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“the staff were friendly yet professional, the trip was worth the money!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Reef Encounter

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Reef Encounter
Ranked #1 of 89 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
Certificate of Excellence
Athens
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“the staff were friendly yet professional, the trip was worth the money!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2009

i'd never SCUBA dived before and Macca my diving instructor made me feel very safe and he obviously knew what he was doing. but all the crew and staff were very friendly without that detracting from their professionalism. the cooking was amazing and there was a greatly relaxed atmosphere on the boat. the rooms were clean. and may i add they were all very good looking! thank you for showing me the great barrier reef in such style, comfort and fun.
i've already recommended you to two of my friends.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank diydd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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791 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (134)
Date | Rating
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English first
Pagosa Springs, CO
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 16, 2009

Staff was wonderful! I stayed for three days and two nights. I upgraded to an open-water certification course on my way out to the dive sites. All the instructors I had were great. Everyone on board had a lot of fun, but the staff also took their job and the safety of everyone very seriously. Reef Encounter is a locally owned family business, and the atmosphere aboard their ships is relaxed and friendly. The rooms on board are spotless, and the food is good. They will take introductory divers down for a night dive, which is well worth the few extra dollars it costs. It was an absolutely fabulous stay, and when I get the chance to return to the Great Barrier Reef, I will definitely give my business to Reef Encounters again. If your traveling on a budget or just looking to save some cash, ask them about their hostie program. I would have done it, but I didn't have enough time. These guys get a five-star, across the board recommendation from me.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BrettKahn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2009

My wife and I spent 3 days (2 nights) aboard Reef Encounter and had an excellent time. I managed to squeeze in 11 Scuba dives, including 2 night dives. The diving was excellent and very well organised.

The crew were fabulous; very friendly and always helpful. And we met many like-minded people aboard the boat. Best of all, it was all very affordable.

I can recommend Reef Encounter for Divers and Snorkellers wanted to vist the Barrier Reef on a very well organised and friendly boat!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rustyboy99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2009

The reef encounter in Cairns has been the best trip of my travels and definately well worth the money we paid. We originally only booked it because the PADI open water course I wanted to go on was fully booked for my dates... but I am so glad that it was.

I went on the SSI open water course and spent 3 days on the Reef Encounter. The whole 3 days was incredible... our instructor David was extremely friendly and a very good teacher, and all the dives we went on were awesome.
For the course we had to learn a few skills that we would normally be learning in a swimming pool if we were to go for PADI, but going on the reef encounter we went down to the bottom of the reef to practise our skills, and whilst the other 3 students practised their skills with the instructor, I was free to look around at all the fish around me! Our group only had 4 students total, so the time we spent doing skills was minimal, giving us more time exploring the reef. This was probably one of the best advantages of having smaller groups ... some boats have larger numbers in the groups which means you just go down to do the skills, and by the time everyone is done you have to come straight up again.

Back to the boat, the whole crew were awesome and really helpful... especially the instructors David and Shlomi. The food on the boat is probably the best we have had in all of our travels. The rooms were clean and there was plenty of hot water for showers. There is also opportunity for passengers to stay on as 'hosties' where you help out on the boat to get a few free dives and accomodation. Unfortunately this was so popular that we couldn't stay on so I would recommend calling in advance to book your space if you really want to do this.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and an awesome boat to learn to dive from!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank karmentse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2009

The Great Barrier Reef was an outstanding end to a wonderful two week trip to Australia. My girlfriend and I heard about Reef Encounter from her brother, who stayed there years ago. You absolutely must do this if you are going to snorkel on the Barrier Reef! The boat is like a floating hotel, with a private room, bathroom, and plenty of time to snorkel. A day trip just isn't enough to see the reef. The staff was so friendly, outgoing, and very helpful. They kept us safe, and I was impressed with their experience. They give you plenty of time to snorkel at different areas on the reef. And another thing - THE FOOD THEY SERVE ON THE BOAT IS INCREDIBLE - gourmet home cooked meals (and you get hungry swimming around all day).

If you go, get yourself out of bed for the 6:30 a.m. snorkel/dive in the morning because it is well worth it - all the fish and aquatic life are really active in the morning. The rooms get a little chillie because of the AC, but its not big deal. Don't bring too much with you (like electronics of anything) because you won't need them, there is so much time in the water.

This was a perfect end to our two week Australia trip and definitely the highlight! Hopefully you'll see FRANKIE! He's a big fish that hangs out at this one spot and will let you pet him!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JayfromPasadena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2009

We highly recommend the Reef Encounter to anyone who is interested in great service, friendly people and fantastic diving/snorkeling.

We stayed over night on the Reef Encounter and it was truely an awesome experience. The diving/snorkeling was second to none, and the service was first class.

Anyone who is interested in diving and hasn't got their Scuba Ticket, we recommend you do the NSS (no scuba skills) package. It is great value for money and a fabulous experience. We did 6 separate dives over 2 days and each one was totally different and special in it's own way.

Best of all was the night dive and the early morning dive. Jumping into the water at 06:30 am was the best way to wake up in the morning. The abundance of reef life was incredible and the water clarity was unbelievable!

We are already planning our next trip back, and plan to stay longer because it is that good!!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Bek17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2009

We did a 3 day / 2 night trip on Reef Encounter. My partner was a certified diver and I did the classroom and pool components of the certification before we left on holiday. That left me with 4 ocean dives to do on the reef. It was a perfect way to get certified - did the first four dives with a great instructor one-on-one, with review sessions after the dives - and then did 5 dives as a certified diver with my boyfriend. All dives were well-organised, with good prep area and dive computers on every dive. They were generous with air and spot-on with safety. My boyfriend and his buddy got lost on one dive and popped up a fair way from the boat, but the lookout spotted them straight away and sent a dinghy to pick them up. We were signed in and out of every dive and before the boat moved.
The boat's good - a little old, but good-sized rooms, nice sundeck and roomy living area.
The staff were excellent - obviously enjoy what they do and are very friendly and helpful.
The food was much better than what I'd expected on board a boat and plenty of it.
Great trip.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Annaclare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Reef Encounter

Property: Reef Encounter
Address: 100 Abbott St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 89 Specialty Lodging in Cairns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Reef Encounter 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Reef Encounter,Great Barrier Reef, Cairns Liveaboard is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s floating luxury boutique hotel. Spend one night or several nights on one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Transfers departing from Cairns, Queensland daily, offering guests a unique opportunity to enjoy the ultimate reef experience. Enjoy the sunsets, relax, snorkel or scuba dive the crystal clear blue waters. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef Encounter Hotel Great Barrier Reef

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