A Scuba & Snorkelling Liveaboard That Is Also A Floating Boutique Hotel

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

It has been called a Boutique Floating Hotel and has won awards in that category from different tourism organisations.

Past guest of the MV Reef Encounter, have given them excellent ratings in review sites such as TripAdvisor They often praise the high level of service they received.

It has been given awards of excellence in both the Liveaboard category and as a hotel by TripAdvisor.

While it is an upscale vessel, it is competitively priced with other vessels in the area.


The Vessel And Accommodations

The MV Reef Encounter looks like a millionaire’s luxury Mega-yacht. She is one of the biggest and most comfortable Liveaboard vessels in the world.

The 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 is also located in this area ready to serve drinks when your diving is done for the day.

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.

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

No millionaires yacht is complete without a place to land a helicopter, The MV Reef Encounter’s helipad is above the wheelhouse.

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

There are snacks available between dives 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, the boat has a glass-bottom boat that is available for guest who wants to use it.

Reef Encounter

Location And Dive Sites

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

She normally 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 that can be visited.

There are five water sessions a day for snorkelers and divers. 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.


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 is 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.


The MV Reef Encounter is a Scuba School International (SSI) accredited facility. Open water training is available.

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

Other courses are available upon request.

Additional Options

One of the features that have not been mention yet is the Top Deck Club option that the MV Reef Encounter offers.

It is a unique feature that fits this unique Mega-yacht style vessel.

The Top Deck Club is similar to a concierge floor at a super luxury hotel or resort. From the moment you arrive at the dock or picked up from your hotel, you will be treated like a VIP.

Special boarding privileges, seating and a served breakfast in the Captains wheelhouse on the transfer vessel MV Reef Experience, and special privileges on-board the MV Reef Encounter.

For the duration of your stay, you will have a staff member dedicated to your needs.

They will act as your butler, waiter, gopher (go for this, go for that) and as your guide underwater.

There are other privileges such as special dinners prepared for you by the chef. The Top Deck club information pages have more information.


Snorkelers are very comfortable visiting this Liveaboard. It is often referred to as a floating boutique hotel.

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

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

Snorkelers have an opportunity to explore the underwater world as well all of our reef locations provide wonderful locations for snorkelling

A resort dive is available for each non-diver. A Resort dive is a program where after having some skills training and practice, the resort diver is able to do a real scuba dive accompanied by an instructor.

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