We were travelling from Cairns to Brisbane in a campervan and really wanted to the the Great Barrier Reef. We had been put off by other family members regarding the Cairns experience and the Airlie Beach experience. The first because we'd been told that the coral was dying off Cairns and the second that Airlie was very expensive. The trip was quite expensive for the time of year.
We did this at what could be called 'early season' so the catamaran was not at all crowded. But the sea was VERY rough. I do not like sailing in the slightest but I managed to not be sea sick by watching the horizon and relaxing the stomach muscles-and it worked!
The crew was attentive and knowledgeable, especially Sabrina, and worked well as a team. We were told that this was the only reef trip that went in to a lagoon so therefore was quite calm for snorkelling.
The island visit was interesting and informative but I wouldn't enjoy it in high summer because of th smell of bird droppings. It was pretty minimal in September. We saw several huge turtles on the journey from the pontoon to the island.
Snorkelling was very interesting and I found that facilities were adequate for the number of people onboard the pontoon. I don't think it would have been so accommodating in high season. Unfortunately we had a rain shower which made the snorkelling interesting and also dulled the colours of the coral somewhat. The number of highly coloured fish was amazing to see.
The food was very good and plentiful.
Overall I would recommend this trip in either the the early or late season, but possibly not in high season.