Itinerary Highlights

The Banda Islands are a group of seven small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea about 210 km (120 nautical miles) south-east of Ambon in the province of Maluku. They rise out of 4 to 6 kilometres of deep ocean providing superb diving for both macro and pelagic fauna. 

Until the mid-19th century the Banda Islands were the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace spices. Wars were fought between the Portuguese, Dutch and English for hundreds of years before the Dutch finally swapped the tiny Island of Run for Manhattan.

Well off the beaten track, steeped in history and promising breath-taking diving, the Banda Sea cruise takes you a step back in time to experience these fantastic islands both above and below the water.

7 nights highlights include:

  • Muck dives in the famous Ambon Bay
  • Sunset Dive for the Mandarin fish in Banda Neira
  • Chance to see pelagic sharks
  • Incredibly healthy coral reefs
  • Land visit on Banda Neira and Run
  • Dives around the Islands of Run, Ai, Gunung Api Banda and Banda Neira

Our 12-night Banda Sea cruise is for those with the spirit of adventure as we set sail to rarely dived sites, islands and atolls. Seldom-dived sites, active volcanoes, hammerheads and pelagic action, plus a visit to the mythic Banda Islands (original Spice Islands), make this a once in a lifetime cruise.

12 nights highlights include:

  • Muck dives in the famous Ambon Bay
  • Hammerhead dives at Nil Desperandum
  • Underwater hydrothermal vents and sea snakes of Manuk Island
  • Incredibly healthy coral reefs
  • Land visit and sunset Dive for the Mandarin fish in Banda Neira
  • Dives around the Islands of Run, Ai, Gunung Api Banda, Batu Kapal, 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!

Land visits: On both the 7- and 12-night cruises we visit Run & Banda Neira to see the nutmeg plantation, historic forts and small Maritime Museum. A half-day excursion.

Please note: There are two overnight crossings of more than 100 nautical miles during both the 7- and 12-night itineraries.

Dive Sites

Click dive site markers for detailed descriptions.

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

Banda Islands
Ambon Port
Nil Desperandum
Manuk Island


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Also Important

Check Dive & Depart Ambon

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).