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Liveaboard Dive Vessels

Malone
Level Contributor
12 posts
10 reviews
Liveaboard Dive Vessels

Am looking at traveling to Fiji in October-November time frame. Any divers out there in cyberland have knowledge/personal experience with either the Nai'a or the Tui Tai?

The most obvious difference I can see is the Nai'a sails from Viti Levu so there is no inter-island flight involved to get to Vanua Levu in to embark the Tui Tai. We will be bringing our own gear and I have read the weight restrictions on some inter-island flights are fairly restrictive. It also appears the Nai'a is the nicer - more modern vessel.

After our livaboard trip, we will stay another week at a resort on Viti Levu. We are looking at exchanging a time share week at one of the following resorts: Fiji Palms, Malolo Lailai Lagoo Resort, Naigani Island Resort or the Worldmark Fiji.

Thanks in advance for any advice/insight you can offer on any of these locations.

Suva, Fiji
Level Contributor
251 posts
82 reviews
1. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

Bula Plattcop,

Let's start by saying that I am the GM of Tui Tai and I also worked as Cruise Director on board Nai'a for 2 years 2000-2002, so have a good knowledge of both...

These vessels are 2 distinctly different operations and 'niche' markets.

Nai'a is the premier DIVE liveaboard in the South Pacific. It caters to pretty hard core divers wanting 4 to 5 dives a day. The intnerary is planned aorund perect times for diving and the primary purpose is to dive.

Tui Tai on the other hand is the premier adventure cruise vessel in the South Pacific. As well as offering 2 to 3 dives a day, the itinerary is also planned aorund waterfall trips, mountain biking, sea kayaking excursions and village/cultural visits.

Nai'a is impecably kept by it's Shore Operations Manager, Steve Rielly (currently coaching the Fiji table-tennis team in Melbourne at the Commonwealth Games btw.), and the cabins are large and luxurious.

Tui Tai is just finishing a full refit lasting 2 months. There are now 12 new cabins on board, all en-suite and private, finished in local hardwoods (done by me, I'm still in safety boots).

To choose between the vessels, you have to ask about what you are looking for. If you are looking for a dedicated dive liveaboard offering a LOT of great diving, then Nai'a is the clear choice. If you are looking for great diving, AND more adventure and waterfalls as part of your trip, then Tui Tai gets the vote.

Both vessels are well fitted out for diving. But Nai'a is dedicated to diving as the sole activity. By your subject line, and questions I would wager that you're looking for Nai'a.

All small airlines allow extra baggage allowance if they are pre-warned that you are a diver. Make sure that your travel agent tells Air Fiji/SunAir that you are a diver and need that extra allowance.

I'll leave the 2nd week of resorts question to others as this post is long enough.

Stuart

Malone
Level Contributor
12 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

Stuart,

Many thanks for your detailed reply. We will probably stay another week to 10 days on Viti Levu at the Worldmark so we will have the opportunity to do additional diving. Thanks again for the info and we look forward to visiting the island paradise of Fiji.

Suva, Fiji
Level Contributor
251 posts
82 reviews
3. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

No worries, all I'd appreciate is that you just post a review here when you've done your vacation so we all get an update on what's going on with the dive boats.

Stuart

Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
1,151 posts
110 reviews
4. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

I agree with Stuart that if your priority is diving, the Nai'a is the clear choice. We'll be on the Nai'a at the end of May, and then will fly to Taveuni and spend 5 nights at Qamea. Between dive gear and underwater photo equipment, we'll be pushing the weight limits I'm sure.

One comment on the Nai'a: They tend to get fully booked well in advance.

Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
1,151 posts
110 reviews
5. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

Regarding my last comment, here's some info from the Nai'a newsletter. It looks like there are only a couple of trips remaining in the timeframe you're looking at.

A few berths remain available on upcoming NAI'A expeditions.

2006

Apr 22 - May 06 Fiji

May 13 - May 23 Fiji

Jun 03 - Jun 10 Fiji

Jun 17 - Jun 27 Fiji

Jul 08 - Jul 18 Fiji

Aug 08 - Aug 18 Tonga Humpback Whales

Sep 30 - Oct 07 Fiji

Oct 14 - Oct 24 Stan Waterman

Dec 02 - Dec 09 Fiji

Dec 09 - Dec 16 Fiji

Tacoma, WA
9 posts
6. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

We were on the Tui Tai in Oct 05 and had a fantastic time. I dive but my wife doesn't, so it was a great for both of us. Each day has a choices of dive or other adventure activities. The staff was great, the food was good and we got to see some of Fiji that isn't on the usual tourist routes. My only regret is that it's not likely I'll get back there any time soon to see the newly re-fitted boat. It should make a great trip even better.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
8 posts
93 reviews
7. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

We just got back from a week on the Nai'a. It's one of (probably THE) best live aboards that we have done (out of 7). Really great experience. Diving great, food very good, everyone on the crew was super professional, especially the boss Sonia. She was outstanding and probably the reason that the rest of the crew worked so well and did such a great job -- just a very good leader. Out of the perhaps 20 dive trips my wife and I have done, she's the best dive master / guide that we have had.

8. Re: Liveaboard Dive Vessels

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