Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Accommodations

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

Wonderful liveaboard tours on the Great Barrier Reef

Across the very best Outer Great Barrier Reefs, Cairns premier liveaboard cruise ‘Reef Encounter’ is one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia…

Whether you’re a scuba diver, snorkeler, or simply wish to spend time in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, everyone can travel together on a Cairns liveaboard tour.

Consistently awarded “best snorkelling and scuba diving liveaboard” by industry professionals and independents such as Trip Advisor, ‘Reef Encounter’ is large enough to provide the comforts of a cruise ship yet small enough to access spectacular reef locations not accessible to other vessels.

See the reef at its best – day and night!

Stay for as many nights as you like in superbly appointed staterooms with double or twin bed options, or choose to upgrade to the Top Deck Club for that extra bit of VIP luxury. (Click here to read more on Luxury Liveaboard Tour Options…)

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

Activities: Scuba Divers / Snorkelers / More...

  • Unlimited Snorkelling (Included with all liveaboard tour bookings, suitable for all ages) [More Info]
  • Certified Scuba Diving for experienced divers – (select this package during booking)[More Info]
  • Resort Scuba Diving for beginner divers – (select this package during booking, or choose to give it a try once on-board)[More Info]
  • Learn To Scuba Dive Course – become a qualified diver – three day courses or four day courses available (select this package during booking)*
  • Advanced Scuba Courses for qualified divers (select course during booking)*
  • Glass-bottom Boat Tours of the Reef – a fun and informative way to view the reef for all ages (available free of change, upon request during your stay)
  • Helicopter Tours over the Great Barrier Reef (select helicopter transfer when booking)
    *Scuba Diving in Australia is Subject to Conditions – this applies to Certified (qualified) and Beginner divers – please read the ‘Scuba Diving Important Information‘ page before booking any tours including scuba activities

What’s Included

  • Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef with ‘Reef Encounter’ Liveaboard Cruise
  • Access to some of the very best locations across a range of outer Great Barrier Reefs. Locations are selected daily by the Captain, for optimal Reef conditions based on weather and other variables. The number of locations visited will depend on your chosen length of stay
  • Outstanding Cuisine: All meals prepared fresh daily, by an onboard Chef. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert. 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 win personal and professional awards for outstanding customer service in the tourism industry year after year
  • All snorkelling and scuba diving equipment (wetsuits are a small additional charge)
  • Glass bottom boat tours upon request
  • Use of all on-board facilities: hot tub, lounge, sundeck etc. (See ‘Facilities’ below)
  • On your transfer voyage to Reef Encounter, you will have the option to listen to an informative Marine Biology presentation about the coral reef and marine animals
  • Free luggage storage facility available at the ‘Reef Encounter’ office in Cairns City

Liveaboard Facilities

  • ‘Reef Encounter’ is a fully air conditioned hotel style liveaboard, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea
  • Large dining saloon
  • Fully licenced bar
  • TV and lounge area
  • Outdoor, fresh water hot-tub
  • Spacious sundeck with sun loungers
  • 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’ offers a choice between double or twin bed cabins at no additional cost* (See policies)
  • Spacious, fully air-conditioned cabins – with ocean views
  • All cabins have their own en-suite toilet & shower
  • Towels and toiletries provided (soap, shampoo)
  • All cabins have Australian power outlets

Getting There

  • ‘Reef Encounter’ Liveaboard trips depart from Cairns Marina every day, via a fast transfer vessel ‘Reef Experience’. Check-In and Boarding is at 7.30am (for an 8am departure)
  • Alternatively, you may choose to transfer to and/or from ‘Reef Encounter’ by helicopter. The helicopter transfer is an optional extra that you may select during your booking process online
  • Bus transfers to and from your Cairns accommodation are available to the Marina at an additional cost and may be booked during your online reservation, or added at a later date by contacting our friendly reservations team
  • Approximate arrival time back into the Cairns Marina on the final day of your tour is 4.30pm


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Check-In: 10:00 am

Check-Out: 8:00 am

Read policies

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14 Reviews for “Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard”

  1. Laura

    Amazing diving experience Highly recommend this company. We had amazing 5 day stay on the reef encounter. All services were delivered in a professional and timely matter. The staff were very friendly and professional. The overall accommodation was very comfortable, clean and created a nice atmosphere. The food was beyond what I expected for a live aboard. The diving was some of the best I've ever done thanks to the great dive masters and guides.

  2. Sarah

    I booked my overnight reef trip with Reef Encounter. I made my choice cause they had good reviews. The crew was incredibly friendly and helpful with everything, especially our dive instructor Nikki was amazingly kind and patient and made this a once in a lifetime experience. The meal providing exceeded all my expectations and were absolutely delicious. It was also great how they were able to work with all dietary restrictions. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to be on this boat with the amazing crew, food, and experiences. Another big thank you to Nikki for being the best and extremely patient with our group. Thank you !!!

  3. Colin

    Great recommendations from multiple people. had nothing but wonderful things to say. Crew is Amazing! Every single crew member was so kind, helpful and entertaining. Whenever I had a question I could ask anyone and they would know the answer and who/where to direct me to. The meals were perfect. Seriously, both of the chefs did such a great job with every meal. By the third day I almost had to go up a wetsuit size. 10 out of 10 would recommend Reef Encounter to all family/friends. Had the best birthday, I'm certain, I'll ever have thanks for making it special. Latly, thaks especially Hitomi, Sam and Elle for such a wonderful 4 days - I will never forget it.

  4. Tom

    I booked the liveaboard on Reef Encounter cause of the friendly salesman at office. The crew were fabulous. The food was yam, the rooms were clean and comfortable. Keep on doing that good work guys. It was a pleasure to stay with you! We will remember this trip for a long time. Thanks for all from Switzerland :)

  5. Trieu

    I booked with Reef Encounter, the liveaboard, through excellent recommendations. The crew were excellent. Such a professional crew and friendly and approachable. Very efficient and passionate and respectful. Very friendly. The food and accommodations were excellent. So impressed with the experience. We will recommend to our friends and family.

  6. Anne

    I booked liveaboard Reef Encounter because the number of dives and snorkels being on the vessel during 2 nights, I felt safe like in a hotel. Crew is GREAT!!! Many thanks to all of them, the best crew on the reef!!! Cheerful, passionate, all about the reef. Rooms are excellent. Food is gourmet. Good equipment for diving, excellent night dives, we saw plenty of fantastic corals, fishes, turtles, sharks. A real marvel. Great spots on the reef. we will recommend Reef Encounters !!! Thanks for all !!! Thank you to the photographer. Thank you to the captain :)

  7. Amy B

    A once in a lifetime experience - swimming with turtles! The meals were fab. Loved the salad for lunch we had on the second day. The crew were great! So friendly and we loved the photographs we bought. Thank you so much for helping to make our honeymoon so special.

  8. Jorien S

    Reef Encounter allows gests to do what they want vs a camp experience :) My favourite spot was 2nd level up front: sunny, quiet, protected from wind. The crew were amazing, everyone seemed to remember our name and were very polite. The rooms were clean, roomy, and beds were very comfortable. Meals were amazing and accommodated guests special needs. Definitely will recommend!

  9. Jeanie

    I first heard about Reef Encounter through a friend and found it easiest to book online. The crew were very friendly and efficient. The room was comfortable and the meals were excellent! This was the adventure of a lifetime! Loved every minute of it. Thank you for a wonderful time!

  10. Jess

    Thank you so much for having me! The whole teams work has been amazing. I have never felt so safe and looked after. The crew were absolutely phenominal!!! incredibly fun, helpful, caring, words can't describe! My room was beautiful and clean, super comfy bed. The meals were massive and delicious. I will be back and I'll be telling everyone to come out as well. Lots of love :) ☀

  11. Amssa H

    I booked because of the great reviews and word of mouth from friends who have been before. It was so much fun! One of the best things I've done in Australia in my 3 month stay! The crew are GREAT - super friendly and knowledgable. The rooms and meals are also great. Food was much better than expected.

  12. Lisa W

    The crew was excellent/. Very helpful and friendly and fun! The bed was very comfy and the meals were unreal. Felt like I was eating at a restaurant. I like having 2 towels each - one for swimming and one for showering/ I would highly recommend this to my friends and family. Will be a highlight of my time in Australia for sure! Thank you all :)

  13. Chris R

    The crew are great! Very friendly and relaxed. They were happy to go above and beyond for the guests. Very professional when it came to diving. The accommodation was great and the food was excellent. Both were better than expected. Would highly recommend Reef Encounter. Incredible diving experience with a great crew. They were also extremely helpful sorting out the cake for my girlfriend's birthday.

  14. Marta M

    We chose this because it departures every day and offer the product we were looking for: 2 days and 1 night at the reef. The crew are amazing. they are kindly and all the time taking care about us. The room was perfect!!! Everything was really good: our room, the bathrooms, breakfast, dinner lunch...CONGRATULATIONS! Thanks for these two days. It was amazing to be there!


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