4. June, 2021.
Absolutely loved it I completely loved this experience and spent 2 nights 3 days on the boat. I am only taking off a star because of how many times we went to Hastings Reef over the 3 days. The staff are amazing and I felt quiet relaxed and well catered to. I have booked another trip and can’t wait.
31. May, 2021.
Excellent Experience This was our first experience of live-aboard and would highly recommend it. The crew were amazing and the food was delicious. We stuck to snorkeling but still saw lots of marine life including Turtles and Sharks. The dive briefing were very informative and they had spotters for safety. The coral seemed to be in good condition and there was abundant marine life. Will definitely return some day.
17. May, 2021.
Relaxed and professional Spent 2 days / 1 night aboard Reef Encounter with my wife in May 2021. The young crew was very accommodating and nothing seems too difficult for them. Rooms were smallish but had all we needed, and were very accessible to the dive deck at the rear of the boat. Meals were tasty and huge.
8. May, 2021.
Morning snorkel at sunrise was very beautiful. 2 days and one night on the reef was an amazing way to see the Great Barrier Reef. We were able to go out so far and away from the day boats. The cabins were comfortable and the bar was welcome at the end of a long day. Staff were very helpful but the food was not as great as we had hoped for. The staff were very supportive to those in our group who were nervous or had not snorkeled much and they had lots of noodles to help less strong swimmers. Over all a fantastic experience.
21. April, 2021.
Terrific Great 2 day 1 night experience. This would be the 6th trip on the reef with various tour organisers and was the best yet. Great food terrific staff and with only 6 of us on the boat plenty of room.
24. February, 2021.
Great diving, amazing staff. I have just got back from my fifth trip on Reef Encounter in the past six months, and once again I had an amazing time. The diving is spectacular, but what makes this live aboard so great is the incredible crew. Nothing is too much trouble and the chef prepares wonderful meals designed to suit everyones needs. The dive team provides a detailed briefing of each location along with tips on the best things to look for. I have already booked my next trip for Easter and can't wait to get back out on the reef.
23. February, 2021.
Incredible Experience My Dad and I are both experienced divers and we had a fabulous time. The dive crew were professional, friendly and helpful. The food was incredible and my allergies were catered for perfectly. All the dive locations were abundant with coral, fish, sharks, turtles etc. We’ll definitely be going again.
12. February, 2021.
I’m rebooking! What can I say but AMAZING! I am soo booking again. Super good value to dive 4 times a day, get fed like a king and get to see some of the best marine life in the world. The night dive was the best with the sharks! What an experience! All the staff were brilliant.
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!
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.
17. May, 2021.
I had the best time diving. Definitely one of the best experiences I have had in Australia. I went for 2D and 1N trip and it exceeded all expectations. I did 6 dives in total and 1 was nightly. I had never dived at night and it was one of the best experiences of my life, I saw so many sharks and turtles. The crew are the best, they provided me with a great stay on the boat and incredible dives in the Great Barrier Reef. I will definitely be back to take my advanced diving course with them. Thank you so much guys.
8. May, 2021.
Definitely one of my best experiences in Australia! Beautiful day dives and absolutely amazing night dive full of reef sharks. The whole crew was great (not only on board but also in the office), very responsive, friendly and caring, preparing the gear before each dive and making sure everyone is having a great time. The food was delicious and I really appreciated that there was no problem preparing vegan meals for me. My only regret is that I booked just one night as I was a bit concerned about sleeping on the boat - No reason! The boat is really beautiful, rooms are surprisingly big with own bathroom, towels and shampoos provided. Plus the slight rocking during the night was very pleasant and I slept like a baby. Once you're there, you don't have to worry about anything, just enjoy the time :) I highly recommend Reef Encounter not only for experienced divers but anyone who is craving for unforgettable adventure on Great Barrier Reef. Thank you so much!
30. April, 2021.
Loved this boat, we never wanted to leave 😍 Awesome, friendly helpful crew, amazing delicious food (the entire trip was eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat 😋), and a comfy private bedroom and bathroom, air conditioned and perfect for sleeping. They take safety very seriously too and you literally just show up on the deck in your wetsuit and your gear is all ready for you to put on and jump in (after you do your own checks of course), no lifting tanks or anything, so luxurious. We will definitely be back, missing the boat and the crew already!
28. April, 2021.
The staff on this trip were fantastic. I get motion sick and we ended up in bad weather, making it a bit of a rough trip for me. The crew did absolutely everything they could to help, letting us change rooms and giving me different food for an upset stomach. Their knowledge of the dive sites is second to none and the photos were incredible. There were so many opportunities to dive and snorkel, including night diving with the sharks. We’ll be back next time we’re in cairns!
11. April, 2021.
A friend and I recently completed our Open Water cert. on a 3D2N trip and then spent a further 3 nights on board as a volunteer host (which also included the opportunity to complete further dives). The crew were great and provided lots of laughs, knowledge and assistance when required. I will definitely be up later in the year to experience all that the reef offers once again.
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!!!
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 🤗
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.
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.
26. April, 2020.
This was one of the highlights of our trip without a doubt! You pay for outstanding service, food, and a once in a lifetime experience! We stayed overnight on the boat and would recommend anyone to do the same! Just be sure to review the medical restrictions and waivers needed to scuba dive since they do not refund uncompleted dives.
14. May, 2017.
This was a great first snorkeling and scuba diving experience! Without certification you get to go on a ~20min dive, and 2 snorkeling sessions. The crew are friendly and accommodating. You are fed without additional charge (but FULL disclosure the wine offered in the way back to Cairns is not the best...). High quality photos are taken both underwater while diving and on deck, but are a bit pricey. I recommend this tour!
8. March, 2017.
We did top deck and it was definitely worth it! This experience was the best part of our trip to Australia. Rob was our guide for the day and I highly recommend that you request him for your next trip. We got to see the best spots and get a personal tour of the Great Barrier Reef. He was super friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and made sure we were safe.
21. February, 2017.
These folks are simply amazing. My wife and I booked our honeymoon to complete our diving cert with another group. They wouldnt honor our previous classes so we cancelled and booked with reef encounters. We initially only booked for one night and had such a great time we extended for a day. Got our certification! The staff is simply incredible. Fun and friendly and took very good care of us. The dive instructor was brilliant. We both had some anxiety and he was able to keep us calm. The diving was amazing. Saw several sea turtles, small sharks, and all sorts of cool things. Highly recommend the guided tours. They show you things you wouldnt find on your own. Food was incredible. Our future dive boats have some very big shoes to fill!
23. December, 2016.
So you made the decision to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia and definitely want to visit GBR, woohoo! Now which of the million tour options to choose from... Reef Experience is absolutely the best choice our family of 4 made and this is why: Booking - amazing. Easy to do online (huge plus for int'l folks like us) or over the phone. We procrastinated and booked 20hrs before departure around busy holiday season... but everything from pickup to dropoff was absolutely perfect. Most other tours had no availability. Value Pack - snorkeling, intro dive, glass boating, marine biologist presentation, BBQ breakfast/lunch and equipment all included. There's also plenty of photography, snorkel tour and additional diving add-ons. Shuttle pickup/dropoff also free. Visiting the outer reefs aka the good stuff (we went to Hastings). Perfect for a group that might have individual interests or doesn't want to miss out on any type of experiences. Cost - Best deal around. Most other tours charge about $50-100 more for the same package, while the only cheaper options are on smaller boats (more prone to seasickness and mediocore facilities). Plus its family owned and aussie operated so there's a good chance your money is going to where it should. Staff - I loved all of them. Diving instructor Evelyn spoke fluent Chinese and immediately put my parents much more at ease. Mikhil was adorably funny in his safety/snorkel presentation, and ever so patient in leading us anxious n00b divers into the water. You can tell Mr. Photographer has done this too many times before with his endearing sarcasm, but gave me some great (and easy to rememeber) tips on how to use my GoPro. Everytime getting in and out of the water, there was always a smiling face making my life easier with the equipment. These same quirky personalities xmas decorated the boat with Peggy the inflatable Penguin and gave us each a wave of enthusiastic high fives to end our trip.
12. April, 2016.
I hesitate to use the word budget, but when you're searching around it's clear that this is the cheaper option on the reef. I was a bit hesitant to book as I've been on some REAL low budge tours in Au that were clearly not setting the bar too high for themselves. This FAMILY OWNED operation was above and beyond my greatest expectations and I struggle to find a single pitfall. For starters, everything is included in the price. No nickle and dime dive gear rental fees or reef taxes. The prescription masks were provided for free. The guided dive tours were well priced and affordable. ($15/dive or like $65 for the three days) I took advantage of the $100 ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE..... seriously, read that again! $100 add on for 5 guided dives and a cert at the end. Are you serious!? We dove deep, we dove with perfect buoyancy, and we dove off a tiny boat James bond style. It was epic. Almost as epic as the instructor - Mac, I'm looking at you! You're a legend. Which brings me to the staff. You could not ask for a better staff. They're all incredibly personable, charismatic, and try to make sure you have a good time. With the exception of two guided tours where they swam a bit too quickly for my liking, I had a great time. A couple of the dive spots weren't the best but the last one, Norman Reef I think, it was a massive cliff that was teeming with all sorts of creatures. Best dive of the trip for sure. Make sure you do those 6am dives, it didn't get better! And, it's a little embarrassing but I suppose pretty relevant since there's another, slightly cheaper option out there who has had some safety issues. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look around on TA and you'll see the owner's response to someone asking for a refund when they cut the tour short after someone drowned) In one of our night dives where the guide went a little too fast, I slowed down a bit and took in the surroundings.... a bit too much. Turns out I was following the wrong torches and my group thought I went missing. It was only a minute or two but my group was already on the surface with my guide searching for me. They are ON IT for safety. The private rooms were great and I enjoyed the sunrise every am from our massive windows. The food really deserves its own paragraph. The chef here is amazing. There's only so much "hot dog in a slice of white bread with some slices of cheese" that you can take on budget tours. I was dreading it. This guy is phenomenal. Breakfast was eggs Benedict, quiche, bacon, massive platters of perfectly ripe fruit and all the snacks, cakes, cookies a person could want. There is SO MUCH FOOD. like, too much. You eat and dive and then eat again. Absolutely every request is taken into account. I asked for no mayo on a sandwich and he rocked out with three for me.... THREE! If you ever wanted to try vegan, this dude as your chef is the time to do it. The only downsides: - hot tub wasn't ready or hot the whole time. On the last day when we couldn't dive again, before leaving, there wasn't much to do between 830am dive and 3pm departure. - I would kill for a fresh towel every day. There are dryers but they still get mucky with salt water and we brought two of our own. - my regulator leaked and when i used the octo it was even worse. like, mouthfuls of salt water. When i brought it up, they didn't change the gear out. That kinda sucked. And my mask leaked pretty bad but that's to be expected with old, regularly used equipment. If you want perfect, bring your own. - the boat moves every day and some spots are not as great as others. I would gladly dive Norman two days in a row instead of moving on to some of the less spectacular ones - I really wish camera rental was more affordable. $50/day is steep. If it was $50/trip I would be all over it. I could've also rented one on land for cheaper but didn't have time. that's it... this place is a well-oiled, awesome machine!
11. April, 2016.
Everything was as described on their website from pick up to drop off. We were picked up right on time from our motel. Free hotel pick up and drop off is included. Then take a nice comfortable boat to the reef locations. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. They gave us a nice breakfast of bacon and egg sandwich with coffee or tea. We were given everything we needed, wetsuits, snorkels, life jackets and floating noodles if you aren't the most confident swimmer. All you need to bring is a towel, sunscreen, and change of clothes if you want to change afterwards. The staff is very attentive, made sure no one swam out too far. The intro dive was wonderful. They have so much patience teaching and guiding, even if you mess up (like I did) and need to come up for air. They give a lunch which is pretty tasty as well. With steak, chicken, sausage, veggie option, and 3 or 4 different salads. Then take you to a second location for an optional 2nd scuba dive for $55 or more snorkeling. The photographer took amazing pictures. I got 5 on a CD for $49, and there are other options. They don't take AMEX for purchases on the boat, only cash and MasterCard or visa I think. OVERALL, IT WAS MONEY VERY VERY WELL SPENT. Trip of a lifetime, I'm so happy I booked with Reef Experience and you should too. FAIR WARNING: If you get sea sick easily, this or ANY boat trip is not the best for you. My BF threw up twice and spent most of the time lying down feeling miserable. They offer natural ginger pills, Dramamine or whatever the chemical used pill is for $3 or $4 AUD. But if you have a weak stomach, (like my BF) think hard before going. He took 2 prescription strength pills and they didn't help. I had a blast tho.
8. March, 2016.
Really impressed with this company. They were recommended to us by friends who used them 2 years ago, so we went with the best. The food is fantastic (fed 3 times during the trip) the crew was incredibly helpful and friendly. I felt safe traveling with them and trying scuba diving for the first time. They will pick you up at your hotel and drop you back off on time. Would not go with anyone else since this is a once in a lifetime experience. They also respond very quickly to emails!!