Great Barrier Reef liveaboard reviews

Discover what travellers are saying about their experiences exploring the Great Barrier Reef. With its awe-inspiring beauty and diverse marine life, visitors rave about the unforgettable moments spent snorkelling, diving, and exploring this natural wonder. Many reviewers highlight the stunning coral formations, vibrant colours, and abundant marine species encountered during excursions. From first-time visitors to seasoned adventurers, the consensus is clear: the Great Barrier Reef offers a truly magical experience that leaves a lasting impression on all who can explore its underwater wonders.

Take some time to read our Great Barrier Reef liveaboard reviews.  Also, head over to Google Business to read 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 confidently swimming and snorkelling on the first day. Due to the support and teachings of our guide, I was SCUBA diving again after 45 years. The 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 three 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 many other dive companies and tours and chose Reef Encounter based on its reviews, and I’m so glad we did. We went back and forth about doing Top Deck Club for a while due to the additional cost, but it was one of the best decisions on our trip! Both had been scuba-certified a month before, so we wanted to ensure 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 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. I wasn’t feeling well the first day, but I could go out with another guide (Nick Paul was incredible, too!), so the staff’s flexibility was appreciated.

It’s been said many times, but the food was also outstanding in addition to the service. 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 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 travelling to the reef anywhere else. I recommend staying as long as possible.


Reef Encounter reviews

Everywhere you turn in Cairns, someone tries to sell you a boat ride 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. We were intrigued when we read that Reef Encounter offered the opportunity to sleep overnight on the Reef.

Our Airbnb host could do an excursion for us, and after 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 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 also delicious. Lunch and breakfast is buffet style, and 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 did 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 was amazing; they were 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 felt like I was looked after. Even the little things, like having your own water bottle provided for you with your name on it, were a beautiful touch.

The food onboard was 5-star restaurant quality, and all dietary requirements were catered for. At the end of the trip, you can 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 diving at locations that aren’t overcrowded by numerous other dive boats is amazing. 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! I highly recommend hiring an underwater camera or bringing your own if you’ve got one.

Spoilsport was spacious – the beds are comfy, and the sun deck provides a great space to nap or do some yoga stretching after diving. But the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down…once it is dark, it’s time for night diving!

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 a boat of a similar level. I got paired with a girl, and we became friends, 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.