Mike Ball is synonymous with lavish Australia diving safaris, seen by many as the most luxurious operator in the region and one of the few with minke whale watching permits. Indeed Spoilsport has earned more awards than any other liveaboard operating on the Great Barrier Reef and currently boasts 11 prestigious 'Rodale Readers Choice' awards including 'Best Liveaboard'.
There are several accommodation categories available on Spoilsport, depending on your requirements and wallet size, most of which have en-suite bathrooms.
A spacious 3-deck layout offers you a roomy dive deck with individual storage spaces for each diver. In-situ nitrox fills are available to help you maximise your unlimited dives aboard Spoilsport - most guests do 4 day dives and 1 night dive each day on these Great Barrier Reef liveaboard trips.
For the photographers amongst you, it's reassuring to note that Mike Ball himself is an avid underwater photographer, so you can rest assured that the setup for photographers is second to none. The dive deck has 3 dedicated camera tables as well as rinse tanks for your valuable equipment. On most trips, an informal photo competition is held, so you can enter your best shot of the trip and see how it fairs against your fellow divers.
Spoilsport operates an "open dive deck" policy, which allows guests to plan and dive independently with their buddies. This means that if you want 2 hours in the water getting that "cover shot" of a particularly elusive fish then there is no problem in doing so. However, if you like having the dive sites' best marine life pointed out to you, the experienced Spoilsport crew leads scheduled dives twice daily. Additional guided dives can be arranged with the Spoilsport staff on an ad-hoc basis.
When not enjoying the delights of world famous dive sites or sampling the delicious meals prepared by the chef, you can top up your tan on the ample sundeck or simply relax in the comfortable lounge, perhaps taking in a movie or 2.
Notes: Minke Whale Expeditions: Certain trips in June and July include efforts to dive and/or snorkel with minke whales. Prices remain the same but expect fewer overall dives on these trips. Check out this excellent video of a Minke Whale trip .
Dive experience: Osprey Reef trips are best for advanced divers due to wall dives that are sometimes exposed to strong currents. Divers who have completed less than 15 dives, or less than 5 dives in the past 12 months, and divers over 65 years old, who have completed less than 50 dives, are required to complete a complimentary onboard orientation dive. If you have not dived in the last 5 years we recommend you complete a Refresher Course to maximize your comfort, enjoyment, and the number of dives that may be undertaken with us. ProDive Cairns can complete a private 2 hour PADI Refresher Course (US$ 114) before your expedition. This will need to be booked in advance. If you have not dived in the last 10 years you will need to be either re-certified, or complete a Refresher Course and show proof of 2 subsequent logged ocean dives to dive with Spoilsport. If this requirement cannot be met prior to travel Spoilsport provide 1 Discover Scuba Dive per day with a depth limit of 12 metres. Additional Discover Scuba Dives will be dependent upon staff availability and will be charged at US$ 36 per dive. Exemptions for both of the above exist for divers with more than 200 dives, or for Divemaster certified or higher.
Cruise price per person includes: Low-level scenic flight to or from Lizard Island (for 3 and 4 night trips), cabin accommodation with air-conditioning, breakfast, lunch, dinner (4/5/7 night departures do not include an evening meal on the first night), snacks, drinking water, hot drinks, transfer to Cairns Airport or inner city hotel after your expedition, dives (as detailed in the trips above), in-water observation divers, tanks, weights and weight belts, SMB, Nautilus Lifeline GPS.
Cruise price per person excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own): Dive equipment (incl. dive computer and torch: US$ 31 per day), dive insurance, GBRMPA Environmental Tax (US$ 5) per day, max 3 days, waived until June 2023). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash or credit card).
Optional extras: Transfers to expedition office to check-in, soft drinks (soft drinks with evening meals are complimentary), alcoholic drinks (wine with evening meal is complimentary), nitrox fills for enriched air certified divers (US$ 18 per day), 15 litre tanks (US$ 18 per day), underwater camera, trip video. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there: Spoilsport departs from either Trinity Wharf in Cairns or Lizard Island, depending on the itinerary. 3 night trips begin with a flight to Lizard Island and end on the boat in Cairns. 4 night trips begin on the boat in Cairns and end with a flight back from Lizard island. 5 and 7 Night trips begin and end on the boat in Cairns.
For Cairns departures, check in at the Mike Ball office at 3 Abbott Street between 8:30 and 16:00 hrs on the day of departure. For Lizard Island departures, check in at 6:30-07:00 hrs at the Mike Ball office for transfer to the airport for the charter flight to Lizard Island. The recommended hotel is the Pullman International, as it is next to the office for check-in.
Note: from January 2022, all passengers must be fully vaccinated. Guests must complete a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hrs before boarding or provide proof of being COVID-positive within the past 12 weeks. Anyone testing positive will not be permitted to board. In the unlikely event of testing positive for COVID onboard, you will be evacuated to Cairns. For this reason we recommend travel insurance that covers isolation evacuation,
For more information on getting to Cairns see our How to get there section.
The last dive of the trip will be at around 15:00 hrs on the second last day of the trip. Cruises ending in Cairns disembark at 08:00 hrs. Cruises ending at Lizard Island include a flight back to Cairns, landing at 11:45 hrs. Please wait at least 18 hours before flying after diving.
Non-diver rate: 10% off the published price, non-diving child (8-15 years) 25% off the published price.
Single supplement (if you do not want to share accommodation): This is optional - single travellers may choose to share a cabin (no guarantee of same gender sharing) or pay a supplement of 70% of the published price.
Dive clubs and group discounts: Pay for 10 guests and 1 extra person can join the cruise in a budget cabin free of charge (11+ guests).
Whole boat charter rate (per night): Price is based on 26 fully paid berths and 2 free of charge budget berths for the group leaders.
Spoilsport can accommodate up to 28 divers in 14 air-conditioned cabins across 4 categories. All located on the middle deck, the cabin categories comprise 4 Premium cabins, 4 Standard cabins, 4 Club cabins and 2 Budget cabins.
The 4 Premium cabins are fitted with a double bed or queen sized bed. The Standard cabins all feature twin single beds, whilst the Budget and Club cabins provide twin bunk beds.
The Premium and Standard cabins feature large windows that allow natural light in. Club and Budget cabins, located in the centre of the vessel, feature cabin lights and reading lamps.
All cabin categories have private en-suite facilities, except for the Budget cabins, which have shared bathroom facilities.
All the cabins have:
Private bathroom with hot water shower and hand basin (except Budget cabins)
Enriched air nitrox - 3 Camera tables - Separate rinse tank for cameras - Video/photo editing facilities - Air-conditioned lounge with bar, TV, DVD and music centre - Movie library - Open-air dining area - Computer & CD burner - Satellite phone and fax - Books, magazines, games, fish ID books - Sun deck with sun chairs and shaded areas - Water dispenser
"Highly professional, attended to personal requests without hesitation and a very enjoyable diving experience" - Chris Earley, USA, 20 May 2021 ...
"Those staff on Spoilsport are wonderful. The equipment like tender, emergency supply tank were always standby when we went diving, It is necessity backups for divers. " - Chen An Tseng, Taiwan, 4 January 2018 ...
"Spoilsport was excellent. Facilities on the boat were just about perfect and the service provided was definitely 5 star.. from the excellent food, to general cleanliness and little extras like warm dry towels after every dive. The diving itself was superb and I particularly liked the way it was organised, with thorough briefings and maps available for each site and the option to dive with a guide or as a buddy team. This approach gives flexibility for more experienced divers to really enjoy the diving with enough information to find the "good stuff" and navigate sites but the freedom to really enjoy the dive. The shark feed dive was spectacular and the condition of the sites in general was pretty good - we got lucky and saw a Hammerhead on our penultimate dive which was a first for me...I'm already recommending this trip to others!" - Susan Wilson, UAE, 16 August 2015 ...
"The Mike Ball group was professional and safety conscious first and foremost. They made the trip comfortable, fun, relaxed, attending to our every need. The dives were set up well from the equipment (would have like full wetsuit but shorties were ok), to the procedure for entering and exiting. The boat was full with 29 divers but spacious enough to spread out. The food was quite plentiful and tasty for hungry divers. We did the 3 night trip and 12 dives and felt we saw the best coral and fish possible. Next time we may include the Osprey Reef on the longer trip." - Cindy Armbruster, USA, 13 November 2013 ...
"We had an awesome dive adventure on the Spoilsport. The dives on the Great Barrier Reef were incredible and the liveaboard crew staff exceeded our expectations....the meals, service, etc. was flawless. The trip was an A+!!!" - Ellen & Tom Atchison, USA, 1 July 2012 ...
"The live aboard boat was just great. The cabins were roomy and there was lots of room to spread out. Food was very good. Diving was really good. Visibility was generally about 50-60 feet at most sites. The marine life was amazing. Saw sharks, moray eels, stone fish, nudibranches, clown fish, potato cod (huge!), lion fish, lots of little fish, etc. Met a number of interesting people on the boat. The staff were great, very accommodating and really friendly. This was a fabulous experience that I would recommend to anybody. Really good value for the money and superior service. You get to know the crew personally. They all pitch in to help and make the live aboard experience wonderful." - Paul Pilutti, Canada, 13 February 2012 ...
"Fantastic set-up. Knowledgeable instructors, great crew, tons of fun, great dive sites. Food was stunningly good." - Graham Carssow, USA, 21 December 2011 ...
"Staff was very helpful, ship was very clean, everyone was very friendly and enthusiastic. We had a wonderful time on the cruise, thanks!" - Yi-Hsin Lin, USA, 6 September 2010 ...
Low Budget Options
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