Photo by: Kevin MooreWith the Red Sea having a little too much of the good things on offer, it’s easy to retreat into clichés when writing about diving there. Aquamarine, turquoise, azure, pristine, crystal clear, gin-clear, mind-blowing, brilliant, gorgeous, luxuriant, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and (my own favorite)… heaps. There’s also so much already written about the Red Sea, this has been another problem since I started this assignment – how do you make a new approach when covering good boats operating in good areas? It’s hard to write something fresh about the Red Sea, but I’ll give it a go.
Simply put, the Red Sea is the best diving in the world. Sure, Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon is the place to go (cliché: hotspot) for wrecks, but it isn’t famous for big fish and the vis isn’t always great. Indonesia has a large diversity (cliché: richness) of marine species and incredibly thick layers of invertebrate growth, but again the visibility isn’t always the best and it can be expensive. Fiji has lots of colour, better visibility and lots (cliché: thousands) of small colourful reef fish, but it’s not famous for big fish and it too, can be expensive. The Coral Sea with its large pelagics and sharks, but no wrecks. Maldives has (cliché: awesome) drift diving but since El Nino bleached its reefs in 1998…!? Sure, other places may have individual aspects of interest, but the Red Sea has more ticks on that all important list of “What Divers Want” than any other place in the world.

In the Egyptian Red Sea there are over 30 discovered wrecks (cliché: mind-blowing) and still counting. Most of the wrecks in the Red Sea are found towards the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula (north safari), however there are several wrecks (cliché: heaps) to be enjoyed on any liveaboard itinerary and many have yet to be identified and discovered.
The Red Sea has reliable big fish action. As long as you stick to the good spots, and there are many (cliché: hundreds), divers will see sharks (hammerheads, tigers, silkys, threshers, oceanics, black and white tips, grey reef), dolphins, large schools of jacks, larger schools of barracudas, turtles, manta rays and even the occasional whale and whale shark.
The Red Sea averages better visibility than most other places, ranging from 20 meters to well over 40 meters.

The visibility in the Red Sea is consistently excellent year-round. For individual instances, especially around Brothers Islands, the Red Sea has no competition, the vis here is usually at least 40 meters and often much, much, more (cliché: gin clear).
In the Red Sea there are fish everywhere (cliché: abundance). Among the many fish, (cliché: millions) of little orange anthias dominate the surrounding scenes. The caves and wrecks are full of (cliché: thousands) of glassfish. In the Marine Parks you will find fields of (cliché: gorgeous) anemones & clownfish. In the sandy bits between the reefy bits you will always find bluespotted and blackspotted stingrays as well as crocodilefish.
Moray eels, napoleons, turtles and gray reef sharks are common. Fusiliers, regal angelfish, black bannerfish, groupers, surgeon fish and unicorn fish often swarm together in one big feeding frenzy. There are plenty of invertebrates, such as cuttlefish, squid, and octopus, which are most active at night when sites take on an entirely different character.

Strong, constant currents will take you on some of the most exciting (cliché: adrenaline charged) drifts of your life, along (cliché: amazing) vertical walls that plunge down to 70 meters or more with (cliché: spectacular) caves and overhangs. Walls covered in many different (cliché: a kaleidoscope of) colored soft corals, forests of huge gorgonians and teaming with fish life.
Dedicated dive travelers can’t possibly go to dive heaven until they’ve done the Red Sea, and cruising between heaven and earth is a Liveaboard, to do this kind of diving there is no other way. The Egyptian Red Sea is blessed with many terrific liveaboard dive operations. They vary in size and amenities on board, itineraries offered and most are very professional. There are liveaboard holidays to suit all pockets, and as they say “you get what you pay for” (sorry about the cliché), but how can you be sure of that? With so many companies campaigning and lauding themselves as the greatest, how can you be sure that what they say is really true?

Your boat can be new, clean and comfortable and the crew can be very good, turning your holiday into a trip of a lifetime (oops! another cliché), but it might be without all the trimmings. I’m talking about a level of professionalism that only comes with years of experience, personal service, comfort and luxury, vessels fitted out with every modern aid you can imagine and what you don’t see - below the decks (the machinery) there are no compromises – if you cant afford a private yacht of your own you join a top-end liveaboard charter and no you don’t need to be a millionaire but you will be treated like one. So, of all the operations doing the Egyptian Red Sea area, which of these floating temples to diving actually live up to the hype?


To help you choose, we have done the hard work and sifted out the diamonds from the grains of sand to bring you the Red Sea’s 10 key players in the liveaboards game and here they are sharing the secrets of their excess.


"The secret of our success is customer service, customer service, customer service. From the point of booking onwards, we constantly strive to exceed our guests' expectations. Once they step aboard we want them to feel totally at home, and we do everything in our power to meet all their needs. Listening and responding to their requests, and attention to detail, help us ensure we have happy guests. In short; the guest is king."

Boats: MY Cyclone, MY Hurricane, MY Excel, MY Royal Emperor. Further information: www.tornadomarinefleet.com



 “Sea Serpent Fleet Management earned its long-standing reputation as a quality luxury diving liveaboard operator through years of experience and by building one of the finest liveaboard fleets in the Red Sea. The locally owned and managed operation is committed to providing the highest level of service and diver satisfaction through continuous improvement and the careful selection of its highly experienced and professional crew and team of dive guides.”
Boats: MY Sea Serpent, MY Greta, MY Obsession, MY Marine, MY Miss Nouran, MY Mermaid, MY Lady Sarah.
Further information: www.seaserpentfleet.com



“I would say that for the French guests, they are looking for a nice atmosphere on board, they want to have a strong relation with the guides and the crews. Of course they like to have en suite bathrooms and nitrox on board but the first priority is the relationships. It's the main reason why our groups keep coming back every year, because they enjoy having parties on board with the staff and to share the simple things… smoking shisha with the Captain, learning belly dancing with the crew members, they like our way to be straight forward and decontract at the same time. Everyday I am in contact by email with my guests, they have the feeling of being unique and not a file number, the contact is very important with this nationality. They also like our great food on board, as any good French should!!!”
Boats: M/Y Ghani, M/Y Nemo, M/Y Muad Dib, M/Y Din 1.
Further information: www.duneredsea.com


Because of our long standing presence in the Red Sea since 1976 (first as divers & later as a group of liveaboard owners) we feel it is important to advise divers regarding the combination of the price & quality offered. Many holiday makers are unaware of the many ways in which their precious holiday can be ruined. Taking a chance with a bargain basement operator is not worth it. Divers Fleet realize how precious our client's time is, we can guarantee a successful and unforgettable vacation through our policy of high standards and ongoing improvement. Diver's needs are the major but not the only point of our concern, in particular it is our luxurious motor yachts with brand new machinery which set us apart. Divers Fleet is operated by a highly experienced and professional team who are at all times concerned about our client’s safety, enjoyment and comfort aboard.Boats: MY Dolce Vita, MY Excellence, MY Sir Cousteau.
Further information: www.diversfleet.com


The secret of our success is maintaining the highest standards from top to bottom. With German management and a team of experienced and specially trained European dive guides, we do our utmost to ensure our diving guests receive a service which is second to none. When it comes to the maintenance of our boats, technical standards, and safety equipment there are no compromises and the highest standards are attained to. We have the best buffets over-water (on the Red Sea), Egyptian/ German/ Mediterranean flavors. Boats: MY Thunderbird, MY Firebird, MY Icebird, MY Stormbird.
Further information: www.deepblue-cruises.com



We have just celebrated our 10th year as providers of top quality holidays in the Egyptian Red Sea. Service is our success. We know that holiday time is precious and we will make your time with us an unforgettable experience. Highest standards of boats: First Class and Diamond Class. The best cooked meals in the Red Sea. Extremely comfortable stylish accomodation. Plenty of space to relax whilst not diving either in the saloon or on the numerous sundecks. Full audio visual equipment. Maximum technical safety of all our liveaboards is guaranteed by regular check-ups according to international standards. This ensures that your diving holiday is not just a luxurious, but also safe pleasure. Offering full charters and individual bookings to the most popular sites & tailor-made holidays upon request. Boats: Heaven Diamond, Heaven Saphir, Heaven Freedom, Heaven Liberty.
Further information: www.diversheaven.com


M.V. Valerie is the perfect vessel for a truly blissed out diving holiday. Practicality, style and comfort, the vessel has all the facilities that you would expect of a 5 star liveaboard plus a few extra special features, including en-suite cabins, International cuisine, TV / DVD and sound system including Karaoke in the spacious saloon, roving permit for all the Egyptian Red Sea, for tank fills air and nitrox are available on board and all other gases can be arranged, two Zodiacs, and personal service catering to your every need and whim. All in all the Valerie has everything that you could want from a liveaboard diving holiday, whether you want to lounge on the sun-drenched sun deck, or jump into the Red Sea to get a little more action. Boat: M/Y Valerie.
Further information: www.nemofleet.com

Diving World

Diving World Red Sea offers all round services for underwater diving cruises in the Red Sea and are the best possible way of experiencing every aspect of the marine world. Obliging crews and expert underwater guides are the main stays of a professional and seaworthy staff. All our cruisers, whether superior and luxury, are guaranteed to provide both safety and comfort. Before departure, the Diving World offices are at the complete service of its clients for the renting of any equipment, and the solution of last minute problems.
Boats: MY Excellence, MY Sea Serpent, MY Suzanna, MY Cyclone, MY Farouk, MY Rosetta, MY Royal Emperor, MY Sir Cousteau. Further information: www.divingworldredsea.com



 Orca diving liveaboard cruises uniquely superior German style runs through everything we do. Orca provides the ultimate vessels for you and you’re at liberty to indulge in as much of our superb cuisine, leading-edge facilities, and no-problem service as you like, as well as the comfortable cabins and informal atmosphere making it easy for you to relax and enjoy discovering the world of the Red Sea. Any itinerary can be tailored to whatever inspires you.
Service, tailor made trips, Boats: MY Beau Rivage, MY Sea Wisper. Further information: www.orca.de




Based on the prominent success of the MY Royal Emperor and our three key concepts; guarantee, authenticity and innovation, the MY Royal Evolution is currently under construction at her final stage built under the full survey of the International Survey or "Bureau Veritas" where there is no compromising on the safety standard with the most exacting specifications and craftsmanship. We are offering two week itineraries sailing from Hurghada/ Port Ghaleb to Port Sudan and back. The MY Royal Evolution is due to launch in October 2005, with several discerning divers already booked as its first guests. Boat: MY Royal Evolution Further information: www.royalevolution.com



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