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)

Accommodation

  • ‘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

Check-In: 10:00 am

Check-Out: 8:00 am

Read policies

Add your review for Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard

4.9090909090909

55 Reviews for “Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard”

  1. Claire
    5

    Excellent. Food was great. Comfy beds & clean room. Crew are really friendly and helpful. Had a great time, thanks! :)

    Reply
  2. Tahir
    5

    Crew are very organised and helpful! Great job! Much better than expected. We enjoyed the tour. Big thank you to the crew!

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  3. Olivier
    5

    Crew are great, very friendly & helpful. Food was great and rooms comfortable. Everything was awesome, pictures were beautiful.

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  4. Stephen
    5

    Awesome crew. Room was nice and clean, meals were great. Thanks for a great trip!

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  5. Michelle
    5

    Excellent crew! Very friendly, knowledgeable, very positive and helpful. Made the experience wonderful! Thank you for a wonderful experience! Enjoyed the 3days/nights that we spent. Loved the locations in the reef and the staff was wonderful.

    Reply
  6. Justin
    5

    The crew was amazing, very helpful. Delicious meals, thought the whole thing and the rooms were nice too. I would definitely do it again.

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  7. Alex
    5

    Great trip! I would come back again and recommend to everyone! The crew were AMAZING! 5 star service. Everyone was accommodating and helpful. Dive instructor Hitomi & photographer Greg were particularly helpful. Great intro to diving! Food was amazing and plentiful. accommodation was very comfortable. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  8. David
    5

    Super rad. Cool, quick, nice, helpful, obviously passionate and professional crew. The room was good, loved having ow room as an option. Food was better than expected and consistently great! Oh, great rates too. Made easy to say yes. Hitomi was a great teacher, too.

    Reply
  9. Dat
    5

    AMAZING! I felt like at home. Great atmosphere, relaxed, pro, everything was smooth and nice. Special thanks to Hitomi for her patience and instructions. Can't wait to go back diving! Yay! The meals and accommodation were all nice and perfect. Big thanks to the entire crew. Highlight of my holidays in Australia. Great job! If I would have had more time, I would have definitely applied for a hostie position!

    Reply
  10. David S.
    5

    This has honestly been one of the coolest experiences eve@ The crew was over the top nice + friendly. We had a wonderful time, the food was fresh + delicious. Thank you to the entire crew for a memorable time.

    Reply
  11. Alice
    5

    Accommodation was great, comfortable, and very clean, meals were excellent! Would highly recommend, wish we'd stayed for longer!

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  12. Jabilli and Andre
    5

    I booked a liveaboard on Reef Encounter. It had excellent reviews, guided dives, amazing food, well organized, nice boat. AMAZING! Everyone was so nice and friendly. The crew is so well organised and made sure every one was happy, comfortable and safe. Mike was our Top Deck crew member and he was the best! He made sure we had everything we needed, showed us all the amazing things in the best. No other dive boat will compare after this trip! The food was absolutely delicious!!! We were so well taken care of!!! Mike spent an entire dive heling with all the gear, he was so patient and attentive. Thank you for all the time you spent with us, Mike! We hope to come back another time!

    Reply
  13. Kristi
    5

    It was nice that they (the crew) all called me by my name. It felt very personalized. Dive instructors were great! Meals were generous and varied. Very impressed! Favourite part of my Aussie vacation!

    Reply
  14. Joyce
    5

    I booked Reef Encounter, the liveaboard, because it was highly recommended by my travel agent. The crew was fabulous! Very professional and knowledgeable. Val was awesome! Taking very good care of all of us. Greg (photographer) was wonderful and his photos were spectacular. Accommodations and food: very comfortable, all the amenities - food was excellent. We will recommend this to everyone we know !!!

    Reply
  15. Gabor T
    5

    Everybody on the crew was super helpful!! Especially big thank you to Michael and Hugo for helping me underwater! The meals and accommodation were absolutely flawless. Keep up the good work. Well done guys!! Thank you all!!!

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  16. Mike (USA)
    5

    Great experience. There is nothing I would suggest to make the experience any better! The crew have such great attitudes. Really wanted us to have a good time.

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  17. Eimear C
    5

    The crew were so awesome and friendly and helpful. they were skilled in the water too. Great with nervous certified divers. Thanks to Alex for a great Reef Experience. The food was fantastic far beyond what I would expect from a liveaboard. Room and shared facilities were pristine. Loved the books available. Best holiday of my life. We plan to return!! Thank you and see you soon.

    Reply
  18. Michelle K
    5

    The crew were wonderful and very helpful. Nathan is very patient and all are excellent at their craft! Thank you to Macka and team. The staff was very nice and the meals were quite tasty. I would totally do this again and recommend it. This was an amazing experience. I wish I had more time on board, but my schedule didn't allow it. Thank you to everyone.

    Reply
  19. Amy M
    5

    Amazing! The value was awesome! Food was top notch, A++! It was varied and delicious. Cheers to the chef. So thrilled with my experience. We will be back for sure!! My first ever night scuba dive experience and it was definitely the way to do it!

    Reply
  20. Frankie L
    5

    I'm a repeat customer and love diving! It was amazing and I loved all of the crew. I would take them home with me if I could. The food and rooms are amazing. I had the BEST sleeps since I've had my baby on board. I loved every minute and will definitely be coming back again.

    Reply
  21. Mark (UK)
    5

    Very good, friendly and helpful whilst being clear, concise and professional. Seeing a white tip reef shark on the personalised tour. The personalised service in the water really made the trip. The service throughout was excellent.

    Reply
  22. Bridie (AUS)
    5

    The crew are top class. All day they took care of us. I actually only went in water because a lovely staff member encouraged me. The marine biologist gave me a little tour to calm my nerves. She showed me a turtle and I felt amazed. This tour helped me face a fear. I can't thank you all enough.

    Reply
  23. Victoria
    5

    Awesome crew, exceeded expectations. Great recommendations for dive/snorkel sites - friendly & approachable staff. Food was amazing especially the dinner on the Top Deck - great atmosphere and sunset setting. Room was very comfortable. Nothing bad to say about our night on board - would definitely recommend to friends and would come back!

    Reply
  24. Adrian (Ireland)
    5

    Awesome crew, friendly and great service. Great dive guiding. Everyone did a great job making us feel comfortable. Accommodation was excellent, comfortable and clean. Meals were first class. Compliments to the chef. Fantastic way to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Would highly recommend to anyone.

    Reply
  25. Jenny (USA)
    5

    Fabulous! So fun, friendly, and helpful. Rooms and food were both excellent! The chef was also so kind to make special meals for our picky 10 year old. Thank you for an amazing and memorable experience! A great time was had by all, from age 10 to 70!

    Reply
  26. Sterling (USA)
    5

    Incredible. Shout out to Millie. Fantastic guide and everyone was so friendly. Some of the best food I've had in Australia and I slept like a baby. One of my favourite experiences ever. Thank you all!

    Reply
  27. Aliyah (USA)
    5

    Amazingly wonderful! Fun! Hardworking impressive! The entire crew was super nice friendly and helpful! Meals were very yummy! Accommodations were better than anticipated. Photographers were great! Macca is super funny! Jade works her butt off! Thank you for the chance of a lifetime! Unforgettable!

    Reply
  28. Steve (UK)
    5

    Outstanding. All staff were great, knowledgeable, and made this perfect. Great food, freshly and well planned. Dreamt since I was a child of diving on Great Barrier Reef - the experience was made true by the staff and boat being excellent.

    Reply
  29. Dakota (USA)
    5

    Everyone was kind and helpful. Overall they made it a very enjoyable experience. All meals very good. I felt well taken care of and comfortable. Amazing dive locations. Thanks for such a wonderful experience. It was unforgettable.

    Reply
  30. Sarah (UK)
    5

    Very friendly and welcoming, informative and knowledgeable. Meals were delicious, high quality. thanks for a great experience. Very glad we chose Reef Encounter. Unforgettable experience of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Reply
  31. William (UK)
    5

    Excellent crew. Super friendly, very nice, really positive and outgoing. Really enjoyed completing my open water diver cert. Many thanks to my instructor Justin, he was excellent and patient with us. Many thanks to the crew. Good food, and amazing photos taken by Heather!!

    Reply
  32. Laura
    5

    Lovely! All crew are friendly and will do anything to help you. Very knowledgeable about the reef. Room was great and spacious and meals were of high quality. Thank you for an amazing trip!

    Reply
  33. Krsita I
    5

    The crew were so amazing and friendly. They were accommodating, fun, happy, and made everything so easy and comfortable. The meals and food were so amazing. Please keep up the good work! I will be recommending this experience to everyone.

    Reply
  34. Ann B
    5

    I heard about Reef Encounter through Lonely Planet. The crew were fantastic. Everyone was extremely helpful. Kari was an Amazing instructor and helped me fulfill a lifetime dream of mine. Heather and Ollie were thoroughly entertaining for my 11 year old son. Everyone took the time to ensure we had an amazing trip. So well organized and the crew genuinely seems like they are having a good time. I really appreciated that they are their dinner with us. My picky eater children loved the food and thank you for making accommodations for us! It was the best! My son loved the food so much he asked for the dinner recipe!

    Reply
  35. Stephanie
    5

    We booked Reef Encounter, the liveaboard, because of the Trip Advisor Reviews. The crew was very nice and accommodating, they made the trip a lot of fun. Accommodation is excellent! Really, really pleasantly surprised by the high quality of food provided. Really enjoyed the whole trip. Appreciate the high quality of service provided by the crew in all aspects. Thanks!

    Reply
  36. Donna
    5

    I found out about Reef Encounter from Lonely Planet and reviews. The crew were very professional. The accommodation and meals were brilliant. Everything was better than I expected. Particular thanks to Hitomi who was a patient and very professional dive instructor. I felt very safe with her. Big thanks as I was nervous and its really made my trip!

    Reply
  37. Michael
    5

    We found Reef Encounter online and loved the fact we did not have any pool sessions for the Open Water Certification, everything is done out on the Reef! I absolutely loved it all and the crew are the best I've ever had the pleasure to be with. They treated all of us like part of the crew (Great job guys) The meals on board far surpassed my expectations! I am not even exaggerating in saying this is my favorite holidays ever!

    Reply
  38. Daniel
    5

    The reviews and super helpful/knowledgeable online chat definitely give this trip justice. It was fantastic! The crew were super attentive, friendly, helpful, accomodating, knowledgeable. also made you feel safe on water/reef! The rooms were wonderful. Very clean and comfortable. The food wa really delicious (vegan). Chef was very accommodating too. Lots of food and great options. Overall and seriously, NO complaints! it was really a great Experience. Would do it again! 10/10. Thank you all very much!

    Reply
  39. Samuel
    5

    I booked 2 days of diving on Reef Encounter because it was cost effective and sounded exciting. Crew is incredible in very way. Extremely pleasant and high quality accommodations and meals. Thank you so much for all the wonderful experiences and for teaching me to dive. The night dive was especially memorable. Hitomi was a wonderful dive instructor and showed me a world I will never forget. I am extremely pleased with my short stay here and hope to come back for more someday.

    Reply
  40. Riley (Australia)
    5

    The crew are extremely friendly and easy to deal with. Accommodation was clean and well looked after. Food definitely a highlight. Third time on Reef Encounter and is always an awesome couple of days.

    Reply
  41. Brock
    5

    I chose Reef Encounter, the liveaboard, because I really wanted to get license for Scuba diving. The crew was amazing. Exceeded expectations. Accommodations and food were amazing. Thank you for an unreal experience of the Great Barrier Reef. I will definitely recommend Reef Encounter to my friends. Jackson, the instructor, was great.

    Reply
  42. Marta M
    5

    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!

    Reply
  43. Chris R
    5

    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.

    Reply
  44. Lisa W
    5

    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 :)

    Reply
  45. Amssa H
    5

    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.

    Reply
  46. Jess
    5

    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 :) ☀

    Reply
  47. Jeanie
    5

    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!

    Reply
  48. Jorien S
    5

    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!

    Reply
  49. Amy B
    5

    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.

    Reply
  50. Anne
    5

    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 :)

    Reply
  51. Trieu
    0

    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.

    Reply
  52. Tom
    5

    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 :)

    Reply
  53. Colin
    5

    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.

    Reply
  54. Sarah
    5

    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 !!!

    Reply
  55. Laura
    5

    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.

    Reply

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