Frequently Asked Questions
- General Questions about Emperor Divers Maldives
- Questions about Emperor Maldives Liveaboards
- Questions related to Emperor Dive Courses
- Questions about Diving in an Emperor Resort
- General Maldives Questions
General Questions about Emperor Divers Maldives
Is my holiday payment protected?
For your financial security, when you pay by credit card, all monies are held by Barclaycard Visa until your holiday takes place. Total peace of mind.
Does Emperor charge credit card fees?
No, we do not charge any credit card fees when you make an advanced booking.
When you pre-book with us we save you 2.5% (or more) whenever you pay by credit card as we choose not to charge any fees when you pay for your holiday. The price you see is the price you pay.
Emperor Maldives does accept payment by Visa and MasterCard on board our liveaboards and at our dive resorts. However, please note that all prices will be in US Dollars and a 4% surcharge will be added.
Please check with your bank for any international charges and exchange rates.
Medicals and Self-Declaration
All guests are required to sign a self-declaration medical on check in and before any activity such as, but not limited to, diving, snorkelling, swimming, etc. A sample can be found here.
If you are taking part in a PADI course, you are required to a sign a 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 or diving holiday. 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.
For students under the age of 18, all paperwork needs to be signed by a parent or guardian.
Do I need insurance?
We 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 Maldives uses Divemaster Insurance, which is available to purchase on board or at our dive resorts. As a temporary member you will be able to gain insured member benefits.
We strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance, in the event of unexpected changes in your travel plans. Baggage/Dive Equipment Insurance is also strongly recommended.
What is the best time of year to dive?
The Maldives lie in the monsoon belt of the Indian Ocean and has quite a varied weather pattern although the temperature remains fairly constant.
There are two seasons: a dry northeast monsoon (Iruvai) and a wet southwest monsoon (Hulhagu). Between May and November, the prevailing winds are south-westerly. The average rainfall is 215mm with 208 hours of sunshine a month. Around mid-December the winds turn to the northeast and bring a much drier climate. Rainfall averages 75mm a month with average monthly sunshine at 256 hours.
The days are hot and humid throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 25-30°C degrees and humidity at 60-80%. Sunshine doesn't differ much between the seasons but there is a big difference in rainfall.
The weather pattern has a strong influence on the currents. During the northeast monsoon, ocean currents are driven through the atoll channels from the northeast; conversely, during the southwest monsoon, they flow into the atolls from the southwest. These patterns have enormous significance for the diving and we will advise you.
What marine life could I expect to see?
The rich marine life teems around the coral reefs where you will find schools of fish, sharks, mantas and rays with regular appearances by playful dolphins.
Thanks to its 26 atolls, the diving is diverse with channel dives attracting marine life from the deep to fast drift diving. Whale sharks and grey reef sharks are common sights or see the manta rays coming in to be cleaned.
What are the water temperatures?
Water temperatures usually stay between 27 - 30°C although thermoclines can sometimes be found at depths below 20 metres.
What wetsuit should I bring?
A Lycra 3mm wetsuit is fine in tropical waters but some divers prefer a 5mm suit if doing more than one dive a day. It's really how you prefer to dive but we're happy to advise.
Do you use DIN or International tanks?
All tanks are fitted with 5/8's DIN valves. We strongly advise divers with M26 regulators to note that when travelling outside Europe tanks with M26 valves or adapters to fit M26 regulators to 5/8's DIN tanks may not be available. These adapters cannot be purchased in countries such as Africa, Asia, etc and we have limited stocks available for rent. Please remember to either bring your own adapter with you or check with us regarding availability at the time of booking.
Do you rent cameras and how much?
Sorry, this service is currently not available in the Maldives.
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 Divers require you to have 24 hours clear before flying.
I am not travelling with a dive buddy; can I still dive with you?
As qualified divers you are expected to be able to dive to a standard as per the certification and experience requirements outlined. You are responsible for your own and your buddy's safety during the dive and to plan your dive and dive your plan by using a personal dive computer. You must begin, execute and end the dive with your dive buddy.
Should you be a single diver, a buddy will be allocated in resort or onboard.
I've lost my certification card; can I still dive with you?
If you are a PADI or SSI diver, don't worry, we can check their computer database online.
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.
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.
For safety reasons, Emperor advises divers to follow their agency recommendation, many agencies recommend a Scuba Review if it has been longer than six months since your last dive.
You can do a Scuba Review at any Emperor Divers' resort, this a one-day refresher with a bit of pool, bit of theory and a dive from the beach. You should book this in advance of your arrival.
If you are looking to join a liveaboard you will need to arrange this beforehand or at home before joining your liveaboard in the Maldives.
All our guests, regardless of their qualification or experience will participate in a check dive on their first dive at local/sheltered dive site and our experienced guides will give advice and feedback to ensure you get the very best experience from your trip.
What is the maximum depth I can dive to?
The maximum depth for diving in the Maldives is 30 metres with an equally qualified buddy; please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. 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 you for before your arrival.
What is the maximum dive time?
Generally 60 minutes; this is so we can account for all divers.
Are there any specific rules I need to adhere to?
Emperor is extremely environmentally aware and asks that you refrain from taking knives or gloves when you dive. Do not touch, ride, feed, catch or harass anything you find underwater.
Do not come back on the boat with less than 30 bar in your tank, ascend or descend very close to the reef or ascend or descend down the mooring line.
No solo diving, no decompression diving, use good buoyancy control when using cameras. And that means we all have a great dive.
Questions about Emperor Maldives Liveaboards
What time is check in / check out from the liveaboard?
Check in is from 13:00.
Please contact us to discuss options if your flight is either very early or later than the advised Emperor transfer times.
Check out is at 07:00 and guests will be in the airport by 07:30.
For guests continuing their holiday in the Maldives 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. Day use rooms are available with hotel/guest houses on Hulhumale, the boat manager can help you arrange this on request. Payment is made locally.
Will Emperor meet me at the airport?
All our transfers to/from our liveaboards on the check-in day (usually Saturday or Sunday) will be met at Male (Velana) International Airport by a representative wearing an Emperor Maldives T-shirt and holding an Emperor Maldives sign. The meeting point is beside the Help Desk.
A contact number for Emperor's Airport Representative can be found on your 'Read Before You Leave' document.
Does Emperor offer free transfers from the airport to the liveaboard?
Emperor-arranged transfers depart from the airport to the boat at 11:00, 13:00 and 16:00 and are free of charge.
Guests who use the 11:00 transfer accept that the boat will not be fully cleaned or ready. A light sandwich style snack will be provided for lunch.
Are taxis available from the airport?
If you do not wish to wait for one of the above transfers or you arrive after the last transfer, taxis are available at the airport for around $15, our Airport Representative will be happy to help you, however, please note that boarding may not be possible before 13:00.
Do you offer transfers from my hotel to the liveaboard?
If you are already in the Maldives before joining your liveaboard, you should make your way to Male (Velana) International Airport for the 16:00 Emperor transfer. Your hotel will be able to help you with arranging the transfer from the hotel back to the airport.
Check in will start 2 hrs prior to departure and close 1 hr prior departure.
Each diver has 25kgs free baggage allowance (standard 20kgs).
The name detailed on your e-ticket must match your passport.
Where possible, you will be met by an Emperor Representative and assisted with the check-in formalities for your flight.
How many dives per day will I be able to do?
There will be no diving on your first day and 17 dives offered per week (2-3 dives per day). You must ensure that you leave a minimum of 24 hours between their last dive and their flight departure (or going to altitude).
What sort of experience do I need to join a liveaboard?
Please see our Guidelines for diving experience page.
All diving is made from dhonis to give precise entry and exit points and unpredictable and strong currents are to be expected anytime, but especially in periods of new and full moons. Therefore you should be comfortable with drift diving.
Emperor Maldives advises that all guests must be Open Water Diver or equivalent. On some dives the recommended depth is below 18m, therefore advanced or Deep Diver training is advised. Please check each itinerary regarding any minimum number of dives required and for further information here.
Itineraries & Dive Sites
All itineraries and dive sites are subject to various unpredictable changes including weather conditions and changes in Maldivian Government approval. Whilst Emperor Maldives makes every effort, we cannot guarantee diving at specific sites. In adverse weather conditions the guides and captain of the boat will have the final decision about which dive sites to visit to ensure that the guests, staff and boats safety is not compromised in any way. If in the unfortunate event that dives are missed, or dive sites are not reached due to weather conditions or other unforeseeable changes, Emperor Maldives will not offer a refund or compensation.
Can I take a diving course on board?
We offer a range of PADI courses including beginner Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water Referral, Advanced Open Water on Emperor Voyager, Emperor Leo, Emperor Virgo, Emperor Serenity and Emperor Explorer plus a range of specialty courses. Emperor Atoll offers a range of Adventure Dives to build on your diving experience, please ask for more details.
Courses are subject to availability and itinerary and do not include course materials (where required) and certification fee. If arranged on board a 12% sales tax will be added. Prices can be found here.
For the PADI Open Water Referral Course aboard Emperor Voyager, Emperor Leo, Emperor Virgo, Emperor Serenity and Emperor Explorer you will need to bring your referral form (signed and completed by your instructor dated within 12 months) as evidence that you have completed the theory and confined dives.
For students under the age of 18, course paperwork needs to be signed by a parent or guardian.
How many divers are there per boat?
They vary from boat to boat, please see the relevant information for each boat and that will tell you the maximum number.
How many dive guides are onboard?
They vary from boat to boat, please see the relevant information for each boat and that will tell you the average number.
What languages do your Instructors/Guides speak?
Mostly English, German and Spanish, however other languages are subject to availability and on request.
Please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at email@example.com with any dates you have in mind and we can check availability for you.
The dhoni has ample storage space for your equipment and there is a spares box on board. Diving towels are also available aboard the diving dhoni. 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) and a dive computer with spare batteries and a torch for any night dives.
The average water temperature is 29°C and we recommend a 3mm shortie or wetsuit.
Equipment is available for rent from Emperor Maldives and we ask that you pre-book your equipment before you arrive in resort to avoid disappointment. We need to know normal sizes, height, weight and shoe sizes to prepare the correctly sized equipment for you.
All divers are required to use a dive computer and SMB and carry reef hooks for every dive and a torch each for night dives throughout their safari experience for safety reasons. Please bring your own or ask us what is available on board.
What dive sites are suitable for novice divers joining a liveaboard?
Inexperienced and beginner divers may find some dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience.
Information regarding diving conditions, itineraries and advice regarding diver experience can be found here: Guidelines for diving experience.
Please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you may have and we will happy to help and advise you.
Can non-divers go on the liveaboard to snorkel?
Snorkelling can be taken from the dhoni when an Instructor/Guide is on board to observe or unless 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 Maldives' liveaboard. Emperor Maldives cannot provide a legal chaperone service.
Children pricing policy:
- 0-2 years old - free of charge, share cabin, no separate bed provided
- 3-9 years old - 50% discount, share cabin, no separate bed provided (share cabin, separate bed provided for 8 - 9 years old only for full charters)
- 10+ years old - full rate
Food & Special Dietary Requirements
The meals on board are usually buffet style with a variety of local and International dishes to suit everyone.
Local food is traditionally a bit spicy, fish is available on board, mostly frozen with a few fresh catches along the way.
For any special dietary requests, such as vegetarian or any allergies, please inform us prior to arrival.
We source items locally, therefore items such as, but not limited to, wholemeal pastas or flour, gluten free products or soya substitutes are not typically available.
All our liveaboards are equipped with Wi-Fi and internet is available when a mobile signal is present, usually only nearby or in port. This service is for limited internet browsing and to connect with communication applications. Upload/download is very limited, therefore we ask guests to refrain from transferring large files. Signal strength can vary, which can result in intermittent and/or slow connections, depending on the local mobile provider. If you are a high level internet user, we advise that you purchase a local data SIM at Male airport upon arrival; your Emperor Maldives representative can help you.
Importing of alcoholic beverages is prohibited under Maldivian law and will be confiscated at Customs on arrival and returned to you at departure; this can be quite a time consuming process. 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.
Questions related to Emperor Dive Courses
What courses do you offer?
We offer a range of PADI courses including beginner Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water Referral and Advanced Open Water on our liveaboards.
At our dive resorts we offer the full range of courses up to professional level.
In the Maldives, Emperor Voyager, Emperor Leo, Emperor Virgo, Emperor Serenity and Emperor Explorer also offer a range of specialty courses. Emperor Atoll offers a range of Adventure Dives to build on your diving experience, please ask for more details.
Courses are subject to availability, diving conditions and on liveaboards they are route dependent.
Any courses arranged on board or in resort will incur a 12% sales tax.
Please talk to us if you are interested in taking a course and we'll be happy to go through all the available options with you.
I'm not sure if I want to take a course or not, can I try it first?
We offer a full range of PADI courses in all Emperor dive resorts and liveaboards.
Emperor's dive resorts are PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centres and our partnership with PADI extends beyond 25 years. We offer a full range of courses from Learn to Dive to Open Water, Advanced and up to PADI Instructor training.
In our dive resorts Emperor offer a "Learn to Dive Guarantee".
Love it or your money back! When having a go at something new it's essential that you feel confident and comfortable with the idea. The Emperor team is so certain that you'll love learning to dive with us, and the way our instructors look after you, that we will give you your money back if you find that diving is just not for you.
See Terms & Conditions for full details on each course.
How old do I have to be to become a certified diver?
10 years old to become a certified diver, but don't worry if you're not - our PADI Bubblemaker program will set you on your way from ages 8 upwards (not available on liveaboards).
Do I have to be a great swimmer to become a diver?
No but you must be able to swim 200m using any stroke and be able to tread water (or float unassisted) for 10 minutes.
What languages can you teach in?
Many of our PADI courses use digital study materials so that you can read through the material at home if you want. These materials are available in lots of different languages.
Our Instructors in resort and on board are able to teach in English, German and Spanish, however other languages are subject to availability and on request.
Please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at email@example.com with any dates you have in mind and we can check availability for you.
Questions about Diving in an Emperor Resort
What time do I need to go to the diving centre on the first day?
Please check in at the diving centre the afternoon before your first day's diving, best time would be around 5pm.
At the time of booking, we will always ask you when you would like to start your diving and advise the process and what you need to bring you on the first day.
What do I need to bring with me to the dive centre?
Your towel, bathing costumes, sun cream, log book, certification card, passport (a photocopy will do) and last but not least, any diving equipment if owned.
How is a typical day of diving scheduled?
When you book a day of diving with us, the diving is from a diving dhoni and includes two morning dives per day with guide, 12L air tanks, weights and belt included.
All guests will meet at the diving centre for 08:00 each day and plan to return back to the diving centre for around 13:00, depending on the sites visited.
An additional afternoon dive is offered, subject to availability, leaving at approximately 14:30. Full day and special trips to sites further afield are arranged in resort.
For more information, please click here: Emperor You & Me.
What refreshments are available on the boat?
Tea, coffee and drinking water is available on the diving dhoni free of charge. Fresh fruit is served after the first dive.
Do the special trips run every day?
Special trips are not on a regular schedule. The dive centre team will inform people if they plan a special trip. A minimum of four people is required.
How do I arrange/book myself onto a special trip?
The dive centre team will ask you and will book you in.
What dive sites are suitable for novice divers?
Most local sites are suitable, depending on weather conditions.
If you are unsure, have some specific questions or would like some advice, please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can non-divers go on the boat to snorkel?
Yes. The rule with swimming and snorkelling on boats is, if the person is not a diver, they must wait until a diving staff member is back on the boat from a dive before entering the water or the snorkeller is accompanied in the water by a certified diver.
We ask all snorkellers to wear a floatation aid when in the water.
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.
A full range of rental equipment is available, prices can be found here: Emperor Divers You & Me Price List. You can pre-book your equipment in your preferred currency at any time prior to arrival in resort. If arranged locally you will be charged in US Dollars and a 12% sales tax and service charge is included.
The diving centre and dhonis have ample storage space for your equipment and there is a spares box onboard. Diving equipment will be transferred back to the diving centre and washed each day.
All divers are required to use a dive computer, SMB (with a minimum of 5 metres of line to deploy during the safety stop) and reef hooks for every dive and a torch each for night dives. We also suggest that you bring the following:
- Mask, snorkel, fins, boots, wetsuit, regulator, BCD, spare batteries for dive computer and torch.
- The average water temperature is 29°C and we recommend a 3mm shortie or wetsuit.
If you have any questions at all, please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at email@example.com.
Where can I keep my dive kit overnight?
All diving equipment will be removed from the diving dhoni and taken back to the diving centre each day, washed and stored at the diving centre.
Whilst you may be advised where to store your belongings, you leave them at your own risk.
What languages do your Instructors/Guides speak?
Mostly English, German and Spanish, however other languages are subject to availability and on request. Please chat to us using the live chat on our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your dates and we can check this for you.
The resort stocks a wide range of imported and local alcoholic drinks.
Importing of alcoholic beverages is prohibited under Maldivian law and will be confiscated at Customs on arrival and returned to you at departure; this can be quite a time consuming process.
General Maldives Questions
Passport & Visas
You must have a passport valid for at least six more months after arrival.
30-day tourist visas are issued on arrival at the immigration desk at Maldives International airport for all nationalities and are free of charge.
All visitors must be in possession of a return/onward flight ticket. We recommend that you have your Emperor Voucher or Tour Company voucher to hand just in case you are asked to present it to airport security upon arrival as proof of where you are staying.
Male (Velana International) Airport
If you have to wait for a transfer on arrival, or for a connecting domestic flight, the airport is reasonably comfortable and has a shop for local SIM cards, a post office, money changer and a few coffee shops / restaurants Including Thai Express, Burger King and New Noodle.
Diving typology - definitions
The Maldives offers different types of diving areas, all characterised by medium to strong currents making them rich in marine life. Here's a quick overview of the definitions:
An underwater island that can be both so small that you can dive all around it or so large that you'll manage to see only one side during a dive. A Thila within a Kandu is usually the diving area where the strongest current is but also the ones that have the most interesting sea life.
A channel or pass around the border of the atoll where when the tides change the water flow in and out of the atoll. Perfect places for drift dives and where you can see big pelagics like sharks, tuna and mantas.
Each island in the Maldives has its own lagoon, usually not very deep. It can reach around 20 metres and is mostly sandy. These places are protected from the current so the ideal spot for scuba diving courses and snorkelling but not as interesting from a marine life point of view.
Requirements vary from country to country so do 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 environmental, bed taxes and port fees are included in the price of your liveaboard package. Any equipment rental, special tank requests and on board purchases paid locally will be subject to 12% sales tax.
5 hours ahead of GMT. Daylight savings time is not observed in the Maldives.
The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa (Rf) and is closely linked to the US Dollar. 1 US Dollar = approximately 15 Rufiyaa.
Most of the resort islands and local tourist shops accept US Dollars; it's not necessary to exchange any money into Rufiyaa.
All the resorts, hotels, liveaboards and most of the souvenir shops accept major credit cards, which include American Express, Visa card, MasterCard and JCB card. Almost all items are priced in US Dollars. There is a local bank branch at the International airport's arrival terminal. They can exchange your currency to US Dollars.
Note: Travellers' Cheques are NOT accepted at any bank or at any resort island in the Maldives.
What currency should I bring?
We accept payment in cash; Euros and USD, Visa and MasterCard only. Credit cards are charged in USD plus a 4% surcharge. Do make sure you inform your credit card provider that you are coming to the Maldives as we have had credit card companies block transactions and then phone calls need to be made to unblock the cards.
UK 3 pin electrical sockets using 220 volts AC 50Hz.