Australia’s Best Liveaboard  ‘Reef Encounter’ Great Barrier Reef, Cairns

Australia’s best liveaboard ‘Reef Encounter’ – surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef – is one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia.  Our floating hotel is always situated on the Great Barrier Reef  Daily transfers are operated by our sister boat Reef Experience, allowing guests the freedom to start their trip on the day that suits them and stay for as long as they like.  Helicopter transfers are also an option landing directly onboard Reef Encounter’s onboard helipad.

Consistently rated ‘number one’ scuba diving and snorkelling liveaboard by both industry professionals and independent reviewers such as Google Reviews,  Reef Encounter is large enough to provide all the comforts of a cruise ship yet small enough to access spectacular reef locations not accessible to other vessels.

Family owned and operated (and all scuba enthusiasts) it is our passion to deliver outstanding Great Barrier Reef encounters.

We take extreme pride in our products, our boats, our crew and most importantly, our guests! We believe that Reef Encounter is unbeatable on service and value.

Stay for as many nights as you like in superbly appointed staterooms, or choose to upgrade to the Top Deck Club for that extra bit of VIP luxury.

With daily transfers from Cairns by boat or helicopter, Reef Encounter is an excellent alternative to a resort based holiday.

Click ‘Book’ to select your arrival and departure dates – and then choose your desired activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling or enrol on a dive course…

What’s Included

  • Great Barrier Reef accommodation with Reef Encounter, Cairns best Great Barrier Reef liveaboard
  • A variety of spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef locations during your stay
  • Snorkelling or scuba diving, depending on which you select upon booking
  • All meals prepared fresh daily, by an onboard Chef. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Fruit available throughout the day along with tea & coffee. All dietary requirements will be catered for – please advise us of these when booking
  • The best crew on the reef!

  • The Reef Encounter team is the best in the business, winning personal and professional awards for outstanding customer service in the tourism industry year after year
  • The latest snorkelling and scuba diving equipment (wetsuits are a small additional charge)
  • Glass bottom boat tour upon request
  • On the voyage to Reef Encounter, you will have the option to listen to an informative Marine Biology presentation about the coral reef and marine animals. A barbeque buffet breakfast is served on the outbound voyage
  • On your return voyage back to Cairns, enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and a cheese and fruit platter
  • Free luggage storage facility available at their offices in the Cairns City
  • Daily transfers to the Reef Encounter are operated by our sister vessel Reef Experience allowing daily departures.
  • Helicopter Transfers
  • Scenic Great Barrier Reef helicopter transfers to or from your liveaboard tour are an optional extra.

Great Barrier Reef Accommodation Facilities

  • A fully air-conditioned 35-metre catamaran hotel, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea
  • Large dining saloon
  • TV and lounge area
  • Outdoor, freshwater hot-tub
  • Spacious sundeck with sun loungers
  • Fully licenced bar
  • Large, easy access dive and snorkel platforms
  • Helicopter pad on the roof for low-flying scenic helicopter tours over the coral reef as your transfer to/from Reef Encounter (optional extra)
  • Reef Encounter is one of few Great Barrier Reef liveaboards with ensuite facilities. All cabins have their own en-suite toilet & shower

Great Barrier Reef Accommodation

  • Check-in time: 10 am (approximately) Check-out time: 8 am (approximately)*
  • Spacious, air-conditioned cabins – with spectacular ocean views
  • Towels and toiletries provided (soap, shampoo)
  • All cabins have Australian power outlets
  • Reef Encounter is one of the few Great Barrier Reef accommodation with ensuite facilities. All cabins have their own en-suite toilet & shower
  • Double bed or twin-single bed cabins available
  • *For late check-out times and to keep your own cabin until departure, please upgrade to our Top Deck Club

Important Information for Scuba Divers

  • This information is for all guests participating in scuba diving activities during your Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour
  • Australia has some of the strictest scuba diving rules in the world but also the safest scuba diving record. Please make sure you understand the scuba diving laws in Queensland, Australia
  • Great Barrier Reef liveaboard boats are regulated by the Queensland Government Code of Practice and comply with all rules including the requirements for a dive medical, where applicable, as required by law
  • To avoid disappointment on your liveaboard tour – we strongly recommend that all passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire prior to booking as some medical conditions, age and/or medications may prevent you from scuba diving. It is always our mission to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef tour
  • We are very happy to help you with any questions you may have. Please contact our office on +61 7 4037 2700 or email our helpful team today.
  • Alternatively, you may like to consult your own Doctor for a Queensland Dive Medical using the Australian QLD Standard Form AS.4005.1
  • Flying after Scuba Diving For a single no decompression scuba dive, you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive. For multiple dives, you should not fly for 24 hours after your last dive. If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning you must wait 24 hours after your dive. We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible

Sample Itinerary

Please note, this itinerary is based on a 3 day, 2-night liveaboard stay. Any additional days will be additional ‘full days’.

*This itinerary may vary due to weather conditions, seasons and other circumstances

First Day – Arrive

  • 7:30 am Board the transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’ at Cairns Marlin Marina for breakfast, check-in and your journey to Reef Encounter
  • 9:30 am Arrive onboard Reef Encounter for your ‘Welcome & Safety Talk’ before being shown to your room to settle in and relax
  • 10:30 am  Water Session: Time to snorkel for all guests before lunch
  • 12:00 Lunch is served in the dining saloon
  • 13.00 Water Briefings: Certified Diver Briefings / Try Scuba Diving Briefings / Snorkel Adventure Briefings
  • 13.30  Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time
  • 15:00 Reef Encounter moves to another spectacular outer barrier reef location
  • 15:30  Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request
  • 18:00 Dinner is served in the dining saloon *Times may vary according to season
  • 18:45 Night Dive Briefings *Times may vary according to season
  • 19:00  Night dive commences for all those scuba diving *Times may vary according to season
  • 20:00 Dessert is served in the dining saloon
  • Full-Day – At the Reef

  • 6:00 am An optional wake-up call for the early morning dive and snorkel session
  • 6:30 am  Water Session: Sunrise scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request
  • 7:30 am Breakfast is served in the dining saloon
  • 8:00 am Reef Encounter moves to another spectacular outer barrier reef location
  • 8:30 am  Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time
  • 10:30 am  Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time
  • 12:00 Lunch is served in the dining saloon
  • 13:30  Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time
  • 15:00 Reef Encounter moves to another spectacular outer barrier reef location
  • 15:30  Water Session: Scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request
  • 18:00 Dinner is served in the dining saloon *Times may vary according to season
  • 18:45 Night Dive Briefings *Times may vary according to season
  • 19:00  Night dive commences for all those scuba diving *Times may vary according to season
  • 20:00 Dessert is served in the dining saloon
  • Last Day Day – Departure

  • 6:00 am An optional wake-up call for the early morning dive and snorkel session
  • 6:30 am  Water Session: Sunrise scuba dive or snorkel time. Glass bottom boat tour available upon request
  • 7:30 am Breakfast is served in the dining saloon
  • 8:00 am Room Checkout Time. Access to a shared transfer/baggage room with bathroom is available along with all other boat facilities *For late check-out times and to keep your own cabin until departure, please upgrade to our Top Deck Club
  • 8:00 am Reef Encounter moves to another spectacular outer barrier reef location
  • 8:30 am  Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time
  • 10:30 am  Water Session: Scuba Dive or Snorkel Time
  • 12:00 Lunch is served in the dining saloon
  • 13:30  Water Session: Snorkel only session available to passengers before departure
  • 14:45 Departing passengers board the transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’ for the journey back to Cairns. Complimentary wine, cheese and biscuits served on the return journey15:00 Reef Encounter moves to another spectacular outer barrier reef location16:30 Approximate arrival time to the Cairns Marlin Marina, Cairns Australia

Would you like to view our VIP Service, for many added incisions and Great Barrier Reef luxuries? Click here to see our Top Deck Club

Check-In: 10:00 am

Check-Out: 8:00 am

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Stateroom Liveaboard Accommodations

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5

18 Reviews for “Stateroom Liveaboard”

  1. Kristi B
    5

    Our stay (my sister and I) aboard Reef Encounter was an incredible experience. The dive master, Macca, was incredibly friendly, kind when I had some issues, and made me feel confident in what was going on. Our dive guide, Dan, was also exceptional and I can't say enough about how great he was when I had some issues diving. The food was amazing, in fact for most meals there was way more food that a single person could eat. Although we did try. The rooms were more than comfortable and we found that the rocking of the boat made for a great night's sleep. The diving was beautiful even though during our time the weather was cloudy and the water was fairly choppy. I wish we had much more time.

    Reply
  2. Nathan
    5

    "Find overall experience great. No hassles and everything ran smoothly. Exceptional rooms -- Food was unreal. Bedding and showers above expectations."

    Reply
  3. Dolores
    5

    "The crew was great, very helpful with all activities. Amazing meals, the accommodation was very clean and comfy. Thank you for everything, it was my first time diving and I had a great time!"

    Reply
  4. Bill
    5

    "Fantastic crew. Michael is a great dive master guide, Marley was also excellent. Rest of crew was very accommodating, friendly and makes us feel like family. Room was very comfortable overall ship is great. Meals were excellent! You'll get 5 stars from us on Trip Advisor!"

    Reply
  5. Katie
    5

    The crew were friendly, approachable and able to provide helpful information re. locations, equipment, and the daily schedule. The meals were excellent and the room was very comfortable and clean. Lovely warm shower! I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 day stay on Reef Encounter and would definitely recommend it!

    Reply
  6. Yoganya
    5

    Very friendly & helpful. Hitomi was an absolutely awesome dive instructor- thank you! Accommodation was very comfortable and more spacious than expected - very comfy couches and beds. Meals were good, all dietary requirements met with enthusiasm. We had a wonderful time, thank you to all the crew who looked after us. It might be a few years before I'm back, but will definitely come with you guys again!

    Reply
  7. Antoinette N
    5

    The crew were excellent, nothing was too much of a bother. Super friendly and super helpful and cheery. The rooms were super comfy and the food was delicious! Was totally not expecting the standards to be that high! Will be highly recommending to my friends and family <3

    Reply
  8. Jo L
    5

    The crew were so friendly, polite, helpful! I had full confidence in the dive instructors. The meals were delicious. Perfect food for being at sea. So healthy -- great fruits and salads.

    Reply
  9. Cortney
    5

    Our stay on Reef Encounter was awesome. Everything was perfectly accomodated. Crew was fantastic, enthusiastic, helpful, and nice. I felt very comfortable and safe staying on board.

    Reply
  10. Caledonia T
    5

    Everything was great! The room was great. The food was really GOOD. The crew was great. Dives were awesome. Thanks for the positive attitudes and friendliness. It was a great time.

    Reply
  11. Madison
    5

    Glowing reviews made me book Reef Encounter. This is one amazing company, the highlight of my trip, and I will tell everyone to go on this trip. Amazing, very friendly, helpful, warm and welcoming crew. Accommodation was very comfortable and meals were delicious! I was not disappointed at all. If possible I will be back!

    Reply
  12. Gary
    5

    I heard about Reef Encounter because it's the #1 recommended on Trip Advisor. I wanted a good price with lots of opportunities to snorkel, this fit the bill. Very nice and friendly crew, personable and very helpful. Meals were excellent and the bed was very comfortable. Excellent job guys, you did everything great, all very clean and great reef sites. Thanks for providing so many opportunities to snorkel.

    Reply
  13. Yael
    5

    It was an amazing experience! I enjoyed every second of it and the crew was awesome! So nice, kind, patient, professional.

    Reply
  14. Vinay
    5

    Real friendly crew. Loved the smiles and service around. Our guide was great when in the waters. Awesome accommodation and meals. Kudos to the chef - met my vegan diet requirements beyond expectations! Keep it going. :) Will come back given a chance.

    Reply
  15. Jacqueline
    5

    I booked on a liveaboard Reef Encounter. Liked that it had proper beds (not bunks) and ensuites in every room. Crew is absolutely fantastic, especially Jade and Ollie who made the perfect pina coladas. All other crew super friendly and helpful. Accommodation was fab, spacious cabins, clean and air con good. Food outstanding, could not feet it, especially rack of lamb! Food was actually gourmet. Thanks for the best 3 days!!! Will definitely give a glowing review on trip advisor. Also the photo packages were good value (unlike other touristic tours). *****

    Reply
  16. Tiffany
    5

    All of the crew were amazing, so helpful and friendly. The meals were also amazing, great-tasting and large portions. The accommodation was cozy and great!

    Reply
  17. Nola
    5

    Amazing, super friendly and helpful and knowledgeable crew. I love how they memorised my name almost immediately and always said hello with a smile on their faces. The meals were outstanding and delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by the spread and variety. Compliments to the chefs! We loved our time on Reef Encounter! Will definitely recommend to others and come back again to learn scuba diving :)

    Reply
  18. Mairhead
    5

    There are not enough words - the crew were amazing, friendly, hard-working, fun, engaging, professional, great chef, love their jobs! Fantastic - they made the trip! The meals were excellent - HATS OFF to the chefs!! Aaron and Peter were legends. We loved diving with all the instructors! Kohler you were amazing and thank you for breakfast tea, nice touch! I will be back for sure - Thank you !

    Reply

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