Scuba divers choose to travel on some of the best liveaboards in the Red Sea for a number of reasons. Chief among them are intact shipwrecks, schools of sharks, and colorful coral reefs. You can see reef sharks, oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, tigers, and thresher sharks throughout the region. In addition, whale sharks, dugongs, and dolphins may surprise lucky divers. And, there are more than 800 species of Red Sea fish, with at least 10% of those endemic to the region.
While diving in Egypt and Sudan, you’ll find a variety of underwater environments, including sheer walls, vibrant reefs, pinnacles and open ocean drifts. Some of the most popular dive sites are the area’s shipwrecks. The SS Thistlegorm is even considered one of the world’s best dive sites.
The distance between the best dive sites in remote sections of Egypt and Sudan means the Red Sea is best traveled by liveaboard. In this article, we share some of the best liveaboards in Egypt and Sudan, including:
- The Best Luxury Liveaboard
- The Best Mid-Range Liveaboard
- The Best Budget Liveaboard
- The Best Technical Liveaboard
- The Best Educational Liveaboard
- The Best Eco Travel Liveaboard
- The Best Liveaboard for Those with Fewer Than 10 Dives
Keep reading to learn more about the best liveaboards in the Red Sea.
Best Luxury Liveaboard: MV Emperor Elite
The MV Emperor Elite is the most luxurious vessel in the Emperor Fleet and one of the best-equipped boats sailing the Red Sea.
Aboard the Emperor Elite, your luxury experience will begin below the water where you’ll enjoy at least 18 to 21 dives during every itinerary. There are two dive professionals on each trip to answer all your questions and a huge dive deck ensures everyone has space for gearing up. In addition, Nitrox is provided free of charge.
As winners of the 2020 “Best Liveaboard Worldwide”, you know the Emperor Elite’s luxury treatment continues above the surface. On board, you’ll enjoy an air-conditioned saloon and dining area, a bar, three sundecks, and 5-star cuisine including complimentary dinner wine. WiFi is also provided for free. And each of the cabins is elegantly decorated. Particularly noteworthy is the premium upper-deck Executive Suite (added in 2017) and the Junior Suite’s panoramic sea views.
You’ll truly want for nothing on the MV Emperor Elite, one of the best liveaboards in Egypt for luxury vacations.
Best Mid-Range Liveaboard: MY Discovery I
The MY Discovery I (Previously the MY Amelia) was designed specifically for scuba divers in order to provide the ultimate dive safari. With a great mix of amenities and a middle-of-the-road price point, this liveaboard graces our list as the best mid-range liveaboard.
First and foremost, you’ll enjoy everything in the Red Sea from this yacht. MY Discovery I offers up to four dives a day, with 18 to 23 total dives on a seven-night itinerary. For deep divers, Nitrox comes free of charge, while experienced dive instructors are available in case you want to get certified for Nitrox onboard. With at least eight different Red Sea routes to choose from, you can visit the region again and again.
Back on board, the MY Discovery I doesn’t disappoint. Eight crew members attend the 20 guests, who are accommodated in 10 comfortable cabins. There’s a large sundeck for relaxing between dives, and the onboard bar will surely be a meeting point for you and your dive buddies after a long day’s diving. As additional perks, WiFi is available for free, and the price includes airport transfers.
Weighing in at under USD $1000 per week, the MY Discovery I is one of the best Red Sea liveaboards for divers who want a good mix of amenities and price.
Best Budget Liveaboard: MY JP Marine
The MY JP Marine is a budget liveaboard that looks and acts like a more expensive boat. This dive safari will impress you with the number of amenities you’ll have for the price.
The experienced and professional JP Marine crew will make sure your safari is the best possible experience. In particular, the dive pros will ensure dives are timed with regard to season in order to see the best Red Sea creatures. For your comfort, dives take place from easy-to-enter tenders, so divers can get quickly and safely to the best point of entry for each site.
Unlike most budget boats, the JP Marine boasts 14 private twin cabins. Each is equipped with individual climate controls and a private bathroom with a hot-water shower and sink. When you aren’t in your room, you can take in the incredible ocean views from the two sundecks or grab a drink at the bar.
If you want to dive Egypt or Sudan but are worried about the cost, the MY JP Marine is a great choice. It’s one of the best liveaboards in the Red Sea for divers on a budget!
Best Technical Liveaboard: MV Tala
The MV Tala is undoubtedly one of the best liveaboards in the Red Sea for experienced divers looking to make the most of their PADI TecRec certification. It explores both Egyptian and Sudanese dive sites, including Jacques Cousteau’s mysterious Précontinent II.
This liveaboard can cater for new and recreational divers. However, it specializes in advanced, technical, and deep cave diving, such as Elphinstone’s Arch or the wrecks of the Zealot or Numidia. As well as technical gases and rebreather facilities, there are underwater scooters available for rent. You won’t want to miss Abu Nahhas’ four-wreck scooter dive!
On board, the MV Tala accommodates up to 22 divers. There are 11 en-suite cabins with air conditioning, including a triple cabin ideal for a family. There’s also a saloon, sundeck and spacious kitting-up deck to ensure both diving and downtime are comfortable.
Looking to combine deep diving with the unspoilt, remote delights of the Red Sea? Consider a trip on the MV Tala.
Best Educational Liveaboard: MY Blue Melody
Named Sport Diver’s ‘Best Liveaboard’ in 2013, the spacious MY Blue Melody accommodates up to 26 people across 13 en-suite cabins, each with its own air conditioning and personal media system. The saloon, bar and Sky Lounge guarantee relaxation and entertainment between dives.
As you might expect, this luxury liveaboard reaches the Red Sea’s best dive sites, including the SS Thistlegorm and The Brothers. But if you’re a budding conservationist or shark advocate, Blue Melody offers something special: the chance to learn and dive with Project Shark.
Project Shark trips include seminars by an experienced onboard marine biologist. As well as learning about shark biology and behavior, you’ll take home knowledge about global issues facing sharks and how you can protect them. And, of course, you’ll get to dive with several shark species on the Red Sea’s most beautiful off-shore reefs.
To enrich your Red Sea experience, look no further than MY Blue Melody‘s Project Shark. It’s the best Red Sea liveaboard itinerary for shark lovers!
Best Eco Travel Liveaboard: Snefro Pearl
Discover eco-conscious luxury in the Red Sea with the Snefro Pearl. This refurbished ISO-certified vessel redefines diving experiences, seamlessly melding safety with exhilarating itineraries that unveil the Red Sea’s hidden gems. Dive enthusiasts will be able to explore iconic wrecks, like the SS Thistlegorm and the mystical ‘graveyard’ of Abu Nuhas. They will also have the opportunity to dive alongside stunning reefs and encounter numerous shark species at the Straits of Tiran.
What sets this liveaboard apart is its dedication to enhancing every dive. Offering complimentary Nitrox and the option for dives from both the mothership and zodiacs, it tailors each experience to the unique allure of the dive sites visited. The vessel itself is a sanctuary of comfort and luxury, featuring two air-conditioned salons, free WiFi, splendid sundecks and spacious dining areas—all designed for tranquil, post-dive relaxation.
With a maximum capacity of 12 guests, the Snefro Pearl ensures an intimate and personalized journey. Ideal for groups seeking an indulgent yet eco-friendly adventure, this liveaboard truly has the perfect combination of luxuriousness, intimacy and environmentalism.
Best Liveaboard for Those with Fewer Than 10 Dives: MY Sea Dragon
Embarking on an underwater adventure with fewer than 10 dives under your belt might seem daunting. But, don’t worry! The MY Sea Dragon is designed to ease you into the wonders below, even as a beginner. Specially crafted for diving enthusiasts, the MY Sea Dragon‘s classic routes through the Red Sea present an opportunity to explore the finest of Hurghada’s underwater marvels.
Beyond the dives, this liveaboard boasts a thoughtful design for post-dive relaxation and enjoyment. With amenities like WiFi, a library stocked with books, games, a well-stocked bar and large open spaces for social opportunities, this Red Sea ship ensures that every moment onboard is as enriching as the dives themselves.
Additionally, for the avid underwater photographers, the onboard digital photo and video center provides the perfect space to review and relive the day’s mesmerizing shots. Between dives, guests have the freedom to indulge in snorkeling, discover secluded beaches, or simply unwind in the various relaxation areas. All in all, the MY Sea Dragon crafts an unforgettable experience for novice divers, blending the thrill of exploration with the luxury of relaxation.
Red Sea Liveaboard Diving Logistics
Liveaboards in Egypt and Sudan can depart from any number of ports. However, Port Sudan, Marsa Alam, Hurghada, Sharm El Sheikh, and Safaga Port are the most popular. The typical length of liveaboard journeys is six or seven nights, but some Red Sea liveaboards offer eight to 10-night itineraries.
While most liveaboard itineraries are suitable to all levels of divers, some may require Advanced Open Water Diver, tec, or wreck diving certifications. Southern routes are particularly good for more advanced divers.
What is the Best Time of Year to Dive in the Red Sea?
The best time to dive the various Red Sea destinations is from March to May and September to November. From December to February, you’ll have the best chances of spotting oceanic whitetips and hammerheads, plus the best visibility. March to May is whale shark season, while you’ll find the best liveaboard deals from June to August. Finally, September to November is the best time to spot thresher sharks as well as manta rays in Sudan.
Book One of the Best Liveaboards in the Red Sea Today!
These seven Red Sea liveaboards were hand-picked by our scuba diving experts, but there are a many more boats available. To see the full list of trips available in the Red Sea, head over to PADI Travel. Our travel team is on hand 24/7 by chat, email and phone to help you book a dream Red Sea liveaboard vacation. It will be one of the best decisions you ever make!