Can you wait to go scuba diving and snorkelling on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?

The MV Reef Encounter is an upscale Liveaboard that offers some of the best dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Encounter is like a boutique floating hotel, all meals included in your stay and all rooms have bathrooms!

You can choose your own pace from non-stop to relaxing it is all up to you.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is outstanding and getting up close and personal with brightly coloured marine life on a package that suits you.

What we have found over the many years we have been in business that not everybody wants the same activities. We have made it so easy for everyone in your group to do their Great Barrier Reef Encounter in a way that suits them, for example, your booking may be one scuba diver and one snorkeller, and it all works perfectly onboard.

When you book you choose which room type suits you best, pop in the dates and then select what everyone wants to do, it is straightforward, if you need help, you can send us an email, or if we are awake, you can chat with us on our LiveChat.

The Vessel And Accommodations

The MV Reef Encounter one of the biggest and most comfortable Liveaboard vessels on the Great Barrier Reef with a crew onboard to make sure your stay is fantastic.

Reef Encounter is a 35-metre long catamaran host twenty-one Ocean View staterooms each fully air-conditioned and with en-suite facilities.

The Dining Saloon is large, fully air-conditioned as is all the enclosed space and is also used as a lounge area.

Reef Encounter’s fully licensed bar located in the saloon area ready to serve drinks, its even the coffee station for those of you who love espresso.

Forward of the dining saloon on the open bow is the spa/hot tub.

A great place at any time to enjoy the relaxing water, a cocktail and the unmatched views.

The UNESCO called the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most beautiful places in the world both above and below the water. That is true both during the day and night.

At night the stars come alive, and you can often see the reef glow from phytoplankton in the water, and the green glow of scuba divers torches its an exciting dive

The spacious sun deck has deck chairs offers a place to relax and soak up the sun.

Reef Encounter is the only tourist vessel on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to have an onboard helicopter pad; it is highly recommended to take a spectacular helicopter flight to or from your stay onboard Reef Encounter.

The meals are included in the fare. The boat can be resupplied daily, so the food is always fresh and delicious.

There are snacks available between water sessions and dessert is served separate from the dinner after the night dive.

For those who wish to observe the life on the reef without getting wet, let the crew know, and they will set you up with a glass-bottom boat tour.

Reef Encounter

Location And Reef Sites

This Australian Liveaboard calls Cairns its homeport but stays most of the time out on the Great Barrier Reef among the outer reef area.

She usually visits two or three reefs a day. Four reefs provide the most visited locations, Hasting Reef, Norman Reef, Saxon Reef and Breaking Patches Reef.

Each of these is outer reefs. Michaelmas Cay with its reef and Jorges patches are used as back up sites if needed.

Each of the reefs has multiple dive sites and offer outstanding snorkelling and scuba diving.

There are five water sessions a day where you can enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving.  The first one is a sunrise session before breakfast.

After breakfast, there are two additional water sessions. After lunch, there are two more sessions.

After dinner is a twilight/ night dive for certified scuba divers, divers may choose to dive four sessions a day.

Top Deck Club

If you loved to be pampered, then you might want to find out about our Top Deck Club it is one of our most popular packages.

Top Deck Club inclusions

Best rooms onboard.

Your own guide/valet from the moment you join us at the Marlin Jetty to start your trip onboard Reef Experience or onboard waiting for you if you decide to arrive in style after a spectacular helicopter flight.

Your guide will show you to your room, organise any equipment, serve you dinner on the Top Deck (weather permitting) show you all the best parts of our Great Barrier Reef locations, serve you breakfast in bed if you are not already in the water exploring the reef and more.

Top Deck Club also comes with a late check out which means that you stay in your room right up until departure.


Please note that the itinerary is only a guide, activities may change based on weather and tides you can be sure that the Reef Encounter Skipper will sure to make the best decisions for your comfort

Day One

  • 7:30 am Board Reef Experience at the Marlin Jetty in Cairns
  • 8:00 am breakfast, check-in and safety briefing
  • 9:30 am Arrive at the Great Barrier Reef and transfer to Reef Encounter
  • 10:30 am First Water Session everyone can snorkel Noon Lunch
  • 1:00 pm Water briefings, certified dive briefings, snorkel briefings
  • 1:30 pm Water Session
  • 3:00 pm Reef Encounter moves to next outer barrier reef location
  • 3:30 pm Water Session, Glass Bottom Boat tour
  • 6:00 pm Dinner served in the saloon (Summer Schedule)
  • 6:45 pm night scuba diving briefing
  • 7:00 pm Night scuba diving or 5:30 pm Night diving briefing (winter schedule)
  • 6:00 pm Night dive 7:15 pm Dinner served in the saloon
  • 8:00 pm Dessert served in the saloon

Last Day

  • 6:00 am Wake up call for the early morning snorkel and scuba diving session its the best water session of the day.
  • 6:30 am Water session, sunrise scuba diving and snorkelling
  • 7:30 am breakfast is served in the saloon
  • 8:00 am room check out for all guests who are not in Top Deck Club. Transfer rooms are available for you to use you leave Reef Encounter
  • 8:30 am Water Session scuba diving and snorkelling
  • 10:30 am Water Session scuba diving and snorkelling Noon Lunch in the dining saloon
  • 1:30 pm Water Session snorkelling only
  • 2:30 pm Top Deck Clients check out of the house
  • 2:45 pm Departing passengers say goodbye to transfer to Reef Experience, a complimentary glass of wine cheese and biscuits
  • 4:30 pm Approximate arrival time at Marlin Jetty Cairns

One of the items that set the MV Reef Encounter above the majority of the Liveaboard around the world is its flexibility in the number of days that guest can stay aboard.

Unlike the traditional Liveaboard, the MV Reef Encounter stays on the reef for extended periods of time.

There are a couple of advantages to this arrangement. First, Guest arrival and departure are by the MV Reef Experience.

The MV Reef Experience is a high-speed daily dive boat owned by a sister company.

This allows the guest to arrive any day they wish and to stay as long as they wish.

Second, by staying on the reef there is less dive time lost going to and from Cairns.

The dive sites visited are not on any set schedule; however, as a general rule two or three different reefs, a day is visited.

Reef Encounter is proud to be an SSI Diamond Facility

We operate a fantastic personalised open water dive course over 3 or 4 days with all scuba dives done on the Great Barrier Reef

We are excited to have added Nitrox in late 2019 so you can choose to have your dives on Nitrox, add the Nitrox course to your stay if you are not already Nitrox certified

Several speciality courses are also taught when desired, including the advance programs, and the Stress and Rescue course.

Other courses are available upon request.


Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling

Snorkel all day! apart from when Reef Encounter is moving or at lunchtime snorkeler’s can explore the reef at any time of the day.  The reef is very close to our water deck, snorkel noodles are available onboard if you want to relax and just take it all in and there is so much to take in.

Our onboard hot tub is a great place to relax after snorkelling

You can relax on our sun deck work on your suntan during the day and at night you can see the Southern Cross and the Milky way

Introductory Scuba Diving

If you would like to give scuba diving ago and are not already certified you can try our free scuba diving demonstration,  we will get you suited up in the dive gear and take you just under the water to show you just how easy it is to breathe underwater if you are comfortable you can choose to go on a paid introductory dive with one our professional scuba dive instructors

It is a shallow dive normally around 5 metres deep, but it is basically the same dive the certified divers are doing.