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Frequently Asked Questions

This page should have all of the answers to your questions about our Maldives Carpe Novo Explorer.  If you still have questions, you can contact us.  If you'd like to save a copy of these helpful tips, you can download the Trip Information Sheet.

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The M/V Carpe Novo Explorer comfortably accommodates up to 22 passengers in 12 double/single staterooms, all of which have private bathroom facilities and air conditioning. 10 staterooms can be configured to accommodate a couple, two singles or single occupancy while 2 are for single occupancy. The staterooms are located on three of the vessel’s four decks. The topmost deck is the sun deck which offers both shaded and full-sun areas for relaxation. The upper deck includes the al-fresco dining area, the bar, staterooms 1 - 4, a small lounge area and the bridge. The large main deck contains the air-conditioned lounge and leisure area, TV viewing area with DVD/CD music system, forward outdoor seating area, common restroom, staterooms 5 & 6, galley, a dedicated camera room with charging station and tables. There are two sets of stairs accessing the swim platform where one in-water ladder hang for easy access to and from the water for a refreshing swim when the vessel is at anchor. Staterooms 7-12 are located on the lower deck, accessed via stairs from the main deck. The Carpe Novo Explorer is also equipped with a wireless router providing internet connection (additional charges apply). Cellular phone and internet access are available when in proximity to some of the islands if your phone is so equipped. Internet cards and cellular phone cards are available for purchase at the airport. The Carpe Novo Explorer has two computers for guest use as well as USB connections for a personal computer. The vessel’s location does determine the reliability of access to the internet. HD media players along with a small selection of movies and music are available for guest use in each stateroom.
The weather in the Maldives is tropically pleasant with a year-round sea breeze. Air temperatures range from lows around 78F (26C) to highs in the high 80s and low 90s. There are two distinct but mild monsoon seasons in this equatorial country and each is named after the prevailing wind direction during that time of year. The northeast monsoon runs from December to April and brings relatively consistent, fair weather, but also often brings significant currents. The southeast monsoon from May through October brings a bit more wind and occasional rain (usually short-lived), but generally not as much current. The vessel’s itineraries are designed to take advantage of the changing conditions and to take divers to the best diving areas for the different seasons. The visibility is usually at its peak in December and January — sometimes well over 100 feet (30 meters)! Mantas can be seen throughout the year with the best feeding-station encounters typically during the May to November timeframe. Whale sharks are also seen most every month of the year, with the highest concentration seen in the monsoon transition months of April, May, October and November. The water temperatures remain a toasty 80-85º F (27-29C) throughout the year. Most divers are comfortable with a 3mm wetsuit.
All of the dives aboard the Carpe Novo Explorer are offered at scheduled times, up to 3 times daily including 1-2 night dives per charter. This is to allow adequate surface intervals, provide the option for guided dives on as many sites as possible, and to allow the vessel to travel on a schedule to different locations. Please note that Maldivian regulations limit the maximum depth for all dives to 100 feet (30 meters). Given the prevalence of drift diving in the area (reef hooks are very useful at certain dive sites), your dives will be done from a large custom-built diving dhoni (tender). This is no ordinary tender! The dhoni is 60 feet long and has ample space for all divers, cameras, and gear. There are individual gear bins for each diver, separate camera and wetsuit rinse tanks and a bathroom with toilet and hot water shower plus two fresh water showers on the dive platform. Both the air and nitrox compressors are on the dhoni as well. On one of the evenings of the trip, a barbeque on a deserted beach is offered (weather and itinerary permitting). The crew prepares a remarkable feast for this very special evening, and if you’re lucky, may entertain you with some traditional song and drum playing.
The minimum certifiable age for divers is 10 for most scuba certification agencies; normally, the agencies restrict 10- and 11-year-olds to a maximum depth of 40 feet (12 meters). Carpe Novo Explorer, therefore, allows children as young as 10 years to participate in our trips, with the following restrictions:
  1. All children under the age of 15 must travel and dive with their parent or guardian unless undergoing active training with an instructor.
  2. Our itineraries offer very few diving opportunities at depths less than 40 feet (12 meters); diving opportunities for 10- and 11-year-olds will be significantly less than those for older divers. For this reason, a minimum age of 12 for divers is strongly suggested.
  3. A parent/legal guardian will be required to sign the liability release on behalf of a child under the age of 18.
To ensure your safety, the vessel requires the following of all divers:
  1. All divers must be certified as open water scuba divers by an internationally recognized certification organization.
  2. We recommend that divers log at least one dive within the 12 months prior to boarding the vessel, or are encouraged to participate in a refresher course on board. Rental/Course Pricing (PDF)
  3. All divers must adhere to the buddy system.
  4. All divers must log in and out of the water with a member of the diving staff.
  5. All divers must have a submersible console. In addition, a timepiece must be worn by at least one diver in a buddy team. Dive computers are strongly recommended.
  6. On night dives, a cyalume lightstick or marker beacon must be worn by each diver.
  7. By local regulations, decompression and solo diving are not allowed under any conditions. The maximum allowed depth is 100 feet (30 meters).
  8. Diving activities must cease when the consumption of alcohol begins.
  9. Please note that due to a combination of staff and equipment logistics, insurance requirements and local diving regulations, rebreathers, diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) and multi-cylinder configurations (except for a small pony bottle) may not be used aboard Explorer Ventures Fleet vessels.
  10. DAN (Diver’s Alert Network) membership and dive accident insurance or equivalent are required. If you arrive without proof of a policy, you’ll be required to purchase a short-term policy (which has very limited coverage) valid for the duration of your stay in the Maldives for US$20-$30 (subject to change).
If your trip requires a commuter flight in the Maldives, please note that the baggage allowance is 25 kg (55 pounds) per passenger. The excess charge is MVR 12.00/per kg + tax (approx. $0.36/pound) and is subject to change. Packing for a liveaboard trip is much easier than packing for a land-based vacation. Dress aboard the vessel is very casual. The climate doesn’t require much more than shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits. Please bring at least one set of more modest clothing for visiting the town of Male. In town, local custom dictates that the body be covered from at least the shoulders to the knees, with short sleeves being preferable to sleeveless tops. Soft luggage is recommended as it takes up very little space when empty. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a visor or hat is strongly recommended. In case of rough weather or if you have a tendency toward seasickness, come prepared with motion-sickness medications or Transderm patches from your doctor. Feel free to bring your favorite CDs and DVDs. All linens (including sheets, comforters, bath towels, hand towels and dive towels) are provided on board. Soaps and shampoo are provided and hairdryers are available on board. If possible, pack your regulator, dive computer, mask, certification and dive insurance cards, swimsuit, change of clothes and necessary medications and toiletries in your carry-on bag. Having these items will make an unexpected luggage delay far more bearable. There is a long list of items which are prohibited in the Maldives. This includes, but is not limited to, firearms, narcotics, alcohol (including for personal consumption), pornography, pork products and religious idols (except for personal use). Bags are routinely searched by customs agents upon arrival.
  • Bring your application/liability release forms
  • Certification card
  • Rental equipment is available on board (please indicate need on application)
  • DAN or other dive accident insurance card
The vessel provides tanks, hard weights and weight belts for your use. If you prefer to rent the rest of your equipment from us, we have all of the equipment that you will need. Please indicate on your application form what equipment you will require. Otherwise, the following items are the diver’s responsibility:
  • Certification card & proof of DAN dive accident insurance
  • Diving log book (strongly encouraged)
  • Mask *
  • Snorkel *
  • Fins *
  • Booties (if you wear them)
  • Buoyancy Control Device (required) *
  • Regulator w/alternate air source *
  • Submersible pressure and depth gauges (required)*
  • Underwater time piece (required)
  • Dive light *
  • Tank Marker Lights (required for night dives)
  • Shorty Wetsuit – 3 mm to 5 mm *
  • Repair kit w/ spare parts
  • Safety sausage
  • Reef hook *
* Available for rent on board
  • Vital messages may be passed to guests by calling the booking office at 1.800.322.3577
  • Internet access is available aboard
The local agent for Carpe Novo Explorer can be reached from North America via phone at 011.960.795.0883, and will be able to contact the vessel. Cellular phone and internet access are available when in proximity to some of the islands if your phone is so equipped. Internet cards/access and cellular phone cards are available for purchase at the airport. Wireless routers providing internet connection is available on the vessel for a fee. The connections are based on 3G network and are good for basic emails but not fast enough for large downloads. Currently, the cost is USD $15+GST per person for a 7-night trip and USD $25+GST per person for a 10-night trip. The vessel’s location does determine the reliability of access to the internet.
Passport required Valid return airline ticket 30-day free tourist visa issued at airport Arrival the day before is encouraged Transfer costs are included Arrangements are made to pick you up On itineraries beginning in Male, meet at the airport information counter at 2:30 pm for a transfer by dhoni The airport code for the international airport in the Maldives is MLE. Please note that a passport is required for all visitors arriving in the Maldives. A valid return or onward airline ticket is also required. All visitors to the Maldives are issued a free 30-day visa. Americans, Canadians, and most other countries’ citizens do not need an advance visa. If in doubt, please contact the nearest consulate. We encourage you to arrive at least a day early so you have a “cushion” if there are flight or luggage delays, and so that you arrive aboard refreshed. Airport transfers on the day of embarkation and disembarkation are included in your package. Please meet at the airport information counter at 2:30 pm for a transfer by dhoni to the Carpe Novo Explorer. All guests arriving on embarkation day will be met at the airport by a representative. If you are arriving early, arrangements can be made for you to spend time at a local hotel for a small fee.  You can also walk around Male or wait at the airport until pickup. The dhoni ride from the airport to the vessel is about 15 minutes.
Call 1.800.322.3577 (US/Canada) or +960.795.0883 (local cell) If you miss any of your flights and are not able to make it to the Carpe Novo Explorer on schedule, please call the USA booking office at 1.800.322.3577 or the local contact’s cell +960.795.0883. Notify the crew of your updated arrival time should you have that information, and where you may be reached in the meantime.
  • Please list on the application form any dietary needs you have
Aboard the Carpe Novo Explorer evening meals and lunches usually consist of vegetables, rice, pasta, soup, chicken, beef or fish with occasional local specialties offered as additional options. Breakfast is the usual fare of eggs, beef bacon, pancakes, French toast, potatoes, cereal and fruits. If you have any dietary restrictions or requests, please indicate them on your application form. Please note that specific brands of drinks, dressings and foods are often unavailable in the Maldives and that it can be very difficult for us to find low-fat, gluten-free or soy products, fresh fruit, shellfish and other items common elsewhere. Pork and pork products are not served aboard. While we will do our best to accommodate your requests, please be realistic and consider bringing some of your own foods if the lack thereof may constitute a health risk. Drip coffee, tea, and water are included. All beer, wine, soda, specialty coffees, freshly made juices or any hard liquor will be added to your onboard bill.
  • US dollars are widely accepted
  • Most major credit cards are accepted
In the Maldives, US dollars (cash) and credit cards are widely accepted, as are Euros, although change may be given in the local currency, the Rufiyaa. Be aware that obtaining foreign currency in the Maldives is very difficult, although currency exchange is available at banks in Male and at the airport. Only 2004 or newer US dollars and Euros with no tears, rips or any markings will be accepted at banks, money exchangers and onboard.
The Carpe Novo Explorer arrives at its final destination port on the afternoon of the day prior to disembarkation. An optional visit to the city of Male is offered on the final afternoon for itineraries ending near Male. Passengers spend the final night and have disembarkation day breakfast on board. There will be sufficient time to catch a commercial flight out at any time on the day of disembarkation. The dhoni will take you and your luggage to the airport after breakfast (or earlier if you have an early flight). If you have a flight late in the afternoon or in the evening, the airport hotel offers luggage storage and pool/beach/shower use for the day for a fee. If you’ll be staying at one of the outlying resorts after the charter, the dhoni will take you back to the airport so you may meet your resort’s transfer boat. Please note that international airport check-in begins 2 hours prior to departure and ends 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time.
Packages Include:
  • 7 nights/8 days or 10 nights/11 days aboard vessel
  • 3 meals daily, plus snacks
  • Up to 3 dives daily (weather and itinerary permitting)
  • Use of tanks(11.5L/80CF or 13.5L/100CF) with DIN & YOKE compatibilities
  • Air fills, weights and belts
  • Airport transfers on the days of embarkation/ disembarkation
  • Maldivian GST (General Service Tax)
Packages Do Not Include:
  • Rental, instruction and retail charges
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, fresh juices
  • Crew gratuities
  • Dive accident insurance (required)
  • Trip cancellation & dive insurance (recommended)
  • Government Green Tax
  • Fuel surcharge (when applicable)
  • Hanifaru Snorkeling Permit (when applicable)
  • Current Onboard Charges
  • Major credit cards are accepted on board
  • Traveler’s or personal checks are not
Though all meals, most beverages, transportation between islands and much more has been taken care of with your trip payment, there are additional items which you may charge to your onboard bill. These include retail items, scuba instruction, rentals, nitrox, Government Green Tax, fuel surcharges (when applicable) and crew gratuities. Specific charges include:
  • Government Green Tax: US$6 per person per night
  • Fuel Surcharge: dependent on itinerary, please inquire for current applicability
  • Hanifaru Snorkeling Permit (if applicable): US$20 per person
  • Additional charge for Government Services Tax may apply; please inquire for current applicability
Your bill may be paid at the end of the trip using Visa, Mastercard, American Express or cash (US dollars or euros). Personal or traveler’s checks are not accepted on board, and we are unable to provide cash for credit card charges more than invoice amounts.
Crew gratuities are not included in your package. The crew works very hard, 7 days a week and many weeks at a stretch to provide the best possible service for our guests. The industry standard for crew gratuities on dive trips (if of course, you are happy with the service which you have received) is between 10% and 15% of the package price per passenger. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
For more information on traveling to the Maldives:
Nitrox is available for an additional charge, as long as the diver is Nitrox Certified. Please read our Nitrox page for more information.
Solo diving is not permitted on this itinerary.