Best Solomon Islands Liveaboard Reviews 2023

Budget scuba diving solomon islands

Diving the Solomon Islands Photograph by Kris H

Solomon Islands Liveaboard Diving

In this modern world where people do not think twice to fly halfway around the world on vacation, there are only a few places we still consider remote. These remote destinations are known to very few lucky travelers. Tucked away in the Oceania region of the Pacific Ocean is a sub-region called Melanesia. Indeed, the area includes over a thousand islands, among which there are less than 10% inhabited.

Papau New Guinea, Fuji, Vanuatu, Indonesia’s New Guinea provinces and the Solomon Islands are all found in Melanesia. It is here where we will find some of the best diving in the world.

Moreover, the Solomon Islands, and most of Melanesia, are located in the region that marine biologist call the Coral Triangle. This area is known to have the greatest marine biodiversity in the world. Diving in this area will allow you to see more species of marine life than anywhere else in the world.

The resorts of the Solomon Islands are small and isolated. There is no “cattle” boat diving here and the resorts are few and separated so it is likely that you will not see another diver other than your own group. There are also a few liveaboards that dive in the Solomon Islands. These boats will take you to dive sites beyond where the resorts go. They generally will do exploratory dives as well. An exploratory dive is where they pick a location and see what is there.

Budget Solomon Islands Liveaboards

solomon PNG maste croisiere plongee papouasie nouvelle guineeThere are only two mainstream liveaboards that sail the Solomon islands. The Solomons PNG Master sails in both Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. In our review of Papua New Guinea liveaboards, we classified her as a budget liveaboard. In that market, she was in the middle of the price range. While a very comfortable vessel with an excellent crew, outstanding meals and diving, she could not compare with the luxury liveaboards that sail in Papua New Guinea.

The other liveaboard in the Solomon Islands is the MV Bilikiki. She is slightly larger than the Solomons PNG Master and carries the same number of divers, 20.

Solomons PNG Master

The Solomons PNG Master is a member of the Master Fleet. The Master Fleet is a relatively new brand having just started in 2015, however, they have now grown to seven liveaboards. They have position themselves as a comfortable liveaboard scuba dive boat with ample space. While the brand is new, they are not new to the industry. Master fleet is one of the divisions of Worldwide Dive and Sail (WWDAS), who also owns and operates the luxury Siren Fleet, among others.

Solomons PNG Master was previously called the Taka and you can still see her marketed under that name as well. While the liveaboard was designed for more passengers, the vessel only have 20 divers on board. There are twelve cabins, six on the upper deck and six on the lower deck. Also, divers who are traveling alone will like that four of the lower deck cabins are single occupancy rooms.

solomon master papua new guinea diving cruise

Moreover, the Solomons PNG Master is 98 feet long and features ample deck space. The main deck has a spacious saloon that has the lounge, dining area and a camera area. The stern section of the main deck contains the dive deck, which is spacious and well laid out. Plus, the upper deck has a covered space for those who wish to sit outside but protected from the sun. Those who love the sun will get plenty of it up on the sun deck with its lounge chairs.

Bilikiki – Solomon All Inclusive Liveaboard

MV Bilikiki Solomon Islands Liveaboard

MV Bilikiki Solomon Islands Liveaboard

MV Bilikiki is the other mainstream liveaboard in the Solomon Islands. Designed and purpose built as a scuba diving liveaboard for South Pacific conditions, she is 125 ft long, and has a 24 ft beam. She is a large and stable ship. MV Bilikiki carries 20 divers in 10 deluxe cabins, 8 with a full double bed and a single above and 2 with twin single beds and no bunk. Each cabin has a private shower and toilet. All of the passenger cabins are on the lower deck.

Space is the main thing that separates this vessel from the Solomon PNG Master. It is said to have the best space to diver ratio of any liveaboard. The mid deck has a covered dining area forward, the salon and galley mid ship and the dive deck aft.

Plus, the upper deck of the MV Bilikiki is where you will find the wheel house, a small library and a lounge. Forward of the wheel house is an open area with deck chairs.

dive deck scuba solomon island liveaboard

Dive Deck

MV Bilikiki offers unlimited diving. At least 5 dives a day are planned. However, if a diver wishes, additional dives are possible. Also, on each trip, you will have the opportunity to visit a remote village that is like stepping back hundreds of years.

Liveaboards Itineraries

Honiara is the home port of both the MV Bilikiki and the Solomen PNG Master aka Taka. Both liveaboards offer trips to the Florida and Russell Island groups, and Marovo Lagoon. Trips vary from 7 night to 14 nights long. While a few dive sites may be featured on each route, most of the dive sites are seldom repeated between sailings.

The liveaboards have discovered hundreds of dive sites in the area that only the liveaboards visit. Plus they very frequently do exploration dives, potentially finding a new wonder. The Solomen PNG Master also does trips to Papau New Guinea, bringing divers to even more remote waters while en route.

Also, please note that the Solomen PNG Master requires divers to have 50 logged dives, while the MV Bilikiki accepts any open water diver.

Best time to dive in

Diving is available year round. However, the MV Bilikiki takes a few months off in the rainy season for maintenance and crew vacations. Their diving year runs March to mid January.

The Solomen PNG Master spends most of the year in the Solomon Islands but does makes some trips to Papau New Guinea. There they will do a few sailing before heading back to the Solomons.

Liveaboard last minute

There are times when the liveaboards are not fully book a month or two before sailing. At times select sailing may show on our Solomon Islands liveaboards last minute page. If you are considering a trip to the Solomon Islands in the near future take a look at the last minute page.

One comment on “Best Solomon Islands Liveaboard Reviews 2023”

  1. I recently returned, In December of 2019, from my third trip aboard the Bilikiki and am happy to report that this was one of the best trips I’ve ever done. As usual, the boat is set up well, the crew is very friendly and helpful, the hosts were excellent guides and, most importantly, the coral reefs were some of the most pristine I have seen in the last 30+ years of dive travel. If you love hard coral reefs, like I do, I cannot recommend this trip highly enough!

    The one “sour note” of the trip had nothing to do with the Bilikiki or the diving, but at the end of the trip you get off the boat at 8am and are taken to the Solomon Ketana Mendana Hotel to hang out for a few hours before they take you to the airport. Several of our group had lunch in the hotel restaurant. I had a soda with some friends on the deck by the pool. When I returned I found a charge on my credit card bill for $1,210 USD! Another remember of our group had a charge of over $1,000 USD.


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