Frequently Asked Questions: Egypt

Do I need a VISA?

All visitors to Egypt require tourist VISA, which is valid for one month from the day it was issued. The average cost for a tourist VISA is $25 US dollars and can be purchased at the airport upon arrival.

Where can I get a VISA?

Check with your local travel agencies and tour operators for a tourist VISA. If you do not get a visa before arriving in Egypt, you can buy it inside the airport upon arrival.

What currency can I use in Egypt?

Most businesses and banks accept any currency however, the exchange rates may vary. Travelers checks are not widely accepted and may be difficult to cash. Exchange rates may vary. Exchange offices typically offer better exchange rates.

What should I pack for the trip?

The atmosphere on board the Royal Evolution is always relaxed and casual. You’ll spend your days in bathing suits and casual wear. Bring shorts or jeans, T-shirts and a windbreaker. Also bring a hat, suntan lotion (non-oil) and sunglasses. In winter, a sweatshirt or sweater is advisable.

What is the meal like?

We serve three gourmet meals a day. Snacks and fresh fruits are always available. A selection of beverages is always on hand, from soft drinks and juices, to beer, wine and rum drinks.

What is the electricity standard and what sockets are available?

The Royal Evolution has standard 220 volt electricity. Charging stations will accommodate European and U.S. guests with 110 volt electricity sockets.

What is the common language spoken on board?

English and German.

Will we have mobile network coverage in Egypt?

You'll have connection most of the time apart from the remote location when we sail far from the shoreline.

Are there any diving experience restrictions?

Yes, please note that all the participants joining any itineraries/trips which include any of the offshore islands, must be at least advanced divers certified with a minimum of 50 Dives logged on their logbook.

Where is the nearest hyperbaric chamber?

Currently there are two full service hyperbaric chambers located in Hurghada that are prepared to manage diving-related accidents. In addition there are chambers in Sharm el Sheikh, El Gouna and Marsa Alam.

Frequently Asked Questions: Sudan

How do the local authorities deal with these kinds of trips? Two countries on one trip - any hassle with bureaucracy?

The authorities of each country are getting used to this kind of trips, at the beginning (first two trips) the authorities in both countries were very strict as they were not used to this kind of trips & getting confused to treat the permission as diving trip or passenger ship doing a short international voyage between two countries with passengers. Then things are getting smoother & became more flexible, on each trip now we feel that the permissions procedures & time are getting shorter than before.

Where is the embarkation & dis-embarkation port for the Sudan trips?

Port Ghaleb jetty (10 minutes from Marsa Alam airport) or (220Km south of Hurghada).

How many visa entries do I need for Egypt?

Two Egyptian Visa entries, one upon your arrival at the Airport, the other one upon your arrival back from the Sudan trip at Port Ghalib.

Do I have to arrange & pay my own Egyptian Visa by myself?

The first entry visa at the airport will be issued for you according to your agreement with your travel agent if it’s included or not in your holiday package. The second one will be arranged & paid for by the boat at Port Ghalib as it’s included in your tour package.

What about the Sudan entry Visa? Do I have to arrange my own Visa for Sudan?

We organize for you the Sudan entry Visa. You will need only one entry Visa for Sudan, we or your travel agent will send you the Visa application form (in Word format) which have to be filled by you & send it back to us or travel agent with a scanned passport copy one month before the departure day, accordingly we’ll send them to our agent in Port Sudan who arrange in advanced the Sudan entry Visa for you before our arrival to Port Sudan and will be issue & stamped on your passport upon our arrival to Port Sudan.

Is there any restriction to obtain the Sudan entry Visa?

Not at all.

How many empty pages are required on my passport for Egypt & Sudan Visa?

We'll need 4 empty pages on your passport, since you'll receive 2 entry Visa for Egypt and the Sudan entry Visa will need 2 empty pages.

What about the passport expiration date?

According to Sudan regulations the passport should have a minimum 6 months passport validity to issue the Sudan visa.

At what time does the boat start sailing from Port Ghalib?

The Royal Evolution starts sailing at night, as soon as the last guest embarks & finishes all the immigration procedures. Embarkation time must be before 9:00pm.

How long are the immigration procedures in Egypt?

As soon as the last guest embarks, we send all the passports with our representative to Marsa Alam airport to get them stamped out of the country, on his way back to Port Ghalib jetty we’ll ask all the guests to move to the international transit hall which is situated 20 meters from the boat, then the Royal Evolution move to the international area in front of the transit hall. The guests embark again to the boat & start sailing. The duration from the time the guests move to the transit hall to embark again is approximately 30 - 60 minutes.

How long are the immigration procedures in Sudan?

We arrive at Port Sudan port at approx 9:00AM (depending on weather condition) on the third day of the trip, as soon as the boat is moored our agent in Port Sudan arrives at the boat with all the authorities representatives (Passports, Customs, Health, etc...). In approx 2 to 3 hours we have all the passports stamped with the Sudan visa, having our diving permissions with us & the boat leaves the port to start the amazing diving in Sudan.

Why do we have to pay 470 Euro & 155 USD “205 USD for Americans” for Sudan entry visa, local taxes, etc... isn't this cost very high ? And what does that fee include ?

The fact that this kind of trip includes 2 countries and is considered as a short international voyage, we have to deal with several local authorities in both countries to receive our permissions. These fees include the following:

  • Two entry visas to Egypt and one visa for Sudan
  • Local taxes in Egypt
  • Local taxes & marine park fees in Sudan
  • Port charges in Egypt & Sudan
  • Passport control fees in Egypt & Sudan
  • Customs control fees in Egypt & Sudan
  • Health control fees in Egypt & Sudan
  • State security fees in Egypt & Sudan
  • Port security fees in Egypt & Sudan
  • Sanitary authorities fees in Egypt & Sudan

Are we going off the boat in Port Sudan?

No one is going out of the boat in Port Sudan, we’re staying onboard this couple of hours as all the authorities are visiting us onboard to finish the immigration procedures so no need to go out of the boat.

So, we cannot touch any land in Sudan?

You’ll touch Sudan land if you decide to visit the lighthouse of Sanganeb reef, which we advise you to visit, it’s really a remarkable visit that you don’t have to miss.

And what about the immigration when coming back to Egypt?

We normally arrive back to Port Ghalib jetty at 10:00AM on the last day of the trip (depending on weather conditions), on our return your passports disappear again to Marsa Alam airport. You remain on the boat until the passports are delivered back. This could take a couple of hours or more while you'll be having breakfast, snacks , packing your luggage and settling bills. When they come back you walk through the immigration area with all your luggage. This takes just a few minutes. You then are transferred to the hotel or airport.

How long is the Sudan trip?

The distance from Port Ghaleb to Port Sudan is approximately 450 Nautical Miles.

Are we going to miss any day diving because of the long sailing?

The Royal Evolution is always sailing at night, only the second day of the trip we’ll have only one morning dive at Shalalat reef (55 Nautical Miles south of St.John reef). Also it has to be noted that on the fourth day of the trip (Arriving day to Port Sudan) we could miss the 1st and second day dives depending on the time we have the green light from the port state to go out of the port.

Should we be able to sleep while sailing at night?

Yes of course, a lot of care has been taken into consideration before & during building the Royal Evolution regarding the sound insulation in the engine room & the cabins. The most advanced marine technology has been used to reduce the sound to the maximum, even our main powerful propulsion engines are set on shock absorber mounts with a flexible coupling to reduce the noise to the maximum.
The Royal Evolution is very stable & nearly 40m long and made of steel so she is heavy and takes bad weather in her stride which is remarkable, appreciated & noted by all our previous guests.

What about the rest of the dives during the trip? And how many dives can we expect to do during the whole trip?

We are doing approx 39 dives including night dives during the13 nights Sudan trip. Three day dives & one night dive everyday except the second day of the trip we do only one morning dive & the third day of the trip (arrival day to Port Sudan) we are doing two or one day dives & one or two night dives.

How many days of diving in Sudan & Egypt?

We are doing 9 full days of diving in Sudan waters & two full days of diving & one morning day dive in Egypt waters. 7 dives in Egyptian water & 32 dives in Sudan water.

Do you have any diving experience recommendations for joining any Sudan trip?

On many dive sites in Sudan we are expecting variable current, so it’s strongly recommended to have at least 50 dives logged to join any of the Sudan trips.

Do you have spare diving equipment for rent?

We always have 7 full sets of diving equipment available onboard for rent, also we have a stock of spare parts for sale such as mouthpiece, Mask & Fins Strap, LP & HP Hose, Power Inflator hose, etc...

Are Nitrox fills available onboard?

Yes, we have a different range of Nitrox fills with our membrane system, from 32% up to 40%, should you require more than 40% O2 we can run our booster pump connected to our O2 bank system (Certification required). Indeed we strongly recommend diving on Nitrox for the whole trip.

Why is Nitrox not free since many other live aboard operators are offering the Nitrox for free ?

With all the respect to all our colleagues & partners which own or operate diving liveaboard, it has to be clear that no one is offering the Nitrox for free, they are just adding the price of the Nitrox to the cruise price since the Nitrox membrane system is very expensive & very costly to be properly maintain. We can easily add the Nitrox cost to the cruise price & advertise that Nitrox is free but we believe that this is unfair since many of our valuable guests are still diving on normal air and we definitely see it's not fair to charge guests who are not using this service.

I have my own Rebreather, can you fill 100% O2? And can we rent the Buddy tanks from you?

Yes, we can supply 100% O2 up to 200 Bar, and we can also rent for you the Buddy tanks & Manifold if you do not want to carry them from home, just we need to be advised two weeks before the trip.

Can we take any speciality courses while we are onboard?

Our permanent instructors will be pleased to offer you any courses you would like to take during your dive holiday.

Will there be lots of sharks?

Definitely - The amount and variety will vary from trip to trip.

What species of sharks do we see?

Always lots of grey reef sharks - and unlike the grey in Egypt, they don't mind people around them so they hang around. White tip reef sharks are also common but rarely get a mention because of the Hammerheads, the Silkies, the Silvertips , the Tiger, the Lemon Shark and the Whale Shark (in decreasing likelihood of sightings).
Our dive guides are doing their best in order to show you what you are looking for and to meet your expectation from such itinerary & we always cross our fingers at the beginning of the trip to have the most enjoyable encounter but you have to be realistic & to believe that we are searching for wild animals in the blue and that we do not hide them in cages.

Have you really seen all those Sharks?

Yes.

Will I see big schools of Hammerheads?

The biggest we've seen was about 200 +. We have seen schools of around 40 on several occasions and schools of 20 - 30 on a number of dives. It's more common to see 10+ together or a solitary Hammerhead.

What else will I see?

All your typical Red Sea stuff that you are used to seeing in Egypt. Plus the possibility of huge Schools of Bumphead Parrotfish. That is 'schools' not 'a school'.

Any Wrecks?

Yes ,one. Umbria is a big crowd pleaser. World War 2 wreck with lots of munitions still onboard and 3 cars. We typically do one to two day dives and one or 2 night dives on her.

Do we get to do a night dive on the Umbria Wreck?

Yes.

Are there any other advantages of diving in Sudan?

As a matter of fact most of the Sudan dive sites are untouched reefs due to the few liveaboards operating in the area which means very rich marine life, the formation of hard, soft corals & amount of fishes are stunning, the landscape of many dive sites are terrific.
Also it has to be noted that one of the big advantage to dive the Sudan is the few divers you’re seeing on the dive sites, since there is only few boats operating from Port Sudan you are almost alone on most dive sites & it’s very rare to see other divers or other boats on the same dive sites, which give you a very special feeling to be alone instead of finding dive sites crowded with divers & bubbles.

To what extent is the published Sudan itinerary respected?

We always do our best to respect the itinerary published as far as the weather conditions permitted, however there are some factors which force the captain to change some dive sites, as well it has to be understandable that we try on each trip to find a nice new dive site which take maximum one or half day at the end of the trip.

Will my mobile phone work in Sudan?

Not often. If you have roaming and can link with Vodafone networks then your phone will work around the Port Sudan area. And not much further. Just around the border we pick up a network for about an hour.

Is there a way for family / business to get in touch with me while I'm away?

Yes we have a satellite phone. Only 3 euros a minute which is almost the cost & probably cheaper than your mobile, it works everywhere all the time.

WiFi?

Yes, but limited unless we’re close to the shore in Egypt or Sudan and free of charge for all our guests.

How many dive guides are onboard?

We run all the Sudan trips with our permanent three dive guides.

What is the common language spoken on board?

English & German.

Are credit cards accepted onboard?

Yes, VISA & Master Cards are acceptable onboard, but sorry we do not accept travelers checks.

Do you need more information?

Call the hotline, and we`ll help you choose your trip

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