Phuket Wreck Diving: King Cruiser Ship Wreck
Built in Japan in the 1960s The King Cruiser is an 85m long twin hulled catamaran which was purchased in 1990. It was operating as a car and passenger ferry transporting passengers between Phuket and Phi Phi Island. This was before it became some of the best Phuket Wreck diving.
On the 4th of May 1997 the ship strayed off course hitting a popular scuba diving site called Anemone Reef and ripping open one of the hulls. The King Cruiser then sank in less than an hour with the nearly 600 passengers and crew on board. However luckily everyone was rescued by local fishing and scuba diving dive boats. Her final resting place is approximately 27 km east of Phuket where she now sits upright on the seabed at a depth of 31m and rising up to 18m. Two decades later this stunning wreck is now home to an abundance of tropical fish and fantastic soft corals and is some of the best Phuket Wreck Diving!
Join us for some of the best Phuket wreck diving ...
King Cruiser Wreck: the best Phuket Wreck Diving!
The dive starts with a descent down a mooring line to the stern of the ferry at 18m depth. In 2003 the top deck collapsed and exposed three toilets which are directly below the mooring line. So, if you’d like to have your picture taken whilst sitting on a toilet at 23m. Then this is the perfect place to do it!
From the toilets, you can head down to the seabed which is approximately 31m. If you look near the propellers there are many large lion fish hanging out here. In addition to the odd Nurse Shark. You can also stay around 22m and swim along the outside of the main deck. Here you should be looking for colorful Nudibranchs and camouflaged Scorpionfish. When you reach the front of the wreck you’ll find several winches. These are home to banded boxer shrimp and various types of Moray Eels. You can then move through the area in front of the wheelhouse This is usually enveloped by schools of schooling Yellowtail Snapper and Barracudas. Make sure you keep an eye out for the huge Banded Sea Snake that likes to hunt in this part of the wreck. There are also a few large groupers who like it around here.
At this point you should ascend slightly to 16m to get a bit more dive time above the Wheelhouse and staircases. However, this area has collapsed and created a valley from one staircase to the other. Here you are usually completely surrounded by numerous snapper and Forster’s Barracuda. It’s also the preferred hang out for a large Green turtle! The more you explore, the slower you go, the better Phuket wreck diving experience you will have!
PADI Wreck Specialty or PADI Wreck Adventure Dive?
The King Cruiser Wreck is the best opportunity for Phuket wreck diving however it lies in the open water between Phuket and Phi Phi. Hence, as with a lot of Phuket wreck diving, there is the possibility of strong currents depending on the Moon. As such the visibility ranges from 5 - 25m, with the average being about 10m. The potential for currents and deeper depth makes this site an excellent choice for your PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course. As the best Phuket wreck diving we suggest that you do the Wreck Adventure Dive of your PADI Advanced Open Water Course here.
When diving ship wrecks on Phuket
When diving any of Phuket's ship wrecks, but especially on the King Cruiser, an experienced guide should accompany you
From Wheelhouse and staircases you make your way back to the mooring line for your ascent. You can do this either along the top deck which is covered in bright pink soft corals. However, if there are strong currents, then head through the open middle of the wreck Here there are more schools of Barracuda and Snappers. You can then head up the line to make your safety stop under the dive boat. While here you can check out the tiny File Fish which use the strands of rope of the mooring line for camouflage.
For Rebreather Divers, this is a some excellent Phuket Wreck Diving. And being on a Rebreather you will be able to spend a lot of time on the wreck. As Rebreather Divers, you will not have to worry about running out of “No Deco Time” or gas supply as you will have plenty of both. However due to Phuket wreck diving logistics, your dive time would be limited to 50-60 minutes. Consequently, if you are first in and last out, as we usually are, then you can still have an awesome one hour dive!