TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice icon
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Jules D
Jules D
11. January, 2021.
Awesome way to see the reef, fantastic hospitality on board Amazing experience! Our first time on a liveaboard and we couldn't have asked for more. My husband and I both got our Open Water cert and couldn't imagine a better way to do it. The team were friendly and helpful, the equipment and safety gear was impeccable, and the reef was totally unforgettable. Great food, excellent accommodation, awesome hospitality. Big shout out to Beth and Carlos for making our trip so enjoyable. Thank you!
Ruth S
Ruth S
1. January, 2021.
Annual mother daughter dive trip This trip was great value. The liveaboard was comfortable and well presented, the food was great and the crew were happy and obliging. The diving was excellent and safety standards and equipment quality high. The transfer and management of all the passengers was efficient and we felt well looked after.
Beatrice KSY
Beatrice KSY
28. December, 2020.
SUPERB LIFE AT SEA! FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE!!!! We've never been on a liveaboard boat and this way surpassed our expectations! My brother, husband and I booked for Christmas 25-27 Dec 2020. Crew was 9999 out of 10! Special mention to Beth, Heather, Julia, Luke, Carlos, Jo, Silvain and Holly who made our trip and our dives super memorable! We were really nervous about the dives as we are newbies but the attention and care these bunch of legends took to look after us was phenomenal. Cannot recommend them enough. The amazing energy and synergy the crew had was infectious! They were all one big happy family who adopted all of us (the passengers) into their family. We also met some amazing people on the boat and we all hung out together even after coming back to shore. Wished we stayed on longer. Awesome people aside, - Accommodation was clean and comfortable. Had everything you need easily! Common areas - the black couches and dining room felt just like home! - Food was also amazing! Dan the chef whips out all our meals, snacks and desserts by himself. Love that they were all super delicious, catered to our dietary requirements and the best part - very balanced healthy meals with lotsa greens!!!!! We even had a Christmas lunch onboard, and had our first Christmas ham! Thanks Dan!!!! - Now the reason we came on, Diving. We went to Norman reef and Saxon reef. All were super beautiful!!! GBR goodness! Water visibility was 10-20m minimum. Quite lucky considering its monsoon season. Countless Marine life, corals and the night dive was exhilarating with the big fishes (SHARKS) all coming out to play! We felt like we were casted in a 'Finding Nemo 3' movie. Definitely recommend the 6:30am and 7:30pm water sessions! - Also, do get the photographer on board to take all your pics, we had Silvain and he is AMAZING! The photos package at the end of trip was THE BEST souvenir you can take with you. We learnt so much about life under the sea and so in awe with this natural wonder. Thank you the Reefy team for making this so memorable! We are already planning to get back in a few months!!! Cannot wait! KEEP UP THE AWESOME PASSION & ENERGY! 💗 Beatrice, Vern & Darien
Anthony J
Anthony J
27. December, 2020.
3 Days at the Great Barrier Reef that made up for 2020 COVID19 ! Great BIG THANK YOU to the Reef Encounter and Reef Experience crew for my live-aboard Christmas Weekend. The entire crew were amazing !!! We enjoyed their Aussie approach to providing one of the best diving experiences I have ever had. I had my first intro dive with Compass, and just accomplished my 100th hour of diving with the same company different boat, The Reef Encounter. After a challenging year, this companies crew made up for ALL OF IT !!! I highly recommend this company, after 172 dives, they still make every trip feel special. The Great Barrier Reef is greater when you travel with Compass, Reef Experience or stay over night on The Reef Encounter. I love this company as much as I love diving.
seth230
seth230
27. December, 2020.
Fantastic experience. Great Value for Money with this boat. The food, accommodation, and staff all surpassed expectations. The Scuba was terrific as well. We had a fantastic time, and will be recommending this boat to anyone visiting Cairns.
Belle
Belle
17. December, 2020.
Awesome We loved this experience. We all got our open water diving tickets and the instructor and staff were just amazing. We stayed 3N/4D and it was worth every dollar. The food was excellent and there was heaps of it (and that’s saying something with 3 teenage boys). The accommodation was comfortable. The Great Barrier Reef was phenomenal. As fairly prolific travellers this experience is in our top 5!
dawnsup
dawnsup
9. December, 2020.
Amazing experience !! I had 2 nights on board and everything is brilliant, I drop off 1 star for the food which was below par. I agree that the food is secondary to the total experience, but, it's a shame the food is poor, I don't expect a menu, but when there is no choice, then what they serve needs to be good - the meat in the hamburger and schnitzel was very low quality. No juices for breakfast and no cereals it's easy to have small cereal packets. No fruits. The good stuff is - ALL the staff are excellent. The cabin with ensuite comfortable ( and I am fussy with beds, noises etc.) The diving and snorkel gear is all good - great stinger suits which protect from bites AND sunburn. Excellent professional photographer on board - Tiara was THE BEST ! The purser - Val - is so friendly and is SO efficient, well done ! ALL the staff are very professional. They are very strong on safety protocols and give clear details on what to look for at each site visited. We visited 2-3 outer reef locations each day - they are all beautiful. I liked Hastings reef the best. You must stay 2 nights, one day goes so quickly . It's a fantastic concept to stay out there, seeing sunset and sunrise, peaceful and entirely AMAZING ! We only had around 8 guests on board, that's using only 4 cabins from the 20 cabins, not viable for the operator and they could easily have cancelled the trip with such low numbers. That's 8 guests and 11 crew ! The ocean was so calm, the water now is a warm 29 deg. Even though the coral was spawning, the water was crystal clear. In summary, I absolutely loved the 3 days as the inferior food was outweighed by having such great staff and just to be ON the reef.
mike s
mike s
19. November, 2020.
Birthday Trip Overnight Transferred to the Reef Encounter via the Reef Explorer for an overnight on the reef with my partner booked as Top Deck guests. Although it was a little windy and the sea was choppy, our overall experience was fantastic and we are a very well traveled couple. The staff were all excellent and nothing was too much trouble. They set out a Birthday dinner on the top deck for the two of us watching the sunset into the distant Daintree. Even managed to watch Queensland win the State of Origin decider on the TV. We did not dive but the snorkeling was great. Highly recommended trip for anyone and we will return, thank you.
Matt H
Matt H
14. November, 2020.
Great escape Great diving. Good safety processes. The purser we started with was Beth, she was fantastic, the crew swap pretty regular. We had a different captain and DM during the stay. Pro photographer on board to take pics (about $25 per pic from memory). The boat is a bit old but is quite comfortable. Super hot showers! Good sized cabins. Fixed menu of food but the chef adjusts for people with dietary requirements. Night diving with sharks is a must do.
Markus K
Markus K
30. October, 2020.
Best trip ever Wow! We stayed 5 nights (2 nights as guests/3 as Hosties) on board and did 22 dives. It was an amazing experience. The staff was great, the food awesome and the dives fantastic. We loved every second of board. Would come back anytime!

Our Great Barrier Reef Liveaboards

 
Matt West
Matt West
20. February, 2021.
I just came back from a huge 5N6D trip. My original booking was only for 2N3D but after experiencing the incredible staff, amazing food and guests I want to continue contact with for years to come, I decided to stay a few more nights. I always felt comfortable, safe and saw some of the most amazing things the GBR has to offer. Do yourself a favour and book twice as long as you originally planned. You will not regret the decision!!!
Stephen
Stephen
31. January, 2021.
Everything was amazing about this trip! Right from when you got on the boat and when you finish the trip with them on the terminal! Everyone during the trip was friendly and extremely welcoming. They were more than accommodating! Special shout out to Nathan who was my dive instructor! Thanks Nathan for making my trip special and for putting up with me during my open water certification 🤗
Bart Klinkenberg
Bart Klinkenberg
29. January, 2021.
Awsome experience! We went for a 2day 1night trip with 6 Dives. One of these Dives was a night dive. Your journey starts in the Cairns marina where they welcome you one one of their vessels. Right after departure they serve you a bacon and egg roll just freshly cooked on the top deck. It takes roughly an hour and a half to make the trip to the Reef Encounter boat. Your bags and shoes will be transported by the staff to the next vessel. Once you come aboard the staff will give you a greeting and the safety briefings will start (only 3). After these briefings you'll be shown to your room and they will hand out your gear. Depending on what you have chosen they will give you instructions on what to do and expect. We went for certified dives without a guide and all we needed to know was explained in a professional yet very pleasant way. On board all meals are provided and so is water and other things like: fruit, sea sickness pills, instant coffee, Milo chocolate milk and tea. All other things have to be purchased like a cola or sunkist. We had good reasonably good conditions during our time and visibility was around 15m. We saw sharks, turtles, sting rays and a lot more. The rest is up to you find out and see! I would definitely recommend this trip to any who likes diving and likes the company of nice, enthusiastic and professional people (the staff) Thanks again and perhaps we'll see you next time.
Michael Li
Michael Li
12. January, 2021.
Had an absolute ball of a trip. Staff were fantastic. Good and accommodation was top notch. Great value for the 14 dives I managed to do over 3 nights.
Jules Dalla-Libera
Jules Dalla-Libera
12. January, 2021.
Amazing experience! Our first time on a liveaboard and we couldn't have asked for more. My husband and I both got our Open Water cert over 4 days/3 nights and couldn't imagine a better way to do it. The team were friendly and helpful, the equipment and safety gear was impeccable, and the reef was totally unforgettable. Great food, excellent accommodation, awesome hospitality. Big shout out to Beth and Carlos for making our trip so enjoyable. Thank you!
Beatrice Koh
Beatrice Koh
28. December, 2020.
FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE!!!! We've never been on a liveaboard boat and this way surpassed our expectations! My brother, husband and I booked for Christmas 25-27 Dec 2020. Crew was 9999 out of 10! Special mention to Beth, Heather, Julia, Luke, Carlos, Jo, Silvain and Holly who made our trip and our dives super memorable! We were really nervous about the dives as we are newbies but the attention and care these bunch of legends took to look after us was phenomenal. Cannot recommend them enough. The amazing energy and synergy the crew had was infectious! They were all one big happy family who adopted all of us (the passengers) into their family. We also met some amazing people on the boat and we all hung out together even after coming back to shore. Wished we stayed on longer. Awesome people aside, - Accommodation was clean and comfortable. Had everything you need easily! Common areas - the black couches and dining room felt just like home! - Food was also amazing! Dan the chef whips out all our meals, snacks and desserts by himself. Love that they were all super delicious, catered to our dietary requirements and the best part - very balanced healthy meals with lotsa greens!!!!! We even had a Christmas lunch onboard, and had our first Christmas ham! Thanks Dan!!!! - Now the reason we came on, Diving. We went to Norman reef and Saxon reef. All were super beautiful!!! GBR goodness! Water visibility was 10-20m minimum. Quite lucky considering its monsoon season. Countless Marine life, corals and the night dive was exhilarating with the big fishes (SHARKS) all coming out to play! We felt like we were casted in a 'Finding Nemo 3' movie. Definitely recommend the 6:30am and 7:30pm water sessions! - Also, do get the photographer on board to take all your pics, we had Silvain and he is AMAZING! The photos package at the end of trip was THE BEST souvenir you can take with you. We learnt so much about life under the sea and so in awe with this natural wonder. Thank you the Reefy team for making this so memorable! We are already planning to get back in a few months!!! Cannot wait! KEEP UP THE AWESOME PASSION & ENERGY! 💗 Beatrice, Vern & Darien
Kim McArthur
Kim McArthur
28. December, 2020.
I cannot say enough how pleased I am with my 5 day diving experience on the Reef Encounter. I dove 4 times each day and the professionalism along with the secure safe feeling everyone had was 5 star. The environment on board in regards to facilities and food exceeded my expectations. Each and every crew member on board was friendly, available and helpful with questions and my needs. A specific thank you to Kohler for showing me all the rare and not so rare fish and creatures on each dive. On my return back to shore, we ran into an unhappy person who became quite belligerent in regards to the level of happiness that our returning ‘shipboard’ family was having. I want to apologize for our overflowing exuberance and also point to the unrealistic expectations and total lack of human decency and enjoyment of life you must live day in and day out. If you want a romantic adventure over the Great Barrier Reef with your partner do not book on to a family boat with children and other VIP paying members. To quote you ‘you are a dickhead’!!! To my fellow reviewers. When she reviews about the terrible experience she had. What she paid for and expected please understand the base from which she jumps. Reef Encounter/Experience. 5 Stars!!!!!! Thank you
Thomas Niel
Thomas Niel
29. October, 2020.
Fantastic experience ! Such a great liveaboard in FNQ, the staff was very professional from start to finish. Great atmosphere on the boat and on the dive deck. Plenty of options for certified divers, including Nitrox. I felt properly looked after for once in the area, and can not wait to come back. Plenty of COVID rules in place around the boat which make us feel safe without interfering with the awesomeness of the trip. Please do your self a favour and spend a few nights on this boat you won't regret it. Thank you everyone for making this trip special for us.
Cherie H
Cherie H
11. October, 2020.
I had the best dive trip! Went for 4 days/3 nights and had an absolute ball, I could stay forever! Food was amazing and the diving was even better. We went to so many incredible dive sites on the GBR. The crew were all so friendly and welcoming and the facilities on the boat were wonderful. I could not recommend reef encounter more highly, will definitely be back for more diving.

Your Holiday, Your Way!

Fun For Everyone

We offer scuba diving and snorkelling liveaboard tours on the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Encounter cruising on the coral sea

Scuba divers, snorkelers and those who wish to stay on a floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef can travel together with a Cairns liveaboard tour! Live and sleep on the reef and see it at its best – day and night!

An excellent alternative to a resort based holiday and a fantastic upgrade from a day trip, it’s one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia!

Luxury Accommodation

Our Cairns liveaboard is a boutique floating hotel surrounded by crystal clear waters.

Accommodating only 42 guests at any time, Reef Encounter is large enough to provide the comforts of the largest cruise ships yet small enough to have access to spectacular reef locations inaccessible to other vessels.

Designed for utmost stability and comfort at sea, Reef Encounter visits the most captivatingly beautiful areas of this natural wonder – The Great Barrier Reef.

Daily Departures

Reef Encounter trips depart every day, via our transfer vessel Reef Experience.

Enjoy greater flexibility with your travel plans and start your holiday on the day that suits you – and stay on the Reef as long as you like! Boarding daily in Cairns at 7:30 am from Cairns Marlin Marina.

Alternatively, helicopter transfers are low flying scenic excursions over the coral reef that are an excellent way to start or end your Great Barrier Reef adventure!


Highlights

Best Locations

Great Barrier Reef locations

We visit a variety of snorkel/dive sites per day. Our experienced Captain selects the optimal sites for the weather conditions, so you can see the very best the Great Barrier Reef has to offer.

Marine Biologist

Great Barrier Reef liveaboard

During the transfer to the Great Barrier Reef, we have a Marine Biologist who gives an informative Reef presentation, introducing you to this unique underwater habitat.

Friendly Crew

Your Reef Encounter team

Our crew are by far our greatest asset, and it’s their passion and pride for the Reef that does make all the difference! If you’re not a confident swimmer, one of our guides will get in the water and assist you.

VIP Upgrade

For an extra touch of luxury, select our Top Deck Club package. Champagne on arrival, breakfast in bed, dinner under the stars and a personal valet/guide to ensure an experience nothing short of breathtaking!


What to do on the reef?

Snorkelling

Great Barrier Reef snorkelling

Everybody can see the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling, no minimum age and no experience necessary – just fun! Read more

Scuba Diving

Great Barrier Reef scuba diving

See the Reef up close and personal, with scuba diving packages tailored for all skill levels. All equipment is included. Read more

Scuba diving lessons

Friendly Staff

Learn to dive or complete an advanced or rescue diver course. We are a dive training vessel and offer a wide range of scuba diving courses. Read more

Scuba divers, snorkelers and those who wish to stay on a floating hotel on the Great Barrier Reef can travel together with Reef Encounter


Or you can do nothing and relax on the Great Barrier Reef

 

 

Read More: 10 Reasons why you should choose Us!

 

Awesome liveaboard package deals!

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