I visited the Maldives the first time in 1998 and have come back twice afterwards before I had kids. Now I came back with an 8 year old and decided that staying in a resort for the full 12 days would be more than I could stand. As pleasant and polished as they can be these days, gone is the crappy food and worn down rooms with creaky ceiling fans, these days there's a lot of architecture that would be equally at home in any seaside resort in Florida or the Caribbean. But for all their pleasantness they also lack that certain something, that feeling of adventure that should accompany a trip from the far north to a couple of degrees north of the equator. But I did find the perfect adventure for us in the form of Dhoni Stella.!

Dhoni Stella Sunset An amazing Maldivian sunset from Dhoni Stella

For five nights we were the guests of the crew of Dhoni Stella 1

Here's the thing - when you come to the Maldives you are in the middle of one of the natural wonders of the world. And if you spend all your days in a resort you are stuck in one place. It might be nice or even very nice but taking yourself on the road (or the open sea as it happens to be in this case) is a much more rewarding experience. A big thanks goes out to Hassan, Kumar, Malla and Nasru for making it an unforgettable trip - and we saw huge nurse sharks drift past us under a starry sky during a night snorkel, the 8 year old revelled in the huge fish he landed (with the help of the safe and guiding hands of the crew) during night fishings from both boat and dinghy. And the snorkelling was as fantastic as anything you are likely to find in this place where good snorkelling basically means sticking your head in the water. It feels like the first time I was here again but much better because this time I got to build awesome memories together with my son and we will never forget the red snappers, batfish, the turtles and sharks, the stingrays and the endless amounts of fish in any and every imaginable color.

You surpassed everything I hoped for

It's easy to sound like something out of a travel brochure but the truth is that there is something absolutely amazing about waking up to a great breakfast anchored off some sand bank or uninhabited island.

Dhoni Stella Our own desert island of the day!

Other Reviews

Is Dhoni Stella for you?

If you want freedom, excitement, adventure and a small amount of indulgence, then yes, it probably is.

Related Reviews (6)

  1. Phil

    Hi Max, Just wanted to say a massive thanks to you and the team - we had the best time. Your service prior to booking, the boat, the food, the islands/things we did were all amazing. And to top it off the crew were unbelievable - seriously the best. Thanks again to all for making it a honeymoon we’ll never forget. We really hope to come back one day soon. Cheers, Phil and Marcella.

    Stella 1 / July, 2019
  2. Garth

    Dear Max, sitting in the departure lounge, feeling immensely content and gratified. It was sad to say farewell to our wonderful crew, but all good things come to an end. As already mentioned our meet and greet went without a hitch. All meals prepared by Suranga were absolutely superb, he is a master of curries and the diversity of the menus was an eye opener. Not only is he a very competent chef, his gentle and likeable personality equals his talent of preparing food! Under the Captainship of Hameed we felt safe at all times, he has immense knowledge of the waters, channels and atolls. Stella 2 is a beautiful boat, well built with an honest motor, the room was more spacious than any live aboard I have been on, which is well over 10. Good shower pressure and the toilet flushes easily (not always the case on boats). We wanted for nothing on board, enjoyed the sun and star deck no matter the weather. Mallah was a magician in all his skills, our room fastidiously cleaned, the good smell of Detol greeted us each morning after cleaning. A wonderful turndown each evening with the top sheet folded like I have never seen in any lodge or resort. His napkin folding is an art in itself, origami! He spoke the best English of the crew, has a very sharp sense of humour and was a fountain of information. Our wines were all well presented, no corked red wine, ice at all times of the day. Aju was immensely helpful in understanding our wishes for our snorkelling requirements, which equated to between 3 and 6 hours each day in 60 to 90 minute excursions. The reef fish were in the biggest variety and numbers of many places I have snorkelled and dived on the planet. Our highlight was eclipsed on our last full day. Until then it has been the quality of the fish and sheer numbers on the Alimatha Resort house reefs and especially the night snorkel with the nurse sharks and a bait ball of many millions of small fish, we had 24 nurse sharks all around us and the bait ball was attempting to escape them so swam through us, with about 100 ending up inside my wet suit and a few in my fins, such were the numbers. The Alimatha reef was so good I asked if we could go back there for our 3rd night which was even better than our first night there. That experience was surpassed by our arrival at Guraidhoo Island where we were greeted by dolphins frolicking between our anchor point and the breakwater/harbour wall. We swam out to them and enjoyed approx 45 minutes with over 100 Spinners. What a sight to see a wall of dolphins in front of us at various depths!, when that show was over we swam to the house reef and had another hour cruising along with the current and an excellent array of fish and a few healthy corals. The dolphin extravaganza was most unexpected and something I have fantasised about since watching Flipper as a little boy in the early 60’s! Aju waited for us patiently in the tender boat for most of our snorkels or he kept a watchful eye from the main boat. In conclusion Max I have nothing but praise for your operation and especially the staff. We look forward to returning again in a year or two.

    Stella 2 / February, 2019
  3. John & Kathy

    Dear Nasru, Kuday, Kumar, and Dottey, SHUK RIYA! We want to thank you for the outstanding cruise on board the Dhoni Stella. The combination of diving, snorkelling, fishing, and visiting islands along the way made every day unique and fun. The beauty of the Maldives, the adventures fishing & diving, and great food will be fondly remembered for a long time after we return home. Many many thanks for the fishing trips and for expertly preparing the catch for us to eat! We loved seeing the whale shark, a once in a lifetime experience! All the best to each of you.

    Stella 1 / March, 2018
  4. Claudia & Nick

    Hello Max, sorry for the delayed email... we only arrived back in Australia late on Wednesday evening and had to go straight back to work the next day. However, I wanted to thank you and your team sooo much for making our honeymoon so special and amazing as it was. The crew on Stella 2 was fantastic!!! They were sooo amazing, comforting and making it all happen. Wonderful food, great snorkel expeditions, sandbank visits, beautifully arranged bed decorations etc etc. Really, we wouldn't have wanted to miss this experience. Please pass on our thanks and gratitude to all of them, they were wonderful!!! We are so thrilled that we have found you and Yacht Maldives and will certainly tell our friends about it, as I think it is the best way to cruise around the Maldives and get to see the beauty of the islands. We will also certainly come back one day, maybe together with some friends. So we shall be in touch. Until then, thanks so much for everything! The correspondence with you was so easy and professional. Always connected and we always felt very looked after! So thank YOU!!! With best wishes from Sydney.

    Stella 2 / January, 2017
  5. Steen & Hanney

    Dear Max, so we are back in Denmark again and looking back at a fantastic trip to the Maldives. We truly valued the entire experience. Great food, great staff, great weather, great snorkeling, great route planning…. basically everything. We also did a bit of fishing here and there with varied succes but always with great enthusiasm. We saw sharks, turtles in abundance, mantas, and thousands of fish. We saw beautiful islands. We have always found it difficult to come back to the Maldives because we had a great experience at Soneva Sushi five years ago. Therefore it was so great to come back to the Maldives in a truly different manner and get a truly different travel experience. All the best wishes to you and the staff on board the Dhoni Stella 2.

    Stella 2 / December, 2016
  6. Susan

    Dear Max, I wanted to email to thank you for a fabulous trip on Dhoni Stella. You have a wonderful crew all of whom were so professional and contributed to making our trip so enjoyable. Nasru's organisation was perfect and he and Ammaday ensured that we had plenty of snorkelling opportunities and had calm, scenic anchorages (and some great fish for dinner). Kumar produced a cornucopia of food every day from the tiny galley and his donuts were a real crowd pleaser. Malla was a most attentive steward and we appreciated his attention to detail and his care for our comfort. So thank you once again for a most memorable trip which far exceeded our expectations. I can only hope that we may be fortunate enough to return for a longer trip next time. With regards and thanks.

    Stella 1 / December, 2016

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