Considering Red Sea for First Liveaboard. Questions...

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Guitarcrazy

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My wife and I have been diving for almost 4 years now. We have done Cozumel 9 times, Puerto Vallarta, AKR in Roatan, and I have dove Southern California. We both have advanced open water. My kids (23 and 21) are both open water, and have two Cozumel trips (20 dives) in their logbook. I want to branch out to other destinations. Red Sea looks great, and pretty reasonably priced. Questions:

Which route would you recommend for first trip?

Any issues with OW divers? Cozumel has some moderate currents and my kids did well there. Any need to get more experience before bringing them to Red Sea?

Any hesitance bringing grown kids to Red Sea? I have been to the middle east many times, but in my experiences the women are treated differently (especially in Saudi Arabia, which I don't think I will return to).

My daughter is a vegetarian. Are they able to accommodate different diets on the boats?

Rental gear ok? My wife and I have our own gear, but kids are still renting.

I would like to sight see in Egypt as well. I would guess it is better to plan sightseeing before diving in case of trip delays.

4 days of sightseeing enough to take in most of the major sites? Any suggestions for combo bookings? I think Aggressor will do an add-on sightseeing package?

Thanks in advance.
 

Lorenzoid

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Having done only one Red Sea liveaboard, I’m hardly the expert. I chose the northern itinerary that is considered the classic: Brothers-Daedalus-Elphinstone. I would say the diving itself—at leas the BDE route—was no more challenging than Cozumel.

We chose to visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings before the trip for the reason you stated: to give any stray bags a chance to catch up. We spent 3 days in Luxor, and that was about right. Some people do it in 2. Really, the main sites around Luxor could be seen in one day. We had seen Cairo and the pyramids on a previous trip, and probably spent 3 days there. Get a private guide with a car for maximum efficiency, as I suspect most of us do. It’s all very affordable.

The places visited by foreigners, such as the whole Red Sea coast, are accustomed to our needs and habits. I haven’t been to Saudi Arabia, but I think Egypt is much more welcoming to foreigners. Liveaboards and hotels are accustomed to vegetarians. And veggie food is excellent in Egypt in my opinion.

Have fun!
 
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Guitarcrazy

Guitarcrazy

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Thanks Lorenzoid. What did you do with your scuba bags while you were sightseeing? I am not looking forward to schlepping 8 pieces of luggage around Egypt while we sight see. My Mares Backpack Pro is certainly not small, but it does hold two BCDS, wetsuits, 2 sets of fins, etc. It isn't bad going to Coz as we only cart it to the hotel and back to airport. Moving from city to city in Egypt with lots of bags doesn't sound like a lot of fun.
 

Lorenzoid

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Thanks Lorenzoid. What did you do with your scuba bags while you were sightseeing? I am not looking forward to schlepping 8 pieces of luggage around Egypt while we sight see. My Mares Backpack Pro is certainly not small, but it does hold two BCDS, wetsuits, 2 sets of fins, etc. It isn't bad going to Coz as we only cart it to the hotel and back to airport. Moving from city to city in Egypt with lots of bags doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

We only visited one city, Luxor, and from there we went on to the liveaboard. Keep in mind that you will almost never have to load or unload a bag yourself, as your driver—there are usually two in your van—will load and unload it all for you. The expected tip or “baksheesh” is the equivalent of a dollar or so—for eight bags maybe a little more. I suspect that if there are bags you don’t want in your hotel room, the hotel can offer a storage area. I got the impression there is no such word as “impossible.” Anything can be arranged, generally at a low cost. I felt almost embarrassed receiving this kind of fawning service. But they need the employment.
 

ontdiver

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I have visited Egypt a number of times, including an organized tour; a land-based dive holiday in Sharm and a LOB - Aggressor - out of Pt Ghalib.

Your adult children are not going to encounter any difficulties. Like everywhere in the region, however - and you know this already - women of any age should dress modestly outside of tourist areas.

As you start reviewing LOB options, consider reaching out to them regarding dietary requirements. While the menus are varied, you will want to signal this in advance.

The quality of rental equipment is going to vary from operator to operator. Ideally, they will already have their own masks and fins.

There are lots of options for excursions. 4 days would certainly allow you to cover the highlights. Doing a tour before the boat is a good idea and will give you some background on culture, history and cuisine, before you hit the water. Everyone will also have picked up a few words of Arabic that will endear you to the crew.

You might also want to spend a couple of days in advance at a resort to get in some diving before you board the boat. This might benefit your children if they have not been in the water for awhile. Doing a check out dive off a LOB can be a bit more intimidating than from shore.

Think about getting everyone Nitrox certified if not already done so.
 

Tribal

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My daughter is a vegetarian. Are they able to accommodate different diets on the boats?

My gf has the same disease :)
If you mention it while booking they will pay attention and make sure you have something to eat as vegetarian. The crew is always friendly and they try but don’t expect to have a lot of choice.

We did 3 LoBs in Egypte, in 2 months we go for the 4th. Personally I did like the north wreck route the most, but I prefer wrecks over fish.
A lot of people like BDE but after 2 days I was bored hanging there watching the sharks again.

Never did explore Egypte outside of the harbour area, we don’t like the mentality that a lot of people have there. That’s also a personal opinion ofcourse.
 

noserider

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Whose mentality do you not like Tourists or locals? If it is the locals the problem is probably with you sir, you are in their country and need to adapt and accept their cultures.
 

divezonescuba

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We did our first liveaboard in Egypt. We actually spent 3 days in Cairo doing the pyramids and museum thing. We booked with Viator tours. After that, we spent a week shore diving in Dahab and then the week on the liveaboard.

We had input on the liveaboard menu.

We chose the classic northern route which include wrecks like the thislegorm, as well as, many reefs. We were quite happy with that. The only thing we missed out on was a lot of sharks since they don’t come up that far in June.

Many liveaboards specify certification levels and number of dives. They required us to send that well in advance.

A lot of the people in our group would not have made the trip by themselves. There were 11 of us and we did not encounter any problems.
 

Tribal

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Whose mentality do you not like Tourists or locals? If it is the locals the problem is probably with you sir, you are in their country and need to adapt and accept their cultures.

we easily adapt to most things. I also said it was a personal opinion.
 

Dan

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I just came back from Red Sea 6 weeks ago with Red Sea Aggressor. It is certainly a good time to go there now when the cost is still depressed.

BDE Trip Report, 21-28 December, 2019

I went to Luxor after the liveaboard trip. Booked the ground transportation & land tour through marsaalam.com and paying about half the cost that Aggressor.com quoted me.
 
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