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Australia’s Best Liveaboard  ‘Reef Encounter’ Great Barrier Reef, Cairns

Cairns best liveaboard ‘Reef Encounter’ – surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef – is one of the most unique holiday escapes in Australia. See it at its best – day and night!

Consistently rated ‘number one’ scuba diving and snorkelling liveaboard by both industry professionals and independent reviewers such as Trip Advisor, Reef Encounter is large enough to provide all the comforts of a cruise ship yet small enough to access spectacular reef locations not accessible to other vessels.

Family owned and operated (and all scuba enthusiasts) it is our passion to deliver outstanding Great Barrier Reef encounters.

We take extreme pride in our products, our boats, our crew and most importantly, our guests! We believe that Reef Encounter is unbeatable on service and value.

Stay for as many nights as you like in superbly appointed staterooms, or choose to upgrade to the Top Deck Club for that extra bit of VIP luxury.

With daily transfers from Cairns by boat or helicopter, Reef Encounter is an excellent alternative to a resort based holiday.

Reef Encounter Facilities

  • A fully air conditioned 35 metre catamaran hotel, designed for the utmost stability and comfort at sea
  • Large dining saloon
  • TV and lounge area
  • Outdoor, fresh water hot-tub
  • Spacious sundeck with sun loungers
  • Fully licenced bar
  • 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)

Reef Encounter Accommodation

  • Check In time:  10.00am    Check Out time:  8.00am
  • Spacious, 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

What’s Included

  • Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Encounter
  • All meals prepared fresh daily, by our 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 is the best in the business, winning personal and professional awards for outstanding customer service in the tourism industry year after year
  • The latest snorkelling and scuba diving equipment (wetsuits are a small additional charge)
  • Glass bottom boat tour upon request
  • On the 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 our offices in the Cairns City

Reef Encounter Overnight Itinerary Sample

Day One

7:30 am Breakfast onboard Reef Experience, Marlin Jetty “A” Finger, Cairns. Meet your Top Deck Attendant.

8:00 am Depart Marlin Jetty Marine Biologist Presentation Scuba Dive and Snorkel briefing

9:30 am Arrive Outer Great Barrier Reef ~ Transfer to Reef Encounter

10:30 am Snorkel Session – Sun bake and relax

12 Noon Buffet Lunch

1:30 pm Scuba Dive and Snorkel Session – Relaxation time

3:00 pm Cruise to our next Outer Great Barrier Reef Location

3:30 pm Scuba Dive and Snorkel Session – Relaxation Time

5:30 pm Sunset Cocktails

6:30 pm Dinner under the stars (weather permitting)

7:30 pm Night scuba dive Relaxation time, Stargazing, board games or movie

Day Two

6:30 am Early Morning Scuba Dive or Snorkel Session

7:30 am Breakfast served in your Cabin

8:00 am Cruise to next Outer Great Barrier Reef Site

8:30 am Scuba Dive or Snorkel session

10:30 am Scuba Dive or Snorkel session

12:00 pm Buffet Lunch

1:30 pm Snorkel Session, Glass Bottom Boat Tour – Sunbake – Relax

3:00 pm Transfer from Reef Encounter to Reef Experience Wine, Cheese and Tropical Fruit Platters on return Journey

4:30 pm Arrive at Marlin Marina Cairns Itineraries can change slightly due to different Season



Nothing compares with how amazing it is to stay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef!

While you are on board, there will be plenty of opportunities to Snorkel and scuba dive with brightly coloured fish and coral.

At night take in the stars from the top deck or our onboard heated hot tub.


Included in Reef Encounter Stateroom packages

  • Great Barrier Reef accommodation with Reef Encounter, Cairns best Great Barrier Reef liveaboard
  • A variety of spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef locations during your stay
  • Snorkelling or scuba diving, depending on which you select upon booking.
  • Delicious  fresh meals
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Fruit is available throughout the day, along with tea and coffee.
  • All dietary requirements will be catered for – please advise us of these when booking.

Optional Extras

  • Barista Coffee
  • Soft Drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Nitrox
  • Tshirts and hats
  • Snacks
  • Photos

What to bring

What to bring

  • Hat,
  • Sunglasses
  • light jacket
  • socks
  • Camera
  • Travel Voucher
  • Certification card and logbook for certified divers
  • Cash or credit card for onboard extras

Reef Encounter is a barefoot experience.


How to get there

Getting to Reef Encounter

Reef Encounter is always on the Great Barrier Reef.

By Boat (included in tariff)

Our sister vessel Reef Experience operates daily transfers meeting up with Reef Encounter.

Boarding starts at 7:30 am on Finger A on the Marlin Jetty, Cairns.

Reef Experience will bring you back to the same destination between 4 and 4:30 pm on your final day.

Helicopter Transfers (optional extra)

Reef Encounter has a helipad on board for guests looking at adding some magic to their stay. You may choose to take a spectacular scenic flight.

Important Information

Important Information for Scuba Divers

This information is for all guests participating in scuba diving activities.

Australia has the strictest scuba diving rules globally and the safest scuba diving record.

Therefore you must understand Queensland’s scuba diving laws.

Great Barrier Reef liveaboard boats are regulated by the Queensland Government Code of Practice and comply with all rules, including the requirements for a dive medical, where applicable, as required by law.

Please complete our dive medical questionnaire as some medical conditions, age and medications may prevent you from scuba diving.

Our mission is always to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef tour.

If you have any questions, we will be delighted to assist you.

Please contact our office on +61 7 4037 2700 or email our helpful team today.

Alternatively, you may like to consult your Doctor for a Queensland Dive Medical using the Australian QLD Standard Form AS.4005.1

Flying after Scuba Diving

Plan your travel itinerary.

On the final day of your Reef Encounter stay, your last dive will be completed by 1 pm.

Do not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after scuba diving for a single no decompression scuba dive. You should not fly for 24 hours after your last scuba diving in multiple dives.

If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning, you must wait 24 hours after your dive.

We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible.

Check-In: 10:00 am

Check-Out: 8:00 am

Read policies

Stateroom Liveaboard Accommodations

Twin Bed Stateroom Cabin - Reef Encounter

Twin Share

2 x Single beds, en-suite cabin. Share with another guest

Reef Encounter double stateroom

Double Bed

1 x Double bed, en-suite cabin. Requires 2 guests or sole occupancy


Add your review for Stateroom Liveaboard


18 Reviews for “Stateroom Liveaboard”

  1. Veronica

    Amazing, all very kind and responsible. Funny crew always with a big smile on their faces. Very helpful and accommodating staff. Great accommodation! Well organized. All the areas very clean. Delicious meals! We wouldn't ask for anything better! An unforgettable experience! Thank you so much guys! <3

  2. Brandon

    Booked Reef Encounter because of great ratings/fair price. Crew were friendly, knowledgeable, and always happy to help! Accommodations were clean & bed was comfortable. Meals were well-balanced & delicious! I had a wonderful time and will be sure to recommend Reef Encounter if they are travelling through Cairns!

  3. Samantha

    AWESOME! All of the crew so nice & friendly and great knowledge of marine lifes. Great guides I had. Also photographers were world-class - wonderful photos! Meals & accommodation all perfect! We were taken great care of and never felt hungry. Amazing encountering the Reef Encounter! Keep it up! You all give me the reason to come again!!

  4. Megan

    SO welcoming and the friendliest bunch. The best vibes from all of them. Slept like a baby and veggie food was dreamy!!! Thanks for having me! I'm sure I'll be back 110% <3 X <3

  5. Megan

    The crew were fantastic! So helpful and so much positive energy! Accommodations were great and the food was fantastic - much better than what I expected on a boat. I had a great experience - would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

  6. Marie-Noelle

    Absolutely wonderful. Fun, supportive crew made me/us feel right at ease... and helped me with every one of my snorkeling sessions. Very grateful! :) Accommodated my food allergy. Thank you for everything guys! This was absolutely magical and you guys rock... or reef!

  7. Dale D

    We wanted to stay longer! Great trip, great itinerary, great people. Thanks for a wonderful time! Dale

  8. Eric

    Everyone was amazing!! Rooms were large and comfy (twin singles). Having towels was great. All in all one of the most enjoyable and sure to be memorable experiences of my life! Thanks, Eric

  9. Anita

    I felt very good, you all do a very good job. It was for me like family :) Very nice and clean room, all you need is there, delicious food. I just want to say "Thank you" I had a wonderful time and would like to stay longer... THANK'S

  10. Amanda

    Crew were amazing. Friendly, kind, helpful. Made us all feel very safe and comfortable. Accomodation and food were excellent. Really happy with the whole experience. Thank you.

  11. Mikayla

    The crew were amazing. Especially Maddy was a great guide while diving. THe accommodations were great no complaints. The meals were soooo... good, and very good with dietary restrictions. Great experience for my first dives. Had a lot of fun. =)

  12. Andrea

    Amazing. Everyone was friendly & accommodating. I have food allergies and always felt really taken care of. Meals were amazing with lots of variety over the three days. I loved my intro two dives. The instructor took her time to ensure I felt safe and confident each time.

  13. Tina

    The crew were all lovely, friendly and very approachable. I liked how they came and sat with us during meals to chat. Rooms were comfortable & clean. The meals were delicious! Kudos to the chef and all who helped. What a great tour! I will definitely be returning and recommending this to all my friends.

  14. Alexis

    Just perfect. It was just amazing, one of my best adventures of my life. Thanks to this I will do other diving all around the world.

  15. Garrick

    Crew were all friendly and helpful, enjoyed all their company and personalities. Room was great, and food was surprisingly delicious. Definitely the highlight of my entire vacation trip; would love to come again.

  16. Richard

    I booked Reef Encounter because the standard looked a cut above (and it was). Crew were amazing - friendly, professional, fun to be around. Very slick and professional despite being relaxed, a real skill. Accommodation was excellent, more space than expected and comfortable bed. Hot shower, lots of water pressure! Meals were great, good and hearty. I just want to say I had a great time, I look forward to coming back with my family...

  17. Hannah K

    The crew are very attentive! Kind & knowledgeable. The rooms were clean, spacious and nice. Food was delicious! and everyone was very accommodating of dietary restrictions.

  18. Lorenny

    Really nice people and good service. I loved everyone. I feel sad because I have to leave.


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