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Dive Review of Emperor Divers in
Red Sea/Egypt

Emperor Divers: "Excellent winter diving in the northern Red Sea", Feb, 2018,

by Harvey S. Cohen, NJ, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 22 reports with 15 Helpful votes). Report 10148 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments I sailed on the Emperor Superior liveaboard "Reefs & Wrecks" [ link] 7-day itinerary between Hurghada and Sinai. Weather was mostly calm, with moderate seas on only a few occasions. Air temperatures were usually low 70s during the day, and cooler at night. Divers wore 5mm or 7mm wetsuits, or drysuits. Most dives were off the dive deck, but a few were from zodiacs. Divers could buddy or follow a guide. I was traveling solo, and arranged in advance for a private guide at 500 Euro for the week. My guide was expert and enthusiastic-- well worth the fare. Nitrox (typically 28%) is free. I reserved a large 15L steel tank for a small fee. There were 20 dives, of which I did 19. A major highlight was the dawn dive at Sha'ab El Erg (Dolphin House). We were jumped by two pods of dolphins, who put on a great show and repeatedly swam within inches of us [ link] . Other dives offered an amazing variety of morays, ranging in size from mouse to moose. There was also a great variety of stonefish (which my guide excelled in spotting). The wrecks offered easy penetration and interesting contents. The Thistlegorm certainly lived up to her reputation, demanding several dives for full appreciation.
A pet peeve: I wish dive operators would discuss torch etiquette in briefings for night dives. Light up critters mostly with the dimmer edge of your beam-- not the hot spot. Point out an item of interest by circling the hot spot around it. Never leave your hot spot on a critter for more than a couple of seconds. If you see someone shooting photos, or especially video, take your beam away from their subject.
Food was outstanding in quality and quantity. Wine with dinner was free. One diver arranged in advance to accommodate her large range of food allergies. The beautiful plates she received at each meal were the envy of the other guests. The divers were from Scandinavia, South Africa, America, England, Australia, and Germany-- all delightful and interesting folks. I had the boat's only solo cabin, and I didn't look at the others. My cabin was comfortable, with a good bed and adequate storage, and the bathroom was the typical toilet/sink/shower. Hot water was always available. Several divers remarked that the beds are a little on the short side. The aircon in my cabin was dead, but in the cool weather portholes provided adequate ventilation.
There is a lot of competition among liveaboards in this area, tourism is down somewhat for various reasons, and winter is on the cool side, so prices are low. This itinerary was a screaming deal. I would certainly consider a return to the Red Sea, and would be happy to use Emperor Divers again.
Websites Emperor Divers   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Gulf of Eilat, Bali, Komodo, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Fiji, Palau, Coral Sea, Galapagos, many Caribbean locations, New Jersey, Florida, National Aquarium, Dutch Springs, Silfra (Iceland), Panama (Pacific)
Closest Airport Hurghada, Egypt Getting There Hurghada has a large, modern airport. There are direct flights with many European cities. I flew Turkish Airlines from New York, connecting through Istanbul. There are also connections through Cairo, but that means collecting baggage, clearing passport control and customs, buying a tourist visa, and going through security and baggage check a second time for the flight to Hurghada-- not a great idea, IMHO.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy, surge, currents, no currents
Water Temp 70-72°F / 21-22°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 40-80 Ft/ 12-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Recreational limits.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments There is a small camera rinse tank, with a meter-square grating over it where cameras could drip. There are some very small dry storage shelves that could accommodate a hand-held camera but not a larger rig with lights. There is no compressed air hose. There are ample electrical outlets in the lounge, but few good places to set down a camera. Charging anything in passenger cabins is forbidden, due to the risk of electrical fires. A couple of people told me that they felt the deck crew did not exercise sufficient care when carrying cameras to/from divers. There is no really good place to set up a PC on a table and work on photos.
Notwithstanding all of this, many divers carried cameras and took wonderful photos. Subject matter trumps almost everything.
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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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