The World’s 10 Most Amazing Coral Reefs

Is snorkeling and diving part of your cruising adventures? We’ll start at #10, but check out the full list and photos.

#10: Red Sea Coral Reef, Red Sea

Just off the coastline of one of the world’s hottest and driest desert regions lies an undersea world teeming with marine life, the coral reefs of the Red Sea. Bordered by the Sahara on one side and the Arabian Desert on the other, this more than 1,200-mile-long reef is thought to be more than 5,000 years old, placing its origins sometime before the reign of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Spanning some 6,300 square miles between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea reefs are considered among the most spectacular in the world outside the Coral Triangle, the oceanic region centered around Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines that is home to the planet’s richest and most diverse collection of coral species and marine life.

Unlike many other reefs around the world – whose fragile ecosystems are threatened by nearby rivers and urban areas that empty sediments, pollution and raw sewage into the ocean – the Red Sea reefs are among the most resilient.

They’re able to withstand the sometimes extreme temperatures and higher-than-average salinity of the Red Sea, which shares only a narrow connection with the Indian Ocean and receives no freshwater from large rivers or streams. Today they’re a mecca for snorkeling and diving (especially the notorious spot called the Blue Hole near Dahab, Egypt, the “world’s deadliest dive site.”)

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