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“Liveaboard 1 night on the Barrier Reef”
Review of Reef Experience

Reef Experience
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Great Barrier Reef Floating Hotel, liveaboard and all inclusive Great Barrier Reef day tour visit our websites reefexperience.com.au and reefencounter.com.au to find out why our trips are the best way to see Australia's Great Barrier Reef and find out about our great tour packages
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed November 3, 2008

We went with Reeftrip on the Day Boat Reef Experience transferrring to the Liveaboard Reef Encounter for one night as part of their Top Deck package. Overall our trip was great..Top Deck is the premium package they offer and includes:

Seperate section on the day boat (upper level) with food and drinks and staff Better snorkelling/ scuba equipment where possible
Private dive guide/ instructor on the Encounter Private dinner on the deck (and breakfast in bed if you miss a dive) Personalised level of service from dedicated staff members..

For us it was fantastic.. our hosts..Maddie and Jo were absoultely wonderful..they made us feel really special nad looked after and most importabntly were absolutely top notch divers who i felt really comfortable with (as a Open Water diver with only 30-40 dives under the belt)

The Day Boat us brand new and fanstasticallt kitted out..it can be a little difficult in terms of having day passengers and transfers on the same trip.. but it worked out great for us (except for the delay in transferring ships due to rough seas)

The Reef Encounter live aboard is a little older and is not a fancy boat, but is comfortable and has a desalinator which means endless hot showers post dive.. The diving is probably set up mainly for beginners
/open water and the equipment is all great..I imagine more experienced divers would get frustrated at soem of the guests who struggled..

The food was great..and bar too..if a litlte expensive..

The reef site we went to were:
Hastings Reef
Saxon Reef (snorkelling only)
Breaking Patches Reef

All offered great diving and my partner loved his night dive..the coral gardens was our favourite dive...Maddie and Jo were great at pointing our favourites and some fish are lile oet dogs coming to say hi..especially a big maori wrasse.. which was fun..great coral, fish, reefie sharks and the occasional turtle..

A very easy dive trip for us.. and most enjoyable

4  Thank PetsGalore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,653 - 2,657 of 2,869 reviews

Reviewed October 22, 2008

We recently went on Reef Experience on 7/10/08 whilst on a holiday in Cairns. We'd just like to say how much of a GREAT time we had!!! We found Reef experience to be FANTASTIC value for money, with such a lovely boat - with not too many people squashed on, plenty to eat and very FRIENDLY, SUPPORTIVE and PROFESSIONAL staff!! We were suprised to see that Scuba diving at the first reef was included in the already fantastic package deal!!! We loved it so much that we paid to do it again at the 2nd reef!!! A big thank you to Justin for his help with the dive - as I was quite anxious and frightened of this - having never done anything like it before! But he was always there to see that I was ok!!! Dan was a great spokesperson for the day and we also found another member of staff to be very helpful - but we have sadly forgotton her name (she was German).
We had such a great time in Cairns and our best experience was on the reef with Reef Experiencd. We loved it that much we plan to return to Cairns within the next year and will do 'Reef Experience' again!!! We have recommended this FANTASTIC company to many people!!!!

5  Thank rabs4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2008

I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic five-day dive trip on your live-aboard dive yacht "Reef Encounter". My wife and I, along with our two adult sons, loved the experience. The accommodations were wonderful. This was the first dive trip for my two sons. One son completed 15 scuba dives on the trip. My other son completed two scuba dives, after being trained by your staff member Tom, and about 15 snorkel experiences. Tom was an excellent and careful instructor. Our every need was looked after by you attentive staff. We especially remember "Becs" as always being bright and cheerful. The meals were delicious. We loved the evening deserts--your cook, Stewart, was exceptionally creative. I was also impressed with the safety procedures with respect to diving--like the second to last day of our trip when my son was told by your Dive Master Ben and his assistant Hanna that he could not go below 15 meters on his fourth dive of the day because of the depth of his previous three dives that day. I have had over 225 ocean dives with dive companies all over the world and I have never seen another company pay that kind of attention to safety details. It was a great trip! I was amazed at how quickly we became friends with your staff, the "Hostees", and the other guests. We will return. James Boud, Sandy, Utah. jrboud@hotmail.com

5  Thank jrboud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2008

I did a 3 day/2 night trip with Reef Encounter mid-September. Although I'm a snorkeler I have snorkeled quite a bit and was really looking forward to seeing the GBR. Having not done my research enough I did not realize that with probably any boat I would be limited in what I would be able to see in the afternoons as low tide comes in and there isn't enough water over the corals to stare down from them from above and I would be limited to stare from the sidelines. One of the reasons I chose Reef Encounter is that they promise 3 different sites per day. I thought this meant the boat goes to three different spots during the day. What it really means is the boat stays still and you take the glass-bottom boat to different locations near by. Since the boat has to meet up with the companies day trip boat everyday how far the Reef Encounter can go is limited. The ship is also unable to move if there is scheduled helicopter activity for the day.

As for accomidations they are o.k. but I had the unfortunite luck to get a room infected with bedbugs. The first night I was told that the spots on the sheets were probably rust but when I woke up the second night and the bed was crawling with them there was no doubt. Thankfully the saloon area does have quite a few oversized couches which ended up being more comfortable than the bed. This experience really ended up ruining my experience. No matter how much you try to focus on anything else it is hard not to think about all the work you'll have dis-infecting everything.

A big positive about Reef Encounter is the food. The chef is amazing and every meal was fabulous. Not only are their three main meals but many snacks throughout the day along with desert.

A note about the crew. Reef Encounter advertises a role called "hostie" which is filed by young adults (mostly backpackers) who clean rooms on the ship and stay/dive for free. Although I have no problem with this other people on the boat were a little turned off with how many backpackers where on board filling this role and basically getting the same vacation as the paying customers but for free.

If I had to do it all over again I would of gone with another operator. I really wanted to see many different parts of the reef and Reef Encounter is not set up to do that.

7  Thank mtnrunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2008

Well, if you are a newbie to diving or want to learn to dive or are on a tight budget and really need to say that you dove the GBR, then Reef Encounter is for you. Maybe if you are travelling with your entire family, this might be the spot for you as well. But, if you have been diving warm waters around the world and have seen a thing or two, you need to suck it up and pay the extra money to get further out on the reef with a different outfit or you will be sorely dissapointed - especially if you talk to anyone who did go further out when you get back to Cairns!

The good: Great price. Really. It got me. The rooms are way more spacious than the liveaboard I was on in Belize. The dive deck is pretty cool, lots of room for everybody. The staff is really, really nice and take pretty darn good care of you. I was traveling alone and between the crew and the nice people on the boat, I was perfectly social and only alone when I wanted to be. The chef did wonders in that kitchen; the grub was real good. Good safety checks - you won't get left behind.

The bad: The reef was simply suffering. There is so much damage. Whether from tourists, storms, who knows, but it looked bad. It bummed me out actually, but I am admittedly a bit of a dive nerd. There was some nice areas, but in general, it's not the amazing and endless coral all over everywhere that you think of when you think of the Great Barrier Reef. You go to the same place at least once a day because of the transfers with the day boat "Reef Experience" that occur daily. The good thing is that out of the three sites we visited in our three days, it was the best site. I don't know if they always meet up with the Reef Experience there, but I'm guessing yes. There is no naturalist on the boat, no one who had much to offer in the way of species, ecology, etc. I was underwhelmed by the knowledge of the staff. I think the outfit could benefit from offering a brief daily presentation on reef ecology or a particular type of critter, etc. Again, keep in mind that I am a bit of a dive nerd, especially when it comes to little critters.

If you don't dive or are just learning, this boat would probably be great for you. If you are a "dive snob," and you know who you are, even if you don't want to admit it (if you think you might be, like I did, you are and you should admit it, which I didn't, or you will regret it, like I do) please find a way to get yourself on a boat that goes further out on the reef. Get out to the good stuff and be nice to it so I can see it when I get a chance to go back.


6  Thank jenonthego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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