This June I went on a Red Sea liveaboard with Blue O Two on M/Y Horizon to see Simply The Best and what a trip it was! Simply the best is a collection of the larger, more spectacular reefs in the Red Sea. You start with a check dive close to port then head to The Brothers, Daedelus, Elphinstone and other dive sites depending on the weather. You're on the water for a full five days with only the first and last nights spent in port where you can visit the shops and restaurants if you like. On my trip I saw more shoaling Scalloped Hammerheads than I could count, a 6-7m Whale Shark, Reef Sharks and a plethora of vivid marine life in clear warm water. Great guides, an amazing crew and an organised boat made the trip fun and safe for all of the divers, I'll definitely be diving with Blue O Two again.
M/Y Horizon is a floating hotel with 13 cabins, four decks, a bar, a Jacuzzi, two lounges and plenty of giant bean bags to chill out on in between dives. The liveaboard has won numerous awards and I can see why; it was probably the most organised and feature-full liveaboard I've been on. Rebreather and Tec friendly M/Y Horizon has a membrane Nitrox system and a technical blending panel for advanced divers. The lower deck is mostly cabins, most of which have a double and a single bed with en-suite shower/toilets, four twin share cabins and four king suites make space for up to twenty six divers to call Horizon home. Mid deck houses the dive deck and dining area. The dive deck is well thought out and spacious with an ID tag system that tells the guides who is in the water at a glance and informs the crew where your unit should go. The dining area has two large dining tables where breakfast lunch and dinner is served daily. The upper deck comprises of an outdoor covered seating area where your dive briefings usually take place and most people relax between dives. You can step straight into the Sky Lounge which is air conditioned and has a bar where you will find free soft drinks and a beer fridge which runs on a trust system to mark down what you drink. Also in the lounge are plenty of power points and a multimedia system to watch films or look at your pictures and listen to music. Walking around the lounge to the bow will take you to the Jacuzzi where you can unwind with new friends. Top deck is purely for the sun lovers, cushioned sun loungers scatter the deck and some can be moved so you can bathe in the sun during your surface interval.
Anybody who's been on a Red Sea Liveaboard will know it is a holiday that is mainly focused on diving and not relaxing. Life on the boat is regimented and actually Pavlovian. As with most Red Sea Liveaboards there is a bell on the dive deck which tells you when it's time for a dive briefing and when it's time to eat, when you're not diving you're usually eating and when you're not eating you're usually diving. A day on M/Y Horizon actually starts the evening before with you choosing how you want your eggs for breakfast and what drink you would like to be woken up with. You're woken at around 06:00-07:00 for the first dive briefing and you have breakfast when you get back. You can of course opt out of any dive in favour of a lie in if you prefer but risk missing something amazing in the first dive of the day. Lunch and dinner consist of a fresh buffet style meal with the occasional three course meal at dinner time. The crew cater for all allergies and cook everything from scratch, they even have ingredients to bake a cake out at sea for somebodies birthday. After dinner everyone chats before descending to their cabins to rest for a brand new day.
I can highly recommend Blue Horizon, M/Y Horizon and Simply The Best, it was probably the best trip to the Red Sea I have ever been on, and I've been quite a few times. The current on each of the dive sites brings the marine life to the reef but means that you need to be comfortable with negative RHIB entry and exits but even if you don't go on all dives you spend a week on a luxury yacht!