Frequently Asked Questions
• Do I have to be a diver to join these trips?
No you don't. Just being on board a liveaboard of such elegance as Emperor Raja Laut is enticing. When divers are diving you can snorkel or relax on deck. There are also land excursions on many of our itineraries to see the Komodo dragons and so very much more.
As with many tropical countries, the climate is warm all year around, however, you should know that typically they have wet and dry seasons. For Indonesia, there is an east monsoon (June to September) which is the dry season whilst the west monsoon (December to March) is the wet season. Of course, there are also 'transitional' windows between these two seasons and you should expect days of glorious sunshine and occasional thunderstorms.
Even in the midst of the wet season temperatures range from 21°C (70°F) to 33°C (90°F) except at higher altitudes where it can be much cooler.
The heaviest rainfalls generally occur during December and January.
Average humidity is usually between 75% and 100%.
• What are the water temperatures?
Komodo: Average 26-28°C with usually clear blue waters and great visibility. Temperatures can be as low as 20°C when visiting South Komodo.
Banda Sea: Average water temperatures 26°C.
Raja Ampat: Average year-round temperatures 26-29°C.
We recommend a 3mm-5mm shortie or wetsuit for most trips and 5mm full suit with a hood for South Komodo.
• What marine life could I expect to see?
Komodo's best fishy action is normally April to October and you may expect to see manta in numbers at Manta Alley (South Komodo), Komodo Dragons, schooling jacks and trevally. Macro lovers; pygmy sea horses, ghost pipe fish, frog fish, nudibranchs and much more.
Raja Ampat's best encounters are generally November to May with a density of fish life and full spectrum of coral reef system. Carpet sharks (wobbegong), manta ray cleaning areas, schooling barracuda, jacks, trevally and the same macro critters as above.
Banda Sea's highlights are during March and October with everything we've mentioned so far, however less manta and carpet shark action but great chances of schooling hammerheads, threshers and sea snakes in their numbers.
Requirements vary from country to country so check with your GP regarding relevant requirements. Do tell your GP that you will be diving as some medication is not recommended for scuba divers.
All guests must have a passport valid for at least six more months after arrival and must have at least three blank/unstamped pages in the passport. Guests are responsible for checking with an Indonesian Embassy that, for the passport they hold, a visa can be issued on arrival in Indonesia. All visitors must be in possession of a return/onward flight ticket.
• Is my holiday payment protected?
Your money is protected. We know it's important and so for your FINANCIAL SECURITY, when you pay by credit card, all monies are held by Barclaycard Visa until your holiday takes place. You have peace of mind and so have we!
Port and marine park fees are NOT included in the price of your liveaboard and are chargeable on board at $20 dollars per person per night. All equipment rental, special tank requests and any on board purchases are paid locally and will include 10% sales tax.
• Diving equipment
We have ample storage space for your equipment and there is a spares box onboard. We suggest that you bring the following:
Mask, snorkel, fins, boots, wetsuit, regulator, BCD, SMB (with a minimum of 5 metres of line to deploy during the safety stop), reef hook, dive computer with spare batteries and a torch for any night dives.
The average water temperature is 27°C, however it can be as low as 20°C in South Komodo. We recommend a 3mm-5mm shortie or wetsuit for most trips and 5mm full suit with hood for South Komodo.
Equipment is available for rent from Emperor Indonesia and we ask that you pre-advise your equipment before you arrive on board. We need to know normal sizes, height, weight and shoe sizes to prepare the correctly sized equipment for you.
• Self-declaration medical
If you are taking part in a PADI course on board, you are required to a sign a PADI medical form prior to starting the course.
In both cases, if you have, or think you have, any of the medical conditions listed you will need signed clearance from a doctor valid within 12 months of your planned liveaboard. Where doctor's clearance is needed, we ask you to arrange this before arrival where possible and to bring it with you to avoid any delays, additional costs or even missing the trip.
Indonesia is spread over three time zones; the Western region (Jakarta) is GMT+7hrs, Central region (Manado, Bali, Makassar, Labuan Bajo) GMT+8hrs, and Eastern region (Sorong, Ambon, Saumlaki, Dobo, Kaimana) GMT+9hrs.
The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The majority of established hotels, shops and restaurants accept major credit cards but smaller establishments may not.
Note: Travellers' Cheques are NOT accepted at any bank or at any resort island in Indonesia.
• What currency should I bring?
All prices on board are in US Dollars and we accept in cash Euros, US Dollar, UK Sterling Pounds and IDR Rupiah. Payments in currencies other than USD will be converted at the current exchange rate using www.xe.com. Visa and MasterCard will be charged in USD and an invoice sent to the customer for payment. A 3% surcharge applies for credit card transactions.
If you want to have some local currency to hand, it's best to exchange your money at your arrival airport in Indonesia. If you have spent time in Indonesia beforehand then exchange your money at a bank or an official money-changer. Beware of roadside money-changers in Bali and never exchange currency with them as you will be scammed.
European round 2 pin using 220 volts AC 50Hz.
We do not have internet for guests' use at this time; however we are looking into this and hope to provide this service to our clients soon.
Guests are welcome to bring their own alcohol or favourite brand on board.
Alcohol is available to purchase on board; a beer is around 5 USD, spirits between 6-10 USD and a bottle of wine between 30-50 USD.
• What wetsuit should I bring?
It's really how much you do or don't feel the cold; we can tell you that the average water temperature is 27°C, if you are visiting South Komodo it can be as low as 20°C. We recommend a 3mm-5mm shortie or wetsuit will suit most divers and 5mm full suit with hood for South Komodo.
• How many divers are there?
Raja Laut has a maximum capacity of 12 guests on board.
• How many dive guides?
2 European guides and 1 local guide. Please note that all 3 guides may not be in the water at the same time.
• Do you use DIN or International tanks?
We have DIN tanks and INT adapters available on-board. We strongly advise divers with M26 regulators to bring adapters to fit to DIN tanks.
• What languages do your Instructors/Guides speak?
English only. However, if you are looking to do a course on board and would prefer study materials in a different language, please chat to our friendly and helpful reservations team and they will be happy to help you with any questions about our courses.
• What language materials do you have available for courses?
Emperor offers PADI Digital learning so that you can get started today, either at home on your PC/laptop or whilst travelling with your tablet or mobile device. Digital learning products are available in many different languages. Please chat to our friendly and helpful reservations team and they will be happy to help you with any questions about course materials.
• Can I take a diving course?
We offer the PADI Advanced Open Water Course and Nitrox course on board. All courses and programmes are subject to availability and the itinerary; they do not include course materials or certification fee. Prices can be found here: Extras Price List.
For students under the age of 18, course paperwork needs to be signed by a parent or guardian.
• I'm not sure if I want to take a course or not, can I try it first?
We offer the beginner Discover Scuba Diver experience on board and subsequent repeater dives with an Instructor. All courses are subject to availability and the itinerary and do not include course materials (where required) and certification fee. Prices can be found here.
For students under the age of 18, course paperwork needs to be signed by a parent or guardian.
• What dive sites are suitable for novice divers?
All divers are required to have a minimum of 30 logged dives and that you are Advanced Open Water or equivalent but you should be comfortable with drift dives. For more information, please read here.
Using the diving tender we are able to travel away from the main vessel and find locations suitable for snorkellers and beginner divers. These areas are subject to the itinerary and weather conditions.
Currents can be strong and the guides will advise you to 'sit out' any dives that they feel are not suitable for your level of experience.
• Do you rent cameras and how much?
We are not able to rent cameras in Indonesia. However, we do have facilities on board if you are bringing your own camera; power sockets for battery chargers and flash in cabins only, camera rinsing tank and camera preparation area on the upper deck.
• Do you offer a free transfer from my hotel?
Transfers to and from the boat and to the local airport will be arranged on the morning of your arrival and departure and in accordance to your flight time. Check out is at anytime up to midday on the day of departure. For guests continuing their holiday in Indonesia at a resort, hotel or another liveaboard, your on-going transfers need to be arranged by you from the airport. We will not be able to arrange direct transfers from the liveaboard to resorts.
• What is the best time of year to dive?
By moving between Raja Ampat and Bali/Komodo throughout the year we take advantage of each of the dry seasons in any one part of Indonesia. This means that there is world class diving to be had together with sunshine somewhere in Indonesia at anytime of the year.
It is also worth considering that when seeking dives with larger marine life we are reliant on the current as this is when we get the most 'action dives'. Currents can vary from really gentle to extremely strong. Many dive sites are transformed by medium-plus currents giving us lots of encounters with sharks, trevallies and schooling reef fish.
In the North and East of Indonesia, Raja Ampat region, the season tends to be from October to May. The prevailing winds are from the north-east and during December to April the weather is near to perfect with less chance of rain and choppy seas. Peak manta season is until April. The wet season runs from June to September. Water temperatures in Raja Ampat are warm all year round with average temperatures of 26-29°C . November to April is around 30°C with around 27°C in May and October. Maximum visibility is around 15-20m.
In the South of Indonesia, Komodo region, the season tends to be from April to November. The prevailing winds are from the south-west and during May to October the weather is near to perfect in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands, which includes Bali, Flores, Alor and the Komodo National Park. Mola Mola are regularly spotted in August. The wet season is January to April. Water temperatures in Komodo are warm all year round, averaging 26-28°C with usually clear blue waters and great visibility. Cooler temperatures can be found in the south of Komodo at around 20°C. Maximum visibility is around 25-30m.
• Can non-divers go on the liveaboard to snorkel?
Snorkelling can be taken from the diving tender when an Instructor/Guide is on board to observe or when the snorkeller is accompanied in the water by a certified diver. We ask all snorkellers to wear a floatation aid at all times.
Whilst every effort will be made for non-diving guests wishing to snorkel or guests wanting to try scuba diving, some itineraries or dive locations may not be permitted for safety reasons.
Both snorkellers and non-divers will be required to complete a liability form at the time of check in.
• Can children come on the boats?
Children aged 15 years or younger must be supervised by a parent or designated responsible adult at all times whilst on board an Emperor Indonesia liveaboard. Emperor Indonesia cannot provide a legal chaperon service.
Children pricing policy:
- 5-9 years old - 50% discount (share cabin, no separate bed provided)
- 10+ years old - full rate
• Do I need insurance?
We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance in the event of unexpected changes in your travel plans. Baggage/Dive Equipment Insurance is also recommended.
We do require all divers to have valid insurance from a reputable company that covers diving accidents. You will need to bring proof of this with you to show the guides when you check in. Emperor Indonesia use INDEPTHS Insurance which is available to purchase on board. As a temporary member, you will be able to gain insured member benefits (read more here).
Prices can be found here.
• What if I have a medical condition?
You will find a copy of the standard Medical Form here. If you are doing a course and can answer 'yes' to any of these questions, then you should see a doctor before arriving and bring with you a signed Medical Declaration that you are fit to dive from them.
• I need vision correction, is that a problem?
No. Many divers wear contact lenses and you can also buy masks with corrective lenses from available from several diving retailers.
• If I have been diving, how long should I wait before flying?
Most diver training agencies recommend 24 hours before flying, therefore for your safety Emperor Indonesia requires you to have 24 hours clear before flying.
• I've lost my certification card; can I still dive with you?
Due to limited internet connectivity, we will be unable to check your diving status, therefore please ensure that you bring proof of your certification with you.
• I've lost my logbook; can I still dive with you?
Yes, providing you prove you're a diver. We may require you to do a check dive or scuba review before your arrival or on your first day depending on your level, how many dives you think you have and when your last dive was. Chat to our friendly and helpful reservations team and they will be happy to advise you.
• I haven't dived for a while; do I need to take part in a course?
Depends what level you are, how many dives you've got and when you last dived. If you are relatively new to diving or you have not dived for a year we strongly recommend a scuba review at home before you join your liveaboard in Indonesia; it's a one day refresher (bit of pool, bit of theory and a dive). Chat to our friendly and helpful reservations team and they will be happy to advise you.
All our guests will participate in a check dive on their first dive and our guides will give advice and feedback to ensure you get the very best experience from your trip.
• How many dives per day will I be able to do?
There will be no diving on your first day and an average of 3 dives per day will be offered. You must ensure that you leave a minimum of 24 hours between your last dive and your flight departure (or going to altitude).
• What is the maximum depth I can dive to?
The maximum depth for diving with Emperor Indonesia is 40 metres with an equally qualified buddy. Your maximum diving depth will be dependent on your level of training and experience. It is your responsibility to check what depths your insurance policy covers before arrival.
Emperor requires that you have a minimum of 30 logged dives to join our Indonesian itineraries and that you are Advanced Open Water or equivalent.
If you are an Open Water Diver when joining our Indonesian itineraries, we will ask you to complete the Advanced Open Water course on board. The guides will advise you to 'sit out' any dives that they feel are not suitable for your level of experience.
Chat to our friendly and helpful reservations team and they will be happy to help you with any questions about experience levels, suitability of dive sites and courses.
• What is the maximum dive time?
Generally 60 minutes and this is so we can account for all divers.
• Are there any specific rules I need to adhere to?
Emperor is very environmentally aware and asks that you refrain from taking knives or gloves diving. Do not touch, ride, feed, catch or harass anything you find underwater. Do not come back on the boat with less than 30bar in your tank, ascend or descend very close to the reef or ascend or descend down the mooring line. No solo diving, no decompression or technical diving, use good buoyancy control when using cameras. And that means we all have a great dive!