Great Barrier Reef liveaboard reviews

Recent Reviews


Total care.  

We paid a little extra but for this little extra we got the most wonderful experience with non stop attention. Our on board host was a lovely lady by the name of Niki. F. My wife who could not swim was swimming and snorkeling with confidence on the first day, due to the support and teachings of our guide I was SCUBA diving again after 45 years. Food was sensational with service to match. All the staff seemed to be well informed in all aspects of the job at hand. We loved it and plan on going back this November.


Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Top Deck liveaboard bliss! 

I really can’t say enough about our Reef Encounter experience. My husband and I booked the Top Deck 2 day/1 night trip at the end of March. We looked at TONS of other dive companies and tours and chose the Reef Encounter based on its reviews and I’m so, so glad that we did. We went back and forth for a while about doing Top Deck due to the additional cost but it was absolutely one of the best decisions we made on our trip! We had both just been scuba certified a month before so we wanted to make sure we had a personal guide instead of a group (we didn’t want to hold anyone back as novices).

From the moment we checked in we were well taken care of. Kari was our guide and she was amazing. Friendly, patient, funny— and she anticipated needs we didn’t even know we had (like throwing our towels in the dryer so that they would be warm when we got out of the water!). She also knew where to look for everything in the reef which was incredibly valuable. We would have been swimming around aimlessly, although the GBR is stunning, obviously. I wasn’t feeling well the first day, but I was able to go out with another guide (Nick Paul was incredible, too!) so the staff’s flexibility was really appreciated.

It’s been said many times, but in addition to the service, the food was also outstanding. We wanted for nothing— except more time on the reef. It was an experience that we’ll cherish forever— book this trip, you won’t regret it.



Reef Encounter reviews

Max B


Reviewed 1 week ago

Must do 

This is absolutely the best Great Barrier Reef experience I could think of. Staff, food, and facilities are amazing. Had the time of my life here, and couldn’t imagine doing a trip to the reef anywhere else. Recommend staying as long as possible.


Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Lots of time in the water with overnight stay 

Everywhere you turn in Cairns, someone is trying to sell you a boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. There are countless options around the type of boat, the number of snorkelling sessions or dives, the number of hours out on the water, types of meals, and departure times. When we read that Reef Encounters offered the opportunity to sleep overnight on the Reef, we were intrigued. Our AirBnB host was able to an excursion for us , and checking that the forecast was good, we booked a cabin. You head out to the reef on the Reef Experience boat, which takes you to the Reef Encounter boat anchored beside Norman Reef. We snorkelled three times the first day, and were up bright and early for the 6:30 am morning snorkel. After breakfast we went out for a final snorkel although we could have squeezed in one more full session and even a short session before catching a ride back to Cairns on the Reef Experience. They supplied everyone with head-to-toe Lycra stinger suits; deadly jellyfish were known to be in the area because the water was so warm. The crew were extremely helpful and safety-conscious, we felt we were in really good hands. The food was really good as well, lunch and breakfast is buffet style, dinner is plated. It was a generous and very tasty serving of snapper and fresh veggies.



Spoilsport Reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

Top notch dive top 

My wife and I dove Cod Hole with Mike Ball and had a wonderful time. Wonderful staff, great food, very organized and amazing diving. If you’re booking a live aboard in Cairns look no further.


Dive, Eat, Sleep, Repeat – An Amazing Journey Above and Below the water

Had the most amazing time on board spoilsport. I did the 4 night trip to Osprey reef and it is worth every penny!

The crew were amazing, friendly and kind people. When we weren’t under the water I had some wonderful chats and giant belly laughs with these guys! As soon as I stepped on the boat, I really felt like I was looked after. Even the little things, like having your own water bottle provided for you with your name on, was a beautiful touch. The food was absolutely 5-star restaurant quality and all dietary requirements are catered for. At the end of the trip you can really let your hair down and party with the crew and guests as a storm is cooked up on the deck BBQ and a surprise guest performs some live entertainment.

The dive sites are beautiful, and its amazing to be able to dive at locations that aren’t overcrowded by numerous other dive boats. You can dive as much or as little as you want. The are sooooooo many fish and sharks, and amazing displays of gregorian fan corals! Highly recommend hiring an underwater camera, or bring your own if you’ve got one.

The boat felt very spacious – the beds are comfy and the sun deck provides a great space to nap or do some yoga stretching after a day of diving. But the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down…once its dark its time for night diving! Definitely do it – its when all the bigger fish come out to play, and if you’re lucky you may get to see some flashlight fish. Plus, the low level flight back to Cairns provides an amazing bird’s eye view of the reef!

If you’re solo, don’t worry. You get paired up with other divers on the boat of a similar level. I ended up getting paired with a girl, and we became friends, with us catching up later in our travels.

So all in all, I highly recommend these guys to anyone who loves diving. You’re face will hurt from smiling so much.