This page offers some answers on the most frequently asked questions
regarding the Egypt Dolphin Retreat.
Price - Deposit - Payment
Boat Safari Cost: € 1.600,- per person (all in / no alcohol)
Non-Refundable Deposit: € 333,- per person
For Discounts and Early Birds-arrangements, see the next question in this FAQ
All reservations must be made with Wieteke prior to payment.
Paying in phases
You can choose to pay in (max) 3 parts if you like.
For instance: By first paying your deposit (€ 333 )
and then splitting the remaining amount (€ 1267,-) in 2 parts of € 633,50
The full payment of € 1.600 (minus any applicable discounts*)
needs to be completed latest by the end of July 2023.
Obviously, if you book after this date – we will send you an invoice for the entire amount at once.
*Any discounts are applicable on the ‘remaining’ amount | not on the down payment.
You can only make your deposit by (IBAN) bank transfer / or an internet banking transfer that supports your credit card.
(For more info; scroll down to: ‘How can I pay’)
This trip is free from VAT (BTW)
Your VISA: like explained in the question titled: “Are my travel documents valid for this trip?” you will need to bring an additional € 25,- / or $25,- in cash with you on your trip to Egypt, to pay for your VISA at arrival.
Tip for the crew of the boat: People in Egypt often have very low incomes and need to support large families. The crew members of Sea Dream are away from home for long periods of time, in order to make our stay on board as good as it can possibly get. You are entirely free to decide if you like to tip or not. If you choose to do so, we recommend each visitor to tip an average of 50 euro’s, US-dollars or Egyptian dollars (also to be brought in cash) at the end of the trip. This money will be handed to the crew in an envelope by the end of our stay.
Discounts - Actions - Early Birds
- IF you decide to bring a friend – you will receive a 10% discount! (minus € 160,- on the total,
so you pay € 1.440 instead of € 1.600)
- Early Birds – early birds get a € 111,- discount on the total (so € 1.489 instead of € 1.600)
if they book this trip before May 1st 2023
- Returning Birds – if you were on this trip before and you wish to join for a second time,
you will get a € 133,- discount on the total, no matter when you book.
- NOTE: One discount per person / discounts cannot be combined.
For instance: if you book for yourself and bring a friend to join you, before May 2023, ONE of you gets the early bird discount and the other person gets the 10% discount. If you were BOTH on this trip before, ONE of you gets the ‘returning birds’ discount, and the other gets the ‘bring a friend’ 10% discount. Usually the ‘bring a friend’ discount goes to the person who initiated the booking and who ‘brought’ the other person along.
How can I pay?
After having had direct contact with Wieteke and completing the booking- and liability form; you will receive a booking confirmation and the down payment invoice. Additionally you will receive an e-mail from STO Garant (firstname.lastname@example.org) with information about how to make payment(s) for this booking. It is possible to pay in instalments, unless the travel date is 6 weeks or less after the date of booking. In that case, the entire travel sum must be paid at once. For all bookings, the full travel sum must be paid before departure. See also article 6 in the travel conditions below. You will receive an e-mail confirmation from STO Garant for each payment received.
This invoice can only be paid in Euro’s by Internet banking. If you wish to use your credit card; we ask you to use the online money-transfer service called Wise to do so (or a similar service if you prefer another one).
Alternatively, for people from outside of the EU: you may visit your bank in person to arrange for this transaction (bring your passport). If your bank needs additional information from STO-garant (who will be sending you the invoice) that you cannot find on your invoice; let us know and we will provide it for you. Note; your bank may charge you extra for this service.
A guarantee in place: STO Garant
In order to meet its statutory obligation to provide a guarantee, Design4awareness uses STO Garant, a guarantee scheme recognised by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). You can check that this is the case by visiting STO Garant’s website and verifying that the organisation is listed as a participant (www.sto-garant.nl/en/members). You can find all information relating to STO Garant at www.sto-garant.nl/en.
Whether STO Garant’s guarantee applies to a particular (travel) offer made by Design4awareness is specified for that offer. The Guarantee Scheme specifies what the guarantee covers and which conditions apply. You can find the Guarantee Scheme on STO Garant’s website (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads).
How it works
Because the guarantee of STO Garant applies to your Dolphin Retreat booking, you do not pay the travel sum to Design4awareness, but to the third-party account of Stichting Derdengelden Certo Escrow, a payment service provider registered with De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). This foundation guarantees your travel sum until after the end of your booking. The day after the trip ends, the travel sum is released to Design4awareness. Should Design4awareness become financially insolvent before the end of your booking, STO Garant will carry out the guarantee. The guarantee scheme tells you how you can claim it in that case.
How do I sign up for this trip?
1) To make a reservation for this trip, click on the botton below to download & fill out the Phase-1 Application form.
2) After filling out the form, please send it to the e-mail address provided at the bottom of it.
3) We will reach out to you by via the e-mail you provided to us in the Form. If you haven’t met Wieteke yet (through Skype or in real live) she will ask you to meet her, via a short Skype call if you are from another country – or via telephone if you are from The Netherlands, so you can get to know each other a bit and you can ask her any final questions directly 🙂
4) If al is well – the second phase of application will follow; wherein you will be asked to fill out a more extensive (phase 2) Application Including declaration of health and a liability form – your detailled address data – and a copy of your passport (for Egyptian authorities).
5) Only at this point is it that we will be sending you the first invoice to make your downpayment / or the full payment all at once (if that is your preferred method of paying). Invoices will be send to you by an independant third party (STO Garant) that professionalizes at managing finances for group-travel | in line with current EU-law for package-travel.
After this you can begin counting the days and building excitement towards stepping on board! 😀
Download the Phase-1 Application Form
What do I need to know about Insurances and Liability?
Insurance: To attend this trip, it is obligatory for you as a participant, to arrange your own travel insurance. This will prevent stress, in case for whatever reason, any cancellations have to be made. In addition we recommend adding a cancallation insurance for your flights, this is not obligatory but remains up to you.
Declaration of Good Health: part of the signing up process for this retreat – is filling out a declaration of good health. This has nothing to do with Covid or being vaccinated or not. It has everything to do with your general state of health – since we will be on a 1-week on-board event, 40 kilometers out of the mainland.
Medication / Allergies: on behalf of the crew and captain of the Boat, we ask you to inform us of any physical and/or mental conditions or allergies you may have. And what medicines you might be taking, so you will not accidentally be interfering with any Egyptian law. Therefore, and for other reasons that possibly cannot be foreseen, we have composed a liability form (which will be sent to you as the second phase of signing up for this retreat – there are 3 phases).
Finances: in alignment with EU-law for package travel, all finances connected to this retreat are being handeled by STO-Garant. This too offers an extra level of security for all participants of this retreat. For more information read the general information of STO-Garant.
The Full Terms & Conditions for Organized Travel with Design4awareness, can be found HERE
Special Newsletters & Facebookgroup for Participants
Once you have signed up, you will automatically remain informed of every step along the way in preparation to this incredible adventure! How many spots are left – when the boat is full – who else will be joining us etc 😀
If you thought the FAQ page (link at the bottom) didn’t miss a thing – you are in for a treat! As a participant you will receive 4 in-dept and super-fun newsletters in the 2,5 months before we all step on board. These will introduce you to the boat’s crew, show you more pictures and share a lot of useful information for you in preparation for your trip.
We will also offer everyone the option to be added to a closed FB-group, where you can share questions and plans with other members of your 2023 Dolphin Retreat in advance. That’s right; this means you could meet up in the hotel if you choose to arrive early or travel back together and even share a plane if your journey’s happen to be to the same destination home 🙂
When is a good moment to check for flights?
A good moment to start checking for your flights and how much they might cost would be as soon as possible. Most flight-companies have their ‘future flights’ agenda running ahead of time up to 6 months. Over all; as soon as the cheaper flights have become available, you best book them as soon as possible. If you choose to wait – the prices may go up again, due to the increasing lack of availability (meaning: other people booking these cheaper options before you). Airlines sometimes share the cheaper options early in time, and sometimes only show them once the actual flight dates come closer (we have seen both situations happen). So we can only advice you to keep an eye on this yourself.
Using flexible arrival / or departure days in my search for a fitting flight
If a flight turns out to be much cheaper arriving one or two days earlier (before your Dolphin Retreat) or leaving one or two days later (after your Dolphin Retreat) we recommend you make use of that option and just use the nearby hotel to bridge the in between days. Staying over at the hotel may be much cheaper (estimated hotel rate around €30 a night) then booking a flight on the exact starting or ending day of your retreat. You will find info on this nearby hotel in the question below this one: “What airport should I fly into / What time should my plane arrive or depart?”
Do you expect to be jet-legged at arrival?
In case of an expected jet leg, and if you know yourself to be sensitive to this – we recommend you make use of the hotel at least 1 or 2 nights before we leave on our Dolphin trip. It may be quite intense for your system otherwise, to travel half way over the world and then suddenly find yourself on a slightly rocky boat whilst still jet-legged. Allowing yourself some time to get used to the Egyptian time-zone and climate a bit before we go on board all together, will be relaxing and help you ground into this new rhythm.
Dutchies: Direct Flights from Amsterdam to Marsa Alam
At this point only TUI.nl offers direct flights (to my knowing)
These tickets may sell out fast. If you wish to customize your flight call TUI directly; they are very helpfull and friendly.
Flying from Brussels might be cheaper.
Bel het TUI Customer Services Center
088 – 088 58 85
|Ma t/m za
|08:00 – 20:00
|09:00 – 20:00
|08:00 – 17:30
Bel je vanuit het buitenland en wil je boeken? Bel dan +31 (0)88 – 088 58 85
What airport should I fly into | Arrival/departure times | Nearby Hotels
What flight companies offer good prices? (from NL and EU)
Do you guarantee Dolphin Sightings?
We are fortunate to have several resident Spinner dolphin pods of 100-300 dolphins along the Sataya Reef. These dolphins are found swimming along the shallow sandy parts of the reef almost daily where they play, rest and socialize. We will use smaller ‘zodiac’ boats to get to the areas where they are most often found. If we are lucky, we may even encounter some bottle-nose dolphins, which sometimes visit this area as well.
If it so happens that there are days on which the dolphins indicate to us they are less playful and just like to rest, the crew will guide us along one of the nearby reefs to go snorkeling and admire the coral and the rich amount of other sea life that hides in there.
Won't the dolphins be bothered by us?
How close do the dolphins come to us?
The question really is: ‘how close will the dolphins decide to come to us?’, as we will always leave it up to them to approach us as soon as we are in the water. The crew will however carefully decide how close to the pod they can ‘drop us off’ – before we quietly slide into the water to join our cetacean friends for a little dance in the sea. To get an impression of how close they can actually come to you, Asfoor (one of our 2019 crew’s professional instructors) made this video while swimming right next to one of them: (links to YouTube – you will be asked to leave this site) https://youtu.be/u7b-aboBw_Q
Where will we be on the Red Sea / In Egypt
This part of the ocean is protected.
Will we have our own private cabins on the boat?
When the boat is fully occupied (up to max 17/18 guests), everyone will be sharing a cabin with another person. Each cabin has 2 separate beds and a small shared bathroom/toilet combination). Of course any personal preferences as to whom you would like to share the room with, will be respected. There is always also the options to sleep under Egypt’s starry skies on one of the two top decks if you like. Light mattresses are available for this.
Is there a maximum amount of people on this retreat?
The maximum amount of possible guests on board is 20.
We are currently aiming for 17 to 18 people, in order to keep this a more exclusive retreat.
We will certainly keep you posted on the amount of fellow radiant beings that has signed up for this trip,
as time unfolds 🙂
How big is the boat?
The yacht is approximately 30 meters long / and 6,5 meters wide.
She has about 6 cabins in the lower deck – and 4 more on the higher one.
There is a spacious dining room where all meals will be served,
but you can also choose to enjoy your meal on one of the two higher (sun)decks.
Sleeping can be done on top and center deck as well if you like to star gaze
at the Milky Way above our heads.
Yoga can be practiced on the center deck – where there is a nice breeze and where we
will be protected from the sun during mid day by a sun-roof.
The yacht has a steady crew of 8 people, of which 4 who come along with us on our trips on the water.
For this we will use the two Zodiacs (or rescue boats) that bring us to the dolphins and the reef.
Both zodiacs have strong motors and are fast if needed. These zodiacs can hold up to 14 people each.
What should I bring for swimming with the dolphins?
Swim attire (bikini/swimming pants), (preferably organic) sunscreen, Hat (optional for on the boat if you are sensitive to sunburn), Sunglasses, Snorkel gear: bring your own fins – goggles and snorkel (covering only eyes and nose – no ‘full face’ goggles), thin (1 to 2 mm) shorty wet suit / OR (much cheaper) a pair of thing leggings (made for swimming) and a thin long sleeve that closes relatively high around the neck (to avoid sunburn on your back and neck). If you wish to bring some awesome memories home, you can of course bring an (Underwater-) Camera.
General tips for packing
– APART from the answers already provided to you in the questions above and below
“What should we bring for swimming with the dolphins” & ” What kind of vins do you recommend”
we recommend you:
– bring summer clothes that are comfy and are easy to put on or take of, remember that due to all our dolphin excursions,
you may be changing from your summer outfit to your swimming outfit several times a day A sarong kind-of dress is ideal as well and can be worn as a light scarf when you feel you need some extra sun protection.
-Bring several towels, one for lounging on the deck, one for drying yourself off after a swim and a smaller one for the shower in your cabin for instance. It is nice to keep the ones for salt-water use, and fresh water use, apart. They will dry easily and fast in the sun on the deck.
– It is nice to have a pair of comfy summer sandals or slippers for on shore – but you do not need ANY shoes on board,
we will all be bare foot as long as we are on the boat.
– Some people bring a thin pair of socks to avoid blisters in their fins – this is an idea if you doubt your fins will be comfy all week trough. A small pack of water-proof plasters or some kind of friendly skin oil may help too.
– It is practical to have a toilet bag to keep all your bathroom-stuff in. The bathrooms are small and shared – so it is recommended to find a way to easily keep your own toothbrush etc together and organized, both for you as well as your roommate. Ideally your toilette bag can be ‘hung onto’ something / so it has a handle or loop.
– The contents of your toilet bag (toothpaste, shampoo, soap etc) will be washed out in the sea water below the boat
every time you flush or use the tap. This is why we urge you to look for organic products without parabens etc, so that we will leave less of a negative impact on the area with our boat.
– If you want you can bring your own favorite salt (Celtic or Himalayan) or other mineral supplements, if you feel you need these. The sea-water is very rich in minerals, nonetheless, due to all perspiration caused by the beautiful weather, many will find yourselves craving salts to eat as well. This is why this can be a nice to bring.
– The same thing goes for other things you really fancy for yourself: your own favorite herbal tea (there will be some there) / a particular brand soluble coffee / vitamin supplements, stevia sweetener etc.
What kind of vins / flippers would you recommend?
– fit your feet exactly (not too big, but also not too small – this will cause friction and blisters as you move) without feeling sharp or uncomfortable around the edges. If you can fit them first in a professional diving store, that would be best. Make sure to get someone to assist you and as you try them on; move your foot the way you would when you were snorkeling – so all the way up and down / point your feet. This will give you an impression of how the heel feels etc.
– have a closed heel (!). We will be snorkeling not only with the dolphins but also alongside the magnificent Sataya reef. Now of course we are not allowed to touch the reef, but if due to some very unexpected move you accidentally do scrape or cut your foot on a piece of coral – you may be looking at a lengthy healing process ahead. Coral is very sharp and can easily infect our skin with bacteria. So best to have your whole foot protected at the bottom, when you know you will be coming close to a coral reef.
Optionally (and recommended for people with weak ankles) you can consider to buy a pair with streamlined openings in them (see picture below / these are of the brand “Mares”). This will help reduce the water-pressure against your vins as you ‘kick’ them up and down, which makes it easier to move forward faster with less effort.
How skilled a swimmer do I need to be?
We can provide flotation devices for anyone who requests them – and we have some qualified assistants to be with you in the water if you feel you need it.
Also it might be good to know that; the Red Sea is famous for how salty it is. This makes it easier for anyone to float and move around on the surface with little resistance of the water.
What kind of food is provided on board?
A professional on board kitchen-crew will provide for you 3 healthy meals a day, including fresh salads and vegetables!
Last time – due to the preferences of our participants we enjoyed an almost 100% vegetarian/vegan week,
still there was always the option of eating fish or meat for those who felt they needed it.
You can let us know your preferences beforehand.
Vegan and even gluten free requests can be made in advance.
Every meal will be served in the dining room using a buffet-set-up.
So you can always get as much as you like.
During the day there will also be: Fresh fruit, soft-drinks and juice, salty chips, hot drinks (coffee & tea), water and various sweet and dry snacks provided aboard.
How to re-charge electrical devices on board / types of electrical plugs
Yes you can.
The standard European plugs will connect you with the boats power supply.
There will be one plug-entrance per person in every boat cabin (so two in every cabin).
If you have several devices that need charging regularly – we recommend you bring your own multiple-plug extension cord.
General weather forecast for the month of September
The below info is based on Marsa Alam (our nearest city)
Where we are we will usually have a bit more of a breeze – as we are out on the Sea and not on land.
Terms & Conditions for Organized Travel with Design4awareness
The complete Terms and Conditions for participants of this retreat, can be found HERE