitos to Bellinis and many more newly created cocktails, the guest has a wide choice.
The Atoll Explorer has a certified PADI Dive Base on board and professional divers from Euro-Divers to take the amateur diver and even the first time diver through a set of instructions to get them to understand the marine world beneath their feet.
The dive schedule is designed so that maximum diving opportunities along the North Ari Atoll or South Ari Atoll – two among the top areas for diving, make it possible for the diver to get within touching distance of sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks, reef sharks, octopus, moray eels, lobsters and myriad vibrant colored fish in their natural habitat. For those who find the prospect of diving a little intimidating, snorkeling in shallow waters among the coral reefs is a pleasurable experience.
The Atoll Explorer has two cruise schedules lined up for its guests interested in touring the islands and seeing Maldivian sights, the spectacular beaches and the stunning under-water world. Holiday makers can choose between any of the two schedules to suit their holiday requirements.
The first itinerary draws out a cruise plan along the North Ari Atoll and the islands in the area. Anchored at Kurumba, the Atoll Explorer is a mere fifteen minutes from the Male Airport and the guest is picked up from the airport and escorted to the Atoll Explorer, where after a getting acquainted session and dinner the cruise begins. The cruise itinerary includes a stop-over at Koajaadi Finolhu which has a spectacular lagoon and coral reef for snorkeling and diving, a visit to Kuramati Island Resort and the fishing village of Rashdhoo for some more diving among the reefs during the day and reef fishing during the night, a brief stop at Velihatu Island Resort for a spot of day and night diving and further travel to Meerufenfushi where one can go swimming, diving or just lie on the sand working up a tan. The sea side barbeque under the stars at Dhiggiri Island followed by a picnic day the next day is apt and the dinner on the last day hosted by the captain sums up the whole holiday. The guest is free spend time at the Kuramati resort and go sight seeing or shopping in the capital city Malé the next day followed by dinner with a live band in attendance.
The second cruise around the South Ari Atoll starts with a pickup at Malé International Airport to the Atoll Explorer where after an evening dinner and meeting fellow travelers the cruise starts with a stop over at Madhoo Island for some diving and snorkeling in the spectacular coral reef followed by some more sunbathing, snorkeling, diving or swimming at Theluveligaa Island and a night fishing trip before an onward journey to Rai Dhigga Island which is a snorkeling paradise. This is followed by a brief halt at the uninhabited island of Huruelhi to snorkel, swim or laze on the beach before moving to Ariadhoo on a whale shark expedition and also a stop at the fishing village of Maamigili. The Maldivian beach barbeque on the Ariadhoo beach and a picnic party the next day are followed by a dinner hosted by the captain on the last day. Holidaymakers can stop at Kurumba Resort to sight-see and shop at Malé followed by an evening of music and dancing.
Though the two itineraries are separate from each other, many guests opt for both schedules to make the most of their holiday to Maldives.
The Atoll Explorer is a holiday style cruise ship and the guests are encouraged to let go off their inhibitions and dress up in the same spirit that befits a sea side holiday. Shorts, T shirts, swimwear, sarongs, etc are the order of the day while casual clothes like cotton trousers, cotton dresses, sandals, etc are perfect for the cool evenings at the restaurant or the beach. Maldives is an Islamic country and trips to the islands call for suitable conservative clothing in keeping with the country’s laws.
The Atoll Explorer was started with the specific promise of giving its guests an unforgettable, all inclusive holiday which includes excursions to the islands on the cruise path, dinners on the beach, all meals on board along with certain select beverages, leisure entertainment, snorkeling and may other prime services and they have come good on their promise. The guest is given the privilege and luxury of enjoying a holiday without the hassle of hidden mounting bills and this tradition has been maintained even today. The personal care and efficient service given by the friendly staff to make each guest feel comfortable and special is reason enough to lure visitors back to take a holiday on the Atoll Explorer time and again. The holiday maker on the Atoll Explorer is sure to get complete value for money and a holiday that they will remember for a lifetime.
L’Atoll Explorer en français