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“Reef Encounter Top Deck was the highlight of our vacation”
Review of Reef Encounter

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Reef Encounter
Certificate of Excellence
Lake Mary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Reef Encounter Top Deck was the highlight of our vacation”
Reviewed 30 January 2012

The wife and I spent our 10 year wedding anniversary on a trip to the South Pacific. We chose reef encounter for our plan to dive the great barrier reef. We chose the top deck option and it was well worth it. We spent three days and two nights on the Reef Encounter live-aoard, we dove 10 times and snorkled 3 times. On the night dive we were surrounded by a half-dozen Grey reef sharks and we will never forget that feeling. The reef, fish, turtles, rays, and sharks were absolutely amazing, Our guide Lance made us feel like VIPs all the way. The food, room, and service were fantastic on top deck. Our Captain went out of his way to ensure we saw every reef possible and had the most complete dive experience. When we go back to Cairns we will definately choose Reef Encounter again.

Room Tip: pay the small extra cost for top deck, the room, food, drinks and service are well worth it.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Fort Walton Beach, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 24 January 2012

My fiance` and I added in Reef Encounter as a last-minute addition to our Australia Itinerary a few weeks ago. After all, we couldn't justify coming all the way "down under" and not diving the Great Barrier Reef. We stayed 2 days, 1 night and loved every minute of it! The weather was great, the water was warm, and the sea life was abundant! But beyond that? The staff was AMAZING! They were friendly, helpful, professional, safety conscious, and FUN! The atmosphere was perfect---just like family! In fact, it was actually sad to leave. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! We will definitely book with Reef Encounter the next time we head to Australia!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sheena P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sollentuna
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 January 2012

We are a family of five including three children (18, 18 and 16). We stayed with reef Encounter during three days and two nights in July last summer, it was low season and a little bit chilli in the water. But the crew on the boat made our trip something very special. We were snorkling mostly but also did 2 test dives at 6 different sites on the reef. It was magic. We managed to see sharks, turtles and fishes of all sorts and colours. And of cause Nemo! And on the way back into Cairns we also managed to come close up with a humpback whale and her calve. The service and the food was excellent. And a special thanks to Macky that took care us when diving and a special hello from "Big lungs" Sebastian.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank JonteRylle R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2012

The Great Barrier Reef is nature's gift to planet earth and I feel so lucky that we are able to experience it. Reef Encounter made the experience so much better and convenient for us. My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights in january which gave us almost 3 full days and a dozen snorkeling sessions!

The crew is simply awesome. Very nice and helpful all the time. Despite there being about 20 guests, we felt like we got very good individual attention. They would make sure you didn't miss your meals and come get you from your room if you missed the announcements. I have diet restrictions and the crew always remembered my needs.

We are not good swimmers and are always nervous in deep waters. We've been on many snorkeling trips, but we felt the safest with these guys always keeping an eye on us.

Best of all, the snorkeling sessions were never rushed and we had plenty of time out in the water.

This is not a luxury cruise ship by any means, so expectations have to be set right before going. Its a catamaran with about 40 or 50 rooms. There is one lounge area which feels like a living room inside someone's home. Quite cozy actually. Don't expect this to be squeaky clean and shiny.

Food was very good most of the time. The portions were just right. There is hot water so you can make tea or coffee any time. The drinking water however tasted bad and was rather heavy.

Overall, it will be very hard to beat Reef Encounter I think. I would definitely stay with them again.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank rvikul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2012

We thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard Reef Encounter! The crew is amazing and extremely friendly and helpful. The rooms are clean and comfortable and the food was perfect. We got our Open Water Certification and our Advanced Certification while on board, both with our favorite Dive Instructor, Albert Bowman. “Albie,” a born teacher, was patient, knowledgeable and encouraging throughout the entire process, a true master of his craft. We also stayed aboard the ship for a few extra days as part of the Hostie Program, which helped offset the initial cost of the courses, while building up our dives. Overall, we loved the entire experience and cannot recommend Reef Encounter highly enough. *Ask for Albie! You won't be disappointed!

Room Tip: We stayed in the Multishare room which was more than adequate and then moved to some other more spac...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank worldtravlrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burleigh Heads, Australia
1 review
Reviewed 19 January 2012

My husband and I spent 3 days and 2 nights on this boat. We had a great time. Staff are all amazing and they follow all safety procedures strictly.Great snorkeling and diving. The food was great, but not gourmet, as the brochure stated. The rooms are clean and adequate, but not luxurious. In all, this was an amazing experience and we would recommend this adventure to anyone who asks. Mostly young travellers and backpackers, but suitable for all. Tip: Buy a couple of underwater disposable cameras before your holiday or arrange to hire one in advance. The trip back to Cairns is long (takes almost all day) and if you can afford it I would pay for the helicopter,

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Leonie O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2012

My husband and I did a 3 day, 2 night tour with Reef Encounter from Dec 23 to 25. We were really like during the first evening as there were only 4 guests (including ourselves) on the boat so we were able to get excellent service. It is true that all crew and guides are college student/back packers who work here to make money for their travel. They are not very knowledgeable but most of them are pretty nice. We were also very lucky as the chef of the time (again, I think their chef changes every few days since all of them seem to be able to come and go freely) was from France and they really know their food. The equipment on board are ok - I wanted a -6 snorkeling mask but they only managed to find a -5 for me. The room is spacious compare to other cruises I've been to (e.g. Princess Cruise) but it is a little old (at least it is clean). Our biggest disappointment is that we only get to visit 3 reefs during our 3 day stay. On their website, it was advertised that you get to go to 2 reefs a day. This is true but we didn't expect them to repeat the reefs just within a day!!!! The second disappointment (not as big) we had is that when we get off Reef Encounter and join Reef Experience to get back to Cairns, we find that there is absolutely no rinsing and showering facility on Reef Experience and hence, we didn't go snorkel again that afternoon. Reef Experience is also very dirty and you can even see that the water on the floor is black - this is very disgusting given that we were not allowed to wear *any* kind of food ware while on board. All in all, we had a great time at Great Barrier Reef but we will try to see if we can find a better boat that will take us to more sites next time if we do come by again.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Moonyfish
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:
Region: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 85 Speciality 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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