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Dive Review of Emperor Divers/Emperor Elite in
Red Sea/Marsa Alam

June, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Garren, FL, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4943
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Roatan, Hawaii, Australia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
70 minutes, 40 meters depth  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Storage space for camera rigs was limited on the dive deck, but fresh water
was always available for rinsing post dive.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was only our second live aboard so our experience is limited but it
was much better than the first one to the Great Barrier Reef so it receives
high marks. We paid extra for the largest suite in the bow of the boat and
the accommodations were excellent, we discovered however this was not the
best choice for my wife who is subject to mal-de-mer. 
The dive itinerary (Only the Best) was chosen for being far offshore beyond
the reach of the many day boats operating from Port Ghalib and Marsa Alam,
large pelagics are the primary featured attraction.  Dive locations
included the Brothers Islands and Daedalus Reef in the south central Red
Sea. The typical strong currents at these locations require that divers who
book this itinerary be AOW certified with a minimum of 50 logged dives.
Strong winds, rough conditions, and long travel distances made several days
uncomfortable for my wife Karen, accentuated by our location in the bow of
the boat, live and learn as the saying goes.
Visibility was good but not excellent, due in part to the rough seas, aside
from one close encounter with a huge Manta we were somewhat disappointed by
the lack of photo opportunities with the shark species encountered which
are advertised as the primary attraction.  While we could see and identify
Gray Reef, Great Hammerhead, and Oceanic Whitetip sharks, visibility
prevented good photos, other divers identified Thresher sharks as well but
no one had much success photographing them, no fault of Emperor Divers of
On the flip side we were pleasantly surprised at the huge variety of small
fish, and brilliant corals.  Friendly Napoleon Wrasse nearly the size of
Goliath Grouper and many tropical species not seen previously took the
sting out of poor photo opportunities for pelagic species.
Food was plentiful and very good quality. The entire staff was cheerful and
attentive, dive guides were available for those who wanted them, but divers
were permitted to dive their own profiles within the guide lines described.

Much of the diving was done by drops from Zodiac tenders, the mother ship
remained fixed to mooring balls located in the calmest spot at the offshore
locations. In the rough conditions during our trip boarding the Zodiacs in
full dive gear was a challenge at times, the ride to the drop zone could
also be very uncomfortable depending on the travel distance neccessary.
Depending on location and current some dives were permitted directly from
the dive deck for those who disliked the Zodiac ride.
Many of our live aboard companions hailed from Europe, Americans were in
the minority no doubt due to the travel required, for Europeans the Red Sea
is a common dive travel destination  much as the Caribbean is for North
American divers.
Emperor Divers also operates the Marina Lodge Hotel in Port Ghalib, home
port for several live aboard boats including Elite.  We spent one night in
the hotel following our Red Sea dive safari, accommodations were
comfortable and good food is available in the hotel restaurant.  We were a
little disappointed at the lack of location specific dive souvenirs in
Emperor's dive shop also on the premises.   Emperor day boat trips can also
be booked from this location.
We picked the summer months for our Red Sea trip since it normally offers
optimum dive conditions, but Mother nature did not read the same brochure
for this excursion.  Something travelers to Egypt should understand is that
the summer months are the off season for land based tourism, consequently 
Egyptian domestic airline schedules are reduced during the period, this
required us to make a long trip by car from Hurghada to Port Ghalib near
Marsa Alam that would not be required in the winter months.  No one goes to
Egypt without a visit to the Pyramids and ancient temples and we were no
exception.  There is a reason non diver types consider winter to be the
travel season in this part of the world, all land based activities were
planned for early morning and it was still hotter than you know where!
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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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