Arrive at the airport for your overnight flight to Male via Colombo.
Embark on a unique and unforgettable cruise exploring the best of the Maldives aboard the three-star MV Yasawa Princess. The Maldives is one of the lowest countries in the world, with coralline beaches at around four feet (1.2 metres) above sea level and its highest natural point measuring just under eight feet (2.4 metres). What makes these numerous tiny islands so special is that they’re actually the crowns of coral reefs and submerged volcanic mountains – in fact, just 1% of the Maldives is land-based, so one of the best ways to explore this archipelago is by boat. Its 1,192 coral islands are grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls, comprising ring-shaped coral reefs and sand bars. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, which means there are many idyllic desert islands awaiting your fresh footprints on their unblemished shores.
From the mid-16th century, the region came under the influence of European colonial powers, from the Portuguese to the Dutch, with the Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887 until 1965.
Traditional Maldivian cuisine, which is influenced by neighbouring India and Sri Lanka, offers a tantalising variety of flavours. Local menus typically feature freshly caught fish and all manner of ingredients obtained from coconuts, such as its refreshing water, grated flesh and creamy milk – an essential element of many Maldivian curries and drinks. For breakfast, mas huni – grated coconut mixed with finely chopped tuna, onion and chilli – is often served with roshi, Maldivian flatbread similar to chapati. Western food will also be available on your ship if you want a taste of home.
Your days are filled with carefree pleasures, such as relaxing on pearly white-sand beaches in the shade of natural tropical vegetation, taking a dip in crystal waters of sparkling azure hues, and gazing at the glittering night sky. There are plenty of opportunities to snorkel beneath the warm waters of the Indian Ocean – your swimming pool for two weeks – and immerse yourself in remarkable underwater worlds. The average sea temperature ranges from 20 - 30 degrees. Blessed with natural reefs, the Maldives is home to fascinating marine life, from colourful tropical fish to whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. So kick off your shoes, forget the news, relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the welcoming hospitality of this unique island nation.
Arrive at the airport for your overnight flight to Male via Colombo.
MV Yasawa Princess
On arrival you’ll be taken by dhoni (traditional Maldivian wooden boat) to the Yasawa Princess, your charming home for the next two weeks, where the friendly crew will help you check into your comfortable cabin. During this evening’s informal welcome meeting, you’ll be briefed on the cruise itinerary, meet crew members and the other guests on board. Enjoy your complimentary pre-dinner cocktail as you catch the first of many spectacular sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
Sandbanks of Kalhuhuraa
Get your first taste of cruising as we cross the Vaadhoo channel into the South Male Atoll. The ship’s tender makes trips to the beautiful Kalhuhuraa sandbank in the morning and afternoon, ideal for soaking up the sun and cooling off in the lagoon.
A short cruise within the atoll takes us to the stunning, 8-acre resort island of Rannalhi, which boasts powder sand beaches, fringed by charming water bungalows and a superb house reef. The resort offers excellent facilities (available at extra cost) such as water sports and the excellent Balinese-style Chavana spa. Tonight, why not try your hand at traditional fishing in the open ocean under the stars? Maldivians are true fishermen at heart, so you’re in good hands with our local guides.
Early this morning we cross the channel into the Vaavu Felidu Atoll. The ship’s tender makes trips in the morning and afternoon to the splendid Alimatha sandbank, whose gleaming white sand contrasts beautifully with the surrounding turquoise lagoon. Wade in the warm waters of the sweeping turquoise lagoon, snorkel on the reef, or take a barefoot stroll to nowhere. This evening, you may wish to experience a thrilling night snorkelling trip, at a small charge, in the Alimatha house reef, home to nurse sharks, beautiful sting rays and many nocturnal marine creatures you would not get to see during the day.
Snorkeling in the coral reef
After a leisurely cruise this morning, we arrive at the tiny island of Anbaraa. With soft white sands, lush coconut trees and astonishingly clear water, this remarkably picturesque island appears to have sprung to life from the cover of a travel magazine. There is easy access to the reef for snorkelling. Lunch today is a picnic on the island.
For many, this evening will be a real highlight. Few experiences can compare with a meticulously prepared barbecue on the beach, served with warm Maldivian hospitality. Enjoy a wide selection of delicious food including traditional Maldivian Boduberu music and dancing under a starlit sky – a truly memorable experience.
Lionfish in the Indian Ocean
Early this morning we cross the channel into the Ari Atoll. There are visits in the morning and afternoon to Oshagali Finolhu, a wonderful sandbank with a stunning sea-green lagoon and a surrounding reef, making snorkelling an absolute dream.
Your cruise continues to Ariadhoo, an uninhabited agricultural island lush with vegetation. Relax on the soft warm sand, cool off with a dip in the ocean, or snorkel to discover more of the wonderful marine life. This region boasts exceptional sighting records of whale sharks and the Maldives is one of the few places on earth where these sharks may be encountered year-round. For a small additional charge payable locally, you may wish to take a boat out with professional guides and go in search of these gentle giants.
This afternoon we visit the inhabited island of Maamigili, for a closer look at local life and the opportunity to indulge in some retail therapy.
Today we are moored off the inhabited island of Maamagili. An excursion is to be arranged locally. Alternatively, you may choose to relax on the sun deck.
A short cruise northwest takes us to Hurasdhoo, a small desert island framed by soft white sands. Go snorkelling for another taste of the underwater world, or simply relax by soaking up the sun and cooling off with a dip in the warm Indian Ocean. The ship’s tender makes trips to Hurasdhoo in the morning and afternoon.
For a small additional charge, payable locally, you may wish to take a boat out with professional guides in search of manta rays. You’ll visit a manta ray cleaning station and, depending on the season, have the option to snorkel with these gentle giants. This evening, you may wish to experience night reef fishing with traditional hand lines using the bottom fishing technique. The eco-friendly Maldivians encourage a ‘catch-and-release’ practice when it comes to reef fishing.
A short cruise to the western edge of the atoll takes us to Embudu, a small and picturesque desert island. The tender takes you to Embudu in the morning and afternoon. There’s excellent access to snorkelling and, with a bit of luck, you may find local residents passing by, such as eagle rays and turtles. Or perhaps simply relax on the long stretch of beach. Here, you really are in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Tonight, you have the opportunity to go fishing under the starlit sky.
Clown fish in the coral reef
After a leisurely cruise this morning, we arrive at Raiydhigaa, an enchanting island with a natural harbour and easy access to its reef for snorkelling. Lunch today is a picnic on the island. This evening we enjoy a wonderful barbecue on the picnic island beach, featuring a generous spread of mouth-watering food, traditional music and dancing.
The MV Yasawa Princess cruising at sunset
Our cruise continues to the pristine sandbank of Alikoi Rah in the heart of the Ari Atoll. The ship’s tender makes trips here in the morning and afternoon. A haven for snorkellers, Alikoi Rah’s house reef teems with colourful fish, turtles and rays. This evening, we watch the sky take on a magical array of orange shades as we enjoy a sunset cruise to the nearby Maaya sandbank.
Today we’re reminded of life’s simple pleasures as we discover Maayafushi, a large sandbar on the northern edge of the Ari Atoll. Our tender visits the sandbar in the morning and afternoon. Snorkelling and swimming off Maayafushi is a sheer delight, as it boasts a stunning sea-green lagoon and superb reef. This wonderful sandbar is also renowned for flocks of common seabirds.
This morning we take to the open ocean, crossing the Alihuras Kandu and stopping at a sandbar for a final dip in the Indian Ocean. Upon reaching our final mooring, our tender takes you to Male, where we enjoy an informal guided tour of one of the world’s smallest and most densely populated capital cities. With a population of just under 150,000 and an area of 2.3 square miles, Male is the Maldives’ fascinating commercial and financial hub – the heart of the island nation.
As you wander, observe the bustle of everyday life through the colourful buildings, narrow streets and high rises. Why not enjoy the locals’ favourite pastime of having an ice-cream or coffee. Watching the world go by from one of the various cafés might just be the ideal finale to a memorable cruise.
After breakfast, we take our return flight to the UK via Colombo.
Please note that the MV Yasawa Princess will be anchored away from the shore, and transport to the ship will be by dhoni boat. This will take approximately 20 minutes. All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic and sea conditions. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Male International Airport||MV Yasawa Princess||30 mins|
We care deeply about our customers and the holiday experience they have. We’re passionate about travel and we want all aspects to be perfect, with personal service and attention at every step of the way. Our world-class holidays include everything you need, with no detail overlooked. We carefully curate every aspect of your trip based on our own first-hand experience and expertise built up over decades in the travel industry.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a lower main-deck cabin. Scheduled return flights to and from Male, via Columbo. 14 nights with full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner) aboard the three-star MV Yasawa Princess. All transfers, local taxes, port charges and excursions as mentioned and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
Single and upgraded cabins are subject to availability at the relevant supplement.
Snorkelling equipment can be rented at a small additional cost.
Optional excursions such as night snorkelling, additional night fishing, manta ray and whale shark watching are booked and paid for locally. This is also subject to season, sea and weather conditions.
As the Maldives is a Muslim country, we do not recommend bringing duty-free alcohol into the country, as it will be confiscated by customs, and will be returned to you upon your departure at the end of the tour. Instead, alcohol can be purchased on board the MV Yasawa Princess.
The dive crew will give you a debrief in a designated snorkelling area before you try it for yourself, to ensure your safety. If you are not feeling confident you can request a buoyancy aid to assist you. Before you depart the UK for your Maldives cruise, we would request that you provide your shoe size so the ship can have the snorkelling fins available to you upon arrival.
If you are a certified diver the crew will request to see you dive safely before you can rent equipment. You must also bring your logbook with you to ensure your own safety.
The cruise itinerary is dependent on weather and sea conditions, and subject to change at short notice at the Captain's discretion. No islands or sandbanks are visited on arrival and departure days
All dietary requirements must be requested at the time of booking or prior to UK departure. Most of the food on board the MV Yasawa Princess is Halal, with the exception of pork items.
Please contact our Reservations Team for further details or to advise us of any dietary requirements.
Snorkelling in the Maldives
For an additional £280 per person, drinks (cocktail of the day is during happy hour) and snorkelling equipment will be included daily throughout the cruise.
Please contact us to pre-book or for more information.
Requests to pre-book your seat are subject to the airline’s conditions. If you would like to pre-book seats please contact our Reservations Team, we will be able to provide further information regarding the possibility and also the cost.
Deposit for this tour is £200 per person, payable at the time of booking.
While on board the MV Yasawa Princess the dress code is informal and casual. There is no need to dress up in the evenings as the warm climate can make dressing in layers unnecessary.
While on the shore of local inhabited islands and at airports, knees and shoulders must be covered due to the Muslim culture of the Maldives.
We would recommend comfortable shoes and flip flops for the sandbanks.
UK passport holders will be issues a free 30-day visa on arrival. There is no need to arrange a visa before your trip.
An immigration card will be issued on your flight from Colombo to Male. The address for place of stay is:
MV Yasawa Princess
Fila Building 1 (07-01)
Koli Umar Manik Goalhi
Telephone: 00 960 330 2556
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in requirements after this time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel.
Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for the Maldives at least a month before departure.
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would reccommend a decent level of fitness for the walking tours enjoyed on this holiday.
To fully enjoy the Maldives cruise you should be able to swim.
The cruise is not suitable for customers who are unable to climb stairs, as there are no lifts on-board the MV Yasawa Princess.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility, we encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.