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Reef Encounter

Reef Encounter
From USD 174 per day
116 ft
Max 40
At a glance...
  • Visits Cairns' Great Barrier Reef every day
  • All cabins with ensuite bathrooms, TV, music
  • Hot tub Jacuzzi
  • Get dive-certified onboard
  • VIP Top Deck Club upgrade option
  • Large boat

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Reef Encounter is a 35 metre long steel hull catamaran (and 13 metre wide) designed foremost with stability and safety in mind, but also for your diving pleasure and leisure fun. Permanently stationed on the Cairns Outer Barrier Reef, the Reef Encounter is reachable in a flash by the speeding Reef Experience shuttle boat or, if you just can't wait, you can request a helicopter transfer.

On-board luxuries and creature comforts abound for the capacity of 40 guests. The roomy cabins in twin and double bed configurations all have en-suite bathrooms and ocean views. The cabins, dining area, fully licensed bar, and enclosed recreational areas are all air-conditioned, yet there is a heated spa is at the ready for all guests at any time you feel like a relaxing soak. Other onboard activities include a sun deck with sun loungers, and TV and games in the lounge.

Speaking of luxuries, the Top Deck Club is something a little extra for the VIP diver. As a Top Deck Club member you will be assigned a dive or snorkel guide who will act as your personal valet in and out of the water. You will enjoy benefits such as a personal crew member for private scuba/snorkel guided tours, late check-out times, Australian Sparkling wine upon arrival, evening turndown cabin service (complete with a chocolate on your pillow), luxury 3 course evening meal served under the stars. All guests who join the Top Deck Club are assured of the best top deck cabins with splendid sea views.

All diving operations are conducted from the mothership and a hydraulic diving platform makes getting in and out of the water effortless. You will dive at some of the 5 best Outer Great Barrier Reefs. And with 5 snorkel sessions per day, Reef Encounter offers superb snorkel experiences to people of all ages and abilities too. With the daily transfer service, you have maximum flexibiity with travel dates since you can come when you want and stay for as long as you like.

One unique feature of this Cairns liveaboard is that guests can get certified onboard without the need for class and pool time. Simply complete the e-learning pre-study then finish off all the other course components onboard during your dive trip. Reef Encounter is an SSI Diamond Dive Centre which is the highest achievable level worldwide and it is Australia’s Number One SSI training centre, making it an ideal choice for novice and less-experienced divers.

Scheduled departures, prices, destinations, durations...

More Trip Details...

Notes: Top Deck Club: This is a VIP upgrade which guarantees you: own personal dive/snorkel guide and valet, top deck cabin, deluxe 3-course evening meal with private dining under the stars option, continental or cooked breakfast prepared to your specifications, breakfast in bed option, sunset cocktails, evening turn-down service, late check-out. It is designed for people who want to enjoy the best of the Great Barrier Reef in style.

Dive experience: Scuba divers simply need to be certified Open Water Diver level or higher and bring proof of their qualification with them to be checked by the Dive Supervisor. All divers in Queensland must submit a medical questionnaire and seek medical clearance where necessary.

Cruise price per person includes: Cabin accommodation with air-conditioning, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, hot drinks, port and park fees, dive briefings, scuba equipment (except wetsuit), wetsuit (Top Deck Club only), private guide (Top Deck Club only), tanks (12 litre, DIN and yoke), weights, weightbelt, all taxes.

Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Dives (Standard cabin: 1 night: US$ 60, 2 nights: US$ 87, 3 nights: US$ 113, Top Deck Club: 1 night: US$ 60, 2 nights: US$ 113, 3 nights: US$ 167), wetsuit (US$ 3 per day) payable on board, peak season surcharge (US$ 67 per person) is applicable for all travel from the 28 Mar - 2 Apr 2024 and from the 23 Dec - 1 Jan 2025. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid in advance.

Optional extras: Snacks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, transfers to the port, guided dives (US$ 7 per dive, max. 6 divers per guide), dive insurance, underwater camera rental, prescription mask, helicopter transfer. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash AUD or Visa/Master credit card with surcharge). Note: prices of items purchased onboard are subject to change.

How to get there: Daily sea transfers to and from Reef Encounter are provided by its sister vessel, Reef Experience, from Cairns Marlin Marina. Please be at the marina 'A-Finger' at 7:30 am on the morning of the tour to check in. Reef Experience will take you directly to Reef Encounter. Land transfers from the outer suburbs, northern beaches and Port Douglas to Marlin Marina are all available at additional cost. A helicopter transfer option is also available upon special request.
The final dive of the tour will be at 10:30 am on the last day. You will depart the reef at around 3 pm, arriving back in Cairns at 4:30 pm. Please wait at least 18 hours before flying after diving.
For more information on getting to Cairns, including airlines, see our How to get there section.
Note: Guest needs to call to reconfirm their trip 48 hours prior departure. Please ask us for more details.

Non-diver rate: Displayed prices are non-diver (snorkeller) prices. Costs of diving are disclosed in the 'Prices exclude' section.

Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travelers may choose to share a cabin (no guarantee of same gender sharing) or pay a 100% supplement for their own cabin.

Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 10 cabins and 1 extra cabin (2 persons) can join the cruise free of charge.

Whole boat charter rate (per night): Please contact us to enquire for a full charter.

Cabins, Berths, Showers, Bathrooms...
Reef Encounter has 21 cabins, one of which will be reserved for luggage storage. 14 of the cabins are on the upper deck, including 6 double bed and 8 convertible double/twin bed cabins. On the main deck there are a total of 7 cabins, including 4 convertible double/twins and 3 twins. All cabins have ensuite bathrooms and ocean views. All are the same price unless you elect to join the Top Deck Club.

All the cabins have:
  • Air-conditioning
  • En-suite bathroom with hot water shower
  • Hand basin, towels and toiletries
  • Seaview window
  • Reading lamp
  • Mirror and shelves
  • Bedding and luggage space
  • 24-hour, 240v electricity supply with Australian power outlets
  • Intercom fire warning system
  • Life jackets
No. of bathrooms / showers - 20 / 20 - unlimited hot water

Crew, Facilities, Dive Courses...
The crew comprises:
  • 2 Dive Instructors
  • 1 Dive Supervisor
  • 4 Divemaster trainees
  • Captain
  • Purser
  • Chef
  • Engineer
  • 2 Cruise Attendants
  • Photographer
35m² Dive deck with toilets and fresh water showers - 30m² Dive platform - 2 Motorised dinghies - Separate rinse tank for cameras - 100m² Air-conditioned saloon with TV, DVD and sound system - 50m² Dedicated air-con restaurant area - 40m² Shaded, outside area - 150m² Sun deck with sun chairs - Movie and book library, games and magazines - Fish ID and diving books - Water dispenser - Well-stocked bar

Menu, Cuisine Type...
Dining is one of the key features of any trip on Reef Encounter. Dinner is casual sunset dining over the water, but with restaurant quality, using high-quality cuts of proteins, flavours and colours. The aim is to cater for all diets with care and to respect and value each individual's unique requests.

  • The menu aboard Reef Encounter is flexible, with a mix of Thai, international, Chinese, Italian, BBQ and Australian dishes served.
  • The menus are not fixed and meals are served buffet style in the dedicated air-conditioned restaurant.
  • Main meals comprise pre-breakfast, breakfast, lunch & dinner with snacks in between.
  • Fruit, tea & coffee and drinking water are available free of charge throughout the day. Milo and toast at breakfast, biscuits during the afternoon and ice-cream as desert are also free.
  • Candy bars, soft drinks and Australian beer and wine are available as additional extras on board.
  • Vegetarians and most other special diets are catered for with prior notice.
  • Catering starts with a quick breakfast during transit on check-in day.

Technical Specifications...
  • Built in 1988, refurbished annually
  • Size - 35m x 13m
  • Top speed - 14 knots
  • Cruising speed - 12 knots
  • 2 x 500 KW Cummins engines
  • 2 x 190 KW Cummins generators
  • 2 x Bauer KA15 dive tank compressors
  • 12 litre aluminium tanks with international fittings and DIN adaptors
  • Electricity 240v - 24-hours per day
  • Water capacity - 40,000 litres
  • Fuel capacity - 27,000 litres
  • Freshwater maker - 450 litres per day
  • Environmental storage tanks

Navigation, Safety Features...
  • 2 x 16 person Yamaha 15 HP dinghies
  • 3 x life rafts
  • SB / UHF radios
  • Fire alarm / detectors
  • Emergency lights / signal devices
  • Engine room CCTV
  • Radar
  • GPS
  • Fishfinder
  • Autopilot
  • Echo sounders
  • Mobile phone
  • Bilge pump alarm
  • Searchlight
  • Loudhailer
  • Life jackets in cabins
  • Fire extinguishers throughout
  • MFA box and trained staff
  • 12,000 litres of continuous-flow oxygen on board


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