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Dive Review of Emperor Fleet/Emperor Elite in
Red Sea/Hurghada - Marsa Ghalib

Emperor Fleet/Emperor Elite, Jul, 2014,

by George Constantino, AK, US (Contributor Contributor 14 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 7683.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 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 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Safety and Security – We enrolled in the U.S. State Departments Travel Information and Alert System called Smart Traveler [step.state.gov link] . It was comforting to know that what was happening in the country before we arrived and that someone in the State Department knew our travel itinerary. The Emperor Fleet Company does a professional job of meeting you at the Hurghda airport and transporting you from the airport to hotel to the ship, etc. The hotel and port security appeared good. We not only felt safe wherever we traveled, but every Egyptian we met seemed generally happy to meet Americans and that we were spending our vacation in their country.

Emperor Elite Ship and Crew - The ship is well appointed and larger than other liveaboards we’ve sailed on. It was great that each room had its own toilet, sink, and shower. We liked our cabin, but it took several days for them to sort out why we didn’t have hot water. Several cabins had consistent A/C system water leaks that the crew couldn’t seem to get corrected. They exchanged towels ½ ways during the trip. There were plenty of towels and nice bathrobes so we never understood why the pre-trip information recommended that divers bring their own after dive towels.

The food was hot, tasty and plentiful. A well-stocked fruit bowl was always on hand and their chief had a knack for desserts. They had two fun dinners on the mid deck, but the dining area was spacious with four round tables and a very comfortable dining arrangement. Red wine is provided free of charge at dinner. Beer is available at 4 Euros/can and wine (red & white) by the glass or bottle for 4 & 12 Euros apiece. You can also BOY.

The crew (11 crew for 20 guests) did a superb job in all areas of service. They are always there if you need a little help getting your wetsuit on or off ,or in/out of a zodiac. They were more than happy to carry and help my wife get her gear on in the zodiac or have her float her gear in the water and have them haul it in.

The dive masters are helpful, professional, and run a safe operation. Your starting and ending tank pressure and max depth is recorded for each dive. The briefings were excellent and the guides did a fine job of monitoring their divers during each dive. Nitrox was free on this trip and varied from 30% to 36% and they make sure you analyze and record your nitrox level before each trip and note the PO 1.40 and 1.60 max depth levels. Some of the dives were to 120-130 feet and way too late in the trip it occurred to me to ask about the next dive before they re-filled my tank so I could make a decision to re-fill with air for dives to deeper cleaning stations for key species.

Helpful Hints – Their rental gear is top quality and maintained in good to like new condition. Don’t wait to get your rental gear and quickly store and mark it as yours. When our boat started the rental gear assignments there were many divers from 3 different boats getting theirs at the same time. I waited and had a real problem finding a wetsuit that fit. Then on the first dive I discovered that they had assigned my wetsuit to another diver. She got the full size suit I wanted and I had to make due with a shorty.

The other guests - An unexpected benefit or attribute of this trip was the caliber and diversity of the divers that we met on this trip. We met people from 10 other counties that all loved diving and were well-traveled so our dinner conversations were full of dive stories and insights to potential new dive vacations. My wife loved the fact that the group included 5 couples. I appreciated the fact that we all shared a keen desire to see Thresher and Hammerhead Sharks and large Manta Rays.

The Diving – The “Simply the Best” trip (Brothers, Daedalus, and Ephinston Islands )lived up to its name. Our group saw Thresher and Hammerhead Sharks and enormous Manta Rays. While I missed seeing the Thresher sharks, I did have one dive where 22 large hammerheads swam within our group for 5-10 minutes and my wife and I shared the experience of having a 15’ Manta swim literally under our feet! These were truly priceless experiences! The diving was often not for the faint hearted or in-experienced divers. Going out in zodiacs in 4’ swells in full gear and doing a negative entry next to a deep wall to hover at 20-30 meters or long drift dives in strong currents takes strength, skill, and experience. So, read and believe the brochures and make sure this is the trip for you.

Here's a nice video of a school of 22 hammerheads that came up to check us out at Daedalus.

[youtube.com link]
Websites Emperor Fleet   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Florida, California, Alaska, Caymans, Philippines, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, currents
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-90 Ft/ 15-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dive within certification/insurance limits with a 70 minute bottom time max. You could dive with the guide or with a partner with the permission of the dive master
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Two fresh water tanks on dive deck for cameras but no mask rule was not enforced. Lounge area had a number of outlets for charging.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Angela Richards Donain HI, US at Jul 31, 2014 13:46 EST  
Hello George, we have been on that same trip and loved it. Sounds like you had a very similar experience to ours and we believe it is worth returning to the Emperor Elite for another Red Sea adventure. One thing I did not particularly like was the food. It seemed they were trying to cater to the British palate, which was a shame since Egyptian food is so wonderful. Any chance they are serving Egyptian food now? My husband, friend, and I are looking to book our next holiday and we are considering the Elite again but I am hoping for an improvement in the food. Thanks!
By report author: George Constantino in AK, US at Jul 31, 2014 15:40 EST  
Angela - While the diving is superb I have to report that the meals were as you described. Lots of chicken based dinners. While we enjoyed the food it was pretty basic stuff. They did have a few beef dishes and fish served was frozen not fresh.
By Stephen Tillinghastin CA, US at Oct 18, 2014 14:19 EST  
Thanks, George, for the EE review, My wife & I are booked for the July 10, 2015 trip to Daedalus & Elphinstone w/ a side trip to Luxor. Can't wait!
By report author: George Constantino in AK, US at Oct 19, 2014 11:28 EST  
You're welcome - we hope you enjoy the trip and diving as much as we did.
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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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