Liveaboard Review

Salila - Review 2023

The MV Cheng Ho has been a part of the Indonesian diving cruise scene for a very long time. As one of the Bali Sea Safari cruises, the boat is stylish and is a dream for guests who crave a fun-filled experience. The MV Cheng Ho was built in 2002 and is designed in a traditional phinisi style and takes you to the best dive sites in Komodo.
With safety and comfort guaranteed, the MV Cheng Ho is a diver’s choice if you are interested in enjoying some of Indonesia’s most exceptional scuba diving. Not only are guests treated to some top-class diving, but they also have fun between dives as the facilities of this sizeable liveaboard are some of the best.

Our Overall Review


Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Many people were happy with the itinerary and the activities that were provided on the Salila.
  • check-mark
    Divers agreed that the crew was helpful and offered various insights on living on board a vessel.
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    Some people stated that the naturalist was knowledgeable and gave them a deeper understanding of the environment.
  • check-mark
    The cook was very talented and he delivered great variations of different local meals.

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSome divers said they had to pay for oxygen on the dives and this wasn't made clear on their site.
  • check-markA couple of people noted that the boat was a bit run down.

Where to book:


Where to book:

Diving on the Salila in Indonesia

At 33.15 meters/109feet long, the MV Cheng Ho is a typical Indonesian Phinisi Buginese Schooner, made from using wood and is managed by the Sea Safari company. The MV Cheng Ho was handcrafted in South Sulawesi and offers diving liveaboard trips in Komodo and Alor. The boat can accommodate 24 guests.

The liveaboard is markedly different compared to other liveaboards as it offers unique personalized lodging and service. Whether it is in the air-conditioned comfort of the large saloon or lazing under the shade of one of the ship’s huge sails, guests will find it easy to unwind after dives.

Boat features

Designed to cater for 24 passengers, the MV Cheng Ho has 14 fully air-conditioned rooms with individual bathrooms with hot or cold water available. Guests can relax in between or after the dives in the comfortable saloon with convenient amenities, such as a flat-screen TV, DVD player, computer/camera station, a stereo player and an assortment of movies, CDs and books. Guests can also relax at the upper deck, which is partially shaded and has sofas and tables. For guests who enjoy the sun, there is a top deck with sun loungers. Chilled soft drinks and fruits are available.

The dive deck is located at the front of the main deck and has personal gear lockers, an in place-fill station and a camera table with a low-pressure hose. Nitrox is also available for divers who possess the right certification.
The meals on board the MV Cheng Ho are a mix of local and international cuisine and are served buffet style. The menus are flexible with extras such as water, wine, soft drinks, and snacks.

With guests’ safety of utmost importance, the MV Cheng HO is equipped with modern diving amenities to ensure your scuba diving is safe and fun. The boat has the necessary equipment such as first aid kits, life raft, life jackets, reading buoy, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers to ensure safety. The professional dive guide masters ensure that divers get the best service and attention during diving sessions to create an unforgettable experience.


While diving can be done throughout the year, the best time to go on a diving trip aboard the MV Cheng Ho is between April and November.


Guests are picked from their hotels on the departure date and transferred to Labuan Bajo in Flores where the MV Cheng Ho is stationed. They are then briefed once aboard the boat by guide masters before they are shown their respective cabins. There are 1 or 2 dives on the arrival day. There are four dives per day including night dives depending on the sea routes/conditions. There are 1 or 2 dives on the day before departure, and there are no dives on the final day.

What’s more, all dives are supervised by professionals and are done from tender boats.

Where to book:

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