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Dive Review of Emperor Superior in
Africa/Egypt

Emperor Superior, Sep, 2009,

by Jeanne & BIll Downey, PA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 6 Helpful votes). Report 5194.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Caribbean, Australia, Indonesia, Cocos, Malaysia, Malaysia, Socorro, Galapagos, Maldives, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Two rinse tanks on boat. Extremely small camera table.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Egypt and the Red Sea have always been on our back-burner, but we were never sure it was a safe place to go. After this trip, we know its as safe as or safer than other destinations.
We flew Egypt Air from JFK. We carried on two items each, and were allowed two check-in pieces weighing 50 pounds each. The economy seats seemed a tad larger, with a little more legroom. There were no seat-back TV screens, so we watched three bad movies and ate two OK meals. We flew non-stop to Cairo, the largest city in Africa. At JFK and elsewhere, we were escorted by a representative of Learning Through Travel or the Emperor Fleet. Manal, involved in the tourist business over 20 years, is a gem.
In Cairo, we stayed at the Mena House Oberoi Hotel, right next to the three great pyramids, including Cheops. We were introduced to Egyptian cuisine, really different. Over the course of our two weeks, we learned to embrace buffet meals where we could pick and choose and actually see what we were about to eat! Most of us had stomach issues at some point during the trip. We did not drink tap water anywhere, even in the hotels; bottled water is cheap.
While we were touring, our dive luggage headed for Hurghada via truck, so we wouldnt have to pay overweight fees on the domestic flight from Cairo to Hurghada. Unfortunately the wake-up call was at 1:30am to catch the 5am flight. We arrived in Hurghada so early nothing was open. There appeared to be a mix-up, as we couldnt board the liveaboard until late afternoon; they finally decided to put us on a day boat, which ended up being a good experience. We threw our dive gear into baskets and boarded the boat. There are a lot of day boats that go out from Hurghada, so we had to be careful to re-board the same boat we jumped off! The fish mostly looked familiar, but had different color schemes. The second dive I counted 19 lionfish. We boarded the Emperor Superior around 5pm.
The Superior is a good-looking wooden boat, with large, comfortable sitting and dining areas. The cabins, except for the two in the bow, are nice sized with two side-by-side twin beds; the bow cabins have bunk beds; they try to only put one person in those. There was adequate storage space. The bathrooms had small, separate shower areas, and plenty of counter space. The dive deck is large, but there are two rows of tanks facing each other with not that much room between them, so it can get congested, especially with the crew trying to help. The dive entry area was big enough for several people to don fins at the same time. Nitrox is included on the Superior and the tanks are DIN, with convertible inserts available. Fills were quick and right on the money. The camera table is tiny, with small cubicles above. One DSL takes up all the space, so the three coffee tables in the lounge area became camera tables.
All meals were buffet. Breakfast c consisted of cereal, toast, eggs,and meat. Lunch and dinners might have fish, pasta, chicken, and/or beef, soup, salad, rolls, vegetables, and some type of dessert. Several types of cookies, hot water, tea, cocoa, sodas, and instant coffee were always available. Wine and beer were extra. Although not all the food was to my taste, I didnt go hungry.
The diving ranged from good to way cool; likewise the visibility ranged from a not-so-good 40 feet to a spectacular 100+, sometimes during the same dive. We did 4 dives most days, starting with a wake-up call at 5:30am, 6am dive, breakfast, 10:30 dive, lunch, 2:30 dive, 7pm night dive, and finally dinner. I didnt like the early start, but long intervals between dives were great, and 4 dives a day are enough for me, especially since dives lasted 60-80 minutes. During the week we saw several crocodile fish, numerous lionfish, pipefish, a couple Spanish dancers and their eggs, clown fish of various kinds, many turtles and eels, Napoleon Wrasse, and of course colorful reef fish. We dived a couple wrecks, including the Thistlegorm, with trucks, motorbikes, and even a locomotive engine.The coral is healthy-looking. Although the diving mostly didnt strike me as spectacular as I was expecting, it was never boring; the less traveled divers were constantly enthralled. Most dives were from the Superior, although a few required inflatable rides. One diver, while stepping down into the inflatable, slipped, fell, and broke her leg. She was transported to a hospital where she had surgery. She was treated well there, and is also now an enthusiastic supporter of DAN.
Between dives there were plenty of places to hang outthe lounge, the sundeck one level up, or the covered fly bridge; it was pretty neat coming up from a dive with a view of the Sinai Peninsula. The Superior can handle 20 divers; with the 13 of us it was exceptionally roomy. We were allotted two large bath towels, two smaller towels, and one beach towel for the week. We had to keep track of our beach towels, and of course they were never warm. There were two showers on the dive deck, not always warm, but there was plenty of hot water in the cabins. Bath soap was provided but not shampoo.
Reluctantly leaving the Emperor Superior, we took a 5 hour bus ride to Luxor, where our hotel overlooked the Nile River.. The touring was amazing, even in the 100+ degree dry heat. We had a buffet dinner on the Royal Lily, one of the many Nile River cruise boats.
So would we go back to Egypt? You bet, with an added Nile River cruise.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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