Great Barrier Reef liveaboard reviews

Take some time to read our Great Barrier Reef liveaboard reviews.  Also, head over to Google business to read our more Reviews.

Recent Reviews


Total care.  

We paid a little extra, but we got the most wonderful experience with non-stop attention for this little extra. Our onboard host was a lovely lady by the name of Niki. F. My wife, who could not swim, was swimming and snorkelling 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 planned 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 Club 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, the crew took care of us. 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

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


Reef Encounter reviews

Everywhere you turn in Cairns, someone tries to sell you a boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. There are countless options around the type of boat, snorkelling sessions or dives, the number of hours out on the water, types of meals, and departure times. When we read that Reef Encounter 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 warm. The crew were accommodating and safety-conscious. We felt we were in excellent hands.

The food was delicious as well, lunch and breakfast is buffet style, dinner is plated. It was a generous and delicious 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 liveaboard in Cairns, look no further.

 Mike Ball Spoilsport Review

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

Had the most amazing time onboard spoilsport. I made the 4 night trip to Osprey reef, and it is worth every penny!

Mike Ball’s crew were amazing, friendly and kind people. When we weren’t underwater, 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 it, was a beautiful touch.

Food onboard was absolutely 5-star restaurant quality, and all dietary requirements were 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.

Dive Sites

Dive sites are beautiful, and it’s amazing to dive at locations that aren’t overcrowded by numerous other dive boats. You can dive as much or as little as you want. There are so 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.

Spoilsport was 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 it is dark, it’s time for night diving!

Definitely do it – it’s 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. Your face will hurt from smiling so much.