Itinerary Highlights

  • Famous muck diving in Kalabahi Bay
  • Chance to see rare critters like frogfish, mimic octopus, fire sea urchin and the elusive rhinopias.
  • Sunset dive for Mandarin fish in Banda Neira
  • Chance to see hammerheads and pelagic action.
  • Visit the original Spice Islands.

The Banda Sea cruise is for those with the spirit of adventure as we set sail to rarely dived sites, islands and atolls. There are several ways to cross the Banda Sea on one of our liveaboards and this depends mostly on the weather and depths of the thermoclines for the hammerhead sharks. Crossing is generally done in March/April and September/October when the prevailing winds are changing between the seasons. Seldom-dived sites, active volcanoes, hammerheads and pelagic action, plus a visit to the historic Banda Islands (original Spice Islands), make this a once in a lifetime cruise.

From an Alor liveaboard, there is plenty of opportunity to find those rare critters like frogfish, mimic octopus, fire sea urchin and even rare rhinopias in the hundreds of bays and coves in the island chain. Dolphins and whales are often encountered as this area is also part of the migration routes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. If you don’t mind the water being a bit ‘frisky’ from time to time, this itinerary is beautiful and often quite extraordinary.

Please note: In parts of Alor Strait water temperatures can drop dramatically to around 20 degrees Celsius. It is highly recommended to bring a 5mm wetsuit and/or hooded vest. There are 600-700 nautical miles to cover during this 12-night cruise. We are mostly diving three dives a day and then travelling at night. This liveaboard cruise is not advised for people who get very sea sick or who are unable to sleep whilst the boat is underway. For those with a bit of adventurous seadog in you, you are definitely looking at the right itinerary. See you on board.

This cruise may, depending on the route chosen, include the following highlights (these are not limited to each route):

  • Alor Region: Boardroom, Babylon, Cave Point, Clown valley and Wall of Pura plus, famous muck diving in Kalabahi Bay
  • Wetar Area: Tanjung Nanukae, Nunukae Wall, Reong North and Reong Wall
  • Gunung Api: Snake Ridge, Snake Pit and Sulfur Ridge
  • Damar/Terbang Area: Nus Leur, Terbang North and Terbang South
  • Nil Desperandum: Hammerhead dives depending on conditions for sites
  • Manuk Island: Dives depending on conditions for sites
  • Banda Islands: Pohon Miring, Batu Kapal, Batu Kapal Pinnacle, Banda Neira Jetty and Lava Flow
  • Secret Spots: We know some excellent spots for shark action that we prefer not to publish but are happy to share with you!
  • Banda Land Visits: On this cruise we visit Banda Neira to see the nutmeg plantation, historic forts and small Maritime Museum. An excursion of half a day, plus two good nights’ sleep on anchor before and after. Trust us, we all need it by then.
*Please be aware the dive sites and areas mentioned in our itineraries are not guaranteed. They are subject to change based on weather conditions and are at the discretion of our cruise director/captain. This is to ensure we provide the best sightings and activities possible during your dive experience while also prioritising your safety.

Dive Sites

Click dive site markers for detailed descriptions.

Dive sites & areas that we may visit are subject to weather conditions.

Banda Islands
Gunung Api
Manuk Island
Nil Desperandum
Wetar Area
Damar Islands
Ambon Port
Kalabahi Port

Also Important

Check Dive & Depart Kalabahi

Once onboard there will be a safety briefing, crew introduction, complete and check dive paperwork, cabin allocation and boat orientation. The first dive is a check dive.

Return to Ambon

On the last diving day, 2 dives are available in the morning whilst observing the rule of no diving within 24 hours of reaching altitude. We return to port at approximately 1pm and moor here overnight. Evening-time pack up diving equipment and settle any outstanding bills ready to depart for the airport or hotel the following morning.

Itinerary Experience

Advanced, 50 dives
This itinerary is not for beginners with many dives below 18m and currents can vary from medium to extremely strong. We recommend that you have 50 logged dives and require that you are a Deep Diver/Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent to join this trip. Divers may find many dives challenging and may be asked by the Cruise Director to skip dives that are not suitable for their diving experience. Diving is from zodiacs to give precise entry and exit points.

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 that, at the end of the first day of tuition if you decide not to proceed, we’ll give you your money back.

Please read our full Terms & Conditions (PDF).