Reef Encounter’s Top Deck Club Liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef

The best way to see the Great Barrier Reef is as a Top Deck VIP on Reef Encounter, a boutique floating hotel that stays at the Reef year-round.

You will want nothing on your incredible Great Barrier Reef holiday in style!  Your valet to look after you both in and out of the water.

All Top Deck Club visitors enjoy the best rooms and the finer details of your holiday catered to from the moment you step onto the boat,



With a range of packages for snorkelers, certified divers, and introductory divers alike, we don’t disappoint when it comes to underwater activities.  During multiple water sessions daily, your Top Deck attendant will help you find everything from sea turtles and anemonefish to brilliant coral formations.

Certified divers enjoy day and night dives, while introductory divers can dive as far as 12 meters underwater, safely assisted by their instructor at every moment.  Prefer to stay at the ocean’s surface?  Top Deck snorkellers also love exploring everything the Great Barrier Reef offers on a guided snorkel tour.

For those who’d instead not get their hair wet, our glass bottom boat tour is an excellent way to see the Reef before relaxing on the spacious sundeck.  Take a dip in the onboard hot tub or relax in Reef Encounter’s air-conditioned TV and lounge area.

In between activities, delicious a la carte meals prepared fresh by our onboard chef are served, all included in the cost.   Enjoy breakfast in bed, cooked just as you like, and In the evening, you can dine privately under the stars.

A complimentary sunset cocktail each night while you enjoy the gorgeous ocean views.

Top Deck Club guests also have a late checkout time of 14:00 instead of 8:00, allowing you to enjoy your room for longer.

  • Best rooms on the boat
  • Spacious ensuite staterooms with uninterrupted ocean views, crisp Australian bed linen, plush bathrobes, towels and toiletries replenished
  • Champagne and a fruit platter await you upon arrival or with your evening meal if you’re getting in the water.
  •  An evening turndown service for your Stateroom



You’ll enjoy the best rooms on Reef Encounter, a boutique floating hotel surrounded by crystal-clear waters.  Our spacious, air-conditioned Top Deck rooms have uninterrupted ocean views, an ensuite, towels, plush Australian bed linen, and bathrobes.

Accommodating only 42 guests, Reef Encounter provides the comforts of the largest cruise ships yet is small enough to access spectacular intricate Reef locations.

Designed for utmost stability and comfort at sea, we visit the most captivatingly beautiful areas of this natural wonder – The Great Barrier Reef.

With all meals, accommodation, and snorkel/dive gear included, Reef Encounter provides everything needed for the perfect Great Barrier Reef holiday.



A trip to Reef Encounter begins with either a helicopter transfer (additional cost) or boarding our transfer vessel Reef Experience at 7:30.  You will have breakfast on the 90-minute trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, along with fresh coffee, tea, and juices.  Upon arrival, Reef Experience transfers passengers onto Reef Encounter for their 10:00 check-in time.

Onboard, you will experience water activities on various Reef sites.  Enjoy chef-prepared meals, relax in the hot tub and laze on the sun deck or the saloon for as many days and nights as they’ve booked.

The final day ends with several more hours of enjoying the Reef before a late checkout of 14:00 and transferring back to Reef Experience at 15:00.  Enjoy wine, cheese and crackers on board before arriving back to Cairns around 16:30.

Next, discover our Top Deck Club packages and day tours.

Next, explore our reef locations.



  • Discover the World’s largest living structure
  • Wake Up on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Interact with thousands of brightly coloured fish and coral
  • Delicious meals
  • VIP service


Top Deck Club Liveaboard Packages Include

  • Top Deck Club accommodation including ensuite (guaranteed cabin located on Top Deck – please note we only have 2 x cabins with a double bed with front windows, and these will be allocated on a first-in-best-dressed basis)
  • Delicious chef-prepared meals
  • Personal valet
  • Private guided in-water tours (please note diving is an upgrade, but your guide will already be included)
  • Dinner under the stars
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Sunset cocktails
  • Late checkout
  • Evening turndown service
  • Snorkel equipment
  • Scuba diving equipment (if scuba diving)
  • Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Encounter
  • A variety of spectacular outer Great Barrier Reef locations during your stay
  • Glass bottom boat tour (weather-permitting)
  • Marine Biology presentation
  • A free luggage storage facility in Cairns City
  • Daily transfers via Reef Experience to Reef Encounter

Optional Extras

  • Introductory dive
  • Certified dive
  • Scuba lessons
  • Professional photographs
  • Barista coffee
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Merchandise
  • Helicopter transfers
  • City/Beaches bus return transfers

What to bring

  • Reef Encounter is a barefoot product
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Light jacket
  • Camera
  • Socks
  • Casual resort wear
  • Scuba divers need to bring their certification card and logbook

How to get there

How to get to Reef Encounter?

Two Choices to get to Reef Encounter:

The first option is our transfer vessel Reef Experience, which departs Cairns daily at 8 am.

Reef Experience departs from the Cairns Marina, Marlin Jetty, Finger A.

Guests check in directly onboard the vessel.

The second option is via a spectacular scenic helicopter flight over the Great Barrier and landing directly onboard Reef Encounter’s exclusive helipad.

Important Information

Important information for scuba divers

This information is for all guests participating in scuba diving.

Australia has the strictest scuba diving rules globally and the safest diving record. Please make sure you understand the scuba diving laws in Queensland, Australia.

We 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.

We recommend that all passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire. 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.

We are delighted to help you with any questions you may have. Please contact our office on +61 7 4037 2700 or email our helpful team today.

Flying after Scuba Diving

You should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive for a single no decompression scuba dive.

You should not fly for 24 hours after your last dive for 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: 2:00 pm

Read policies

Top Deck Club Liveaboard Accommodations

Double Bed

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


Twin Share

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


3 Reviews for “Top Deck Club Liveaboard”

  1. Diane

    We booked Reef Encounter because of the number of dives/snorkels in a day including the day of arrival departure. Meg was amazing!!! She took such great care of us and gave us tips and info on what to do and what we had coming up. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Our dinners were the best (Top Deck). What a treat for us. The buffets plated meals were tasty and a good variety. Our room had plenty of space and fresh towels helped. We will recommend this to our friends! Thank you for a wonderful holiday! - Diane

  2. Michael

    Unbelievable 10/10. Our Top Deck guide Val was unreal. Really deserves recognition/praise from management for her hard work. A credit to the company. Really enjoyed the whole experience. Once again, management please formally recognise Val for all her efforts. Everyone on the crew was amazing. Especially Pablo.

  3. Michelle   Ian

    Everyone was amazing. We had Mackensea as our personal assistant & can't thank her enough - ensured we had everything we needed & wanted. :) Loved the Top Deck experience & dinner under the stars. Mackensea makes great cocktails; Louis took great photos. Was the best place to get engaged - can't wait to come back soon!


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