Liveaboard Cairns Reef Encounter

Liveaboard Cairns, Reef Encounter is a family-owned and operated floating hotel on Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef.

We take great pride in providing outstanding Great Barrier Reef encounters for our guests.

Onboard you will find a young, energetic team passionate about the Great Barrier Reef and showing our guests the best way to enjoy the reef.

All crew onboard have their favourite reef friends, so if you want to find Nemo or get up close and personal with a turtle.  Have a personal encounter with a Giant Maori Wrasse or find some aloof reef sharks. Be sure to ask our crew.

A taste of the Tropics, our Great Barrier Reef liveaboard onboard Chefs make delicious meals and can cater to all dietary requirements. Food is something we take very seriously!

Scuba diving and snorkelling are both great activities to work up an appetite – all our guests comment on how great our food is – North Queensland has outstanding fresh produce we love to showcase on Reef Encounter.

Our 21 Staterooms are either twin or double for families. We can put you in rooms side by side or directly across the hall from each other.

Reef Encounter is a 35-metre catamaran built for stability at sea. Our reef moorings are in the protected waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which provides the best possible sheltered positions for our passengers.

Seeing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is certainly on most people’s bucket list.

Reef Encounter has several different packages to accommodate everyone in your family, all in one place, so if one person wants to do scuba diving. Another wants to go snorkelling, one person may want to try a resort / introductory dive, and one person may even want to learn to scuba dive – you can choose from our stateroom accommodation or spoil yourself with our VIP package Top Deck Club.

Getting to Reef Encounter


Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Cairns
Helicopter Transfer to Reef Encounter

Our Great Barrier Reef liveaboard is serviced daily by our fast catamaran Reef Experience departing from the Cairns Marlin Jetty at 8 am or via a spectacular helicopter flight. If you would like to book the helicopter, you will find that an optional extra when booking your Reef Encounter package.

Bus Transfers

This round trip service that picks you up and drops you off from all city accommodation houses is $12 from all outer Cairns. Northern Beaches locations price is $25 per person.

Port Douglas accommodation houses cost is $70 per person. Booking transfers to the Jetty is also an optional extra when booking Reef Encounter packages.

Helicopter Transfers

For the ultimate transfer, book our scenic helicopter flight take a spectacular flight over the Great Barrier Reef and land on Reef Encounter’s onboard helipad.

Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard vessel Layout


Reef Encounter deck plan
Mid deck plan



Reef Encounter Top Deck
Top Deck Club
Reef Encounter heli pad and sun deck
Helipad and sun deck


Vessel Specifications

Vessel Survey IB
Configuration Catamaran Adventure Cruise Ship
Length 34.92 metres / 114.56 feet
Breath 13.28 metres / 43.56 feet
Gross Tonnage 929.77 t
Cruising Speed 12 knots
Engines 2 x Cummins 504 KW
Safety Full compliance under the International Marine Orders
Passengers 42
Crew 12
Cabin Features 21 Twin / Double Staterooms, Ensuite, large picture windows
Cabin Power 240 Volt
Day Areas Sun Deck, Saloon, Heated Jacuzzi
Tender # 1 5.99m Aluminium Coral Viewer  11.2 kw
Tender # 2 4.4m Fibreglass 11.2 kW
Other Facilities Onboard Helipad
Hydraulic lifted snorkel and dive platform.

From our family to yours, we warmly look forward to welcoming you onboard Reef Encounter.